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Ngorongoro Karatu
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Ngorongoro Karatu

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... is a particularly attractive rural area which lies on the main safari route through Northern Tanzania.

Climbing up the main Rift Escarpment above Lake Manyara, the landscapes are immediately better watered and more widely farmed. It is about 30km along a good sealed road to the Lodoare Gate into the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. For the last 15km, approaching the tin-roofed agricultural centre of Karatu, this farmland becomes increasingly beautiful, with the mountainous cloud-forests of the reserve looming ahead.

The area is home to the Irawq people, who are agriculturalists and therefore very different from the pastoral Maasai who dominate the surrounding areas.

The area contains some wonderful rural lodges, which offer a great change of pace during a safari, with opportunities to walk and mountain bike around the villages and up into the forest, as well as undertake a range of cultural activities, notably the trip down to Lake Eyasi to meet the Hadzabe hunter-gatherers and the Datoga silversmiths.

The area naturally experiences high to very high vehicle traffic, since the main road carries virtually all of the vehicles heading up to the park, as well as the regular traffic headed for Lake Victoria. But somehow this feels like much less of an issue as it does inside the wildlife reserves.


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