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When Lengishu Came to Stay

If you have read an Angama blog or two before, you may know “people first” is at the very heart of our lodge. Whether it be our guests, our staff, our neighbours, or our extended safari community, we love nothing more than opening our doors to all – this time, to our new friends from up north
Above: Welcoming the six lovely Lengishuans

I was delighted to be asked to capture the story about the six lovely team members from Lengishu who came to stay with us at Angama Mara. I was also visiting the lodge for the first time, and together, we watched with eyes wide open the daily quest of what goes into delighting our guests. David, Rose, Gollo, Scholar, Sarah, Nissa, and I were welcomed into the fold like everyone who walks through Angama's doors: wholeheartedly.

Scholar Ngila (butler), Mohammed Gollo (maintenance), and Sarah Naserian (chef)
David Karanja (chef), Roseline Ndesi (housekeeper), and Nissa Kinyaga (guide)

When I heard that staff members of another safari lodge were coming to shadow our team and see how we do things at Angama, I asked Nicky why she was so happy and willing to share – what I assumed were all of – Angama’s deepest secrets. One doesn’t delight guests for 40-some years without learning a trick or two (and I assumed it would take me years and some coercion to learn them), and here she was dishing them out to, what I thought was, a competitor.

Azei takes us through the inner-workings of Angama and the Angama Foundation
Much bigger than Lengishu, the team was in awe of Angama's size

She simply said: “Our beautiful safari industry thrives on paying it forward. All we have learnt at Angama Mara is thanks to a combination of decades of experience in guiding, hosting, operating, cooking, and managing safari lodges garnered by all who work here. Many of us have been at it for years and years and we are all so grateful for the learning, mentoring and help we have had along the way. We do not stand alone on our guests’ safari journeys, as they mostly stay in three lodges or more on their visit to Africa. The lodges are interlinked in ensuring our shared guests have experiences they will remember for a lifetime. Angama’s success is based on the journey’s success – we all want the same outcome which is ensuring luxury adventure travellers return again and again to our extraordinary continent. And we can only reach that goal when we all work alongside each other.”

Upon their arrival, Nicky welcomed the Lengishu team by saying, “Kenya is blessed with a wonderful diversity of landscapes, cultures, habitats, fauna and flora, and lodging. The Laikipia Plateau, which the lovely Lengishu house calls home, is often visited by Angama guests during their stay in Kenya. I was lucky enough to spend time there getting to know the team that cares for their guests and what a joy it was to see them all again here at Angama Mara. Thank you all for coming to spend time with us sharing your stories and your skills".

Rose, Scholar and David with their Angama rafikis; Margaret, Farida and Kina

Scholar, a butler at Lengishu, shared with me that they have a young and vibrant team, mostly aged between 25 and 30. By coming to Angama, learning from a wide range of people with varying backgrounds and working in a very different environment, Scholar and her colleagues hope to be better prepared for everything their careers may throw at them at Lengishu or beyond. It was a great surprise for them to see Nicky, a CEO and co-founder, serving drinks and food to the staff at our South African evening. Similarly, in roles still dominated by men, they remarked on our two female guides, Alice and Sophie, a rarity in Kenya.

David and Sarah couldn't have come at a better time as their stay coincided with that of Amanda, our chef trainer

During their time at Angama Mara, the Lengishu team were also introduced to the Angama Foundation and were interested to learn how we are helping the environment and our neighboring communities. It was inspiring to hear their chefs, housekeepers and butlers hoping to replicate some initiatives at Lengishu, a testament to Kenya’s self-driven push for sustainable tourism.

On their last day, Barrack took us on a game drive where we saw a crossing and went to the Tanzania border

After many stories and lessons shared, it was time to say goodbye. And so we bid farewell to our new friends as they started their 14-hour drive back home. I was choking back tears after David’s parting words to me: “We are taking ideas and memories of Angama with us, so we’ll always be together”.

Competitors? Not a chance.

Note from the Editor:

We have been so fortunate to welcome many of our safari colleagues to Angama, including Tina Aponte from Royal Chundu and Oli Dreike from Legendary Expeditions’ Mwiba Lodge. Click on their respective links to read about their stay with us.

Filed under: Giving Back

Tagged with:

Angama Safaris , Giving Back , Travel East Africa

About: Charlotte Ross Stewart

Charlotte may be the youngest member of the team, but she is a storyteller wise beyond her years. Tasked with sharing the stories that flow out of Angama on social media, blogs and beyond, her love of people, literature and nature make this the perfect role for her.

Browse all articles by Charlotte Ross Stewart Meet the angama team

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