Lodges

The Highlands Camp

Sci-fi splendour meets forests, craters, volcanoes and the lush Ngorongoro

The Highlands Camp

Ngorongoro: home to long-limbed Masai cattle-herders, luscious green landscapes and the Big Five – now the big eight, thanks to the addition of three sci-fi geodesic domes. No, we haven't gone mad. The Highlands' domed structures are just part of this futuristic and oh-so creative camp on the slopes of Olmoti Volcano. Located far from other Ngorongoro camps, it promises exclusivity and unique experiences such as hikes to nearby Empakaai and beading classes with local Masai ladies. Looking for wildlife? Africa's Eden– the Ngorongoro Crater – is just a short drive away, perfect for game sightings and picnic lunches.

At the lodge

The hotel

Wooden walkways link the three futuristic main domes that house a dining room, sunken lounge and cosy bar, all offering a cosy respite when temperatures fall. Gather in the lounge, with a wood-burning stove at its heart, for pre-dinner G&Ts, tasty snacks and magical views of the setting sun. Modern, Tanzanian-inspired feasts are served in the dining room, and afterwards, retire to the "Old Moti" bar for a hot cocktail or one of the hand-picked whiskies from around the world.

The rooms

Scattered across a forested slope are eight igloo-like bedroom domes, each furnished with an enormous bed facing the views, and plenty of cowhide rugs and tartan throws to keep you toasty. Mini wood-burning stoves crank up the heat every evening, and there's normally a hot-water bottle or two under the fluffy duvet to look forward to. Chic en-suite bathrooms have showers big enough for two and plenty of hot water. Outside, the wraparound balcony is ideal for siestas and sundowners.

On safari

Experiences

Although game drives in nearby Ngorongoro Crater are undeniably excellent (it's one of the best places on the continent to see the Big Five), it's the other activities at The Highlands that really stand out. Follow ancient Masai trails to the top of Olmoti Volcano, spotting birds and butterflies as you go; descend to the sparkling Empakaai crater lake to watch flamingos in the shallows; visit the local village and help herd cattle as the sun dips below the horizon.

When to go

Ngorongoro Crater by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures can be hot although lower than other parts of Tanzania, with occasional afternoon showers providing a unique spectacle.
  • An ideal month to visit the Crater, with very high sunshine hours, providing perfect photographic conditions.
  • Game viewing is particularly good during this, the birthing season, offering high predator activities and excitement.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • Visitor traffic can be particularly high during this time of year.
  • Enjoy exceptional birding with migratory species present and in full breeding plumage.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperature are relatively hot but low for Tanzania, there is plenty of sunshine with a decline in the amount of rainy afternoons.
  • An ideal month to visit the Crater, with very high sunshine hours, providing perfect photographic conditions.
  • Game viewing is particularly good during this, the birthing season, offering high predator activities and excitement.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • Visitor traffic can be particularly high during this time of year.
  • Enjoy exceptional birding with migratory species present and in full breeding plumage.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are moderate to hot, with chances of prolonged rainfall.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • The best time to visit the Crater, with low tourist traffic leading to more intimate sightings.
  • Enjoy exceptional birding with migratory species present and in full breeding plumage.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are mild by Tanzanian standards, with the highest rainfall of the year over this period.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • The best time to visit the Crater, with low tourist traffic leading to more intimate sightings.
  • Migratory birds begin to leave in search of warmer condition to the North.

May

Season: Wet
  • The best time to visit the Crater, with low tourist traffic leading to more intimate sightings.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • Migratory birds begin to leave in search of better conditions to the North.
  • Temperatures are cool but comfortable, with the end of the summer rains falling during this month.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.

June

Season: Dry
  • Transition from the wet to the dry season, expect relatively low temperatures, mists, clouds and possibly rain.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • The end of the green season has arrived, vegetation begins to recede, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic increases greatly, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

July

Season: Dry
  • The dry season has kicked off with cool temperatures, little rain, but still the chance of cloud and mist.Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • The end of the green season has arrived, vegetation begins to recede, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • A difficult time of year to predict light conditions with chances of cloud cover and mist, making photography unpredictable.
  • Visitor traffic is high during peak season, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

August

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are warm, with the chances of poor weather declining as the month wears on.
  • Mist and cloud cover are less likely as the month wears on, providing better photographic opportunities.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation has receded, animals remain close to the permanent water sources, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic is high during peak season, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

September

Season: Dry
  • The Temperatures begin to climb, rain is very unlikely and sunshine hours start to increase.
  • Mist and cloud cover are less likely and short lived, providing better photographic opportunities and game drive conditions.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation has receded, animals remain close to the permanent water sources, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic is high during peak season, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are hot and humid until the first rains of summer fall, usually towards the end of the month.
  • Mist and cloud cover are unlikely and short lived, providing better photographic opportunities and game drive conditions.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation is at it's most sparse, providing a great chance of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic drops slightly after peak season, but can still be crowded in certain sightings.

November

Season: Dry
  • The start of the wet season is characterised by high temperatures and regular afternoon showers.
  • Clear blue skies during the day with late afternoon showers or even electrical storms, providing a dramatic backdrop for any photographer.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation burst back into life rejuvenating the animals of the region after the hardships of the dry season.
  • Visitor traffic drops slightly after peak season, but can still be crowded in certain sightings.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are comfortable, weather is sunny but expect some an afternoon shower during your safari.
  • Clear blue skies with exception of the odd late afternoon electical storm are expected, providing great photographic conditions.
  • Game viewing is particularly good during this, the birthing season, offering high predator activities and excitement.
  • This is technically the green season with vegetation at its thickest, however the Ngorongoro Crater region does not experience a severe dry season.
  • Migratory birds have returned to the region in full breeding plumage, creating a hive of activity in the tree tops.
  • Bring along some insect repellent as mosquito numbers increase with the arrival of the rains.

Wildlife


The Ngorongoro Crater, also known as Africa's Eden, is a place of remarkable beauty and diversity, with a mix of forest, savannah and grassland providing the perfect environment for wildlife to thrive. On the crater floor, experience the Big Five with great black rhino encounters, dense numbers of wildebeest, zebra, eland and exciting lions and cheetah sightings.

Map

Customise our trips online

Change lodges, add new destinations and make our suggested trips your own.

Explore trips

Get the inside scoop on safaris and where to go in Africa

Just the good stuff in your inbox every now and again!