Q. We are currently scheduled to stay at Gibb’s Farm but were wondering if &Beyond’s Crater Lodge or Tree Lodge would be nicer? What is your opinion?
A. Some itineraries are designed for certain properties, and some itineraries are designed for game viewing, and all itineraries are constrained by budget and time. So it’s hard to answer you without knowing all your details, but let me try in general.
Gibb’s is located almost exactly in between Tree Lodge and Crater Lodge. Tree Lodge is in Lake Manyara, which is just south of the town of Karatu where Gibb’s is located, which is just south of the crater. So being in the middle, Gibb’s is perfectly located to visit either Lake Manyara or Ngorongoro. With the other two properties, of course, you’re limited to visiting the park in which they’re located.
And that’s the main difference between all three properties. Crater Lodge and Tree Lodge are located in reserves — in fact, while you stay there you’ll also be paying government game viewing fees. Gibb’s, on the other hand, is located on private land outside any reserve.
So why even consider Gibb’s? Price and style.
I think that Gibb’s cottages are nicer, more comfortable, more functional and more beautiful than either of the two &Beyond properties. We call them Nantucket cottages since they were styled after small beach cottages on that New England escape. And significantly, you can stay for two nights at Gibbs for the price of a single night at Crater Lodge. (It’s just a little less expensive than Tree Lodge.)
But why not consider Gibb’s. Animals.
Gibb’s is a great interlude to intense game viewing, because even while you can base yourself from here to visit Manyara or the Crater, most guests don’t. They just luxuriate in the spectacular surroundings. Many guests remark that the farm setting reminds them of being in Tuscany. There are sweeping views of the valleys surrounding Ngorongoro Crater.
But there’s no game. While at Gibb’s you mountain bike, visit the organic farm, hike, make an appointment with a Maasai masseuse or shaman, visit the nearby town and school … do all the things cultural that many safaris leave out.
Safari travelers often discount the importance of taking a deep breath on safari and just relaxing for a while. And it’s true that a well disciplined traveler can do this anywhere.. just skip a game drive, for instance. But that’s really Gibb’s main attraction, a short vegging out from the intensity of dawn game drives and sitting in a vehicle all day.
I love both Tree Lodge and Crater Lodge deeply. It comes down to a decision of price & style.