The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro

The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro

The Highlands has redefined the Ngorongoro Crater experience, offering an array of activities afforded by the camp’s exclusive location and a combination of comfort and contemporary style.

About The Highland

The award-winning camp, with eight domed canvas and glass 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.

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 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 Five and an extraordinary concentration of predators in the area. On the northern flank of Olmoti Volcano, we might see buffalo, zebras, hartebeests, bushbucks, leopards, and elephants (at certain times of the year), as well as nocturnal animals such as hyenas and porcupines. Empakaai Crater is known for the thousands of flamingos that gather along the shores of its soda lake (a highly alkaline lake).

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. July and August are when the Ngorongoro receives the most tourists. There is a fairly significant 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 seven °C per 1,000 meters (3.5°F per 1,000 feet). It also rains more around the crater rim, and night-time temperatures can dip to freezing, so pack many layers.


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


The long rains fall in April and May, the wettest time of year. However, it doesn’t rain all day, and plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities exist. 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.


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


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


Airport: Closest airstrip: Lake Manyara

Wildlife area: Yes

Best time to visit: All year around




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Activities at The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro

A typical day on safari at The Highlands

We head out on game drives or walks first thing in the morning or late afternoon when temperatures are more relaxed. Exact times differ slightly with the seasons, but we aim to get you out and about when the animals are most active. If you have booked a private vehicle, discuss your schedule with your guide.

Start the day with a wake-up call and tea or coffee. Enjoy breakfast before departing for a game drive or walk, or take a picnic. You’ll return to camp by mid-morning with time to relax and freshen up before lunch.

It’s siesta time for most of the afternoon. Please take the opportunity to relax with a book, visit our library, or nap. 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.


Game drives

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

Olmoti Crater climb

Directly from the Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro, follow an old Maasai cattle trail through mountain forests, grasslands, and over rocky outcrops—spot birds and butterflies along the trail. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the crater below.

Empakaai Crater climb

Describe the Empakaai Crater with an NCA ranger and hike to the soda lake. The lake is 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.

Community and cultural visits

Spend an afternoon with the Maasai in a neighboring 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.


Visit the spa for a relaxing massage after a long flight or a hot day in the bush. We can also arrange treatments in your suite.

Meals and refreshments

Our wholesome meals are made from fresh ingredients from the Karatu area, the closest source of locally grown crops. Meals are served in our dining room, outside on the deck, or sometimes in the bush. If you want to spend more time on game drives, we can pack a picnic breakfast or lunch to enjoy on the go.

We can cater to most dietary requirements. Please just let us know in advance.

The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro

Photos The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro

Accommodation options at The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro

The wilderness collection Ngorongoro


Room types


The eight domed suites at The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro are made of canvas and glass and are surrounded by lush vegetation with views across the hills. There is one family tent with room for kids and one special honeymoon tent with a hot tub. Each suite has a king-sized bed facing floor-to-ceiling windows and a curved deck around the tent. En suite bathrooms have hot running water, showers, and flushing toilets. At night, wood-burning stoves keep guests cozy and warm.


The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro
The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro



  • Eight perspex-and-canvas domed suites (2 triples available on request)
  • En-suite bathrooms
  • Hot-water showers
  • Flushing toilets
  • In-room lockable box
  • Complimentary laundry service
  • Solar and generator power
  • In-room wood-burning stove


The Highlands Lodge in Ngorongoro on the map

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