September, 25 2018 ♥♥♥
Part 2 of our East African Safari adventure continued from our explorations in Tarangire National Park to farm life in Ngorongoro Crater !
Our “African Massage” was in full affect on this 4 hour drive from Tarangire to the crater, (tip: your bum may need some extra padding for these rides) but at least looking out the window proved to be quite enjoyable. We saw little villages off red dirt roads, shacks turned into stores, people dressed in vibrant, bright African fabrics, and a surprisingly abundant amount of coffee plantations! Coffee plays a major role in Tanzania’s economy as it’s their largest export crop and a favorite pastime activity. Dave and I happily helped boost their economy one cup of jo at a time.
One of the towns we passed as we neared Ngorongoro Crater was Karatu, where we would be spending the night at the gloriously quaint and picturesque Gibbs Farm. But more on that later. First, we headed directly into the Crater to do a game drive.
At this point, Dave and I have seen a few lions but not a pride, or especially not two male lions together (which is pretty rare as they tend to fight for domination). This is why it was remarkable that our first sighting 2 minutes into our drive were a pair of male lions feasting on a caracas surrounded by what seemed like hundreds of hyenas ready to score seconds. The Lion King came to life! It was like seeing Scar and his pack of minion hyenas! It’s always fascinating to see the circle of life in the wild (also, a tad gross might I add).
I don’t know why but baboons are just my favorite. They’re so funny and cute! As we cruised through the crater, our guide did a fantastic job of steering away from all the tourists in their matching jeeps, and on one back road we stumbled upon a troop of baboons. A MASSIVE troop. Seeing nearly 100 baboons marching towards our isolated jeep felt like the moment in Jurassic park when the scientists see their first dinosaur and that famous movie score kicks in. Magical! Watch the video below.
In total, we spent a few hours in the crater, which is all you really need. Our next stop was our home for the night, Gibbs Farm.
Gibbs Farm was recommended to us by our dear friends Amit & Linda who had honeymooned there the year before. They even brought some artwork home with them that was made by an artist who sold his work at the farm. I expected to enjoy the boutique hotel, but I didn’t realize I would end up falling in love with it.
From the moment we arrived driving down the long and bumpy red dirt path to the moment I milked a cow for the first time (more on that later) every bit of Gibbs Farm felt like a mystical getaway to paradise. The energy was peaceful. We had been dropped into this perfect oasis that grows their own food, makes coffee and creates art. What else do you need in life?
Everything we ate and drank that weekend came straight from the backyard. A very 5-star backyard that is.
I’m sorry to say I don’t have alot of pictures of our room. I think the being present thing really kicked in then. The farm forces you to relax. It’s not a request, it’s a demand.
The cottage was beautiful and charming with a deck facing lush greenery bringing the outdoors indoors. It also boasted a real wood two-way fireplace that faced the bedroom and bathroom so you could shower right next to an open flame (Dave’s favorite part)! There’s nothing nicer than a bath after a day in the bush.
I love that Gibbs Farm had activities listed all day for guests to take part of if they wished. It ranged from a hike around the property, to feeding the pigs and even milking cows (keep reading for that disastrous experience).
Our original honeymoon was meant to be this trip before we realized we were actually moving to Africa. The staff took note of this and still serenaded us with a local song about love and sent us a cake too. It was such a warm, happy moment. I soaked in the music, clapping along like the gleeful tourist I am while Dave cringed, embarrassed as usual from the over attention. We’re a match-made in heaven.
The next morning we decided to try one of the “farm” activities. We chose milking cows. We chose poorly.
I was basically on the verge of tears because I thought I was hurting them the whole time. I mean, how can it NOT hurt them?! Dave was telling me I need to get it together. The farmer was laughing at me. I felt a meltdown coming….I think my city girl hands are more cut out for carrying Zara bags than they are for tugging cattle nipples. Shoutout to all the farmers out there! I could never do your job.
Gibbs Farm was PURE magic. One of the most breathtakingly splendid places we’ve ever stayed. We so regretted not being able to stay here 2 nights instead of just one, but the Serengeti was calling. Our excitement was building in hopes of witnessing the great migration. Gibbs Farm was a part of the excitement, and I highly recommend this as a stop before your safari. It’s a special place, not to be missed.
Well, except the milking cows part. That can be missed.
Next stop, the moment we’ve waited for…the SERENGETI!!