Olmoti Crater is a collapsed volcano that lies in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tanzania and in the Maasai language Olmoti means “Cooking Pot”. This magnificent caldera is a dormant volcano that last erupted over 10,000 years ago. The crater is about 3 km in diameter and reaches a depth of 200 meters, making it one of the largest and most breathtaking craters in the region.

Olmoti Crater, 13km north of the Lemala ascent-descent route, is worth visiting on your trip north into the highlands, albeit lacking the drama of Ngorongoro and Empakaai. It also serves as the starting point for a two-day hike to Empakaai. The crater floor of Olmoti is shallow, grassy, and traversed by the Munge River. It’s a one-hour return walk from where the 4WD track terminates on the crater’s eastern side to the rim. A short walk goes from here to the Munge Waterfall.
With its shallow grassy floor, marshy highland plateau, and stunning waterfall, Olmoti Crater offers visitors a unique experience of nature. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what Olmoti Crater has to offer and how to make the most of your visit.

Olmoti Crater is one of the three large volcanic calderas located inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is the second highest in terms of altitude of the rim, and its crater floor serves as a water source for several streams and lakes inside the Ngorongoro Crater. The plateau also serves as an occasional feeding ground for Maasai cattle in the area, and there are two to three settlements located on it.

What to Do at Olmoti Crater?

The best way to explore Olmoti Crater is by driving to the foot of the crater and then hiking up to the top of the rim. The hike takes about one to two hours, depending on your level of fitness. Once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of one of the last undisturbed patches of nature.

There are also herds of cows that live on the plateau, and supposedly, there is a path that they can use to get down – the amazing Maasai cow. If you have enough energy, you can continue your hike to the beautiful waterfall located on the side of the caldera.

Please note that in most cases, you would need an armed ranger to walk up the crater and pay a walking fee as well as the entrance/conservation fee. You would also need to pay for a vehicle permit if using a private or rented vehicle. For more information on fees, please see the NCAA website.

Best Time to Visit Olmoti Crater

You can visit Olmoti Crater any time of the year, but the drier season of July to December is usually best as the roads are more pliable during this time.

Location of Olmoti Crater

Olmoti Crater is located about 5km northeast of the Ngorongoro Crater or just a two-hour drive from the Loduare gate. There is a small Maasai village at its eastern base called Nainokanoka, which is where most hikes start. You can find more information on its location on the map below.

How to Get to Olmoti Crater

The main way to get to Olmoti Crater is by driving from the Loduare gate or other places in the conservation area. This can be in a private vehicle, a tour, and travel vehicle or a rental. It is also possible to get there using a walking safari.

Exploring Olmoti Crater: What to Expect

When you arrive at Olmoti Crater, you will be greeted by a vast expanse of wilderness that stretches as far as the eye can see. The drive to the foot of the crater is already a beautiful experience, and once you start your hike up the rim, you will see that the scenery just keeps getting better.

As you climb higher, you will see herds of Maasai cows grazing on the plateau. These cows are an integral part of the Maasai culture, and they are very important to the local economy.

The trek to the crater’s rim is a challenging hike that rewards you with spectacular views of the crater and the surrounding landscape. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to see the diverse flora and fauna that call the crater home, including rare species of birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.

Trekking to Olmoti Crater: What to Expect

The trek to Olmoti Crater is a strenuous hike that takes about 4-5 hours round trip. You’ll need to be in good physical condition and have appropriate hiking gear, including sturdy shoes, a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water. The trek begins at the Nainokanoka Ranger Post and takes you through lush forests, open grasslands, and rocky terrain.

Olmoti Crater: A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

Olmoti Crater is home to a variety of rare and endangered bird species that are sure to delight birdwatchers. Some of the bird species that can be spotted at Olmoti Crater include the Lammergeier, the White-naped Raven, and the Schalow’s Turaco. These birds are attracted to the crater’s unique ecosystem, which features a mix of grasslands, forests, and wetlands.

Olmoti Crater: A Photographer’s Dream

If you’re a photography enthusiast, Olmoti Crater is a must-visit destination. The crater’s rugged terrain, dramatic landscapes, and stunning vistas offer endless opportunities for capturing breathtaking shots. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer, Olmoti Crater is sure to provide you with some unforgettable photo opportunities.

Olmoti Crater: A Serene Getaway

Olmoti Crater is the perfect destination for travelers who are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and reconnect with nature. The crater’s tranquil atmosphere, stunning views, and abundant wildlife make it an ideal location for camping, hiking, and exploring. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends and family, Olmoti Crater is the perfect place to unwind and recharge.

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