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Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara
Angama Mara

Angama Mara: Our full report

Situated in the western part of Kenya's Maasai Mara National Reserve, the luxury Angama Mara opened in 2015.

It is set in a commanding position on the rim of the Siria-Oloololo Escarpment, looking down onto the Mara Triangle. The lodge comprises two identical, self-contained camps, each with 15 tented suites, its own central area, and independent services.

Angama Mara takes its name from the Swahili angama, meaning 'suspended in the air', and it is truly in a superlative position. The site was formerly occupied by Olkurruk Mara Lodge, which was built for the crew and stars of Sydney Pollack's 1985 blockbuster movie, Out of Africa. The original lodge sadly burned down, but it has allowed the brand new Angama Mara to make use of the outstanding location.

Angama Mara was built by Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald, who continue to own and help run the lodge. Over the past 30 years, they have created and worked at some of the best safari lodges in sub-Saharan Africa, and this new venture has clearly been influenced by some of their other projects – including Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater Lodge , which was built in 1995.

The 30 tented suites at Angama Mara, each covering an area of more than 100m2, are split evenly between the 'South Camp', which faces south-east, and the 'North Camp', which looks directly east over the Maasai Mara. The Suites in the South Camp arguably have slightly better panoramic views, although a steeper drop off in North Camp can make this feel quite dramatic.

Although three walls and the roof of the suites are canvas, they feel more like modern, open-plan apartments than safari tents. All are glass-fronted, with superb views over the Mara from every part of the room – the bed, the bath, the sitting area or the shower. However, although you can choose to sleep with the sliding doors open, admitting fresh air and some sounds of the wild, some guests might feel quite removed from the surrounding wildlife. Each suite does, though, have a large, decked veranda with two modern red rocking chairs – a great place to while away the afternoon or indulge in a private dinner.

Inside, each suite is art deco in style: with polished dark wooden parquet flooring; high, well-lit, pink ceilings; and walls made from a combination of white quilted screens and exposed brick. Tasteful flashes of red, gold and bronze add to the sophisticated appearance. Red is the signature colour of Angama Mara and there are nods to this throughout the lodge, from the cushions and soft furnishings to the staff uniforms. We liked the clever touches such as the attractive drinks; a writing desk that has an ingenious charging box with a variety of plug adaptors; and stylish furniture which made the rooms feel modern and high-class. All guests are provided with Nikon binoculars for use during their stay, however you need to request these from a member of staff as they are not kept in the rooms due to risk of theft.

All of the tented suites contain double or twin beds, and four of them (two in each camp) are interconnecting, with a shared balcony, making them suitable for families. The beds have electric blankets, which are surprisingly welcome at night, when it can be pretty chilly this high on the escarpment.

Since the suites are open plan, the bathroom is separated from the lounge only by a comparatively small decorative screen. We felt that you would need to be fairly comfortable with the person sharing the room as there is not much in the way of privacy here. There is a free-standing bath, a vanity mirror with double basins and gold taps, a separate flush toilet and an excellent rain shower. A selection of Afro-chic toiletries is also supplied.

Each camp has its own main area, housed within one large building with a terrace, and this, together with the division of the suites, combines to make the lodge as a whole feel smaller than it really is.

The restaurant and bar area looks very professional, not dissimilar to a top-end restaurant in a major city. Polished red floors, rustic wood-beamed ceilings, exposed brick walls and yet more flashes of bronze and red continue the contemporary theme. To one side is a cosy library, where a log fire is lit on colder nights and guests may choose to have a private dinner at the large dining table. There is also a TV here, with a selection of DVDs should you want to watch a film in the evening.

However, by far the most striking feature of Angama Mara is the splendid terrace and 'baraza' (meaning 'meeting place'), which overhangs the Siria-Oloololo Escarpment and gives arguably the best views of the Mara to be found. Breakfast, lunch and often dinner are served on this terrace, and the sunken firepit with comfortable red cushions is an excellent place to meet for a drink before dinner. There is also a telescope here so that guests can look for wildlife in the Mara Triangle. This came into its own on our last visit, when we watched a black rhino browsing while we enjoyed our morning coffee!

The activities at Angama Mara are varied and flexible. Most guests will want to make use of the lodge's fully open vehicles and go on game drives in the Mara Triangle section of the Maasai Mara National Reserve, accompanied by a top safari guide. This large district is visited by very few other lodges and camps, and remains comparatively quiet compared to other areas of the Mara, but gives excellent wildlife-viewing from a network of well-maintained earth roads. Parts of the Mara Triangle are also open to off-road driving. As well as game drives, you can do guided walks on the escarpment.

If you just want to chill, you'll find a decent-sized solar heated infinity pool (12m x 6m) with suntrap walling around three sides, as well as a fitness suite, and the option of massages on your own veranda (at extra cost).

There is an excellent photography studio onsite, with a couple of photographers in residence. Guests are welcome to visit the studio where the team can help you to edit your photos and teach you a few photography skills. They also have Canon and Nikon camera bodies and lenses available to hire at extra cost, or alternatively you can arrange to hire a photographer for the day for a special photo shoot.

On our last visit we were also really impressed with the Map Room, which housed a large number of ancient maps of Africa from days gone by. There are also several fascinating maps depicting the geographic range of different bird, plant and mammal species, in addition to a collection of old animal skulls and fossils. This space is dominated by a large wooden table, and this can also be as a private dining area for groups. A naturalist is based at Angama and they would be happy to chat through the local flora and fauna, and they can also offer guided nature walks along the escarpment.

There is a well-stocked curio shop on site, and local ladies visit Angama on a daily basis to create a range of beaded products, from belts and jewelry to bags, as well as bespoke commissioned pieces. Guests are welcome to join the ladies for an hour or two and they can teach you how to bead your own jewelry.

A visit to the local village, costing US$35 per person, can be a rewarding – and very immersive – experience. Guests will meet the village chief, who will give a talk, and you will be welcomed with a dance – but be prepared to be sold some souvenirs at the end! Any purchases can be paid for by card at the end of your stay.

If you are feeling particularly active there is also the option to run with a Kenyan, and join the local staff running team for a morning run along the escarpment. A high level of fitness is recommended, as they can easily run up to 20km each day.

Roughly twice a week the Angama team arrange a communal sundowner experience for all guests at their onsite boma, with a dance performance by local Maasai, many of whom work at the lodge. This is accompanied by hot snacks and their signature cocktail of the day.

Angama Mara has also built a huge vegetable garden, which provides seasonal, fresh produce to the lodge. Tours of this impressive shamba (meaning 'farm' in Swahili) are also very popular, and it is also a lovely spot for lunch.

The team behind Angama Mara is doing a great amount for the local communities too. Each guest makes a US$10 per night donation, which is invested in community and conservation projects in the Mara Triangle. So far they have built a village for the staff that includes a clinic and dispensary, while they have also built classrooms at a nearby school and dormitories so that teachers could stay there.

Guides from the lodge are also educating children about the benefits of conservation as well as working very closely with the Mara Conservancy, which manages the Mara Triangle, assisting them with anti-poaching. This is particularly important in this unfenced area, which has such a high population of elephant and rhino.


Our view

Angama Mara is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious lodges in the Maasai Mara. A stay here is going to be very comfortable and with links to 'Out of Africa' it particularly suits honeymooners and those with a strong romantic streak. We really love its elevated location, excellent guiding, and easy access to the Mara Triangle, which offers a slightly quieter wildlife experience within the Maasai Mara National Reserve.

Lyndsey Marris

Lyndsey Marris

Kenya expert

Geographics

Location
Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Directions
The nearest airstrip is Kichwa Tembo, which is about a 45 minute flight from Nairobi and then a half hour drive from Angama Mara. There are plans to build a new airstrip next to Angama, however this is not yet operational.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
The food at Angama is a real highlight of your visit, and we have been blown away by the quality of the food each time we have stayed. Seasonal, fresh produce is a signature of Angama, and most of it is grown a few hundred metres from the restaurant in their very own shamba. All meals are served à la carte at private tables.

For breakfast we had a fruit smoothie, followed by homemade granola and yoghurt, which was rounded off by creamy scrambled eggs, a tomato and lettuce salad, banana muffin and fresh passion fruit and ginger juice.

Lunch consisted of a Greek salad, followed by a platter of hummus, seasonal vegetables, grilled chicken, fried aubergine, olives and gherkins. Lunch is always served with their lemonade of the day, when we stayed this was ginger and lime lemonade - it was incredibly refreshing.

Our three-course dinner was perhaps the best meal of the day. We started with arancini served with a rich tomato sauce, followed by a juicy barbecued steak and a chocolate pot for dessert. All of which were delicious!

Every few days Angama also has a in the bush, a small clearing they have set up for this purpose which is dotted with tables and trees hung with storm lanterns.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
On request
Drinks included
All drinks are included in the rates except for French Champagne.

Special interests

Honeymoons
Angama Mara offers a private honeymoon experience in a fantastic setting, with great food and extremely comfortable accommodation.
See ideas for Honeymoons
Luxury
This ravishing new safari camp is the perfect base for a carefree luxury safari. The huge, glass-fronted tented rooms offer some of the region’s most striking views; the modern and stylish décor includes polished parquet floors and each room comes with a WiFi-enabled iPad.
See ideas for Luxury

Children

Attitude towards children
Children are welcome over the age of 6.
Property’s age restrictions
6+
Special activities & services
Children may go on nature walks around the lodge, learn how to bake in the kitchen and how to bead in the studio. Special sundowners can also be organised for children with roasted marshmallows. A childminding service is available so that parents can have dinner later than their children.
Generally recommended for children
This is a camp with a sophisticated style, generally more suited to older children and teens.
Notes
Angama Mara is set on a very steep cliff edge and so children should be watched closely at all times.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Angama Mara

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Angama Mara have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.

Black Rhino

100% success

Buffalo

100% success

Cheetah

100% success

Eland

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Leopard

100% success

Lion

100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Striped Hyena

50% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Wildebeest

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
There is 24 hour power and guests can charge in their rooms using any number of adaptors which are provided.
Communications
Free WiFi is available throughout the lodge.
TV & radio
There is a TV in the library room.
Water supply
Other
Water supply notes
Drinking water is purified and bottled on site.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
There are first aid kits in the main areas and in each safari vehicle. The managers are First-aid trained and there is a clinic nearby in the staff village.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Askaris (gurads) are on hand to walk guests between the rooms and the main areas at night.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers in each room.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Hot air ballooning

    Hot air ballooning

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A full laundry service is included and, from our experience, incredibly efficient!
Money
There is a safe in each room.
Accepted payment on location
Cash in all major currencies can be used to settle any extras. Mastercard, Visa and Amex credit cards are also accepted – there is no surcharge.

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