Veteran Safari Experts Launch New Lodge Above Kenya’s Maasai Mara

Angama Mara staff discuss lodge developments with a member of the local Maasai community.
Angama Mara staff discuss lodge developments with a member of the local Maasai community. (Photo: Patrick Dowd)

Between 1994 and 2009, South African couple Nicky and Steve Fitzgerald led the development of over 60 luxury safari lodges throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and India.

They had planned to retire, but an unexpected opportunity to build one more – for the first time, under their ownership — on one of the African continent’s most extraordinary parcels drew them into the throes of launching a new business.

This month, Angama Mara, the result of a $17 million fundraising campaign, 18-month construction sprint, and sales effort that involved individually pitching their new offering to over 1,000 travel agents worldwide, opens its doors on the Oloololo Escarpment overlooking Kenya’s famed Maasai Mara wildlife conservancies.

The sweeping vistas afforded by Angama Mara’s unparalleled perch above the Mara will be familiar to fans of the Academy Award-winning film Out of Africa. The film depicted the adventures and travails of a Danish baroness who was among Kenya’s early colonial settlers, and portions of the iconic movie were filmed on the property.

A lioness poses in front of the Oloololo Escarpment, atop which rests Angama lodge (Photo: Patrick Dowd)

Approaching by open-air safari vehicle from nearby Kichwa Tembo airstrip, my driver, Kenneth Kiptanui – an expert guide who will over the next two days identify and intricately describe countless local flora and fauna and we journey throughout the Conservancy – encounter a lioness, posturing against the backdrop of the swooping cliff atop which sits Angama Mara.

Gesturing toward the escarpment, Kenneth explains that the property lease was offered exclusively to Steve Fitzgerald by the leaders of the local Maasai community, who own the land and graze their cattle in the surrounding area, on account of the trust Steve had built with them —> Read More