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Day 9 - Ngorongoro Crater

  • Ngorongoro Crater (map)

Wake up in the lush Ngorongoro Highlands where the region's rich volcanic soil makes for some of the most fertile land in Tanzania. Established in the late 1950s, Ngorongoro Conservation Area balances wildlife preservation alongside human settlements. The area covers about 3,200 square miles from the shore of Lake Eyasi to the south, the edge of the Great Rift Valley to the east, the border of the Loliondo Game Controlled Area to the North as well as the boundaries of Serengeti National Park to the west. Resident wildlife populations in the crater and seasonal migratory populations around the Serengeti make this an integral part of Tanzania's ecology. Lastly, the many Maasai settlements make it a cultural epicenter within northern Tanzania.

It’s another day of astonishing views and abundant wildlife as we visit Ngorongoro Crater.  We will be sure to keep our fingers crossed in the hopes of seeing rhinoceros (only 60 black rhinos left in Tanzania) and big cats, such as lions and cheetahs. The diversity of species is awe-inspiring: we will see everything from baboons and elephants in the Lerai Forest to wildebeest and mountain reedbuck over the crater’s grassy floor. Lunch will be served in the bush on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater to replenish us before the adventures ahead with more wildlife viewing, enjoying the biodiversity of Ngorongoro.

At the end of our journey today, we will arrive at bucolic Gibb’s Farm, our home for the next three nights. For over 80 years, Gibb’s Farm has been an important part of the history of the Ngorongoro Highlands. What began in the 1920s as a German Colonial coffee plantation became the residence of a British World War II veteran, James Gibb, in 1948. (Adam can’t wait to tell you about the German Colonial period through WWII).  James Gibb married in Tanzania and lived on the property with his wife, Margaret, an avid gardener who planted numerous vegetable and flower gardens on the property. As a productive farm, Gibb’s began to attract more tourists after the establishment of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in the 1960s. The estate soon became among the first guesthouses in northern Tanzania when they constructed guest cottages near the farm in 1972. Over 35 years later, Gibb’s has been passed on to new investors, who had themselves been longtime users of the lodge.

Still a working coffee estate and farm, Gibb’s resonates with the perfect harmony of nature and culture, luxury and sustainability, magnificent accommodation and historic preservation.  For this, it has been awarded Travel + Leisure’s Best Safari Lodge in Africa two years in a row!

Dinner on the farm tonight promises to be a culinary highlight of the trip.

GIBB’S FARM (B, Boxed Lunch, D)