ward of Tanzania

Karatu is a dusty little town that lies on the gateway to Ngorongoro Crater in Northeast Tanzania.


People here are accustomed to seeing tourists and many of the children will run up to a foreigner and ask for a pen. Learning the local greetings can get you far when it comes to being hassled. A simple saitaa will cause both shock and joy.

Get inEdit

From Arusha there are three options to get to Karatu. In Karatu all transports leave from the 1 bus station.

  • Peugeot. takes 2½ hr. A car from Arusha (8-9 persons) is the most comfortable option. You can find them at the main bus stand in Arusha. Prices are TSh 7,000 per person or TSh 50,000 per car. A modern minivan will hold 8-9 people and if you're paying per person it will not leave until full. It is normal to pay upfront so that the driver can buy gas.
  • Bus (from/to Arusha (40 persons)). takes 2½ hr. Leaving Karatu daily at 7AM, 7:30AM noon, 12:30PM with Dar Express or Saibab. Early buses mainly head or Daressalam via Moshi and Lushoto, but some wait in Arusha more than an hour. So ask before paying the whole price. TSh 6000.
  • Daladalas (from/to Arusha (up to 20 persons)). It's am tough 3-hour ride with the typical daladalas, which usually gets very crowded TSh 5000.

Get aroundEdit

Karatu is a sleepy small town. Everything can be done by foot. Because of the pedestrian paths besides the main Arusha road walking is safe and comfortable.



In Karatu it is no problem to hire a car with driver for an selfmade excursion into the nearby Ngorongore Crater. All lodges and hotels can help you to arrange a car. It should not cost more than US$160 or TSh 250,000, including a 4WD car, driver and gas.

  • Walk about Karatu (Steve), +255 768777643, . Steve is a very friendly young man who speaks English fluently. He can help to arrange a perfect safari, because he used to work at the entrance gate himself. With him it is easily possible to pay the fee right at the gate without the TANAPA card.


There are three banks in town. All with attachted ATM. The entrance fee for Ngorongoro (TANAPA card) can only be paid in the Exim Bank. Ask for the opening hours.

There are many stalls and small shops that sell vegetables, spices, Tinga Tinga paintings and carved wooden ornaments.

The Iraqw people hold a market on the 7th and 25th days of each month where vendors sells handicrafts, livestock, food, spices, clothing, household goods, and pottery.

Eat and drinkEdit

  • 1 Manyara Garden. Local beer garden with basic food and cheap beer. Sometimes football is being showed.
  • 2 Paradise Garden. Nice and green garden with small individuel huts. Cool beers and food is served.
  • Street vendors sell local snacks such as fried cassava, chapati (fried flat bread), and fried bananas.
  • There are several coffee plantations in the area, so you can try the local brew.
  • You can also try beer from local breweries, but be arugula of hygiene standards.


  • 1 Giraffe Executive Inn. Decent and clean hotel right next to the bus station. Rooms are small, but with attached bathroom. Probably best what you can get in the whole country for this price. Double 25.000 Tsh including breakfast.
  • 2 Kudu Campsite. US$10 per person.
  • 3 [formerly dead link] The Octagon Safari Lodge. With Irish pub. Camping US$15, rooms from US$75.


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