Asilia’s Highlands Camp at Ngorongoro to Open

Asilia’s Highlands Camp at Ngorongoro in Tanzania is set to open to guests. The new 7 roomed camp has been built high on the slopes of Olmoti Crater with jaw dropping views into the Serengeti. Located a 45 minute drive past the Sopa Crater Lodge it is the only camp in the area. It offers a very private experience in great wilderness area.

Design discussions came down to 2 choices – cabins or yerts… in the end Asilia decided on yerts with wood burning stoves. In our opinion yerts don’t really say “Africa” even though they are covered in canvas, as per Tanzanian parks recommendation. They look at bit like space pods from the moon. They look foreign. The honeymoon yert has a private hot tub while the family yert is 2 yerts…

Besides the design aspects why would you want to stay here? Well for one the views are tremendous. Secondly you can take long explortatory walks / hikes in the area. Thirdly you have walking access to Masai villages with superb cultural interaction. Fourthly you might get to ride in a helicopter! There has been a lot of talk about transferring guests from the lodge into the Serengeti by whirlybird – how cool would that be?

Cons? Being 45 minutes from the Sopa Lodge and descent road into the crater you are not going to be the first vehicle into the crater (you are competing against all the other lodges that are built on the crater rim including the large Sopa and Serena Hotels. However as everyone and their grandmother tries to be the first vehicle into the crater to avoid crowds mornings have become quite crowded!

Now the following may, or may not be, a concern – I hesitated to write this as Asilia is a great partner with some awesome safari products that we highly recommend. At the same time we have a responsibility to clients to let them know what to expect at each location. At Highlands we are wondering if the high altitude could cause health issues for some travelers. The Ngorongoro crater rim is 7,875 feet while the new Highlands at Ngorongoro is at 8,890 feet. Mild altitude sickness is common above 8,000 feet and most often happens when people who are not used to high altitudes go quickly from lower altitudes to over 8,000 ft.  Symptoms include headache, loss of appetite, dizzyness, weakness, feeling tired, and trouble sleeping. Hiking can exacerbate these effects. To minimize altitude sickness doctors suggest limiting walking or activity, drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol along with eating lots of carbs – breads, cereals, grains, and pasta.

As to the cost the recommended all inclusive game package rate is US $710 per person per night. Our rates are lower than this. Please note that Crater Descent Fees and Empakai excursions are not included in this rate and will be charged per group based on the number of visits made to each. Guests visiting before December 31, 2016 will receive 3 nights for the price of 2. If you book 3 nights at any Asilia property you could take a 4th night free at the Highlands although 1 night there is not really enough time… the 4 for 3 offer is only valid for bookings made before the end of October 2015 and you must travel no later than June 30, 2016.

Stay well,

Ian's Signature

Ian Proctor
Ultimate Africa founder and president

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