Engaruka, situated 63 km north of Mto wa Mbu, on the road to Oldoinyo Lengai and Lake Natron, lies at the foot of the Rift Valley escarpment. It is an important historic site as some 500 years ago, a farming community of several thousand people chose to develop an ingenious irrigation and cultivation system here. For unknown reasons, the farmers left Engaruka around 1700, but the ruins talk volumes about the highly specialized agricultural economy.
The people of Engaruka offer visitors the following attractions:
A guided visit to one of the oldest African irrigation systems
A visit to the Maasai cattle market
A visit to a Maasai Boma waliking safaris in an area of outstanding beauty
A look at the local community life
There are various guided tour options:
Half day tours
1. Visit to the ruined city
You can see the remnants of the ruined city of Engaruka. The guide will help you to identify old graves, house walls, irrigation canals and terraces, and explain the various theories about the rise and fall of the f arming community. Enjoy enroute, the colourful birds and butterflies, remnants of the German era, and also visit an “orpul” or Maasai slaughter-house.
2. Engaruka farming tour
From the ruins, walk to the village of Engaruka. Enroute, visit several farms and learn about various farming and irrigation methods. The guide will throw light on the tribal background of the village. On the way back, visit the market area located in the shade of African tulip tree and a huge mkuyu tree.
3. Rift Valley escarpment tour
From the ruined city, narrow footpaths wind up the Rift Valley escarpment. Climb the escarpment guided by a Maasai warrior, who will help you spot many colourful birds and show you trees and plants that the Maasai use for making food and medicines.
One day tour:
Kerimasi mountain climb
North of Engaruka is the green mountain of Kerimasi. The climb takes three to four hours from the foot to the summit. From the top, you see impressive views of Oldoinyo Lengai, Lake Natron, the Ngorongoro highlands and the mountains of Kitumbeine and Gelai. The descent takes about two hours.
Two day tour.
Hike to Oldoinyo Lengai
Conquer Oldoinyo Lengai or “the mountain of God” in Maasai parlance. On the first day, you climb Kerimasi mountain and descend on the north side to camp at the foot of Oldoinyo Lengai, the only active volcano in Tanzania. On the morning of the second day, start the 4-5 hour climb to the top, where you can even can enter the crater to watch the volcanic activity . The descent takes about 2 ½ hours.
From Arusha, take a bus to Mto wa Mbu. In the late afternoon, 4×4 cars drive you down the
63 km to Engaruka. From Arusha to Engaruka takes roughly 4 hours.
(Income from tourist visits will be used to improve the local primary school and for conservation of the ruined city.)
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