Our final stop was Angama Mara, a very special new safari lodge created and operated by Steve & Nicky Fitzgerald, legends in the luxury safari lodge industry, and good friends of our good friends, Will and Brandy Taylor (Khashana Adventure Travel). We’d been following closely the development of this dream – the beauty and history of the Angama Mara site drew visionaries Steve and Nicky out of retirement – and we felt like we were coming to a friend’s home by the time we were greeted with warm hugs on Angama’s private airstrip.
Inspired by the Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’, Angama Mara teeters on the edge of the Oloololo escarpment high above the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and overlooks Kenya’s Maasai Mara, considered by many as the loveliest game reserve on the continent. (Note: From www.maasai-association.org, “Maasai is the correct spelling not Masai. Masai with one ‘A‘ is incorrect. In the future please spell Maasai with double aa. We prefer Maasai, not Masai. The title Maasai derives from the word Maa. Maa-sai means my people.” So that’s what we’re going with 🙂 )
Making it even more special, Angama Mara is the location where some of the most memorable scenes from Out of Africa were filmed. One of our highlights was a magical afternoon picnic overlooking the Mara in the exact spot where Karen Blixen (Meryl Streep) and Denys Finch Hatton (Robert Redford) picnicked.
We cannot rave enough about the hospitality we received at Angama Mara. Nicky’s personal, and seasoned, touch shows through in so many small, and big, ways: the rooms had us with the floor to ceiling glass façades showcasing the Mara, including showers with a view; roll-top tubs and retro furnishings; made to order cappuccinos delivered as our early morning wakeup call; our favorite refreshments and Angama’s special roasted cashews stocked daily in our room; we even had pretty steady wifi – no small feat since we were the furthest tent from the main lodge. Tyler & Shannon Davis, the husband/wife team who serve as regional directors and are responsible for the performance of the lodge, are doing an outstanding job.
Many thanks to Khashana and to Nicky and Steve at Angama. Safari lodges are abundant in this part of the world; people make the difference between a good experience and a magical one. Nicky and Steve and the entire staff at Angama have the magic touch for sure.