HOME Blog Let It Shine

Let It Shine

Officially opening its doors this past week, Collins talks us through what it took to get Angama Amboseli up and running
Above: Jambo from the Angama Amboseli team

Building the right team is one of the most important things when opening a new lodge. At Angama, we do not take this lightly — a lot of time, effort and love goes into preparing our teams. In May earlier this year, we gathered under a big tree in Kimana for our first round of interviews and what we were looking for most was the winning ingredient.

In Maasai culture, many important discussions happen under a big tree like this
Some of the team from the Mara and Nairobi helped interview candidates

On that first day, we had over 400 people come to interview for the different jobs; a large number didn't have hospitality backgrounds or gone for hospitality training. But we were not disappointed, we were excited because so many of them had the winning ingredient — the right attitude.

Collins welcomes a familiar face, hospitality trainer to the stars, Lesley Fox
The Kitchen team unpacking their new tools, with trainer Amanda and chef Sarah
Just a few days to go, the team is pulling together and pulling out all the stops

Fortunately, we weren’t starting from scratch, as a number of senior people from the team in the Mara came with me to Amboseli. This was really exciting for me as it showed a huge amount of confidence in me from my teammates. Guests who have been to Angama Mara before might recognise George Nato (Camp Host), Alice Mantaine (now Head Guide) and George Oyombe (Butler) along with a few others who also came with us like Duncan Ochieng (now Head of Repairs and Maintenance) and Mark Kakui (now Head of Security).

The beautiful Betty getting to grips with her new massage table
Butler Abigail and the team kept a constant supply of coffee going

Having all these familiar faces around has been a great help in keeping the service the same across the properties. But we also have so many new ones and are very grateful for how they have stepped up and made Angama Amboseli come to life. The best part for me is that most of them are from this area —about 99% of the housekeeping and security teams are from the Kimana area and, overall, about 80% of the team are from Kimana.

One of Angama's core values is 'Ubuntu' — I am because we are

We weren’t worried about the lack of formal hospitality training because we knew we would have the Angama Way Academy — a three-month training period where everybody from Amboseli went to the Mara to learn from the Angama Mara team. While it was important for them to learn the different skills needed to complete their jobs to the Angama standard, it was, some could say, more important to show them the Angama Way and our values, how each of us can bring them into every little deed we do for our guests, for each other and for the environment.

Not to forget the many builders, tradesmen and 'casuals' who helped lay bricks, plant grass and carry furniture

Watching the team come together and seeing the different spaces coming out of the ground has been fun, but I think the most exciting part for me has been the impact on the community. Just the actual building of the lodge has been huge — since October last year, we have indirectly employed over 300 people from the community through our building contractor. I can also feel the impact of us being here by talking to the children; now all of them want to do hospitality training when they finish school so they can work in lodges like Angama Amboseli.

The wazee enjoy a late breakfast after an early morning game drive in the Sanctuary
The women of Kimana, along with the wazee, officially blessed and opened the lodge

We have spoken before about the importance of the 844 Maasai family members who own the land; they sacrificed a lot for many years to keep this land as it is and not turn it into farmland. It has been very rewarding for me to see their sacrifice pay off and to show our appreciation, we invited the wazee (Swahili for elders) of the landowners to be our first guests — it was only natural as it is their land, after all. They had the foresight to think that this would be a beautiful place for nature and tourism and now they are so proud and happy to see it in action.

It's always about the people, that's what I've come to learn at Angama. We have a beautiful lodge with fantastic views — now it is up to me and my team to make it all shine. We look forward to welcoming you home, karibuni sana.

Filed under: Stories from Amboseli

Tagged with:

Amboseli , Angama Team , The Angama Way

About: Collins Randiga

Formerly Angama Mara's Executive Head Chef, Collins is no stranger to leading a team. The ultimate champion of the Angama Way, Collins has stepped into his new role as General Manager of Angama Amboseli with grace and his characteristic chuckle — along with a healthy dose of reggae and football.

Browse all articles by Collins Randiga Meet the angama team

Keep Reading

Redefining Growth 30 March 2021 As Shannon’s time at Angama draws to a close, she reflects on her time and her personal journey – finding meaning in resolve, and fulfilment in effort By Shannon Davis
From Godown to GM 9 March 2021 Just shy of six years ago, and three months before we welcomed our first guests to Angama, a most distinguished gentleman joined our family, and this is his story from then till now … By Nicky Fitzgerald
Breaking Ground, Not Promises 21 October 2022 Two and a half years of discussions and planning all came together a week ago in a groundbreaking that will go down in history By Steve Mitchell
It All Started with The Bath 30 September 2014 “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 By Annemarie Meintjes
Join the Conversation (0 comments)

Comments (0):

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*