Worth a Trip: Serengeti to Lake Natron

If you're in the northern Serengeti, to really get off the beaten track – not to mention avoid the long and expensive route back through the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area – it's possible to drive from Klein's gate all the way to Lake Natron in around five hours. Although the road is unpaved all the way, it's generally in good condition and passable in most vehicles, except after rain.

After leaving Klein's gate, drive 13km to Ololosokwan, where you should stop to buy honey from Maasai Honey. The road roughly shadows the Kenyan border and passes through the barren, stony country that forms part of the Loliondo Game Controlled Area. After 10km, you'll reach Soitsambu; at the time of research, the roads at the western approach to Soitsambu were some of the worst along the whole route. From Soitsambu, the road continues southeast and then south to the large town of Waso. Some 17km south of Waso, take the road branch that heads left (southeast); if you take the right branch, you'll reach the town of Loliondo and, eventually, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, close to Oldupai (Olduvai) Gorge.

After the road branches, you begin the long, slow descent from the Rift Valley Escarpment to the valley floor. Watch for views of Gelai (2941m) and, later, Lake Natron and Ol Doinyo Lengai (2962m) before you make the final descent. It's 81km from the turn-off to the village of Engaresero, the town with most of the tourist infrastructure near Lake Natron's southern shore, with the last 20km or so along the Rift Valley floor and the lakeshore.