The Origin of the Angama Weekly Blog
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Is it a Phlog? A Vlog? Definitely Not A Bog

As Nicky set out to research the origin of the word ‘blog’ – a dumpy, inelegant, displeasing to the ear word – she stumbled across a whole universe of blogolicious words (that one she made up)
The famous hair-washing-poetry-reciting scene from Out of Africa that inspired our blog’s tongue in cheek name

I love being the editor of Angama’s weekly blog. But I never brag about it because the word ‘blog’ sticks in my throat. It sounds so unladylike. How can something so beautiful as storytelling be lumped under this most unprepossessing collective noun?

We all know that the OED added ‘blog’ to their hallowed pages in the last century (well, in 1999) and that it is the shortened version of weblog. But how many of our readers recognise these iterations: blogtastic, Blogistan, blogg, vlog, nonblog, bloggy, phlog and even a blog carnival. Google will supply meanings of these if you care to research them, but we will simply settle for this plain four-letter word ‘blog’.

Angama's enormous journal of guest feedback filled with stories, drawings, pictures and more

We broke ground on 12 August 2014 (six years ago to the day that finds me sitting here blogging) and boom! our first story went live on 29 August later that month. With nothing much else to do but watch bricks being delivered I decided that a weekly blog would be an easily achievable output. We had stories a-plenty to tell, did we not? Did we think this grand plan through? Absolutely not. Did we know what we had committed ourselves to? Of course not. Did we know from whence all these wondrous stories would flow? Don’t be daft. Just like the building of Angama itself we closed our eyes, held our nose and leapt off the edge of the Rift Valley.

Angama Mara's baraza, perched on the edge of the Great Rift Valley and a sundowner favourite for many a guest

So here I sit in lock-downed South Africa with my heart very much back in the Mara penning this, the 312th edition of our weekly on-line journal. Journal is so much more elegant, don’t you agree? To cure my homesickness I started flicking back through the bloggy mists reminiscing these past 6 years that have evaporated under a deluge of wonderful guests, incredible wildlife sightings, working alongside an extraordinary team and, dare I add, a pandemic that dismally failed to bring us to our knees. I have a choice Croatian word to describe Covid-19 but by the slimmest chance we may have a Croatian reader I will desist. Anyway, my mother wouldn’t approve.

I have set a few golden rules for our bloggers to blog by in our blogtastic Blogistan: be brief, be funny, be informative, be gone. Only 500 words. Outlook tells me I am already at 426 words and I am only just starting. I will invoke ed’s privilege and bore you all to sobs as I review every blog, vlog and phlog ever blogged here. Just kidding but please indulge me in sharing just a few memories.

An element of John Vogel design
The Angama Foundation supports numerous schools in the area

Leaving Out The Dull Parts – now that’s a blogaliscious name if ever there was one – comprises many chapters: Giving Back, Inside Angama, Safari Style, The Mara and Travel East Africa. As much as we love our lodge imagine subjecting our readers to weekly stories about only that. But for those of you who have stayed with us you will find dozens of heart-warming stories about the team at Angama and TripAdvisor assures us that our guests will return only for the people (apologies to the Mara wildlife). Angama of 1000 Days and A Journey of Wonderful People both written by Steve remain firm favourites.

The Mara Elephant Project hard at work
Local Maasai warrior and tent steward Alfred

In Safari Style we shared a story about the extinction of scatter cushions and how over six hundred pieces of furniture migrated from Paris to the Mara. The collection of stories in Giving Back underscores what we do each day: Doing Well by Doing Good & Doing Good by Doing Well. Please read this delightful story: As Proud as a Peacock; As Happy as a Lark. It will fill your heart. Because we respect that all our guests are on a magnificent journey around East Africa and that Angama is just one part of a whole, we celebrate this by sharing stories on the whole region.

A mountain gorilla in a forest in the Congo
Mount Kilimanjaro captured at sunrise by Shannon Davis

Journey with us as you read about discovering Eritrea, climbing both Mts Kenya and Kili, searching for shoebills, hanging out with gorillas (at least three stories and quite rightly so), walking through Kibera, camel trekking and more. Seventy-three stories span ten countries: Both Congo’s (I never know which is which), Uganda, Seychelles, Eritrea, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Zambia and Kenya. And Zanzibar makes eleven because the Zanzibaris consider themselves a separate country. And I snuck in a story on Alaska. That makes 12.

The meandering Mara River captured from above
Hot air balloons offer unparalleled game viewing in the Mara

And finally, the magnificent Mara. Now there’s a story or two to tell. Every Friday we share with the world what we saw in the Mara during the week and that we have done only 131 times. This Week at Angama will never fail to make you want to grab your camera, jump on a plane (don’t forget your mask) and come. A further fifty-three stories on the Mara have also made their way into the Tuesday slot.

Outlook tells me that I have clocked 855 words thus far. I need to bring this blog carnival to a close but before I hit send please may I thank everyone who has made this merry Blogistan a treasured asset of our business: staff, guests, friends, family, travel partners and anyone who makes the mistake of catching my eye. Now they see me coming and run a mile. Thank you all for sharing your stories, memories, beautiful photographs (phlogs) and videos (vlogs), secrets and legends.

Four hundred and fifty two stories and counting …

Filed under: Inside Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Blog , Angama Mara , Angama Team , Giving Back , Leaving Out the Dull Parts , Maasai Mara , This Week At Angama , Travel East Africa

About: Nicky Fitzgerald

After more than 30 years in hospitality, starting with a small hotel at the foot of Africa and followed by a further couple of Cape hotels, most notably The Bay, and sixty plus safari lodges across Africa and India, Nicky has served more meals, puffed more cushions, filled more beds, trained more staff and opened more properties than she cares to remember. Her driving force is ‘will our guests love this?’ She has come full circle and is happily puffing, cooking, training and filling to her heart’s content high up on the edge of Kenya’s Great Rift Valley at Angama Mara.

Browse all articles by Nicky Fitzgerald Meet the angama team

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