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Karatu is a colourful 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 coloured clothes chatting, laughing and going about their daily activities.

Maasai-related souvenirs

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 centre 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 coloured kangas that many Tanzanian women wear every day.

Ngorongoro Highlands

Large elephant bull in the Ngorongoro CraterOutside 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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Audley Travel specialist Arista

Start planning your tailor-made trip to Karatu by contacting one of our Tanzania specialists

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.

Map of Karatu

Places & hotels on the map

    Places near 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.

    • Coffee House Suite, Plantation Lodge

      Plantation Lodge

      First Class

      A charming, colonial-style property in the heart of the Ngorongoro Highlands, Plantation Lodge is a perfect base from which to explore the Ngorongoro Crater and relax before or after a safari.

    • Gibbs Farm,Karatu

      Gibb's Farm

      First Class

      Gibb's Farm offers lush respite from the bush. East African culture is at the heart of the farm, and guests can enjoy the history, traditions and hospitality, as well as the vibrant gardens.

    • Ngorongoro Farmhouse, Karatu

      Ngorongoro Farmhouse

      Medium

      This stylish and comfortable farmhouse is ideal as a good base for the Ngorongoro Crater or for a few days of relaxation on your safari. The rooms are spacious and it's in a peaceful setting.

    • The Manor at Ngorongoro, Karatu

      The Manor at Ngorongoro

      First Class

      The Manor is set high up in the Ngorongoro Highlands outside Karatu, giving impressive views. Activities include walks on the farm, mountain biking and simply relaxing and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

    • Endoro Lodge, Karatu

      Endoro Lodge

      Medium

      Endoro Lodge is a charming retreat in the hills, just north of Karatu. Each chalet is tastefully designed with wooden floors, four poster beds, indoor and outdoor showers, plus wonderful views over the Ngorongoro Highlands.