The Highlands Dome Interior
Camps & Lodges

The Highlands

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

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The Highlands has redefines the Ngorongoro Crater experience. This warm and stylish high-altitude camp is positioned with ultimate exclusivity in mind, while still offering a rich adventure and array of activities not possible elsewhere in Ngorongoro.

About THE HIGHLANDS

The award-winning camp with its eight domed suites is situated on the edge of a forest that skirts Olmoti volcano. The surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

  • Calendar

    Open: Year round

  • Airplane

    Closest airstrip: Lake Manyara, 3-hour drive from camp

  • 1 Families

    Families: children aged five and older

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Accommodation AT The Highlands

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Accommodation

Accommodation & Amenities

The camp has a secluded feel but is within easy reach of Ngorongoro, where guests can go on day-long game drives. Each drive is filled with incredible wildlife encounters paired with a midday picnic lunch under a shady tree. From camp, hike up to the top of Olmoti for breathtaking views, or take a half-day trip to the soda lake in Empakaai Crater, where thousands of pink flamingos congregate. Guests can also visit the local community, learn about Maasai culture and walk the cattle back to the boma at the end of the day.

At night, gather around a crackling fire with a glass of wine or whiskey before sitting down to a delicious three-course dinner.

  • Tents

    8 perspex-and-canvas domed suites (2 triples available on request)

  • 3 En Suite Bathrooms

    En-suite bathrooms

  • 13 Shower 2

    Hot-water showers

  • 24 Flushing Toilets

    Flushing toilets

  • 6 In Room Safe

    In-room safe

  • Complimentary Laundry Service

    Complimentary laundry service

  • 26 Solar&Generatorpower 2

    Solar and generator power

  • 30 Wood Burning Stove

    In-room wood burning stove

accommodation

Rooms

The eight canvas domed suites are surrounded by lush vegetation with views across the surrounding hills. Each suite has a king-sized bed that faces floor-to-ceiling windows and a deck that curves around the exterior. The en suite bathrooms are fully plumbed with hot water showers and flushing toilets. The camp offers one family tent that easily accommodates two adults and two children over 5 years and one honeymoon suite that leads to a private outdoor hot tub. At night, all rooms are lit with in-room wood-burning stoves to keep guests cosy and warm. This makes The Highlands to perfect camp for any occasion – from an unforgettable family adventure to an intimate romantic getaway.

Asilia Africa Highlands Bedroom From Inside

LOCATION

Location of The Highlands

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with good reason: it is a stunning landscape of mountainous forests, grassy plains, and swampy marshlands. The Highlands perches at the edge of a forest that encircles the Olmoti volcano. It is the highest property in the area, affording sublime, panoramic vistas. Both sunrise and sunset are visible from camp.

The famous Ngorongoro Crater lies 40 km to the south. The crater, the largest inactive, intact, and unflooded caldera in the world, was formed when a volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself 2 to 3 million years ago. It is now one of the best places in Africa for wildlife viewing, with the Big 5 and an extraordinary concentration of predators in the area.

On the northern flank of Olmoti volcano, you might see buffalo, zebra, hartebeest, bushbuck, leopard, and elephant (at certain times of the year), as well as nocturnal animals such as hyena and porcupine. The Empakaai Crater is known for the thousands of flamingos that gather along the shores of its soda lake (a highly alkaline lake).

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Experiences

Redefining the Ngorongoro experience

Set on the lush slopes of Olmoti volcano, The Highlands has sweeping views right across to the Serengeti. The dome suite design was inspired by the traditional Maasai bomas found around camp at the nearby villages. At the heart of the camp is our library with its indoor wood-burning fireplace, this replaces the typical safari campfire. We gather here in the evenings to share stories of the day’s wildlife experiences over pre-dinner drinks.

1. The Highlands Dome Exterior

Experiences

A typical day on safari at The Highlands

We head out on game drives or walks first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon when temperatures are cooler. Exact times differ slightly with the seasons, but we aim to get you out when the animals are at their most active. By booking a private vehicle you can tailor each day to your needs.

Start the day with an early-morning wake-up call and a cup of tea or coffee. Enjoy breakfast before you depart for a game drive or walk, or opt to take a picnic with you. By mid-morning, you’ll be back at camp with time to relax and freshen up before lunch.

It’s siesta time for most of the afternoon. Take the opportunity to relax with a book, visit our library, indulge in a spa treatment, or unwind in your suite. Then it’s on to afternoon tea before you depart for a game drive with sundowners. Round off another perfect day in the bush with drinks by the campfire and dinner with good company.

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Experiences

Game drives

Explore the 300 km2 Ngorongoro Crater with our experienced and knowledgeable guides. We’ll pack a picnic lunch to enjoy under a shady tree, so you can make the most of your excursion. We have seven-seater closed vehicles with power points and fridges, so you don’t have to worry about your devices running flat or your drinks getting warm. 

14. The Highlands Lion In Ngorongoro

Experiences

Olmoti Crater climb

Directly from camp, follow an old Maasai cattle trail through mountain forests, across grasslands and over rocky outcrops. Spot birds and butterflies along the trail. At the top, you’ll be rewarded by a magnificent view of the crater below. 

Empakaai Crater climb

Descend into the Empakaai Crater with an NCA ranger and hike to the soda lake, famous for the pink flamingos that congregate around it turning the shores pink. Due to its location, The Highlands is the only property that can offer a convenient half-day excursion here. 

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Experiences

Community and cultural visits

Spend an afternoon with the Maasai in a neighbouring village to learn about their traditional way of life. Visit a market to support local traders or walk with the herders as they bring their cattle back to the boma for the night. Depending on the time of year, guests may also be able to visit a local school. 

The Highlands Local Maasai

Experiences

Asilia Spa

Visit the spa for a relaxing massage after a long flight or a full day filled with adventure. If you’d prefer, we can also organise treatments in your suite.

Asilia Africa Highlands Sauna From The Outside, Different Angle, Landscape

Experiences

Family safaris

We welcome families with children over 5 years old, with exceptions made based on camp occupancy upon enquiry. The Highlands does not have any programmes specifically for kids, and children under 12 should share a suite with an adult. Please ask your agent about booking a private vehicle to make your family’s stay more convenient.

16. Family Safari Walking Safari

Experiences

Meals and refreshments

Our wholesome meals are made from the freshest produce which is locally sourced from the nearby Karatu area. Meals are served in our dining room, outside on the deck, or sometimes out in the bush. If you want to spend more time on game drives, we can pack a picnic breakfast or lunch that can be enjoyed in stunning scenic settings.

We cater for most dietary requirements. Please let us know in advance.

Asilia Africa Highlands Lunch Prepared On The Table, Wine Glasses And Drinks, Landscape

When to go

What to expect during the year

Ngorongoro is a year-round safari destination, but we think the best time to visit is May to avoid crowds. It's in July and August when the Ngorongoro attracts the most visitors. There is a rather big difference in climate between the Ngorongoro Crater and the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). The crater is much colder than the NCA due to its higher altitude. Temperatures drop around 7°C per 1,000 metres (3.5°F per 1,000 feet). It also rains more around the crater rim and in the evenings it can go down to freezing, so pack lots of layers.

  • January - March

    Why travel at this time

    January and February see a gap in rains between the wet seasons, though it’s difficult to predict exactly when this will fall. The migratory birds are in the NCA during these months. There are fewer tourists than in July and August (though, it can still feel busy).

    Climate

    The long rains begin in March, though there will still be showers in January and February. The average temperature high in the NCA is 25°C/77°F with average lows around 13°C/55°F.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 14°C / 57°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 23°C / 73°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 140mm / 5.5in

  • April - June

    Why travel at this time

    The long rains fall in April and May, which is the wettest time of year. However, it doesn’t rain all day and there are plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities. May is the best time to avoid crowds and see wildflowers that bloom across the crater floor. Travel during this time to take advantage of low season rates. The dry season arrives in June.

    Climate

    April and May are rainy months and can get very cold, especially around the crater rim where temperatures drop to around 6°C/43°F. The average high in the NCA drops from 23°C/73°F in April to 21°C/70°F in May and June and the low falls from 15°C/59°F to 12°C/54°F.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 14°C / 57°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 23°C / 73°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 140mm / 5.5in

  • July - September

    Why travel at this time

    July and August’s dry season are peak months for travel, largely because of school holidays. This is also the best time for finding wildlife. The days are usually sunny and clear.

    Climate

    This is the driest and sunniest time of year, but also the coolest. In the NCA, the maximum temperature ranges from 21°C/70°C in July to 24°C/75°F in September. The low drops to around 11°C/52°F. The average afternoon temperature on the crater floor tends to be around 19°C/66°F, while nights around the crater rim can dip below freezing.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 11°C / 52°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 21°C / 70°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 23mm / 0.9in

  • October - December

    Why travel at this time

    Outside peak season, there are fewer people in the NCA, though the crater can still feel quite busy. The migratory birds usually begin to arrive in November.

    Climate

    The short rains last for about a month, beginning in November, though sometimes as early as October. Most rainfall occurs in December. The temperature high in the NCA is around 24°C/75°F and the average low is 14°C/57°F.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 14°C / 57°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 24°C / 75°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 85mm / 3.3in

Guest reviews

During my northern Tanzania safari trip, The highlands by far was my favorite. The staff was top notch, the service was impeccable. Asilia really set a high bar for that. The food were tasty. It gets chilly at night but there were fireplace inside the room. It takes more time to reach the property but trust me, it pays off.
Ronald R
Tripadvisor 1
The location, decor, food and service make this the only place I would ever stay when visiting Ngorongoro. It is a magical place tucked in lush, cool greenery. Silly to say but the small boutique is also beautifully stocked with ethically sourced gifts.
erindy2017
Tripadvisor 1
The accommodations and staff at The Highlands will make you feel like you are having a peak luxury experience. The rooms are decorated so tastefully, the common spaces are gorgeous and the views are breathtaking. Make sure you take the walk to the Maasai boma as that felt like a genuine cultural experience unlike any I have ever had! The variety of animals in the crater was amazing as well.
Dina1970
Tripadvisor 1

Special offers

Special offers now available

• Special Offers •

Rates

When would you like to go?

Ngorongoro is a year-round safari destination, but we think the best time to visit is May to avoid crowds. July and August are when the Ngorongoro receives the most tourists. There is a fairly big difference in climate between the Ngorongoro Crater and the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The crater is much colder than the NCA due to its higher altitude. Allow a drop of around 7°C per 1,000 metres (3.5°F per 1,000 feet). It also rains more around the crater rim and night-time temperatures can dip down to freezing, so pack lots of layers.

Below, choose your travel dates for an estimated accommodation cost per person sharing, or scroll down for a table of high and low season rates.

Additional information

  • Rate includes

    Full-board accommodation, house drinks, game drives, Olmoti Crater hike, Empakaai Crater hike, transfers to/from nearest airstrip, limited laundry service

  • Rate excludes

    Park and camping fees, Ngorongoro Crater descent fee, transfers other than to/from nearest airstrip, flights and airport taxes, gratuities and items of a personal nature

  • Budget factors

    Special offers may apply. Contact us for the best available rates. Last minute offers and long-stay rates may apply.

Rates and Seasonality

  • Low season: 01 Mar 2024 - 31 Mar 2024 Rate: US$909

    What to expect

    • Great game viewing with fewer crowds
    • Excellent birding with many migratory species
    • Good black rhino sightings
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 137mm / 5.4in

  • Green Season: 01 Apr 2024 - 31 May 2024 Rate: US$629

    What to expect

    • Great game viewing with fewer crowds
    • Excellent birding with many migratory species
    • Good black rhino sightings
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 14°C / 57°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 23°C / 73°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 140mm / 5.5in

  • Low Season: 01 Jun 2024 - 30 Jun 2024 Rate: US$978

    What to expect

    • Great game viewing with fewer crowds
    • Great birding with many migratory species
    • Green and lush
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 21°C / 70°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 12mm / 0.5in

  • High season: 01 Jul 2024 - 31 Oct 2024 Rate: US$1255

    What to expect

    • Great lion sightings in the Crater
    • Beautiful skies on the highlands and perfect time for Maasai cultural experiences
    • Fantastic hiking on the slopes of Empakaai Crater
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 11°C / 52°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 21°C / 70°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 23mm / 0.9in

  • Low season: 01 Nov 2024 - 19 Dec 2024 Rate: US$978

    What to expect

    • Great game viewing with fewer crowds
    • Excellent bird viewing with many migratory species
    • Great black rhino sightings
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 14°C / 57°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 24°C / 75°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 85mm / 3.3in

  • High season: 20 Dec 2024 - 28 Feb 2025 Rate: US$1255

    What to expect

    • Excellent birding with many migratory species
    • Increased chance of afternoon showers
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 104mm / 4.1in

  • Low season: 01 Mar 2025 - 31 Mar 2025 Rate: US$978

    What to expect

    • Great game viewing with fewer crowds
    • Excellent birding with many migratory species
    • Good black rhino sightings
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 137mm / 5.4in

  • Green Season: 01 Apr 2025 - 31 May 2025 Rate: US$676

    What to expect

    • Great game viewing with fewer crowds
    • Excellent birding with many migratory species
    • Good black rhino sightings
    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 14°C / 57°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 23°C / 73°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 140mm / 5.5in

WILDLIFE

Ngorongoro wildlife

With more than 25,000 large animals and hundreds of bird species, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area lives up to its reputation for incredible wildlife viewing. The Ngorongoro Crater is home to wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. From the crater rim, watch the herds journey across the base in long columns. Keep an eye open for black rhinos in the bushes and old bull elephants with long, majestic tusks around the Gorigor Swamp. Leopards lurk in the Lerai forest, while prides of lions prowl the plains. On the northern flank of the Olmoti volcano, you may spot buffalo, zebra and hyena. Hike down to the Empakaai Crater to see thousands of pink flamingos around the edges of the soda lake.

  • Lion

    Ruaha National Park Lioness With Cub Down Eric Frank MR
  • Wildebeest

    Great Wildebeest Migration Calving Season Large
  • Golden Jackal

    Golden Jackal Shutterstock 41291833
  • Elephant

    Ruaha 24
  • Thomson's Gazelle

    Asilia Olakira Thompson Gazelle 4
  • Buffalo

    12. Buffalo Olivers Camp MR
  • Spotted hyena

    Spotted Hyena

Ngorongoro ITINERARY

Tanzania North to South

See Tanzania in style, staying at some of the country’s finest accommodation in four very different national parks, flying from point to point. Watch herds of elephant in Tarangire, game-drive in the dormant Ngorongoro Crater, visit an authentic Maasai village, search for cheetah in the Serengeti and look for leopard in Ruaha. You will visit some of East Africa’s most famed national parks as well as lesser known gems, offering a rewarding and unique safari experience.

 

1. The Highlands Dome Exterior

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I bring my children to The Highlands?

    We welcome families with children over 5 years old and run a range of activities suitable for kids, including game drives and visits to nearby Maasai villages. Children over 12 can visit the Olmoti and Empakaai craters. Please speak to your agent about booking a family tent or a private vehicle for your safari. 

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