CHECK IT OUT ANGAMA MARA LODGE, KENYA
One of Africa’s most experienced safari teams has opened a luxury lodge on Kenya’s Great Rift Valley Escarpment, where some of the most famous scenes in Sydney Pollack’s 1985 hit movie Out of Africa, based on Karen Blixen’s bestseller, were filmed.
Perched above the northern tip of the quieter Mara Triangle, a hop from the capital Nairobi, Angama Mara is the brainchild of Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald, who worked with &Beyond (formerly CC Africa), he as chief executive, she as marketing director, for 15 years, expanding the operation from three to more than 60 lodges in Africa and India.
The Fitzgeralds have come out of retirement to bring everything they’ve learned to this dream location. A contemporary spin on the 1920s safaris enjoyed by Blixen, the lodge has two separate camps of 15 tents, each with its own kitchen, staff and guest area, as well as two sets of interconnecting tents for families.
Fashioned by one of Nairobi’s best tent- makers, each suite features canvas sides with 11m-wide floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening to a platform suspended above the valley, affording sensational 180-degree views of the Masai Mara.
The almost loft-like dimensions of these luxury tents are detailed with parquet flooring, super-king bed, contemporary furniture from South African designer John Vogel, including a handsome drinks cabinet, modern Masai craftworks and deck furniture by French firm Fermob. There’s even Wi-Fi.
The striking pavilion shared by both camps features an infinity pool, fitness centre and fantastic safari shop and studio where Masai women bead bespoke items for sale.
DON’T MISS: A dawn walk along the Great Rift Valley with a Masai naturalist guide.
DINING IN: Head chef Collins Randiga and his team produce fresh, lively fare using quality local produce. A typical luncheon menu may include tuna kebabs, pulled pork sandwich, the “best burger in the Mara”, and tamarind and toasted sesame ice cream. Dining arrangements are flexible; you can join other guests or have a private dinner on your deck. And there is no buffet. Ever.
DINING OUT: Ask the kitchen to pack an Out of Africa picnic and a naturalist will escort you to the famous kopje (small hill) featured in the movie (and on the poster), where a romantic safari set-up awaits.
ASK THE CONCIERGE: Look out for the lodge’s subtle nods to Pollack’s movie, including cane plantation chairs designed especially for the director.
CHECKING IN: From $US750 ($1042) a person a night, including all meals, beverages, safari activities, laundry and childminding. More: angama.com.
ALSO TRY: Taj Safaris’ Banjaar Tola, India; Great Fish River Lodge, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa.