Our clients of three stayed at Gibbs Farm in Karatu town Tanzania for 2 nights as an R&R stop in the middle of our northern circuit safari, and it was a lovely place to spend a little downtime.
The original farmhouse was built by a German farmer in the early 1900s, and after WWII was purchased by Major James and Margaret Gibbs from England.
James developed the coffee farm and other crops, and Margaret planted beautiful fruit and vegetable gardens which survive to this day.
The property has an historic patina and is backed against the lush Ngorongoro Highlands with a knockout view over the coffee fields and vegetable gardens.
It is a working farm with farm animals, and much of the food consumed by guests is grown right here.
At reception, you are provided with a schedule called “Rhythm of the Farm” which allows guests to participate in daily farm activities, including breakfast bread making, coffee roasting, cow milking, pig feeding, vegetable harvesting for meals, morning bird census, forest trail check, meet the artists in residence, and afternoon high tea. In the evening, we were able to watch the feeding of the cute bushbabies which live on the roof.
We enjoyed the sunset gathering at the Tembo Fire pit in the vegetable garden in the early evening before dinner.
Our host that evening was a long time employee of Gibbs who worked for Margaret, who still lives on the farm.
He explained why the fire is called Tembo (elephant) – a large fire is kept lit all night long in the garden areas to prevent elephants which transit through the highlands from entering and destroying the gardens.
There is a night watchman who stands guard to watch for any errant visitors. It was a revelation that we are in the midst of a wild place.
To get to Gibbs Farm, you take a small dirt road after the village of Mto wa Mbu which cuts through the small Tloma Village, and then you are at the Farm.
We were greeted warmly by staff, and our bags were whisked away to the room. Our abode for 2 nights was the Deutsche cottage, which is adjacent to the original farm house where the restaurant, dining rooms and shops are located. There is no swimming pool.
I had requested one of the newly renovated rooms (there are a few left unremodeled at the request of long term guests) but was surprised to find us in a palatial cottage with two large bedrooms with indoor and outdoor showers and bathtub connected by a huge living room with fireplace.
There was a private verandah overlooking our private garden. Being upgraded was (I think) a perk of coming during a less busy time.
Dinners were excellent and the soup (as everywhere) extraordinary. We had lunch one day with our guide on the verandah, and the lunch buffet was incredible: soup, salads, breads, hot entrees and an amazing display of 5 or 6 desserts. Some of our best meals were eaten at Gibbs Farm on our 2 week safari.
A highlight of our stay was the walk to the elephant caves and waterfall – a great way to stretch safari legs for two hours and to learn about the local flora and fauna. We saw a buffalo in the highlands scratching his back on a tree. Highly recommended.
Gibbs Farm is a wonderful stopover during safari, but to truly appreciate all of the activities offered, I highly recommend a two night stay.