In February of 2017, I finally checked “luxury African safari” off my travel bucket list. I spent a week at the amazing Angama Mara in the Masai Mara of Kenya. The luxury safari camp offers a truly bespoke safari experience, customized to the wishes of each guest. Whether your goal is see the Big Five of African game (lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino), to watch birds, study geology or a little of everything, they put together an experience and itinerary just for you. I wanted to see all the animals, so we spent each day driving around, in one of the camp’s custom LandCruisers, exploring the Mara Conservancy’s over 500 square miles of protected savanna. We managed to see the Big Five, plus a lot more. Our drives, broken up by prepared gourmet breakfasts and lunches served picnic-style in the bush, took us all the way to the border of Tanzania and the Serengeti Plain.
Aside from those amazing game drives each day, on one afternoon we paid a visit to Enkereri, the local Maasai village. The son of the chief gave me a personal tour and it was quite amazing to learn how the Maasai people live and about their cattle-centric culture. The highlight of the visit was being serenaded by the women and girls of the village with a few songs of welcome. As the son of the chief explained, the songs were normally sung at weddings or other Maasai gatherings to welcome arriving guests.
The Angama Mara safari camp itself is composed of two separate areas, each with 15 luxury villa-like tents. Each area has its own central lodge with a bar, lounge, library and dining room. One of the lodges has a beautiful infiniti pool and a gym, along with a small gift shop and craft workshop. The entire camp rests on an escarpment 1,000 feet above the floor of the Mara. The perfect location allows for sweeping views across the Mara and a aural delight each night listening to the sounds of the animals.
The all-inclusive safari camp features gourmet food, personal butlers and a level of service and amenities more appropriate to a luxury, five-star hotel. I had a personal Mara guide (Alice) who took me around all week, a butler assigned to my tent (Josphat) and a personal waitress (Adalite) who served all my meals. Each provided truly personal, five-star service, as good as I’ve received in any of the the luxury hotels I’ve visited around the world.
Here’s a video of the women singing to me in the Maasai village. Check back here as I’ll be writing more about my experience in Kenya and sharing more videos from my trip.
With no direct flights from the U.S., Kenya can be hard to reach for American travelers. I flew the wonderful Business Class service of Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul. The airline has several flights a day between Nairobi and IST.