Why Spinning Tops Don’t Get Dizzy

20 December 2016 | Inside Angama |

Experience Angama Mara through the eyes of Marina Greaves, one half of the duo who created Angama Mara's signature brand

Let me be frank: I am an urban animal. The great outdoors isn’t my comfort zone. In fact it’s so far from my comfort zone that in my 39 years of living in Johannesburg, I’d never been into the bush. For those as geographically challenged as I am, Johannesburg is never more than a 40 minute drive from a safari opportunity. Venturing way up into Africa has never featured on my bucket list.

So, with this in mind, receiving an invitation to stay at Angama Mara, a place I helped shape into being, came with a kind of comfort-zone-crushing double edge; curious to experience the brand in real life but nervous to leave my urban safety-net. In toiling with this conflict, I remembered one of my less observed life-rules:

Never decline an invitation to a place where you have the opportunity to stay with a local – it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity; a unique experience.

It also helped that my very first safari would be at this Out-of-Africa-inspired lodge, in sheer luxury.

The day had finally come. I anxiously said my goodbyes to my little ones, triple-hugged my even more nervous Mom, and set off on my big African adventure with my husband, and two of my closest friends. The journey was simple enough: a few bumpy flights, seamless transfers, and it wasn’t long till we had reached our final destination in the heart of the great outdoors. Having worked so closely on the brand, understanding the environment (in a theoretical sense), and having seen so many pictures of the Angama staff, it felt like I was reliving a familiar dream. Like déjà vu. Meeting the wonderful staff on the gravel airstrip was the beginning of a really special experience; they welcomed us as long lost friends. When we arrived at the camp, the team gave us a brief tour of the guest area and were then finally led to the viewing deck.

the-angama-effect

Karen Blixen was right – the views are immensely wide and vast. And bewildering. Standing there, over 300 meters above the Mara plains, the treetops looked like spinning tops, spinning dizzily over a green carpet, patterned with wildlife. A scene that seemed almost lost in time. Or was it me that suddenly felt lost? Astronauts viewing the Earth from orbit experience something they call The Overview Effect. They describe a cognitive shift in awareness after seeing our planet hanging in the void of space.

Here I am, today, back from darkest Africa, back from Africa’s Angama Mara, back from enjoying my “fine wine in a tin cup”. And now I know why the breathtaking view of the Mara from when I first arrived was so different to when I left. It was The Angama Effect. It wasn’t the trees that were spinning, it was me.

Thank you Angama.

Thank you for the stillness. Thank you for being. Thank you for being you. Thank you for choosing us.

the-maasai-maras-spinning-tops

Note from the Editor: I knew we were headed somewhere extraordinary when one of the first questions Marina asked me ‘If Angama Mara was a fruit what would it be?’ I was completely taken off guard and finally stammered ‘A pomegranate’. ‘Yes!’ Marina exclaimed and her eyes lit up like a thousand candles. And it was Marina who found, in the Out of Africa film script, the lovely phrase ‘a fine wine in a tin cup’ that became, and still is, our North Star.

Video & Photographs: Christopher & Robyn Gough Palmer

ABOUT: Marina Greaves

Marina Greaves is one half of the The New Black, the design agency appointed to create the Angama Mara brand. Chris Gough Palmer, the other half of TNB, wrote a lovely piece for this blog on the creation of our brand called The Leaning Giraffe.

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