“It started with a galvanized bath, of course, and then I read all about Karen and Denys, their romance, their safaris and the history of Kenya during those times” says Annemarie Meintjes on where she took her inspiration for the Angama Mara interiors
Where does one begin to advise on the interiors of a lodge made up of two tented safari camps, each of 15 tents, designed by internationally acclaimed architects Silvio Rech and Lesley Carstens? To owners with a hospitality record beyond Africa and back? A setting suspended between heaven and earth with a view in all directions that takes your breath away? All of this, topped with the knowledge that one of the most romantic films of all times was shot right here? This is the picture perfect setting in Out of Africa where Robert Redford and Meryl Streep – as Denys Finch-Hatton and Karen Blixen – had a picnic with a view to kill, and where Denys was buried (in the film version).
Naturally you begin by watching the movie again, and although you know it so well, you battle to fight off the tears right from the opening line “I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills” because you are already waiting for the pain in these lines: “If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a colour that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?” But beyond the pain of leaving Africa, this is really a story about love.
My first ever-photographic shoot as a Fashion Editor was inspired by what I consider to be the ultimate romantic scene in the movie. I had the male model, clad in designer khaki bush-wear, gently foaming up the female model’s hair in a galvanized bath. It was a real killer shoot, timeless as if it was photographed today. That is the thing about romance – it lives forever.
That’s where one starts – with a galvanized bath, of course.
You do your homework and read everything you can find on Karen and Denys; their romance, their safaris, and the history of Kenya during those times. You visit Karen Blixen’s house (in the suburb named after her) and there was the bath.
The search for the Perfect Angama Mara Bath was on.
The Patricia Urquiola steel Vieques bathtub for AGAPE, with white finish on the inside and dark grey on the outside, a contemporary restyling of the old-fashioned bathtub, was perfect. But with a capacity of 98 gallons (a mere 455.52litres) of water (x 30 tents) it was unthinkable. Almost sinful. Urquiola has since brought out a smaller version of the Vieques bathtub that nearly halves the water usage but by then our bath was already designed and handcrafted to our specifications – somewhere between the one from Karen’s time and today. It has the perfect look and is generous on comfort.
And so the Angama Mara romance begins.
We are all set for many love stories to come, which will be told and retold, in a song, night after night around the fire pit, sharing a meal and perhaps even while watching the lions return to that very place.
Author: Annemarie Meintjes