The Highlands, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Highlands redefines the Ngorongoro experience. Set on the edge of the mountain forest hugging the Olmoti volcano to the north of Ngorongoro Crater, The Highlands strikes a perfect balance between a true wilderness experience and a high-style, contemporary escape.

Experience the highlands of the wild Ngorongoro Conservation Area surrounding camp, home to leopard, buffalo and elephant.  Follow ancient Maasai trails to the summit of the Olmoti crater and visit local communities to catch a glimpse into the traditional Maasai way of life that has defined this corner of East Africa for centuries. The famous Ngorongoro Crater is easily accessible from camp, while the setting ensures maximum privacy, a rich adventure and a range of activities not possible elsewhere in Ngorongoro.

Snapshot of The Highlands
  • Exclusive, remote location in comfort and privacy, far from other camps
  • Ngorongoro crater experience and wildlife game drives easily accessible
  • A variety of activities available straight from camp including the Olmoti climb and more
Perfect for
  • Active Safari
  • Classic Safari
  • Romantic Safari
Standard price per person per night:

$375 - $895i

Camp Experience

 

The Highlands redefines the Ngorongoro experience, raising the bar  for low-impact/high-style camps. Carefully positioned for maximum privacy high on the slopes of the Olmoti volcano, our guests enjoy sweeping views all the way to the Serengeti. Inspiration for the eight canvas-and-glass domed suites was drawn from the traditional Maasai bomas that dot the landscape. Warm, intimate and contemporary, this is quite simply the perfect place from which to discover the wild and pristine Crater Highlands.

At the heart of the camp is an authentic indoor fireplace designed to emulate the traditional East African campfire experience. Delve into the library or enjoy a drink from the extensive bar and unwind in comfort and style at the end of each rewarding day.

Meals

Hearty gourmet meals are homemade using fresh, organic ingredients and supplies sourced from the Karatu area, just outside Ngorongoro (communities in the NCA are not permitted to grow crops as this is a protected area). Packed breakfasts and lunches are an option, as is the incredible experience of a hot lunch enjoyed in the crater. Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements – our camp chefs will be happy to cater for your needs.

 

Featured Wildlife

The pristine Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the jewel in Tanzania’s crown for good reason: the greater NCA area contains over 25 000 large animals and a wide range of bird species. At The Highlands itself, wildlife species include:

  • Lion
  • Serval (rare)
  • Leopard
  • Black rhino
  • Wildebeest
  • Golden jackal
  • Elephant
  • Thomson’s gazelle
  • Buffalo
  • Spotted hyena

 

Family Safaris

FAMILY SUITABILITY LEVEL
☐ GOOD
✓ BETTER
☐ BEST

Our family unit accommodates families with children aged five and older. The Highlands offers a wide range of exciting activities kids can take part in, including iconic game drives into Ngorongoro Crater and fascinating visits to the local Maasai community. Children aged 16 and older can visit the Olmoti and Empakaai craters.

Accommodation

 

HighlandsAccommodation

Accommodation at The Highlands strikes the perfect balance of a wilderness escape and a high-end tented sanctuary with all the creature comforts.

Eight elegant domed suites offer king-sized beds with floor-to-canvas-ceiling bay windows opening out to the spectacular views, en-suite bathrooms with hot running water, showers and flushing toilets, and wood-burning stoves for the cold winter evenings.

Location

 

The Highlands Camp is set in a perfectly private location at the edge of the mountain forest that hugs the Olmoti Volcano, 40 kilometres to the north of the famous Ngorongoro Crater. The highest-altitude property within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), the camp has heart-stopping views spanning east and west: take in both sunset and sunrise framed by the Gol Mountains in the northwest, Empakaai Crater in the east and the Olmoti Crater rim to the south.

The Empakai crater and lake, in the background Ol Doinyo Lengai (left) and Keremasi (right)

The main feature of the area is the Ngorongoro Crater, an iconic natural wonder of the world. The crater is in fact a caldera, formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago. The enclosed caldera is a thriving ecosystem in itself within the greater Serengeti and home to some of the richest wildlife viewing in Africa, with the Big Five and an extraordinary concentration of predators all found in the area.

The northern flank of the Olmoti volcano offers good wildlife viewing with possibilities including buffalo, zebra, porcupine, hartebeest, bushbuck, hyena, leopard and elephant (at certain times of the year). Nearby Empakaai Crater is a smaller but similarly impressive crater famous for the thousands of pink flamingo that line the shores of the soda lake on the crater floor.

As well as the spectacular wildlife viewing, the NCA is also renowned for its extraordinary flora and fauna. The region is a botanist’s dream, showcasing a landscape of mountain forests, open grass plains and swampy marshland, each with a splendid variety of vegetation and fern species.
.

Activities

 

With its exclusive location on the Olmoti volcano, The Highlands offers a range of activities that is simply unheard of in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This is the only camp to consider if you wish to do so much more than the classic Ngorongoro descent.

Olmoti climb
Starting directly from camp, the Olmoti climb follows an ancient Maasai cattle trail through mountain forest, grasslands and rocky outcrops. Make the most of outstanding birding opportunities and the chance to see a vast array of butterfly species. At the top, you are rewarded with a magnificent view of the crater below.

Empakaai descent
Descend into the Empakaai crater accompanied by an NCA ranger and walk to the sparkling soda lake on the crater floor, famous for the pink flamingo that congregate on its shores. Because of the camp’s proximity to Empakaai, it is the only property that gives you the opportunity to make this a half-day excursion.

Community & cultural visits
Spend the afternoon with the local Maasai in one of the neighbouring villages to learn about the traditional way of life that has defined this corner of Africa for centuries. School visits may be possible depending on the time of year.

Ngorongoro Crater descent
Enjoy a game drive in one of the most game-rich areas in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater. Explore the vast 300km2 floor with an experienced guide and stop for lunch in a shady spot under the trees, maximising your time in this unforgettable landscape. Our seven-seater closed vehicles are fitted with power points so you can recharge your devices, as well as a fridge to keep your drinks deliciously frosty.

Camp Story

 

At The Highlands we use state-of-the-art technology to minimise our ecological footprint. This includes a full solar plant, a biogas digester that produces the methane we use for cooking, rainwater collection off all tents and a reverse-osmosis plant for producing pure drinking water, thus cutting down on plastic bottles. In addition, our supply runs are minimised to once a month to reduce our carbon emissions, and grey water is recycled for washing vehicles. Unavoidable carbon emissions are offset through Carbon Tanzania. Asilia is the second-largest contributor to this scheme in the country.

For a chance to immerse yourself in the region’s rich cultural heritage, visit a Maasai homestead, enjoy local hospitality and be entertained by traditional dancers. Test your herding skills alongside Maasai herdsmen as you join them to bring the cattle into the boma. As many staff members as possible are hired from the local community. Participating in community visits and visiting local markets are a great way to provide direct benefits to local villagers.

You may also book a talk with the local lion researcher and hear more about the ‘soap opera’ of lion relationships in the area.

Accommodation & Amenities

  • 8 high-style glass-and-canvas domed suites, 2 triples available on request

  • En-suite bathrooms with hot running water, showers and flushing toilets

  • Distance between tents: 15–20 metres

  • In-room lockable box

  • Complimentary laundry service

  • Solar & generator power

  • In-room power

  • In-room wood-burning stoves

Activities

  • Game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater

  • Ngorongoro Crater descent

  • Olmoti nature walk

  • Empakaai Crater hike (flamingos)

  • Maasai cultural experience & community visits

Camp Dates

  • Camp open Year round

  • High season January, February, 1 July to 31 October

  • Green season 5 April to 31 May

  • Low season 1 March to 4 April; June; 1 November to 19 December

Closest Airstrip

  • Lake Manyara: 2½ hours

Child Ages

  • Families with children aged five and older are warmly welcomed at The Highlands.

Enquire about staying at The Highlands

Experiences and activities to enjoy at The Highlands:

  • The Great Migration

    Without doubt the annual Wildebeest Migration is one of nature’s greatest spectacles. Asilia will ensure you have front-row seats away from the crowds.

    • 2 million wildebeest migrating
    • 2,800 kilometers covers
    • Best time to travel between Jul - Oct

    View more
    The Great Migration
  • Big Cats & The Big 5

    Let Asilia show you the Big 5 and magnificent apex predators of the ecosystem for memories that will last a lifetime.

    View more
    Big Cats & The Big 5
  • Cultural Experiences

    Discover Africa's rich culture.

    View more
    Cultural Experiences
  • Romantic Experience

    Idyllic settings for two.

    View more
    Romantic Experience
  • Active Safari

    Experience a different kind of safari.

    View more
    Active Safari
  • Classic Safari

    witness nature’s greatest wildlife spectacles.

    View more
    Classic Safari
  • Birding Safaris

    Witness East Africa's incredible birdlife.

    View more
    Birding Safaris
  • Game Drives

    Spot game from specialised vehicles.

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    Game Drives
  • Photography

    Get the shot of a lifetime.

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    Photography

Featured itineraries at The Highlands

  • Walking, Great Plains & Great Apes

    An unforgettable experience.

    View more
    Walking, Great Plains & Great Apes
  • Northern Safari Circuit

    Explore Tanzania’s most famous areas.

    View more
    Northern Safari Circuit
  • Northern Safari Circuit & Zanzibar

    Tanzanian ‘bush & beach’.

    View more
    Northern Safari Circuit & Zanzibar

Further Reading

Top 10 African wildlife photography tips

If there’s one thing that makes a safari unsurpassed, it is the ability to capture amazing scenes and portraits of the rich wildlife.

Read more

Digital Detox: Disconnect to Reconnect

Asilia Africa own camps in prime wildlife areas in some of the most remote parts of East Africa.

Read more

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