It’s so damn hard to tell people they can interrupt game viewing to do other wonderful things in Africa. And when I succeed by having them stay at Gibb’s Farm, it’s something they never forget.
It wasn’t hard to get the Cleveland Zoo to dedicate two of its safari days to Gibb’s Farm, because director, Steve Taylor, and his wife, Sarah, had stayed here a year ago. Two years ago Gibb’s redid itself, and it’s spectacular.
The old farm remains, including the extensive coffee plantation and outstanding gardens. Located at the edge of the Ngorongoro rain forest, the birds and plants are incredibly beautiful.
But the new owners are trying very hard to expand its reputation as one of the most delightful places to stay between the two game parks, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara. The forest trail into the conservation area has been expanded, wonderful partnerships with the local Tloma village and school have been established, and local experts from Maasai shaman to area educators and artists have been employed to transform what had been a beautiful way station into a destination in its own right.
I think they’ve succeeded. The new Nantucket Cottages are exceptional, each almost like a small home. The staff is really top of the line, and the food – well, after all it does come from its own garden. But the chefs have figured out some extraordinary dishes!
The full free day was filled with all sorts of activities, including a farm and garden tour, participation in the early morning bread-making, and an evening conclave with the local Maasai naturalist doctor. We even offered a dawn game drive to Lake Manyara, which allowed us to save what would normally be an entire day allocated to that, so that the stay at Gibb’s could be expanded to two days.
“I never believed a place like this could exist in Africa,” Frank Wagner said to me with utter delight. That’s what Gibb’s has become, a most delightful place!