In Swahili Angama means “suspended in midair”, which is exactly where your breathe will be upon witnessing the vast and impressive landscape surrounding Angama Mara. In the wilds of Africa, set on the edge of the Great Rift Valley and overlooking the Maasai Mara lies this exclusive lodge.
Unrivalled when it comes to luxury safari lodges, the beautiful Angama Mara is split into two sections comprising of fifteen “tents”, each with their own central guest pavilion. The divide is to maintain a level of intimacy for a premium guest experience as well as to ensure each tent has an undisturbed 180 degree view.
When using the word “tent” to describe the accommodations at Angama Mara, it is being used rather liberally. The “tents” are more alined with a luxuriously designed open-plan apartment. The facade is comprised of glass, giving the guest the most perfect view of the Maasai Mara with canvas sides and tented roofs. There are gloriously polished wooden floor boards throughout, the entry doors are wrapped in colourful straps made by Maasai women, a large soaking tub to relax after a day of adventures… essentially, everything is refined to perfection ensuring the ultimate luxury stay.
Angama Mara is not only famous for it’s beauty but because the film Out of Africa was partially shot on site. In a subtle gesture to the author of Out of Africa, Karen Blixen, and to the film, there are treasures that can be found throughout the accommodations, including: Peter Beard’s book about Blixen’s favourite servant each tent, a replica of Finch Hatton’s yellow plane in the vaulted brick library and cane plantation chairs that were designed for the film, among others. Guests can even enjoy their own romantic experience like Meryl Streep and Robert Redford atop the third hill on the property. The staff will organise a for blankets, cushions, a picnic basket packed with delicious snacks and even a bottle of Chenin Blanc to be enjoyed alongside the view.
Angama Mara has the guests decide when they want to go on safari, for how long and how busy or relaxing would they like to make it – kind of like a ‘choose your own adventure’. Most of the guides came from down the hill in Kichwa Tembo and are all incredibly experienced and knowledgeable about the park. Guests won’t be assigned a particular guide for their entire stay but instead will be matched to the wants and needs, whether that be bird-watching or visiting a Maasai village or focusing on rest and relaxation time.
With its own access road into the park, the safari journey is separated by the Mara river from those travelling from Nairobi. This ensures a far more serene experience. For those who think themselves an explorer in their own right, experienced safari-goers can do a self-drive safari in one of Angama Mara vehicles, with a junior guide accompanying them of course.
For those wanting to take their safari out of the jeep and into the sky, a morning hot air balloon is just the ticket. Gently floating southwards towards the Tanzanian border, the balloon flight path will take you along the Mara River and its adjoining forest, and over the open plains. You might even spot a lion or two watching you as you sail through the air.
Having opened sixty hotels and luxury safari lodges in Africa and India since 1982, Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald certainly knew what they were doing when they came out of (semi) retirement for Angama Mara.
Their journey building and opening of the luxurious Arniston Spa Hotel in South Africa’s Western Cape Province in the early 1980’s. Discovering they had a knack for the hotel and hospitality industry, Steve and Nicky embarked on a journey they had not foreseen. After spending fifteen years building, opening and running hotels in the Western Cape, the Fitzgeralds and their daughters moved to Johannesburg to form Conservation Corporation Africa, later evolving into andBeyond.
While Angama Mara may be a safari lodge, the goal for has always been for it to be a place for travellers to slow down and enjoy the view (and what a view indeed!).
For the Fitzgeralds, Angama Mara is a shining light in their careers and a truly spectacular legacy (one of many) in the remarkable life of Steve Fitzgerald.
The Fitzgeralds have always focused on their commitment to sustainability and giving back to the people and environment. As such, there is a sophisticated water reuse program and solar power in use at the lodge, as well as $10 per guest per day being donated to the Angama Foundation. The Angama Foundation supports local communities and community projects across areas including education, medicine and clinics and the Mara Conservancy.
Prices range from $850 per person per night during low season and from $1500 per person per night in high season (all-inclusive*).
*Park fees, community visits and hot air balloons excluded.