HOME Blog Seconds Out Round #6

Seconds Out Round #6

Our annual tradition to celebrate the abundance of regrowth around our lodge has fallen to Nicky, with Adam and the maintenance team jumping in to capture this year's changes
Above: George, Joshua and Sylvester leading the charge against unruly branches

And it may well be the last as what is the point of publishing photographs, no matter how perfectly captured, of thick bush and trees?

Six short years ago we trudged around a building site that closely resembled a scorched earth exercise and wondered, with not much faith, how long it would take the area around the buildings and tents to rehabilitate? Nobody had told two witless South Africans that if you stuck a concrete pole into the ground in the Mara it would shoot leaves and flower within the blink of an eye.

Looking at the growth around North Camp from the beginning

We set to work harvesting leleshwa trees, crotons, and wild grasses from the surrounding lands. We trucked in what felt like a million trees and started to plant. I remember watching with dismay as the leleshwa leaves drooped miserably in the midday sun despite Jacob’s constant watering. I could still see back of house. I could still see bare earth. And worst of all we took constant, and well-deserved flack, for the lack of growth between the tents. But slowly the jungle began to devour the buildings and the tents and six years later we now must regularly cut back the growth because what is the point of having a magnificent view blocked by bushes and unruly branches?

As each year goes by, the trees continue to envelope the tents

Here I must pause and reflect on Tyler’s adamant refusal to trim even the teensiest of branches anywhere. So our forests grew and grew and grew until we were on the verge of giving our guests machetes to hack their way back to their tents. Before I break Tyler’s heart, I must thank him for the first five instalments of this annual ‘Growth Report’. We miss him most terribly on so many levels but the minute he left the lodge out came Azei with his team of merry saw-wielding men and boom, there was light. The reason for me having to resort to breaking Ty’s heart is really to acknowledge what a splendid job he did in turning Angama into a beautiful forest in six short years. Not so, Ty?

The team have had a busy time since Tyler left

We have also been blessed by abundant rainfall over the past three years and our garden, if you could call it such, has not seen a hosepipe in as long. We continue to plant lovely indigenous trees all around the lodge playing our small part in fighting climate change. Our Garden of Remembrance has had regular pruning by the elephants and somehow we need to advise them to put a stop to that poor behaviour. We don’t mind if they pop into the Shamba and smash the mango and avo trees, but we do mind them pulling up trees tenderly planted in memory of those dearly loved and lost.

A chapel, a chicken coop and chilies aplenty - all in two years' work at Angama Mara

Our garden/forest/jungle continues to grow unabated under the smiling Mara sun and godsent Mara rains. How lucky we are.

And I reckon I won with a KO.

Note from the Editor

Just in case you would like to flick back from where we have come to where we are today, here are the links to Ty’s lovingly penned and photographed annual ‘Growth Reports’.

Growth Reports: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Filed under: Inside Angama

Tagged with:

Angama Mara , Angama Shamba , Architecture , garden of remembrance , Vegetable Garden

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. Nicky retired as Angama's CEO in July of 2022 and remains an advisor and delightfully opinionated member of the Board.

Browse all articles by Nicky Fitzgerald Meet the angama team

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Angama of 1000 Days 15 August 2017 On 12 August 2014 the first peg was hammered into the ground and Steve Fitzgerald reminisces what it took to build Angama Mara in just over 10 months By Steve Fitzgerald
Becoming One with The Mara 23 April 2019 Well, it’s official – after four years, nature has finally reclaimed the land By Tyler Davis
Then & Now: A Year of Miracles 12 April 2016 Who would have thought just twelve months ago, in April 2015, our lovely lodge would make such an extraordinary recovery from Construction Catastrophe to this?   These ‘then’ pictures were snapped during a site visit between 6 – 10 April 2015. The fact we were just 10 weeks to opening hadn’t really dawned on us... By Nicky Fitzgerald
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