Tucked away on the rim of the Ngorongoro conservation area, overlooking the crater Asilia Africa’s The Highlands offers a unique experience of individual Star Wars style dome tents. Looking like something meant for the moon, these tents are uniquely original. The privacy & lux comforts offered in each tent is fantastic. With large hexagon windows looking out towards the crater floor below, each room has a unique and private view offering amazing sunrises, star gazing at night, and a wraparound private deck to enjoy it all from.
The Highland Resort Experience
Upon arrival at the camp, after a couple hour transfer from the airstrip, the staff was eagerly awaiting our arrival. More than a dozen staff members greeted us, all excited to have new visitors at camp. After a quick health check, we were checked-in and introduced to the camp and staff. A feast was awaiting us.
After an amazing gourmet lunch, we were taken to our room. Where our jaws dropped in delight. Pictures do not do any justice. These game lodge style tents are amazing. The word tent is used very loosely, as there is nothing camping like about these structures!
Inside each room includes a king bed, a fireplace to keep warm during the cold nights, and a lofted area featuring a single bed in case you’re traveling with a 3rd . The bathroom is stunning with a dual showerhead teak finished shower for 2, dual sinks, and a water closet. Warm fuzzy robes await guests and slippers.
Asilia has thoroughly thought of everything needed for a comfortable stay! As the Ngorongoro area has it’s own microclimate, rain is common here. Outside the room is a coat closet to allow wet clothes to dry and complimentary rubber boats and umbrella’s for use if needed while at the resort.
These semi-permanent tents are built to impress. Running mostly off of solar, there’s a constant supply of power and plenty of light. The cozy rooms are beautiful and match the rest of the camp which includes a large dome style “lobby” tent and similar sized dining tents and bar tents.
All Around Thoughtful
When I say Asilia thinks of everything they really do. For example, at night when you’re away from your room, turndown service includes lighting your fireplace. Yet, not only do they light your fire to heat your rooms, they also put several hot-water filled reusable heating pads in your bed. This way, even when getting in bed, your bed is warm and cozy!
Security is also awake 24 hours, so if you wake up at 3 in the morning chilling because the fire went out, they will gladly come and relight the fire for you. In addition, the bar is open 24 hours, so if you need a night cap they will gladly bring you a drink of your choice. The staff and amenities here make the four season seem basic! At times I felt like Asilia was “too fancy for me.” But realistically, their high level care and service, is what makes them different.
The Highland Staff
While staying at the highlands we were welcomed by our enthusiastic guide Amos and treated wonderfully by camp mangers Petronila & Richard. Amos picked us up from the airstrip and drove us back to camp and back to the airstrip when we left. He also was our driver for our game driver and even our waiter while on safari. Upon arrival from Zanzibar, he had a table with coffee and tea and snacks waiting for us. Providing us with a little fuel before our drive to the lodge. Later that afternoon, he accompanied us on our hike. Wherever we went, Amos went enthusiastically too.
On our game drive day, he was a remarkable guide. He recognizes birds from their songs, and animals from far away. Although we did not find the famous Rhinos of the Ngorongoro crater, we saw nearly everything else one could imagine. Amos’ laugh was contagious, and his positive attitude made for an enjoyable day. We really were blessed by his service. His stories are hilarious and knowledge top notch. Asilia is lucky to have such a phenomenal guide. In addition, it was great to hear stories of Asilia taking their chance on Amos. Asilia’s training program is unique and it’s great to see a company where people can truly grow from within.
At camp, our waiter was Marsha, who was very attentive to every detail. Every meal felt like a 5-star experience as the camp wined and dined us throughout our stay. The camp every threw Diego a surprise birthday party on our last night. The camp staff danced and sang while presenting Diego with a surprise cake!
Going above and beyond every expectation, we could not believe that we were living such an experience. A stay at the highlands is second to none. With amazing facilities and staff to match, you will not be disappointed.
Our Highlands Itinerary
Pick up and transfer from Lake Manyara airstrip.
Lunch at Camp.
Afternoon Hike to local waterfall and game spotting.
Dinner at Camp.
Early morning wakeup call and breakfast at camp.
Entire day in the Ngorongoro Crater game drive with lunch.
Return to camp around sundown, dinner at camp.
Breakfast at camp.
Return to Lake Manyara airstrip for transfer to the North Serengeti.
Why Choose the Highlands
We opted to visit the Highlands because the uniqueness that the Ngorongoro conservation area offers. The local Maasai people live and farm alongside many vulnerable and endangered species. Finding wild animals grazing with their own goats and cows. Seeing this is unique and offers a different perspective. The Maasai live around the crater’s rim while the majority of the animals live below. Which leads us to our other main reason to visit Ngorongoro, there is a high likelihood of seeing the big 5 in one place.
Since the crater is protecting by high steep walls and many rangers, poachers have few opportunities. Animals can thrive here without worry. The Ngorongoro crater offers big cats, rhinos, elephants and more. We saw more animals in a day here than I can recall. With a microclimate providing freshwater year-round, the crater is a thriving place for wildlife in Tanzania.
If you’re planning a trip to the Serengeti, no matter the season, consider a stop at the Ngorongoro crater. The Asilia Highland’s resort offers an experience unlike no other. With only approximately 10 rooms, it feels secluded and more genuine than some of the larger play and stay lodges in the area. We at Scott & Thomas would love to help you plan your trip. Let them know Rocky sent you, they will be glad to welcome you with discounts up to 75% off! Afterall, now is the perfect time to visit Tanzania.