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LIFESTYLE: Travel: Somewhere between Heaven and Earth

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Once in a while (or in a lifetime) you get to experience something, a moment, or even a place that you’ll never forget. A trip to the Maasai Mara might just be that …

‘I had a farm in Africa …’ Anyone who ever watched the movie Out of Africa would’ve fallen in love with the beautiful part of the Kenyan countryside where the movie plays out. One of the most memorable images (and certainly one of the most recognisable images in cinema history) is the one in which Meryl Streep and Robert Redford posed for the iconic film poster and where they had a picnic together.

Now you too can lounge on a picnic blanket high up on Kenya’s Oloololo Escarpment – in the exact spot of the Maasai Mara where these famous scenes were filmed.

Angama Mara is a remarkable owner-run safari lodge inspired by the Swahili word for ‘suspended in mid-air’. Located high above the floor of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the lodge overlooks Kenya’s Maasai Mara, considered by many the loveliest game reserve on the continent.

As you fly over the rolling hills of the reserve approaching the private airfield of the lodge, you’ll already get a glimpse of the majestic scenes you will be treated to. Herds of animals will be frolicking on the airfield and run off just before that plane touches down. And the moment you step off the plane your unforgettable experience starts …

At Angama Mara, guests will find a lodge where everything is just as it ought to be: two intimate camps of just fifteen tented suites each, a private airfield and access to the Mara below, tailor-made safari days, and the famous warm Kenyan welcome.

The lodge is set on the edge of Africa’s Great Rift Valley and there’s little that’s conventional about the creation of Angama Mara, with views that stretch for miles across the Maasai Mara 300 metres below.

The Maasai Mara is named in honour of the Maasai people who call this corner of Africa home. The Mara is world renowned for its exceptional populations of lion, leopard, cheetah, thousand-strong herds of buffalo, the rare black rhino, and of course the thriving elephants. In approximately July each year, the Great Migration starts for a four-month stay.

No day at the lodge will be predictable, as the staff will create surprises and special experiences for each guest. Your day will start with coffee, tea and rusks served in your room after your early wake-up call. Then you will have a breakfast feast fit for a kind before your ranger will meet you at the agreed time to ensure that you experience as much of the African bush as possible. Your game drive will start soon after and you’ll get the opportunity to marvel at the amazing wildlife for a few unforgettable hours. Lunch will probably be served picnic style in the shade of an acacia tree or overlooking the Great Rift Valley. Then you’ll slowly make your way back to the lodge for a leisurely late afternoon. At sundown you’ll meet fellow guests on the deck perched somewhere between heaven and earth to enjoy a sunset as grand as it gets.

The lodge’s architecturally dramatic guest areas were inspired by Nairobi’s Muthaiga Club, built in 1917 and also featured in Out of Africa. Typical of early colonial design in Africa, the inside of the guest areas become the outside and vice versa.

On lovely Mara days, all the action will be on the deck and during those dramatic but brief afternoon thunderstorms, guests are safely tucked behind the floor-to-ceiling glass doors watching the spectacle unfold.

By night, the softly lit architecture of the Maasai brick walls and the cone-shaped buildings that float on a lily pond hold guests’ attention – especially the library, a lovely quiet place and handsome brick-clad oval room, which is perfect for private dining and complete with Wi-Fi, and a thoughtfully chosen collection of books and films on Africa.

The Pavilion is the only common shared area and sits in the heart of the lodge between the two camps. With endless views of the Mara and easily reached by footpath from both camps, here guests will find a fitness room with techno gym equipment, an infinity swimming pool heated by solar power, and a shop showcasing the best Kenyan craft.

Days at Angama Mara should be savoured because the time to leave comes too soon. And as you make your way back home, you realise that you can shake the sand of Angama Mara from your shoes but it will never leave your soul.

For more info visit https://www.angama.com/