The Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’, the luxury safari lodge Angama Mara appears to float high up on a precipice with an incredible view of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Precariously placed on the Ngong Hills it is the same setting as Karen Blixen’s famous novel, Out of Africa, and where much of the film version was captured.
Known as one of the world’s great game reserves it had long been on my bucket list to visit the Maasai Mara and perhaps witness one of the greatest spectacles of nature, the Great Migration! But more on our safari adventures in my next post, in this post I want to tell you all about Angama Mara, one of the most stylish lodges with the highest location in the reserve.
There main lodge is a beautiful brick building which appears to float somewhere between heaven and earth…
Surrounded by beautiful water features and lush foliage.
Meals take place on this stunning platform with a perfect view out across the Maasai Mara and this beautiful dramatic red seating area is the perfect place to enjoy the peace of the wilderness…
Or you can peer out at the herds of zebra from this telescope.
South Africa-born owners of the lodge Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald had spent over thirty years working in the luxury hotel industry; building and running some of the world’s best safari lodges. When they found the beautiful site where Angama Mara now sits, they knew that they had to come out of retirement and build what was to become one of the most luxurious lodges in Africa.
The lodge itself is completely open, so that you feel like that the outdoors still permeates every aspect of the space. The design was inspired by the famous Muthaiga Club in Nairobi, built in 1917 and featured in the film Out of Africa. Inside the lodge is minimalist and modern whilst still being safari chic; flashes of red throughout recall the Masaai colours and I loved the exposed brick and wood as well as the subtle African elements and bronze light details.
Just behind the main area is the Library, well stocked with books and films about Africa, including one of my all time favourites, The Lion King! The book selection has actually been carefully curated by Philip Blackwell from The Ultimate Library in order to inspire and entertain the guests of Angama Mara with the incredible stories that Africa has to tell.
Angama Mara operates on an all-inclusive basis and all food and house wines were included in our stay. Most meals are taken on the dining platform so that you can enjoy the menu of classic safari cuisine with that incredible view.
The menu changes everyday with a few carefully selected options on the à la carte menu; it’s all pretty simple and unfussy but super tasty as only the freshest local produce is used. They’re pretty flexible too and one day when I didn’t fancy anything from the menu, the chef whipped up a special salad for me.
The burger however, is a regular fixture on the menu and has been dubbed ‘the best burger in the Mara.’ Service in the restaurant, as in the rest of the hotel, is utterly perfect. The staff always remember how you take your coffee and will subtly appear at your table to refill your wine glass or bring you anything else you need.
Actually as well as the beauty of the place, what really made Mr S and I fall in love with Angama Mara was the warmth of the service. Shannon and Tyler Davis are the regional directors at the lodge and acted as our hosts throughout our stay. A young married couple from Seattle, Shannon and Tyler were so welcoming that Mr S and I were really quite touched by their hospitality.
Days start early on safari so breakfast is often served with a sunrise and you can enjoy a butler’s selection of fresh fruit, homemade muesli, yogurt and scones…
Followed by the cooked breakfast of your choice.
Dinner is served inside and the lodge becomes even more cosy and intimate as the fire is lit and more uncomplicated, fresh food is served.
Rooms are found down a forest walk way and though they are fairly close together, still feel private and secluded.
The lodge is made up of two camps, each with only fifteen tented suites all appearing to balance on the cliff top. There are no locks on the doors, but you are completely safe as are all your possessions.
As soon as you enter the room you’re immediately struck by the incredible view. The architects, Silvio Rechs and Lesley Karstens, have made the most of the incredible vantage point and every room has floor-to-ceiling windows and a beautiful balcony. The duo have worked with Fitzgerald’s several times before and are highly skilled in creating design based on nature.
Take a closer look and you may even see herds of elephants traversing the hills…
Inside the room the design in modern-safari chic with beautiful polished wood floors, wooden and wicker seating and vibrant flashes of red echoing the traditional dress of the Maasai warriors. Honestly waking up in that bed with a view of the Maasai Mara was like a dream come true – as were so many moments on this trip.
A beautiful drinks cabinet housed an all-inclusive drinks fridge but we also had plenty of gin and whisky to keep us going! Our butler told that these could be exchanged for any spirits that we preferred as they were very flexible and the experience here is highly personalised.
The stunning woven screen added another authentic African touch to the room and I loved the tin bath which of course had an amazing view, perfect for soaking in after an exciting safari.
The other option was to luxuriate in this gorgeous shower whilst gazing at the Mara.
The wooden vanity had a useful double sink and bespoke products for the lodge. As you can see the hotel is highly eco-friendly and the bin was lined with a paper bag rather than using plastic.
And I loved the inspirational reading material to get you in the mood for an East African adventure!
The two camps, North and South, each have their own guest areas so the only shared space is the Pavillion.
The gorgeous infinity pool is actually heated with solar power…
The gym is a place you actually want to visit!
And there’s a safari shop selling Kenyan craft with an adjacent studio where Maasai ladies prepare bespoke bead work. Actually supporting the local community is an important principle at Angama Mara and each guest contributes $10 per night to the Angama Mara foundation set up to support the local area through education, healthcare and conservation. The majority of the staff at the camp are also from the local community, further enhancing the authentic experience of the camp.
The staff ensure that your experience is always varied and wish to give a deeper understanding of Maasai culture. One night at sunset we gathered around the fire to watch a traditional Maasai song and dance, an absolutely thrilling experience.
Another incredible experience was the bush barbecue. A forest glen was lit up with twinkling lanterns and we dined family-style on the most delicious barbecued food of perfectly grilled steak, red snapper or spice kuku (a Kenyan chicken dish). Before Shannon and Tyler welcomed us back to the lodge for a dessert buffet and cheeses.
It’s easy to see why I fell in love with Angama Mara…a place of great beauty with a superb view and stunning architecture but what truly made this a great safari lodge was the fantastic warmth of the people.
- Angama Mara can be reached by charter flight about an hour from Wilson Airport in Nairobi. The hotel will be able to arrange the flight for you.
- As the charter flight operate light aircraft, baggage restrictions apply and guests are requested to bring 15 kilos per person in soft bags.
- Angama Mara is located in a low-risk Malarial area. Consult your GP about taking Malaria tablets (Mr S and I did take them).
- Park fees are charged to enter the Mara Triangle.
- Angama Mara welcomes children over 6. I personally think safaris are incredible opportunities for children to understand nature and I never felt unsafe.
- Pack comfortable clothing and walking shoes plus something warm for the evening.
- We travelled in October which gave us perfect weather but the Maasai Mara can be enjoyed from July to February. The wildebeest migration occurs July – October.
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Our accommodation was complimentary on an all-inclusive basis. We covered the costs of transfers and park fees.