Asilia Highlands

Remote, cozy, insight into Maasai culture

Ngorongoro Conservation


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At a Glance

With eight round-top tents, Asilia Highlands camp sits on the upper slopes of the Olmoti Crater and offers guests a luxurious base from which to explore the untouched highlands of northern Tanzania.

Indagare Loves

  • The chic, cozy round tents with wood-burning stoves, platform porches, stunning black-and-white photographs by Graham Springer and lush beds complete with tartan-printed pillows and faux fur throws
  • Meeting Maasai people in their homes and again in arranged activities such as a beading workshop
  • The incredible staff, including Maasai askari (camp guards), and extraordinary guides


Asilia takes pride in positioning their African safari camps in remote, very special locations. The latest, this property in the Tanzania Highlands, is no exception. Set within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area but approximately one hour north by car to the gates of the Ngorongoro Crater, the region was so named for its similarities in look to the Scottish Highlands, an area of undulating hills, mountains and valleys. (The Maasai penchant for wearing tartan-printed fabrics, which were originally shipped from Scotland, adds to this correlation.) Utterly within nature and extremely removed from any modern-day concept of civilization, the camp is nevertheless extremely luxurious, and the views of the Gol Mountains, Serengeti, Empakaii volcano and Olmoti Crater are spectacular.

The property consists of eleven modern, canvas sided yurts, including eight rooms, a lounge, a bar and a dining area. With a circular banquette surrounding an oversized, wood-burning stove (to keep warm in chilly mornings and cool nights), the lounge is the communal meeting place and is a comfortable spot to relax with fellow guests amidst loads of purple, gray and green tartan printed cushions. The eight domed, round tents inspired by round Maasai homes feature king-sized beds, wood-burning stoves, huge windows out onto the vista, wrap-around decks and oversized bathrooms. The Scottish hunting lodge décor scheme pervades here, too, with plenty of cow hide rugs covering the floors, sheepskin throws draped on the back of chairs and faux fur blankets at the foot of the bed.

It is recommended to spend at least two full days at the property to allow for a proper excursion to the Ngorongoro Crater in a camp Land Rover and with one of Asilia’s excellent guides. Another day should be set aside to get to know members of the local Maasai tribe, including an early-morning visit to a boma to meet the men, women and children before they go off to school and to herd their cattle and goats. Led by a Maasai-born Asilia guide, these excursions are enlightening, allowing guests to begin to understand the day-to-day life of an ancient culture. Other activities, such as a beading workshop held back at the camp, can be arranged with Maasai women. Another favorite excursion is a day-long hike around the Olmoti volcano and down into the Empakaai Crater, home to thousands of flamingos.

Who Should Stay

Asilia welcomes families with children over five years old. Anyone with mobility issues will find the setting of the camp, built into a hillside, difficult.

When To Go

July and August is the high season for visiting the region as most people believe this is when the Great Migration occurs. The reality is that the wildebeest are constantly migrating, and visitors only need to know where in their circuit they are at any given time (the herds follow the rains, which brings grass). The Ngorongoro Crater however is home to countless animals throughout the year due to its fertile land and excellent foliage, so visitors who travel to the region during any part of the year will no doubt see plenty of animals. In April and May, the crater floor erupts with yellow and purple flowers, which elephants are particularly fond of eating.

Indagare Tip: The property, the highest in the region, is located at an elevation of 8,800 feet, so guests will no doubt feel the effects of the altitude. The location and elevation also mean that evenings and mornings can be quite chilly or downright cold. The tents are not heated but there are wood-burning fireplaces lit for guests upon turn-down service at night and wake-up calls in the morning.

Written by Amelia Osborne Scott

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