I may be beating a dead horse here, but forgive me as this is still in the time frame of my forty-eight hour mind warp. We left Lake Eyasi and drove back through the town of Karatu and to our next lodge, Gibb’s Farm, which is a short 5km outside of the town. There is a lot to see driving from lodge to lodge even if the Safari operator warns you that some of the long drives are uninspiring. Quite the opposite, I found the long drives to be eye-opening, there were so many scenes unfolding in front of me along with snapshots of entirely differerent lives filled with humans just like me with completely, maybe save for the human condition, different experiences and perceptions.
Scenes from the busy and seemingly prosperous town of Karatu near the Ngorongoro Crater.
We arrived around 5:00 at Gibb’s Farm. I had been warned about Gibb’s Farm when I was booking our safari. I had requested Gibb’s Farm because it looked gorgeous and sounded cool but the tour operator actually told me it was a bit over the top and we might like something a little more “authentic” Okay, she was the expert, I would take her advice. It must have been part of my destiny to stay at Gibb’s Farm because the recommended lodging was booked and so we would stay at my first choice.
Talk about contrasts; it was turning out to be forty-eight hours of vast differences. This was one of two of our bathrooms in our family suite. We also had two huge bedrooms, an outdoor shower, and a veranda overlooking the gardens and coffee plantation stretching out into the valley below the farm. Gibb’s Farm was purchased in the 40’s by James Gibb, a British war veteran and his wife Margaret. Margaret started the extensive flower and vegetable gardens and ran the farm until 2003. She still lives near the farm and visits for lunch or dinner regularly. The place is beautiful, there are so many activities that it would be easy to skip the game driving in the area and just hang out at the farm. It is the nicest place I have ever stayed. I was doing some research to find out when it was purchased by the Gibbs and read on the website that staying at the farm is an “authentic experience.” Authentic in comparison to what, I am not sure: British colonialism, anyone? It was like eating too much rich food, especially after our visit with the Hadzabe.
The gardens at Gibb’s Farm
Gibb’s Farm has a resident artist program which is really neat. Athuman Katongo was the resident artist when we were there and the kids had a great time creating his form of art. His passion is recycling paper and creating canvases for paintings.
The real reason of visiting the area was Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We visited the crater which is the largest non flooded and unbroken caldera in the world and supports many species of animals.
Hyaenas were high on my list of favorite Tanzanian wildlife. They are strangely beautiful with their muscular shoulders and jaws and every Hyaena we saw seemed to be on a mission. The guides and rangers were big fans as well because the Hyaenas are “good stewards of the parks” scouring the land and cleaning up the carcasses.
Those are Rhinos in the distance and the scientists that count and check on them daily. Rhinos are the most difficult animal to sight in Tanzania and there were safari jeeps parked all along the road hoping for a look at these endangered fellows.
We enjoyed following this group of happy cats down the road.
There were quite a few young males in the group and like teenagers, they were ornery and curious.
A “Raft” of happy hippos
The Zebras are entertaining creatures. They are always running and bucking or rolling in the dust.
One of the watering holes in the crater
We drove back to Gibb’s Farm just in time for a late lunch. The rest of the day we spent relaxing while the kids painted with the resident artist. So ended my forty eight hours of intense self discovery, which I will blog about eventually. We had seen and experienced so much between the gates of the Tarangire and the gates of Gibb’s Farm.