When ruminating on the concept of a mobile safari camp, most people’s thoughts lead them down a similar route: roughing it in a bubble tent, nights spent bundled up in a sleeping bag, with only paraffin lanterns illuminating the darkness. And with that, thoughts of camping tend to disappear more hastily than lightning in a thunderous storm.
But please allow me to re-orientate this perception as I walk you through a day in my life as the host at Angama Safari Camp, which in my opinion, is the best of its kind.
Waking up to early birdsong, I start my day between 04:00 and 05:00am with some push-ups, a stretching session and prayer. Guests tend not to wake up too early; with Angama Safari Camp situated right in the Mara Triangle, they don’t need to travel far to see everything that brought them to the Reserve in the first place – the Big Five, and at certain times of the year, the Great Migration, too. Once guests are up and have enjoyed a cup of coffee and some delicious freshly baked biscuits, we wave them off on safari and then it’s time to walk around to make sure everything is just as it should be.
All the while, I stay in touch with the guests’ safari guide to keep tabs on their plan for the day, and ensure we are ready for their return – will it be an elegant lunch for two under the gazebo? Or perhaps a family affair, getting the children involved in the bush kitchen and cooking over the coals? The beauty of a sole-use camp is that each day is tailored around whatever the guests feel like doing.
One of the mind-boggling facts about Angama Safari Camp, is that it can be shuttled anywhere. As if by magic, the team are able to completely dismantle a camp that looks like it’s taken months to build, packing everything into our truck, named ‘Big Bertha’. And exactly the same happens in reverse when putting it up. Despite being ‘pack-up-and-go’, at Angama Safari Camp, it is the minutiae that impress guests the most, from the gym basket in their tent, to the small collection of books in the washroom to the double-headed bucket shower.
Being completely solar-powered gives the camp a light environmental footprint, but it also means I need to be hands-on, always walking around the site to see what needs to be attended to: does the water bowser need reloading? Are we stocked up on ample food, drink and housekeeping supplies? Is there laundry that needs to be sent up to the lodge? All of this compels me to become a better planner – and immune to the disease of mediocrity, what I refer to as “excusitis”.
My role is to foster the team to ensure that not even seemingly insurmountable challenges can discourage us. Our goal is to delight guests to the pinnacle – consistently winning and stealing guests’ hearts, day by day. As we always say, they may have come for the animals, but they leave with the team’s affection embedded in their hearts forever.
Finally, there’s time for a final check-in with the guests to discuss their plans for the next day, and the essential task of extinguishing the fire pit is the last chapter to write, before retiring to bed with the melodious sounds of the Mara’s lullaby all around us.
Filed under: Inside Angama
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