In December and April, I had the absolute privilege or travelling to the Angama Mara in the Maasai Mara in Kenya to do some photographic work. To say this was a dream assignment would be a massive understatement. I was there to take a few pics of the food for their website and for a special project which will soon be unveiled. I couldn’t help myself from shooting in all the fabulous nooks and crannies of this simply exquisite property nestled on top of a hill overlooking the Maasai Mara. It is breathtaking.
When I arrived I cried when I saw the row of friendly staff cheering and singing to welcome us in the warmest Kenyan way. My eyes were also leaking because it’s so damn beautiful and I couldn’t quite believe I was actually there. The property is nestled on top of an escarpment and means ‘suspended in air’. I shed a tear when I left because it was so sad to leave somewhere so magical. The experience was life-changing and humbling for me.
Working with the owner and CEO Nicky Fitzgerald was an incredible honour. She is an icon in the hospitality industry has started a number of famous properties including the Bay Hotel and Blues restaurant (amongst others) with her late husbands Steve Fitzgerald. Her career has spanned 35 years where she has worked in over 50 luxury lodges across sub-Saharan Africa and India. Watching her operate her business first hand and deal with guests and staff left me in awe. She is one of the most inspiring women I have met in my career and I can see why Conde Naste Traveller voted Angama Mara the best lodge in Africa.
There are so many different experiences to enjoy if you are a guest at Angama. Obviously, you will want to go on as many game drives as possible, which are custom made for you by their expert guides. You see so many animals in this corner of this famous game reserve you will never be disappointed. You could go out for a sunrise picnic breakfast on safari and be back for lunch, or have breakfast at the lodge and go out for a picnic lunch along the Mara River, or go out and do two picnics in one day (highly recommended). Or go hot air ballooning at the break of dawn and float above all the animals. Or you could take a long guided walk along the escarpment overlooking Africa’s Great Rift Valley, or simply lounge around the pool or on your own private deck. Whatever you do, you will never want to leave. They also have a small private gym, which I managed to get to a few times to try and offset a few of the delicious calories I was consuming. The food is utterly delicious at Angama and they feed you well and very often. The menu which changes daily is exactly the kind of food you want to eat when you are on safari in the middle of Africa. Delicious approachable food that is not at all frilly and pompous. Expect dishes with a strong Middle Eastern or Mediterranean flavour. Expect the best burger in the Mara with crispy fried chips and onion rings. Expect plates of pasta, grilled fresh fish, hearty steaks and dishes peppered with Swahili influences. I fell in love with the honey biscuits, the freshly made brioche rolls and everything in-between.
From sunset drinks in the boma and watching Maasai men sing and jump to a bush BBQ by candlelight in the forest near the lodge, or a healthy vegetarian lunch in the beautiful Shamba (meaning garden in Swahili), you will get to dine and drink in a few exquisite locations too.
I can always tell a better story through the lens of my camera, so please enjoy my pictures and memories of Angama and I hope that you will one day be as lucky as I was to visit. I reckon if you cry when you arrive at a place and then cry when you leave you have visited somewhere very special.
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