Our editors' favorite hotels and resorts of all time.
Originally Appeared on Condé Nast Traveler
Where is it? At the heart of the Great Rift Valley in Northern Tanzania.
How do you get there? Fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport, then, it's a 45-minute drive to Arusha, from where you can take a short flight or drive a couple of hours, taking a break at Lake Manyara National Park.
What’s the vibe? There are certainly more luxe options scattered around the Ngorongoro Crater area. But Gibb’s Farm, with its farmhouse on the wooded slopes of the crater, built by German farmers as a coffee plantation in 1929, wins hands down on history and character. The entry harks back to another era, with its low, beamed ceilings and stone floors, but the surrounding tropical gardens are the highlight, including an herb garden, cactus garden, rose garden, vegetable garden, and medicinal garden. (The insanely rich volcanic soil makes everything grow like crazy.) There’s a new swimming pool, too, and a spa.
How about the rooms? Looking out over a coffee plantation and into the Great Rift Valley, the farm’s 21 cottages have wooden floors, wraparound windows, fireplaces, and bathrooms with indoor and outdoor showers. The interiors are more cottage chic than luxe—simple and rustic, with stone walls, wooden floors, and a fireplace—but they’re all very sweet and typically set with a vase of freshly picked flowers.
What can you do here? You can literally walk out the back kitchen door to set off on a six-hour walk through the forest and around the crater rim with one of Gibb’s naturalists (a picnic lunch will meet you there). After lunch overlooking the crater, you drive back down to the farm for G&Ts on the lawn at sunset. You can also explore the neighboring village of Tloma for a taste of rural Tanzanian life, or birdwatch from the hotel, which is home to more than 200 species, including giant kingfishers and silvery-cheeked hornbills. It’s the perfect antidote after days of dusty game drives elsewhere in Tanzania.
How about the food?
Think classic English fare, prepared with organic vegetables, fruits, and meat from the farm.