Angama Mara, a new high-design safari lodge offering a modern interpretation of a 1920s safari, has opened in Kenya’s Maasai Mara Game Reserve. Hanging high on the edge of the Great Rift Valley Escarpment, with views that stretch for miles across the Maasai Mara 300m below, one of the main reasons to stay at Angama Mara is because this is where the most memorable scenes from the film ‘Out of Africa’ were filmed 30 years ago.
Translated from Swahili ‘suspended in mid-air’, Angama Mara was designed by architect duo Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens. Featuring two totally separate camps of just 15 guest suites each, the tents perch on platforms that hang over the escarpment. Eleven-metre-wide floor-to-ceiling glass doors in each tented suite give a feeling of being inside the view. While taking inspiration from Nairobi’s Muthaiga Club, each camp has its own guest area orientated towards the sweeping view of the Mara plain below and the Pavilion shared by the two camps has an infinity pool and a Fitness Room.
The loft-like interiors created by stylista Annemarie Meintjes are a modern take on safari style incorporating a mix of cutting-edge furniture from South African designer John Vogel and French outdoor furniture manufacturer Fermob as well as examples of the contemporary craftwork of the Maasai. Subtle touches throughout the lodge nod to the ‘Out of Africa’ story, such as a tiny replica of Finch Hatton’s plane, cane plantation chairs that were designed for the film and classic finishes like brass and copper bath fixtures.
Flexibility and ingenuity is at Angama Mara’s core with days planned around what the guests may want to do, and when. Because of its elevated location, wildlife viewing can be enjoyed straight from the lodge looking down onto the plains below while resident game around the lodge is plentiful. Each tent is equipped with binoculars and there is a spotting scope in the guest area. Game drives include bush picnics in secluded spots. With 3000 elephants in the Mara ecosystem, these gracious animals are a common sight on game drives. Guests can also do walking safaris with the lodge’s well-trained Maasai naturalists. The ‘Out of Africa’ kopje which features on the movie’s poster has been left untouched for guests to explore and picnic in private.
For a tailor-made safari experience, guests are encouraged to eat where they prefer, when they prefer: out on safari with a picnic under a solitary tree, privately on the deck of their tent, more romantically in the guest areas or family-style on long tables under the stars at a bush barbecue. Celebrating Kenya’s best, they enjoy tea and coffee from the Highlands, beef from the north, freshly grown fruit and vegetables from owner-run smallholdings and seafood from the coast