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 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.
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.
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
- Lake Manyara National Park 12 miles away
- Ngorongoro Crater 17 miles away
- Northern Tanzania 17 miles away
- Ol Doinyo Lengai 43 miles away
- Lake Eyasi 46 miles away
- Tarangire National Park 54 miles away
- Arusha 71 miles away
- Lake Natron 74 miles away
- Serengeti National Park 94 miles away
- West Kilimanjaro 103 miles away
- Mount Kilimanjaro 118 miles away
- Rubondo Island 271 miles away
- Tanzania's Swahili Coast 271 miles away
- Saadani 278 miles away
- Mikumi National Park 291 miles away
- Ruaha National Park 292 miles 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.