September 2-3, 2013
The 50+ cottages of the Ngorognoro Farm House are nestled in the extensive acreage that includes an inviting pool area, a kitchen vegetable garden, numerous flower beds, and a coffee plantation that supplies all the coffee needs of the lodge. The pretty grounds have a somewhat unkempt natural feel rather than overly manicured and blend into the surrounding highland hills.
Our spacious triple was comfortable and charming. 3 generously spaced 4-poster beds, graced with white linens, ample pillows and mosquito netting, surround a small sitting area. A wardrobe separates the high-ceilinged living area from the bathroom area that includes a long vanity with two sinks. A toilet room and large walk in shower sit in one corner.
Evening tours of the plantation and gardens ($5US) are given by Paulo, a local from a nearby village. His colorful explanation of coffee production and the lives of the locals that farm the fields offers interesting cultural insights. Women in his village, for example, are not called by their given name but rather mama plus the name of their husband. Thus Paulo’s wife is called Mama Paulo.
Near the end of the tour we are introduced to some of the women picking the last of the coffee beans and encouraged to take photos and make a small donation.
Dining: Of the two evenings we dined in the restaurant, one included mains cooked and served to order while the other evening was buffet only. Food is well prepared, better than at the Serena Lodge, but not outstanding. Overall selection, however, is greater at Serena Lodge.
For safari lunch boxes they have a buffet table set up in the morning where you can choose the items to be included. While in principle this is a good idea, it can take more time if you have to wait behind other guests.
Location: While we had chosen the Ngorongoro Serena Lodge for the night before the early morning safari drive into the crater, the Farm House is only about 30 minutes further from the main entrance.