Best of Ngorongoro Highlands Walking Safari

13 Days: Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Serengeti National Park, Rubondo Island

Combining 1 night Arusha Coffee Lodge, 3 nights Oliver’s, 3 nights The Highlands, 2 nights Namiri Plains and 3 nights Rubondo Island Camp

Arusha Coffee Lodge exterior at night

Day 1: Overnight at Arusha Coffee Lodge, Arusha

Meet your private driver on arrival into Kilimanjaro International Airport and transfer to Arusha Coffee Lodge where you will overnight in the serene and tranquil surroundings.

Arusha Coffee Lodge is hidden amongst one of Tanzania’s largest coffee plantations on the slopes of the ever-present Mount Meru and is a haven of relaxation. Friendly and helpful staff combined with the rustic feel of a homestead reminiscent of times gone by, create a peaceful and warm atmosphere, perfect for a pre or post safari stopover.

Day 2: Ovenight at Oliver’s, Tarangire National Park

After breakfast at the lodge, you will be met by your private driver and taken to Arusha airport for the flight to Kuro Airstrip in Tarangire National Park. Enjoy the scenery along the way and remember to ask your driver any questions you may have.

On arrival at Oliver’s, enjoy a leisurely lunch before settling into your new surroundings. After tea, experience your first taste of the wild and beautiful Tarangire National Park on an afternoon game drive with one of the superb guides.

If you wish, the option of a night drive is also available at an extra cost; watch the antelopes feed in the cool night air and predators stalking their prey under the cover of darkness. Otherwise, sip a cool gin & tonic as the sun sinks below the horizon and head back to camp for dinner under a blanket of stars.


In the southern reaches of the secluded Tarangire National Park, Oliver’s is an echo of the trailblazing camps that pioneered the early days of safari. Located in a spectacular location close to the animal dense Silale Swamps and overlooking a flood plain of the Minyonyo Pools, the camp offers a magnificent view and easy access to a dense concentration of wildlife year-round.

With only ten beautifully appointed and stylish tents, intimacy is ensured and the world-class team of staff who have worked together for many years completes an experience that guests consistently rank amongst their best, and most inspiring, of all time.

Day 3 & 4: Overnight at Oliver’s, Tarangire National Park

There is no better way to experience the wilderness of East Africa up close and personal than on foot, and this morning you will leave camp as the sun rises with your expert walking guide to explore the area minus a vehicle!

The morning walk will last for around 3-4 hours (temperature dependent), offering the chance to spot giraffe, buffalo, elephant and gazelle, and of course, the ever-present predators.

A picnic lunch will be served under the shade of the large baobabs that dot the landscape, before you journey back to camp for a well- deserved rest. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the camp and head to the campfire where whiskies are poured and safari tales told late into the night.

Day 5: Overnight at The Highlands, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

After breakfast, pack your bags and depart to Kuro Airstrip for the flight to Manyara. You will be met by your guide at the airstrip and transferred to The Highlands, stopping to admire the spectacular views of the ancient volcanoes that make up the landscape.

After lunch in camp, spend the afternoon following the ancient Maasai trails to the top of the Olmoti crater. The gentle 2-3 hour ascent leads you through mountain forest, grassland and rocky outcrops and is a botanist’s dream with varying vegetation and a variety of splendid fern species on show.

The birding is outstanding and once at the summit, you will be treated to a simply stunning view of the Olmoti crater itself. On return to camp settle in for the night around the inside fireplace, the perfect place to unwind at the end of your long day exploring.

The Highlands

Set on the edge of the mountain forest hugging the Olmoti volcano, to the north of the Ngorongoro Crater, The Highlands camp strikes the perfect balance between a true wilderness experience and a stylish escape. The eight luxurious tented suites offer king size beds with bay windows and wood burning stoves keep the domed rooms warm throughout the night.

The unique location offers an excellent base from which to explore these wild highlands, redefining the crater experience; climb to the summit of the Olmoti crater directly from camp, visit local communities to catch a glimpse of the traditional Maasai way of life, or simply explore the surrounding area, home to leopard, buffalo and elephant.

Day 6: Overnight at The Highlands, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Wake up with the rising sun and begin the 40 minute drive from The Highlands to the Ngorongoro Crater rim. Look out for the zebra interspersed with the Maasai cattle as they are brought out to pasture, and the magnificent view down to the Ngorongoro Crater.

You will spend the morning exploring the vast 300 sq km crater floor with the opportunity to spot the Big 5 and the many roaming predators present on the mineral rich floor.

Lunch will be served on the crater floor, and in the afternoon, you may continue your exploration of the crater or venture back to camp for a quiet sundowner, taking in the magnificent views from the comfort of your suite.

Day 7: Overnight at The Highlands, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

After an early breakfast, leave camp for the relatively unknown Empakaai Crater, 40km north east of it’s more famous neighbour, the Ngorongoro Crater.

A 1 hour, 15 minute drive through the beautiful Bulbul Depression will lead you the Empakaai rim, where you will be treated to splendid views of the crater and a glimpse of Oldoinyo Lengai, Tanzania’s most active volcano. It is here that you will meet an NCA ranger and begin the 30-45 minute descent, watching out for buffalo, hyena and elephant in the forest.

Once on the crater floor, the lake offers superb birding and the chance to see the famous flamingos that form a salmon pink band around the lakeshore.

For the more adventurous, the walk around the 6km lake takes around 4 hours; otherwise begin the ascent back to the vehicle and stop off to visit one of the local Maasai communities on the drive back to camp, offering an insight into the traditional way of life that has defined this corner of East Africa for centuries.

Day 8: Overnight at Namiri Plains, Serengeti National Park

After breakfast, you will be driven to Manyara Airstrip for your flight to Seronera Airstrip in the Serengeti. At Seronera, you will meet your guide and enjoy a scenic drive through the rolling plains to Namiri Plains.

On arrival in camp, settle into life at Namiri Plains and watch the wildlife passing by from the stylish main area in camp. In the afternoon, begin your exploration of this exclusive corner of the Serengeti from a vehicle on an afternoon game drive, stopping for sundowners on top of the magical Soit Le Motonyi rock.

With the nearest camp over 45 minutes away, you may be excused for thinking you are the only guests in the Serengeti! Back in camp, enjoy a delicious 3 course meal and listen to the sounds of the night as they unfold around you.

Exterior view of Namiri Plains camp

Namiri Plains

Namiri Plains has 8 traditional safari tents that offer more than enough of the creature comforts – crisp linens, stylish rooms and spacious indoor/outdoor showers.

Tucked away in a grove of fever trees in the remote eastern corner of the Serengeti, the camp is a small and exclusive haven, offering terrific 360 degree views of the surrounding plains.

This is big cat country and undoubtedly offers East Africa’s best cheetah viewing opportunities, as well as unrivaled migration viewing when the wildebeest pass through from October to May.

Day 9: Overnight at Namiri Plains, Serengeti National Park

Depart camp in the early morning for your walking safari; the pace is easy and your sense heightened to the smaller sights and sounds of the bush. Take a packed lunch with you and enjoy it under the shade of the trees, or return to camp for a delicious buffet created by the talented chefs.

Return to camp for siesta time and a good book in the heat of the day and in the afternoon; continue your exploration by vehicle or on foot before returning to camp for a final dinner under the stars.

Day 10: Overnight at Rubondo Island Camp, Rubondo Island

After lunch, you will leave Namiri Plains for Seronera Airstrip and your flight to Rubondo Island. On arrival, you will be met by your guide and transferred to Rubondo Island Camp, situated on the 25,000 hectare island paradise in the south west corner of Lake Victoria.

Spend the afternoon in your hammock swinging in the gentle breeze from the Lake, take a wander down to the beach and cool off in the swimming pool, or simply settle into an armchair with binoculars and a bird guide and let the wildlife come to you.

Rubondo Island Camp

Each of the 8, individually crafted cottages is shaded by lush indigenous forest, whilst Lake Victoria winks her welcome through the trees. The small and exclusive camp offers unrivalled access to this one-of-a-kind destination, with forest walks, game-watching, birding excursions, canoe trips, trekking through wild and unexplored forest territory, catch-and-release fishing and a host of other eco-sensitive activities.

Elephants roam wild, colorful birds and butterflies flit through the boughs of pristine indigenous forest, and the waters teem with the iconic Nile Perch. This unique corner of Africa may just be the ultimate destination for those seeking the ultimate wilderness adventure.

Day 11 & 12: Overnight at Rubondo Island Camp, Rubondo Island

After breakfast overlooking the lake, set out with your guide for your chosen activities. Lace up your boots for a walking exploration of the island, with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the chimps and learn about the island’s extraordinary birdlife, or take to the water and spend the day lazily drifting on the lake in a canoe or boat.

Professional anglers regularly travel here for the opportunity to hook one of Africa’s biggest and most sought after fresh water species, the Nile Perch and you can spend a morning trying to catch one of these giants from camp’s fishing boats.

In the evening, you will gather for dinner in the beautiful dining room, swapping tales from the day as the moonlight dances on the surface of the Lake and hippos emerge from the water to graze.

Dining on the beach at Rubondo Island camp

Day 13: Departure

After breakfast, it is unfortunately time to pack your bags and depart. Here you will bid your guide farewell as your board driver for the airstrip, enjoying a last glimpse of the island flora your flight back to Arusha for your international connection.

Group enjoying campfire on the beach at Rubondo Island camp

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