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Life Under Lockdown In The Mara

Surprise and envy are two of the most common reactions Tyler Davis gets from those who learn he is living out his ‘lockdown’ in the vast Maasai Mara. He tells us what the typical day entails
One of the fun afternoon activities during life under lockdown

Since opening our doors in 2015, there have only been a handful of days without any guests. Today, however, marks two months without a single guest. But for our family (me, Shannon, and our two children, Perrin aged three years and Lulu aged 18 months), we are lucky to call Angama home and live here full-time – guests or no guests. At the moment, we are joined by a skeleton crew of 30 dedicated staff.

We recognise daily how fortunate we are to be here during this exceptionally strange time, able to move about freely within the 700 acres of our property (watching out for dangerous game, of course), socialising with our team, going out on safari or simply walking up to the guest area to gaze at the view when we need a few minutes to ourselves to decompress.

Shannon and children on safari in the Mara
Perrin enjoying the afternoon lockdown activities

So how does a lockdown day usually play out at Angama? We start every morning with a team meeting over breakfast, beginning with prayers, some stretching and warm-ups (led by a different member of the team each day) and announcements, before opening the floor up to questions, comments, or any other discussion topics from the team.

The maintenance team hard at work
Always lots of work to do, the team is kept busy

Then it’s time for some work – and the silver lining of an empty lodge is that it is the perfect time for maintenance. From staining decks to replacing tent flysheets, from roadworks to improving our outdoor BBQ site – every project has been completed with record efficiency. Oh – and I’ve managed to have an empty inbox by the end of the day more days than not for the first time in five years.

Another important daily output is sharing one-minute videos via our various social media platforms. These are produced by Adam and Mwikali, who head out on daily game drives to keep the world up to date with the flora and fauna that continues to thrive in the Maasai Mara, eagerly awaiting their return. We really hope that the content we create on a daily basis and share globally helps in some way, offering an opportunity to get away from lockdown for a few minutes, even if only virtually.

Celebrating Perrin's 3rd birthday
Shannon, Tyler and Perrin stop for a picnic in the Mara

We have also been able to enjoy more family time. There is nothing like your first safari – except when you’re two or three years old, in which case every safari is like the first time. We love going on safari with our kids, and living vicariously through Perrin’s wonder and awe and what he sees is inspiring – the closest we can get to reliving our first safari experience. We also go on family walks around the property, and that’s equally as entertaining – wondering at giraffe and zebra on foot, inspecting tracks and dung beetles, chasing butterflies and looking for frogs – it’s a brilliant education for the kids (and a great way to tucker them out so they sleep well at night!).

Everyone loves Volleyball at Angama Mara
Swimming lessons at Angama Mara

Nearly every afternoon we have some fun activities organized for the team, such as intense volleyball matches, swimming lessons, various team-building puzzles and races, and staff movie nights (we are currently working through the Marvel movie series). We’ve also had ‘work parties,’ which involve getting everyone together for an important task such as slashing the grass around the tent pathways or at the football pitch. These end up being more fun than they sound: one third of the people present are hard at work with the other two thirds watching, cracking jokes and waiting to rotate in for their turn.

Snoeker games are a competitive affair
Shannon and Robert helping out the chef team

After dinner, once the kids go to bed, we’ve enjoyed connecting with our colleagues and rekindling an appreciation for certain aspects of the lodge that must have slowly slipped into being taken for granted over the years, but are again, wonderfully, glaringly obvious in the peace and tranquility of a place we usually know as hustle and bustle. Sometimes I think this must be what it feels like to be a guest.

Angama sunrises continued just as usual
A masked team ready and waiting for guests

That said, we’re very much looking forward to having the rest of our beloved Angama family back together here at the lodge, prepared and waiting for the moment the first guest arrives back at Angama after travel restrictions are lifted. We have a tradition of any staff who is available being out in front of the main guest area when a guest arrives for the first time, everyone waving and clapping with big smiles – pure authentic Kenyan hospitality. It’s always a joyous moment, but the excitement and emotion of seeing that first car carrying guests around the corner after all this is over may even rival the first guests we welcomed to Angama five years ago when we opened. We can’t wait.

Filed under: Inside Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Mara , Angama Staff , Angama Team , Angama Views , Humans of Angama , Inside Angama

About: Tyler Davis

Guide and birding fundi, Tyler was also one half of the regional director couple that lead the team at Angama Mara for the first five years. Being the birding extraordinaire that he is, he was known to let his attention wander during meetings. The trick to keep him focused was to place him with no direct view of anything feathered. Tyler ensures that we are a grounded and well-rounded team. He also sometimes forgets to take his binoculars off at dinnertime.

Browse all articles by Tyler Davis Meet the angama team

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Join the Conversation (8 comments)

Comments (8):


9 June 2020

Gosh I have stumbled upon your website and this is my dream - to bring my family to a place like yours oneday! All the best to you and your family from Cape Town :)

    Nicky Fitzgerald

    10 June 2020

    Hi Kim Thanks so much for this lovely post and delighted you have discovered our lodge. As you may have gathered Angama Mara is owned by South Africans - we built it and run it (albeit currently from lockdown Jozi - well, that's where I am anyway). We love hosting fellow South Africans and very much look forward to welcoming you one day soon. Hope CPT not too chilly today. Warm regards Nicky

Ondialla Brian

24 May 2020

With the analogy of time, the fallacy of the maturity of chances make me feel like I should be part of your fraternity sooner.

Azei Lago

19 May 2020

Oh how we miss you all!!

Judy Williams

19 May 2020

Even though I live only a few hours from you, I live vicariously through your posts and videos; longing for the day I can go on safari again. I love watching Perrin and Lulu grow up (way too quickly). I hope you are saving all the videos, so when they are grown, they can look back on these strange times and marvel at where they got to spend lockdown.

    Nicky Fitzgerald

    24 May 2020

    Hi Judy I am so happy to hear you are enjoying our daily videos. Thank you for this lovely message and yes, one day Perrin will be our CEO :) Warm regards Nicky

Francis Bagbey

19 May 2020

Sounds like close family relationships. Are morning prayers silent or does a team member speak? No worries about hungry predators on those walks with your family? Hope all at Angama and in its neighboring communities are healthy.

    Nicky Fitzgerald

    24 May 2020

    Hi Francis Thank you so much for checking in - we are all well at Angama and our county, Narok, has not one reported case yet of Covid. Pray it stays that way. I trust you are also well? What crazy times. We start all important meetings at Angama with a prayer - and we close with one, too. Luckily we have 6 preachers on the team so they all take it in turns to say the prayers. We have our wonderful team of askaris looking after us all and their main job is to ensure we know if there are any big animals in camp. We are in good hands! Thank you for your concern. Warm regards Nicky

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