Opens: June 2015
'The sky melts into the endless plains in a vista so wide, it takes your breath away. It is a place of ever changing light, and where eagles glide by on a quest to only they know where'
This lyrical description of the location of Kenya’s newest luxury camp, Angama Mara, goes some way to explaining why this property is at the very top of our wishlist this year. The Swahili word ‘angama’, meaning ‘hanging or suspended in mid air’, and this lodge doesn’t disappoint .Innovative architecture means it seems to be suspended in the air right on the rim of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment.
This is where some of the most romantic 'Ngong Hills' scenes were filmed for Out of Africa, thirty years ago. 'I had a farm in AAafricaaa' intoned Meryl Streep (as Karen Blixen) and the world has fantasized about the beauty of this place ever since.
So what else makes this place so special?
Architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens (who also created Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, North Island and Mombo) are responsible for the look of this extraordinarily beautiful lodge. Inspiration is drawn from the classic safari; romance under canvas and an elegant simplicity. the tented suites have end-to-end glass fronts, polished parquet floors and decks overhanging the Mara below. Since this is a tented camp, specialist knowledge comes in the form of Jan Allan, described as a “maverick bush builder” and ‘canvas master’. Interiors have been created by African Stylista extraordinary, Annemarie Meintjes. The interiors team visited Karen Blixen’s House and Nairobi’s legendary Muthaiga Country Club and studied all the furniture. Best of all they tried to channel the Happy Valley crowd and imagine the characters from’ White Mischief’ were drinking in the bar…Hence the old world charm of the guest areas are set on the edge of the Ololoolo Escarpment, with wraparound views of the Mara and red brickwork is inspired by local Maasai technique.
A room with a view?
Absolutely. There are two camps of 15 suites each and every tented suite literally hangs onto the edge of the escarpment and has 180° view of the Mara below
The Maasai Mara game reserve is probably one of the best known in the world. Bordered by Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park to the South, and the Siria Escarpment to the West. An abundance of Africa’s great game roams over the undulating and seemingly endless grasslands .It is here that the Great Migration of hundreds of wildebeest and other animals thunders across the plains (July to October). The rest of the year ther is also wonderful game viewing. Plus there’s that ‘Out of Africa’ connection. Guests can even picnic at the iconic spot where some of the loveliest scenes from the film were shot.
Well-known in the industry for their involvement in some of the world’s best safari lodges, Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald created and operating over 60 &Beyond (then CCAfrica) luxury lodges across Africa and India. The beauty of this site has apparently drawn them out of retirement.
After running large scale operations Nicky and Steve are now going for the bespoke, private and personal. Game-wise Angama Mara guests descend a private track directly from the lodge to the most beautiful, least visited and best-managed part of the reserve – The Mara Triangle.
Service-wise days are flexible, designed around what our guests want to do. The two-game-drives-a-day approach is only true if you want it to be. The management like to quite words such as; “authentic, honest and mindful”. We like those words too. The owners believe Karen Blixen’s words “I am better at hello than goodbye” reverberates through every action of Angama Mara staff and that Kenyans have ‘welcome’ deep in their DNA.
Private gam drives, ballooning over the Mara, personal picnics, visits to local communities. You name it Angama Mara can organise it. Onsite, at the Pavilion set between the two camps, guests will find a fitness centre, a 12,5m (40ft) swimming pool with a country club feel, a curated gallery of African art craft and jewellery, and a studio where Maasai women work at bespoke and beautiful beading.
Luxury Link: www.angama.com