The Heart of Angama Mara

28 January 2019 | Inside Angama |

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Kate Fitzgerald Boyd tells the story behind the second chamber in Angama Mara’s heart

In the safari industry the Fitzgerald name is widely known. Steve and Nicky’s reputation (otherwise known to me as Mum and Dad) as hoteliers across Southern Africa, East Africa and India spanned 35 years with their swan song being the family-operated Angama Mara, high up on Kenya’s Rift Valley. 

There is no doubt in my, or anyone else’s mind, that Angama Mara simply would not exist without my father having a crazy dream and the courage to see it through almost four years ago. Many would say that he was the heart of Angama Mara. Those who think this would not be wrong, but as there are there two chambers to every heart, please can I tell you the story behind the second chamber in Angama Mara’s heart.

Steve Fitzgerald_Angama Mara

For those of you who knew my father, you would surely agree that he was synonymous with the word ‘heart’ for so many reasons – he was kind, warm and loving. But his greatest weakness was literally his heart, a medical battle he fought for years and complications following a successful transplant was ultimately what took him from us all.

This brings me back to why I am pouring my heart out all over this blog. Because I need to talk about the second chamber of the Heart of Angama Mara. The team that works from the Mara, to Nairobi and down to Johannesburg is the second chamber of this heart.  Every day they ensure that guest delight is everyone’s business and that kindness, warmth and love are brought to each one of our guest’s stays. 

Maasai Chapel

As my father’s heart started to fail during the last two years of his life, the second chamber of Angama Mara took over and did all it could to carry the business forward. The 140-strong Angama family still do, led by Nicky. But I digress, while my father was ill the Angama family prayed and prayed and prayed some more for his health to return.

Angama Chapel Service

When the day came to finally say goodbye, in lieu of flowers, my mother and I requested donations be made to the Angama Foundation for a project that we would dedicate in his memory. In early 2018, we knew what we had to build… a little chapel at the lodge to thank our Angama family for the hours they spent praying for Steve. 

Chapel-build in progress
Chapel Interior

On 13 December 2018, the day my father would have turned 65, we opened the beautiful chapel to song and praise from the community that surely could be heard across the Rift Valley.

With a design lovingly gifted by Silvio and Les, hand-carved pews and stained-glass windows, the Angama Chapel sits at the very heart of the property overlooking the Garden of Remembrance, where in the middle is a fig tree growing strong above the plaque “Steve Fitzgerald”. I urge you to visit the chapel when you next visit us and listen closely – I am sure you will hear the sounds of prayer. And song. And love. 

Steve Fitzgerald Plaque

AUTHOR: Kate Fitzgerald Boyd

Kate was born in a chafing dish – well almost. The date she was due to arrive was perilously close to Christmas and her mother wasn’t taking any chances so out she came just in time for a decent Christmas dinner to be served to the guests at the hotel of her childhood. Back-of-house babies, they call them. And she has never looked back and now logs more air miles than she knows what to do with sharing the Angama Mara story far and wide.

Irene Grilo
January 29, 2019

Dear Kate, What a beautiful and touching way you chose in words to tell about this beautiful and sacred spot. I have no doubt that your beloved Dad is happy, watching from above, to you, your Mum and grandchild. And all the ones who love him dearly. For love is eternal. Sending you all my Love & Light. Irene

Samantha Terblanche
January 29, 2019

Beautifully written Katie, and such a fitting tribute, he will always be in so many of our hearts, he really had a wonderful impact on people. And he would be oh so proud of you, the “little fig” didn’t fall far from the tree xx Sending love to you all

January 29, 2019

Such beautiful words and what a loving tribute to Steve! We will look forward to visiting the chapel when next at Angama:):)

January 29, 2019

Kate what a profound and touching tribute to the heart of Angama. We have known of the special winds albeit felt their magic whenever our feet have touched the Angama soul and soil. We look forward to coming through again and again to bathe in this magic and light. To all left behind take heart even as you dance to this light.. strong to the end.

Nina Tryon
January 29, 2019

Beautiful words for a beautiful man. Sending you so much love x

Annette Magni
January 30, 2019

My dearest Katie, beautiful words for a very great man; you’re so blessed to have had the most wonderful Dad. I hope one day to see this chapel, to sit quietly & remember the happy years with your Dad; I miss him!

Katie Pitman
January 30, 2019

Dearest Katie and Nicky…
We could not think of a more fitting dedication to the amazing Steve! That second chamber will beat loudly always and those trees will continue to grow amongst all the animal song xxx

    Nicky Fitzgerald
    January 30, 2019

    Thank you dearest Katie
    We are waiting for your return
    Much love
    Nicky, Kate & the Angama Family

Gill Studd
February 3, 2019

Nicky and Kate ….. a most fitting and moving tribute and memorial to Steve (Dad) who touched hearts and minds wherever he lived, worked and loved.

    Nicky Fitzgerald
    February 5, 2019

    Hi Gill – lovely hearing from you and please come and see us soon x Nicky & Kate

James Fitzgerald
February 4, 2019

Beautiful words Katie – so true!
He would be so proud of what the “second chamber” has managed to pull off!
All my love

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