Karatu is a colorful bustling town and the gateway to the Ngorongoro Highlands. Dusty but absolutely delightful, the main street is wide and always vibrant with people in brightly colored clothes chatting, laughing and going about their daily activities.
Maasai herd cattle and goats along the verge, there are stalls selling everything from spices to saucepans and oxcarts weave all over the road. In the center of town there is a lively market selling fruit and vegetables. It's a fun place to visit to practice your bartering for souvenirs including Tinga Tinga paintings, carved wooden ornaments and the brightly colored kangas that many Tanzanian women wear every day.
Outside Karatu, rolling hills merge into the Ngorongoro Highlands. Here, mountainsides are covered in thick forest and cultivated areas are filled with farms and coffee plantations with villages scattered in between. Waterfalls tumble over rocks, sunbirds flit from flower to flower and elephant and buffalo follow ancient paths through the vegetation to rivers to drink and to mineral rich caves to extract salt.
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Suggested itineraries featuring Karatu
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Karatu, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Classic northern Tanzania safariTanzaniaView this tour
Gorillas, the Great Migration & the Big FiveRwanda and TanzaniaView this tour
Map of Karatu
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Karatu
- Lake Manyara National Park 19 kilometers away
- Ngorongoro Crater 28 kilometers away
- Northern Tanzania 28 kilometers away
- Ol Doinyo Lengai 69 kilometers away
- Lake Eyasi 74 kilometers away
- Tarangire National Park 86 kilometers away
- Arusha 114 kilometers away
- Lake Natron 118 kilometers away
- Serengeti National Park 151 kilometers away
- West Kilimanjaro 166 kilometers away
- Mount Kilimanjaro 189 kilometers away
- Rubondo Island 435 kilometers away
- Tanzania's Swahili Coast 436 kilometers away
- Saadani 447 kilometers away
- Mikumi National Park 467 kilometers away
- Ruaha National Park 469 kilometers away
Photos of Karatu
Accommodation choices for Karatu
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Karatu. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
The Manor at NgorongoroKaratu