We Remember When …

14 June 2016 | Inside Angama |

In celebration of our first anniversary on 14 June 2016 we asked the Angama Mara family to share some of their best memories since arriving at the lodge. This is just a small sampling of the many funny and heartfelt moments but it does tell a story of the craziest lodge opening ever. And to think we built our beautiful lodge in ten and half months flat beggars belief.

  • I remember the call from Gov. Tunai asking if I still wanted Olkurruk
  • I remember visiting every bank in Nairobi to raise our debt
  • I remember putting together the most amazing contractor team – best ever
  • I remember digging the first hole on site with Shadrack – North Camp guest area
  • I remember 500 interviews for 85 starting positions
  • I remember the first time I saw the view where North Camp now stands and thinking please hire me!
  • I remember the thrill of putting the management team together and then meeting all the staff one by one
  • I remember meeting the team for the first time and feeling like I had met and made a new family
  • I remember the mountains of paperwork and legal procedures
  • I remember reading the whole Swahili to English Dictionary looking for a name
  • I remember taking our first reservation (still to travel – RIP Mike Ross)
  • I remember seeing Angama Mara’s logo for the first time, and thinking “there it is”
  • I remember registering Angama.com and the day the new website went live
  • I remember the happy faces and songs that were sung while offloading trucks no matter what time of day or night
  • I remember Cyrus putting up an entire new go-down (warehouse) in a day
  • I remember Nicky trimming toilet brushes
  • I remember the 2am landings at JKIA and singing in the back of Bosco’s cab delirious with exhaustion but ready to crack on with project Angama Mara at 8am the next morning
  • I remember watching Out of Africa 30 times just to make sure we spotted every tiny detail
  • I remember seeing hundreds of builders on arrival
  • I remember a leopard crossing in front of me as I was heading to North Camp in the morning on my third day
  • I remember offloading the endless chain of trucks with no time in-between – the best team ever
  • I remember Annemarie seated on the back of the tractor trailer delivering bed boards to North Camp
  • I remember mud and more mud
  • I remember cancelling my first food order because the cold room was not ready
  • I remember learning Maasai greetings ‘Sopa’ & ‘Epa’
  • I remember the wine arriving 15 minutes before the first guest arrival
  • I remember the very first USA sales trip with raging flu while Ebola warnings were splattered across any kind of travel to Africa
  • I remember eating matumbo for the first time (they say it’s an acquired taste; I don’t feel a need to acquire it)
  • I remember the first magazine photo shoot a week before opening with no buildings, no electricity, but a sweet (and handsome) French photographer
  • I remember the first time I looked up at that escarpment and saw a completed lodge looking back at me and thinking, “there it is!!!”
  • I remember our first morning meetings and fumbling our way through arrivals, departures, and asking who were these guests?
  • I remember how nervous we were about welcoming our first guests and serving them on staff canteen tables
  • I remember our first guest crying no less than four times in the first half an hour after arriving
  • I remember being full on Day Three
  • I remember saying goodbye to Foxy
  • I remember when a guest tried to warm their food up in the safe thinking it was a microwave
  • I remember the first time a scheduled flight arrived at Angama Mara Airstrip
  • I remember our butlers being so nervous when introducing food that they’d never even seen before that they gave a guest a Cheese Platter and announced “Chocolate Brownie”
  • I remember beading with the Maasai ladies for the first time and teaching each other songs from our different cultures
  • I remember when a tent steward sewed a guest’s designer jeans thinking they were torn and decided to mend them for her
  • I remember our first taka taka clean up – and how many bags of nails, metal strips, loose debris, old decrepit gloves, facemasks and shirts we found
  • I remember the first time a tent steward put a good night note in a guest tent saying ‘Lala unono’ (translation from Swahili is sleep fat-ly)
  • I remember when our butlers could not differentiate between Penne and Paneer
  • I remember Josephat announcing that he was a senior bachelor – instead of senior butler
  • I remember the first time a hippo showed up in our dam, and has since refused to leave
  • I remember our first soccer match – and first victory – of the AFC at the Angama Football Pitch, aka “The Slaughterhouse,” and the crowd going wild
  • I remember scrambling to source and send from South Africa, and then clear, Kosher food for our first Jewish guests
  • I remember feeling amazed when European football royalty came to stay at the lodge
  • I remember panicking when we were overbooked for the very first time
  • I remember our first guest engagement on the Out of Africa kopje
  • I remember when our first sales consultant passed $1M in confirmed bookings
  • I remember when we had a leopard living at our workshop
  • I remember Black Tuesday aka Arancini Day – so far the worst day in our kitchen
  • I remember a pride of lions that held the Out of Africa kopje hostage for a week
  • I remember when we could work in the kitchen from 6am to 11 pm without a break (now three chefs can do it and still have a break)
  • I remember every single sales presentation – close on 2000 agents
  • I remember when a staff member tipped their fellow staff during their Staff Guest Experience
  • I remember my first Angama Mara picnic
  • I remember my Maasai wedding
  • I remember spending two nights in a tent with my dear wife as a guest
  • I remember hosting the President of our country at Angama Mara and shaking his hand
  • I remember the tears, the laughs, the frustrations and the celebrations

Note from the Editor: This lovely post was cobbled together from over 200 memories shared by the Angama Mara family.

FILED UNDER: Inside Angama
Kimbo Brown
June 14, 2016

This is WONDERFUL, and has me somewhat misty-eyed. I cannot wait to visit one day with the newest member of the clan!

Glenn Garson Oltmanns
June 14, 2016

Absolutely fabulous reading these memories! What a wonderful achievement. Long live Angama Mara!!

    yvonne yohe
    June 14, 2016

    My family and I will see you 6/25/2016. Can’t wait!!

Roxanne Sissons
June 15, 2016

WOW!!!! What wonderful memories:):) Can hardly wait to be there!!

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