Reviews of The Highlands
Wildlife sightings and reviews
16 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited The Highlands and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"The Highlands at Ngorongoro review"
The service was outstanding - everyone on staff was so kind and knowledgeable. We had a great time.
One of the afternoons we walked down to a Masai boma. This was incredibly interesting, but we did feel a little bit uncomfortable navigating negotiations with the Masai when purchasing their handicrafts. We were given the impression before hand that negotiation was customary, but it quickly became apparent that this was not the case. It would have been helpful to be a little more prepared for these interactions.
We loved hiking Olmoti and Empaki craters - this was a nice change of pace from sitting in a safari vehicle." See all these reviews: 11n in Tanzania
"A most comfortable, cozy lodge"
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Anna, the camp manager, who couldn't have been kinder or more obliging. Our accommodations were delightful - a very nice bungalow, with a cozy stove that was lighted in the evenings to take the chill from the air. We thought the accommodations, the food, & the guides altogether satisfactory.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Ngorongoro Crater. But we thought, too, that there were not a great many other sights of interest to visit in the immediate enirons, given that my companion & I are rather elderly & didn't feel up to hiking to other craters in the area." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania; 10n in Kenya; 3n in Zanzibar
"Interesting Domed Camp"
Following our flight from Tarangire to Lake Manyara airstrip we were met by our camp guide Lenga. We had a drive of about an hour (through small towns and villages) to the gated entrance to Ngorongoro Conservation Area and a further drive of an hour and a half to the Highlands camp. On the journey up to the crater rim a leopard ran across the road just in front of our jeep and disappeared into the undergrowth (what a start!). The last half an hour or so of our journey was on a very rough track which made for an interesting ride!
We arrived at the camp late afternoon and were welcomed with warm flannels to refresh ourselves. We were briefed by the camp manager Victor who was assisted in the management of the camp by Freddie and John. The service we received during our stay from both the management and staff was excellent.
Our accommodation was a very large domed ‘tent’ with a big picture window and terrace overlooking the valley with many colourful birds flying from tree to tree. The tent was very well appointed with a large bed and a separate bathroom with twin showers and wash basins and a flush toilet. There was a large wood burning stove in the bedroom to keep the dome warm in the cold evenings. Unfortunately the fire burned itself out overnight so it was cold in the dome in the morning.
Pre dinner drinks were available in the bar which was warmed by its own wood burner. The communal dinner was served in the large dining room. There was a choice of food, which was presented well and tasted even better. Interesting over-dinner discussions on Brexit and the U.S. election!
After a good breakfast on our first day we set off with our guide Lenga for a day long visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. The journey time to the crater floor is over an hour passing by many Maasai settlements. In the crater we saw a good selection of wildlife with some great viewing of lions and a very distant viewing of two rhinos. Lenga was a very knowledgeable guide and a good companion for the day. The crater is very busy with lots of other vehicles vying for a prime location to view the wildlife; this can compromise good photo opportunities.
On the morning of our second day we went to Empakaai Crater to see the flamingos. As well as our guide we were also accompanied by an armed ranger for the trek down to the crater floor. It was an hour’s drive from the camp to the top of the crater and about a 45 minute walk (watched by monkeys) to the soda lake at the bottom of the crater. There were plenty of Flamingos at the lake but they kept their distance when approached. The trek back to the top of the crater was quite steep in places and took about an hour and a quarter. It was a worthwhile excursion with picturesque scenery and better viewing of the flamingos than at Ngorongoro crater.
Later in the afternoon we went to a Maasai boma for a ‘cultural visit’. Our guide Lenga was dressed in his Maasai attire rather than his camp uniform and he was able to give us a lot of information about Maasai life. We felt it was a very authentic visit and not at all staged.
Although the Highlands is a very upmarket camp there are some drawbacks. Being at an altitude of 2700+ metres it does get cold quite quickly once the sun goes down and first thing in the morning. Be prepared and take plenty of layers. Also, the thin air at that altitude may have an impact as it is quite a long uphill walk from the domes to the camp amenities, take it easy and don’t rush." See all these reviews: 13n in Tanzania
"The Highlands at Ngorongoro review"
The staff at the camp were still melding into a team, and there wasn't the lovely atmosphere that we found at Ubuntu, but they were always very friendly and helpful.
The food and wine was good. The accommodation was lovely - not sure whether they are tents/domes/lodges - but they were certainly interesting and had a wonderful bathroom - the best we had ever come across in Africa! Unfortunately we didn't have a great guide at this site - his timing predictions were poor, which led to rather a wasted last day.
The problem with the Highlands is that getting anywhere from the camp is very time-consuming and uncomfortable and that is a bit of a disincentive to go too far afield - there is really very little to do that is less than almost an hour away. However for a couple of days at the end of a busy holiday it was good to just sit and enjoy our accommodation and read a few of our books!" See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania; 4n in Rwanda
They were very apologetic that the guiding here didn't match to the standards they were expecting - their guide is a longstanding guide who usually receives very good reviews, but they have acknowledged that he needs much better training in this area which they are working on with him.
"Fabulous modern lodge"
The Lodge looks very futuristic but beautiful. When You walk to Your tent, You pass a lot of wild flowers and birds. Each tent has a magnificent view (You have Your own small veranda), it is very clean, a huge bed with lots of cosy blankets (You will need them) and a fireplace, so the tent is nice and warm once You return from dinner. There are large showers (for two!) and also two beds upstairs, which we didn't need. There is somehow a chalet-atmosphere in the tent.
To get to the Ngorongoro Crater ground it will take about 45 minutes from the lodge. There are no cars waiting at the entry point as almost everybody uses the other entrance. It is good to get there really early, the Crater gets very busy during the day and there is really a lot of dust.
We also did the Empakai Carter Walk - which we found was the highlight of our stay in the lodge. There is a one hour drive to the Crater - then You hike down (45 minutes) accompanied By Your guide and a ranger, it is sometimes a little steep but You see lots of flowers and You have magnificent views. On the Crater ground is a lake with flamingos. Hiking up take about an hour or longer if needed. It is not really hard but we felt the altitude (the Carter rim is on 3000 m).
The last day we visited a Masai Boma very close to the lodge which was extremely impressing as well, so we would strongly recommend this as well." See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania
Despite the wood burning stove in each room, it was bitterly cold at night....but the hot water bottles (as in each camp) were a welcome addition and much appreciated. Conversely, in the afternoon when the sun shone, it was baking hot.
The camp staff were lovely - friendly and very helpful - however, it was hard to compensate for the access road which was impassable whilst we were there (early July 2016). As a result, guests had to be taken a longer route to the camp which, in itself, was becoming impassable. This added about 50 minutes of very difficult driving to any journey.
The big positive was that the surrounding scenery ie the highlands in & around the various volcanoes - was stunning and we would never have seen this.....or the local Maasai inhabitants & their villages.....if we had stayed on or near the Ngorongoro crater." See all these reviews: 13n in Tanzania
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