The Mulberry House at Gibb’s Farm

The area where Mulberry House now stands has experienced many transitions during the history of Gibb’s Farm.  At one point, the old coffee processing factory was located   on this spot followed by the former staff living quarters and canteen.  If travelers stand on the verandah of Mulberry House they will see the old cement coffee fermentation tanks, the remnants of the coffee factory used by James and Margaret Gibb.  This farm began as a German coffee farm in the late 1920’s until it came under British control and was purchased by British War Veteran James Gibb in 1948.  James Gibb produced, processed, and exported coffee until the economy took a turn for the worse and he and his wife were forced to look at other ways to produce income.  The answer came in the form of a traveler-house to accommodate the increasing number of visitors to the neighboring Ngorongoro Conservation Area that was established in 1960.  This began the tradition of Gibb’s Farm as a resting place for safari travelers– ‘ a respite from the rigors of safari’.

The staff living quarters used to stand where Mulberry House sits, overlooking the former coffee processing plant.  With the cottage renovation starting in 2002, it was decided that the coffee processing plant and staff quarters would be relocated further down the hill, to the areas they occupy today.  The relocated coffee processing plant can be viewed during a tour of the vegetable garden with one of the Farm’s guides.  It’s regularly used to process coffee harvested from August through December.  Many travelers come from environments where coffee plants are not grown and Gibb’s Farm exposes travelers to the production process of this beverage that many people in the world enjoy on a daily basis but may not know much about in terms of its origins.  Travelers are also able to schedule a viewing of the roasting process of the coffee with the old-fashioned hand powered roaster.  The staff quarters were also relocated and dramatically upgraded to accommodate the larger number of employees that now work at Gibb’s Farm.  Because Gibb’s Farm is both a lodge and a working farm, the number of employees is higher than a typical lodge in this area.

The Mulberry House’s present legacy is the Mulberry trees that surround the house.  These beautiful trees produce Mulberries such as those depicted in Riziki Kateya’s, (1) Mulberry botanical illustration.  Riziki is a SANAA artist-in-residence.  Scientific illustrations such as this require great attention to detail and artistic ability as the slightest error can prohibit the plant from being correctly identified.  While the fruits are ripening they turn red and when they are fully ripe the plump fruits are a deep purple, almost black in color.

The mulberries produced by the trees surrounding this house are used in a variety of recipes such as mulberry jam and preserves.  The kitchen at Gibb’s Farm receives frequent requests for recipes. 

Gibb’s Farm makes all of their food fresh everyday getting over 90% of their fruits and vegetables required for the meals from the seven acres organic vegetable farm located on the Gibb’s estate.  If travelers are enamored with one of the dishes, all they need to do is ask and our chefs are more than happy to provide the recipe. 

Not only do the Mulberry trees provide fruit for traveler’s enjoyment, but the Mulberry tree also has a relationship with the environment that surrounds it.  Some of the over two hundred species of birds that live on Gibb’s Farm enjoy the fruits of this tree as well.  David Mzuguno (2), a SANAA artist-in-residence, portrays this symbiotic relationship in his painting titled Mulberries.  This scene was painted directly onto Eucalyptus scrap wood while Mulberry House was under construction.

Another area that emphasizes the symbiotic relationship Gibb’s Farm has with nature is the Weaver’s Pond located off the path to the main farmhouse.  The Grosbeak-Weavers  return to the pond every year to build their nests and often there is one positioned precariously between the reeds. 

Gibb’s Farm offers a bird watching walk for avid birdwatchers that includes the opportunity to view such birds as the Tropical Boubou, a bird whose distinct call is often heard around the farm.  Their distinct long tails easily identifies Mousebirds andone of the most colorful birds seen around the Farm is the male Sunbird.  Its gold, bronze, and green metallic appearance accompanies its distinctly long and curved beak.  In addition to the many birds that can be viewed at Gibb’s Farm, its neighboring natural wonder, Ngorongoro Crater, is also a haven for at least 400 species of birds. 

Charles Bies (3), a SANAA artist-in-residence, depicts a village full of whimsy caricatures,  perhaps they have eaten too many mulberry sweet.

Gibb’s Farm’s fosters and appreciates its relationship with its environment and local wildlife and the theme of this cottage is just one example of the emphasis Gibb’s Farm places on its natural surroundings.  We invite you to join us in our appreciation of the natural surroundings with such activities as walking to the local waterfall, the Elephant Caves of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, the organic vegetable garden, and more.  If you are interested in experiencing any of these activities or would like more informa-tion on what Gibb’s Farm can offer travelers, please contact Reception.


(1) Riziki Kateya Mulberries, off-set lithography from water color original in the Sanaa Gallery collection.  A Commissioned Sanaa work.

(2) David Mzuguno, Mulberries,

acrylic on Eucalyptus scrap wood.  A Commissioned Sanaa work.

(3) Charles Bies, Mulberries Boys, Mpingo wood carving

Sanaa Art Gallery Collection installed in each cottage.  Select works have been commissioned to carry the theme and lesson of the house.