Project NameAngama Mara
Telephone+254 20 660 6001
Architecture PracticeSilvio Rech + Lesley Carstens
Ratesfrom US$ 750
GPS 1°16'27.7"S 34°58'15.1"E
|Project Name||Angama Mara||Posted in||Hotels, Design, Interior Design||Location||
Transmara / Olorien ‘A’/1, Mara Triangle, Narok County
|Telephone||+254 20 660 6001||[email protected]||Architecture Practice||Silvio Rech + Lesley Carstens|
|Completed||2015||Rates||from US$ 750||Official Website||www.angama.com|
GPS 1°16'27.7"S 34°58'15.1"E
Perched high on the rim of an escarpment at the western edge of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, the Angama Mara Hotel is the newest safari lodge by Steve and Nicky Fitzgerald, veteran creators of nearly 65 projects in Africa and Asia. Opened in June of this year and comprising two groups of 15 tented suites with overhanging terraces and a guest pavilion, the compound boasts uninterrupted views over the vast grassy plains of the Great Rift valley below — giving substance to the word angama which means “hanging or suspended in midair”’ in Swahili.
Designed by South African based architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens, the lodge combines elements of local Maasai architecture, colonial era design and Modernist influences. The latter can be seen on the central guest pavilion, a whimsical take on Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House, in the form of a rectangular box with glazing all around, capped by a flat roof punctured by two conical shapes that create separate spaces inside the open-plan interior. The conical shapes of red brickwork, inspired by local techniques, are repeated on the back in a dense cluster, alluding to a typical Maasai compound: a collection of loaf-shaped huts while the third theme, colonial architecture, is evident in the central thatched roof of the pavilion, the large timber-decked terraces and the tented suites embodying the classic African safari theme: “romance, canvas and elegant simplicity”. The colonial spirit has also informed the interiors which evoke the aesthetics of Karen Blixen’s house and Nairobi’s legendary Muthaiga Country Club, both visited by the project’s interior designer Annemarie Meintjes.
As the proprietors claim, “it really does seem that all the roads in our lives have led us to this lovely spot high up on the edge of the Rift Valley”. And with good reason. The Reserve boasts a diversity of animals, birds and flora that is unheard of—and for 12 months of the year, too—as well as the spectacle of hundreds of wild beasts thundering through during the Great Migration from July to October. Combined with the Mara River which boasts some of the biggest crocodiles on Earth, the area makes for a one-of-a-kind safari experience. For guests seeking a break from game watching activities, Angama Mara also offers a variety of alternative options, such as visiting traditional settlements known as manyattas to experience Maasai culture, picnicking on the romantic 'Ngong Hills' where scenes for the 1985 film Out of Africa were filmed, or take a hot-air balloon ride and experience the valley from the air.
Back at the hotel itself, guests are also spoilt for choice. They can visit the curated gallery of African art craft and jewellery or the craft studio to watch Maasai women beading, or watch Maasai warriors demonstrate traditional song and dance every evening. Active guests can let off steam in the lodge’s fitness centre or enjoy the 40-foot-long outdoor swimming pool overlooking the steppe. Meanwhile, massages on the deck, relaxing with a book or movie in the library or sipping a drink on the terrace marvelling at the sun hovering over the Mara offer the perfect opportunity to unwind, rest and relax.
About The Photography
Images sourced from the Angama Mara online portal. The site features lodge photography by Stevie Mann, Barney Trevelyan-Johnson and Sinamatella Productions, with special thanks to Will Taylor of Khashana Adventure Travel, Karen Braby, Andrew Schoeman of Africa Photographic Services, Marius Coetzee of Oryx Photographic Safaris, and several partner properties for providing destination imagery.