I had the honour and pleasure of meeting Nicky and Steve Fitzgerald a few years ago, providing our services (my company, African Jacquard, supplies textiles to Angama). In the course of our different meetings, Nicky often offered to have me visit Angama Mara. One day, one day. But I did not see myself just getting on a plane and going there. Too easy, too simple. My husband, Louis, always said, “My dream is to see the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific Ocean — but only I go there sailing,” which we did in 2003. I took this idea into account: “For my 60th birthday, I’m going to Angama Mara but only by car, driving myself!” Luckily, my dear husband spent a few months preparing the car to be able to sleep in and all the navigation.
Why drive 10 000km? I wanted to feel the hollows and bumps of Africa, ride on the back of this dear continent, take the elevation little by little, feel the equator at 1800m, descend degrees of latitude 1 by 1 from 36° south to reach 0°! I used to live on the other side of Africa on the same horizontal line but at sea level. I can feel it now — this is not the same Africa, not the same people.
Angama Mara on the zig-zag Oloololo escarpment, as the Maasai call it, dominates the infinity of the African plains that I love. This view fills me with deep joy.
Josephat welcomed us and explained straight away at the bar you can help yourself, simple, and there — sirop de grenadine! All of my childhood is coming back, served into a glass exactly like in my parents’ home (I am French, born and bred).
We are offered a light meal — delicious, with the view— and cutlery from Laguiole in the Aveyron region in France, very well known. It is a fantastic place where I took Louis 40 years ago for one of his first randonnée (mountain trekking) deep in France. Louis was born and bred in Congo, so he knows Africa better than France. I wanted to show him our country when we met; so using Laguiole knives — all the memories came back.
I was very excited to go and see Angama Safari Camp along the Mara River. I had with me my own red throw and discovered it on the bed in camp, overlooking the river where there was a crocodile lying in the sun — oh my word. I felt proud to have created something that fits so well in that environment, a place I never knew on earth before.
One of the highlights was breakfast in the bush, under a tree, overlooking the plains, just at the foot of the escarpment. I loved it. It was like playing dinette, with the check red and white table cloth, so French, all the tin boxes that you open and discover perfectly wrapped delicious sandwiches with red and blue string. Imagine in the middle of nowhere, a red and blue string just to make it look nice. The quietness, the food, the scenery — I was out of Africa. We went to visit Steve Fitzgerald’s fig tree that he loved; it was a way to pay our respects to him. Such a beautiful tree.
Back at the tents, I admired the details on the door to the bag hanging in the entrance with our African Jacquard fabric lined in it. I love going behind the scenes, that is where you see more of the deep spirit. I was so well received, I could discuss fabric quality, how to remove a stain and how to maintain great linen quality. It was a pleasure to see that our oversized tablecloths were totally immaculate!
Thank you, Nicky; thank you, Alison; thank you to the wonderful Angama Mara team for spoiling us and receiving us like a king and queen!
Christine is one of our fabulous suppliers and is responsible for many of our favourite textiles. You can find her collection of South-African designed, weaved and produced textiles here.
Filed under: Inside Angama
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