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See Africa in all its glory

SPECTACULAR SIGHTS: Guests walking in Ngorongo

ASILIA AFRICA only announced that their newest property, the Highlands, would open in Ngorongoro a year ago, but the destination has rapidly become a favourite spot for would-be safari holidaymakers. The Highlands redefines the Ngorongoro experience.

Set high on the slopes of the Olmoti volcano, with sweeping views all the way to the Serengeti, you can be at the famous Ngorongoro Crater floor at dawn, but still far from any other camp. The eight luxurious tented suites offer king-size beds with bay windows, so you can feel immersed in the endless views from the comfort of your bed.

Wood-burning stoves will keep your domed suite warm throughout the night. The main area has been designed with the classic camp fire experience in mind. Even when it is too cold to go outside, sit around a roaring fire at the inside fireplace, the perfect place to unwind at the end of an adventurous day exploring.

From your stylish base at the Highlands, you can enjoy the iconic Ngorongoro Crater safari. Ngorongoro is the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world and home to the highest density of lions anywhere in Africa, as well as the other members of the Big Five.

From camp, you can explore the wild highlands which surround the camp – home to leopard, buffalo and elephant, and the Maasai people, whose pastoral way of life has remained unchanged for centuries. Founded in 2004, Asilia has a strong presence in the main safari destinations in Tanzania and Kenya.


NATURAL BEAUTY: An aerial view of the camp

Asilia aspires to grow its footprint, its positive impact and to be a leader in improving and expanding natural habitats. Asilia is the first sustainable safari/lodge company in Africa to receive a five-star rating for sustainability from the Global Impact Investing Rating System (GIIRS).

THE HIGHLANDS

Designed by South African-based company Artichoke, owned by Caline Williams Wynn, the Highlands was inspired by the stunning landscape of the Ngorongoro Highlands area, reminiscent by name and also in topography and climate to the Highlands of Scotland. The camp itself provides a stylish refuge from the elements and a genuine African experience, memorable not only for the innovative design of the domes, but also the unique environment that surrounds them.

THE DOMES

The Geodesic Dome, popularised by Robert Buckminster Fuller, was touted by the American Institute of Architecture as the “strongest, lightest, most efficient means of enclosing space known to man”.

The design is such that the structure can bear immense loads while having no internal supports aside from the structure itself. Traditional homes rely on spreading the overall weight across supports made of right angles, as opposed to a geodesic dome, in which the load is dispersed across the entirety of the structure. This makes a much more efficient space and leaves room for a completely open interior design, unlimited by load-bearing walls and columns.

The domes also have an exceptionally small ecological footprint – the bulk of the structure is made of recyclable materials and the spherical nature allows the dome to be heated and cooled efficiently and evenly, having no corners for air to pocket into. Between the low waste from manufacturing and the efficiency of heating and cooling, the geodesic dome is an excellent choice for a low impact on the environment. Inspired by the round shapes of the traditional Maasai bomas that dot the landscape, the goal was to create a comfortable and spacious yet homely feel in these eye-catching structures.

ECO-CREDENTIALS

All construction wood used in the build of the camp is teak, harvested from sustainably managed plantations. As a non-indigenous wood to the region, no teak was sourced from natural forests. Supporting the domes are wooden structures with surface 'feet', allowing the camp to be easily removed with no permanent trace. No concrete was used on the site.

The camp itself runs on solar power, backed up with a 12KvA generator in case of unusual weather patterns or technical issues. Wood used for cooking and in the stoves is waste wood from local coffee plantations, combined with eucalyptus; both are a sustainable biofuel source.

Currently, Asilia’s portfolio of camps includes:

Tanzania

Sayari Camp, Dunia Camp, Namiri Plains, Olakira Camp, Kimondo Camp, Oliver’s Camp, Ubuntu Camp, Kwihala Camp and Rubondo Island Camp.

Zanzibar

Matemwe Lodge, Matemwe Retreat and Matemwe Beach House.

Kenya

Mara Bush Houses, Rekero Camp, Naboisho Camp Encounter Mara, Nomadic Camp and Ol Pejeta.

For more information, click here.

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