Angama Mara Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya.
Located atop the picturesque Oloololo Escarpment, overlooking the beautiful dotted plains of the Mara Triangle, sits a brand new luxury tented lodge- Angama Mara.
Having avidly followed all updates on the development of the camp following a presentation carried out by Kate and Nicky Fitzgerald, in November last year, we could hardly contain our excitement when Tano Safaris was lucky to be given the opportunity to experience the new tented lodge, which opened a few weeks ago. There are still a few final touches to be done, however the lodge is open and is already receiving (very happy) guests!
The drive up the escarpment is breathtaking. We came across hyenas, impalas, zebras and even an elusive Mountain reedbuck on the hilly slopes. The Angama Airstrip, a 4min drive away from the lodge, or a refreshing 10min walk, begun receiving scheduled flights on the 9th of Sptember.
The approach to the main buildings on the gravelled paths presents interestingly shaped domes and structures, but it’s the stunning views visible from every angle that are truly incredible. The inviting and stylish interiors of the bar, lounge and indoor dining areas are superb, however they do take a back seat to the raw, timeless beauty of the natural landscape around, and below the lodge.
The public areas at Angama Mara feature the lounge and dining area, bar and library. Private dining in the guest tents is catered for. The gorgeous 12m x 6m infinity swimming pool overlooks the plains of the Mara Triangle. There is a craft centre, or Design Studio, at the lodge, where the women from the local community create and sell create modern, high-end bespoke jewellery and embellishments (traditional jewellery and curios can be purchased at the villages, visits to which can be arranged directly), however the team behind Angama Mara is keen to explore the lengths to which traditional materials and craft making can take on a modern, sharp edge. All guests contribute towards a fund which has been set up to improve the livelihood of the local people in the area, by providing employment to the men and women, and one of the projects the Angama team hopes to complete by the end of the year is the construction of a fully equipped clinic.
Divided into 2 camps, the 15 guest tents and public area in each camp (30 tented suites in total) are set on the first two kopjes. The rooms have one spacious, super king size bed, or two twin beds. Each camp has a set of interconnected tents, ideal for families, connected by a covered walkway between each tent. The maximum occupancy for the camp is 30 guests at a time. Only children aged up to 12yrs may share a triple (an extra bed would be a bunk bed). There is no single room supplement for the first 2 singles per booking. There is one tent with better access for disabled/ physically challenged guests.
Each olive green tent is set on a raised 35sqm wooden platform, with sweeping views of the plains, always visible through the 10m length of floor to ceiling retractable glass windows. There is a set of mesh sliding doors, and blinds are available for the windows, should guests prefer to use them. Two of the tents in the North Camp are situated slightly in front of the others and have prime views, however, every single tented suite has uninterrupted views of the Mara Triangle’s breathtaking plains.
(The tents are spaced quite close together, approximately 6m apart. Bearing in mind that the camp is brand new, it will take time for the vegetation around each tent to grow back fully. While there are no direct views into the neighbouring tent, there are plans to put up canvas fly-sheets between the tents for added privacy until the vegetation is of the optimal height).
The luxurious tented 70sqm suites have en suite bathroom and loo facilities, including a romantic old style tin bathtub, twin vanities, and a separate shower (optionally accessible from the deck as well). The tents have a spacious interior, with limited furniture so they do not appear crowded, a polished wooden deck, and are all equipped with a safe, mini bar, two ceiling fans, and a hair dryer. There is a pair of binoculars for guests to use in the room only. Electric blankets are provided between May and August. In-room massage can be done in the room (extra charge), and each tent has a Butler’s lobby, where the morning tea/coffee is delivered with the wake-up call. Smoking is not allowed in the tents, or inside the public buildings. There are ashtrays provided on all the outdoor decks of the rooms and other areas of the camp.
Every guest tent is equipped with a tablet with a built in telephone service that serves as the lodge’s communication system. On arrival, guests are shown how to use the tablet. It can be used to make and receive calls, communicate with the lodge staff and for emergencies (to contact the security or camp manager) or if guests prefer, a 2-way radio can be provided.
There is free Wireless Internet throughout the camp (although guests are encouraged not to utilise their phones or laptops in the dining areas). Mobile phone reception is good throughout the camp. The camp runs on 24hr electricity from the national grid (240V) and multiple international adaptors are available in the tents and the public areas. The camp has standby generators in case of power failure.
The accommodation is based on Full Board with a selection of quality drinks (excluding French champagne). The food is fantastic! They have a constantly changing menu, no buffets. Meals are served in each camp’s dining room, on the impressive deck looking out to the plains, next to the swimming pool, out in the open for bush dinners or even in the privacy of the guests’ tents.
Every meal is freshly prepared, from juicy tasty hamburgers to traditionally roasted meat (Nyama Choma), to fine dining that would make a French chef proud! The picnic boxes contain couscous, salads with dressings, fresh fruit salads and freshly baked brownies, macadamia nuts etc, along with ice cold drinks or steamy, hot, freshly pressed coffee.
Drinking water, sparkling and still, is distilled and purified on the property, and is provided in the glass bottles found throughout the lodge. The lodge has a water purification plant on the premises, however if guests would prefer to have commercially bottled water, this is provided on request.
Activities included during the stay are shared morning and afternoon or full day game drives in the Mara Triangle*, limited night drives and walking safaris atop the escarpment and use of the swimming pool, and the Fitness Centre, library and the other facilities within the camp. Laundry is included. The Fitness centre has treadmills, bicycles, ellipticals, and dumbbells, cross fitness machines, Pilates balls and yoga mats. Yoga mats can also be provided in the guest tents on request. The library has a TV, DVD collection and handpicked books for children and adults. The library also has 2 computers for guests to use, a printer, and board games such as backgammon, chess and scrabble, and playing cards.
Umbrellas for use by the guests are found in the rooms and in the main building, and extra blankets, fleeces wraps and rain ponchos are provided in the game drive vehicles.
Guests who wish have a late check-out have access to the changing room, complete with a shower, where they can refresh themselves and change before being transferred back to the airstrip in the late afternoon.
(* The camp has a direct access road leading straight down in to the Mara Triangle and guests will not have to enter the reserve through the park gate in the future, as the park rangers will be stationed at the Camp to facilitate the tickets checks. At the moment, the tickets checks have to be done at the reserve gate).
Optional extras, which can also be paid for direct, include visits to the local Maasai villages, balloon safaris, private use of the vehicle, in-room massage and beauty treatments, bar extras such as cigarettes or premium drinks and French champagne, safari shop purchases, and any other optional excursion or requested service.
An exciting option for those who long and dream of driving in the Mara is the hire of one of the safari vehicles at an extra daily surcharge. The guest driver must be over 30yrs of age, and one of the junior guides will accompany the guest/s in the vehicle. Payments for extras can be done in Kenya Shillings, US Dollars, British Pounds, and in Euros. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Diner’s Club and Union Pay cards, and Traveller’s Cheques are accepted.
Angama Mara is very much for clients looking for a modern and very high-end experience. It is very polished and elegant, offers personalised service and attention, is an incredible location for the views and the game drives, has incredible food and an impressively stocked bar, and the managers and staff are constantly at hand to cater to their guests wishes and are very flexible when it comes to catering to special requests.
Inspired by local Maasai architecture, and the romance of the grand and romantic safari era, with just the right touch of the modern and functional, Angama Mara delivers a scrumptious coming together of the old, the new, the practical, and the whimsical.
There is a special introductory offer of Pay 3, Stay 4 offer valid up to the end of this year and a Pay 5, Stay 7 offer valid from November to mid-December this year. Contact us for more details.