Visitors on their way to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater pass through the town of Karatu, under the benevolent peak of Ol Deani, on their way through the northern highlands. After climbing the Manyara Escarpment, the vegetation becomes more lush and green, finally entering into the highlands around Karatu. The extinct volcano of Ol Deani has gentle slopes and it is a prominent feature of the landscape.
In the past, the area around Karatu and Ol Deani was of great importance to the German colonial administration. The area’s cool climate, verdant hills, and pleasing views make it popular with settlers and farmers. Vast and extensive fields cover the slopes of the volcano and the lands around Karatu town. Coffee was a main crop grown for export, and a few large farms that remained in private hands still cultivate the cash crop on the hills and small valleys outside of town. Karatu offers splendid views of the northern highlands and is a popular base for visitors on their way to Ngorongoro Crater.
KARATU IRAQW CULTURAL TOURISM
The group was established as Sandemu Iraqw Art and Culture Promoters in the year 2000 in Bashay village of Karatu district, Arusha region. This group has built a show centre to display the traditional culture of the Iraqw people. The Iraqw is the main ethnic group living in Karatu and Mbulu districts. They also live in Babati and Hanang districts. Their objective is to compile for posterity, a record of the lifestyle, traditions, history and culture of the Iraqw people, and also to involve and benefit local people in cultural tourism, thereby disseminating information and knowledge of the ancient traditions to the world.
KARATU IRAQW OFFERS:
- Walking tours in the villages, mountains and bush, organized according to the interests of the visitors, and vary from several hours to several days (Walking tours can be extended to include the Hadzabe and Datogan in Lake Eyasi.)
- Visits to development projects schools, dispensaries, hospitals, historical sites like German and British settlements, coffee plantations, and graves in Oldeani on the rim of the Oldeani Mountain and Ngorongoro Crater.
- Traditional Iraqw meals - ugali (stiff porridge) with meat, vegetables, milk, fresh honey, kande (maize and beans) and more.
- Camping in rural and natural traditional environment or stays in Iraqw traditional houses
- Displays of traditional wares -weapons, garments, gourds, baskets, mats, day pots and stone tools; some of the items are for sale and others are part of a permanent collection.
GANAKO KARATU CULTURAL TOURISM
Ganako-Karatu is situated on the way from Arusha to the national parks in northern Tanzania, just on the lower slopes of Ngorongoro highlands outside the Ngorongoro and Serengeti, it is an important resting place for most safari travellers.
GANAKO KARATU OFFERS
- A walk through the Ngorongoro highland forest
- A visit to coffee plantations to enjoy the pure taste of African coffee
- A view into the culture of the Iraqw tribe in the villages surrounding Karatu
- A visit to the colourful Iraqw market on the seventh day of each month
- A visit to the historic and ritual sites (German Colonial Settlements)
- A visit to a community development project that aims at improving the living conditions through income generating and environmental conservation
- A lunch of traditional Tanzanian food and local processed drinks
- A visit to Lake Eyasi to meet the Hadzabe Bushmen, people who are believed to have lived in the area for nearly 10,000 years
- A stay with an Iraqw family to enjoy their food and their unique lifestyle
There are various tour options available:
- Half day walking tours from Karatu Walk through farmlands and forests on the lower slopes of the highlands, and visit a local brick-making factory before proceeding to the Iraqw bomas, for more information and history.
- Visit the Elephant Cave and Waterfall. This hike is popular with bird watchers and those interested in the flora and fauna of his part of the Great Rift Valley. Enjoy a delicious, home-cooked meal prepared by a local woman. Over lunch, hear the history of the Rift Valley highland settlement.
- Tour around Karatu town-Starting from the Centre, the tour takes you through the town to observe economic activities like local markets, shops, small industries, schools, dispensaries, churches, mosques, orphanage centres and environmental centres. See how local brew is made.
Snake Hill Tour
This trip includes a climb to the top of Mlima Nyoka (Snake Hill) which is abundant in birdlife, flora and small fauna. From the top of the hill, one can enjoy spectacular views, with Lake Manyara on the eastern side and Lake Eyasi to the west. The walk back to Karatu passes through Lambo village to observe the daily social activities.
Oldean Village Tour
The guide will take you to Oldean village, a historic German settlement. Pass through Mama India Centre where you can observe different social project activities.
Rift Valley Tour
During this hike of the Rift Valley, the guide will tell you fascinating stories and the traditions of the residents. This walk takes you along the Rift Valley with panoramic views over the Salela plains and Lake Manyara. Descend to the valley floor and return to meet with and talk to local fruit, cassava and sweet potato farmers about their irrigation scheme.
Lake Eyasi Tour
Drive to visit the Hadzabe Bushmen who are believed to have lived in the area for nearly 10,000 years. The Hadzabe are the last of the hunter/ gatherer tribes. You will be able to observe their daily lives and even join the men in hunting.
Extended village stays, camping and hiking inside the NCAA itself, ornithological, botanical and other specialised treks can be arranged on request. Bicycles can be hired for the day.
- You can also choose to volunteer in their Conservation programmes, education in various primary & secondary schools around Karatu and the rest of Ngorongoro Conservation Area