In Nairobi a couple weeks ago for a short holiday, we decided to break away from the usual and really push ourselves, reach for our limits, embrace Mother Nature and get down and dirty. You know, rough it a bit.
So naturally, we went glamping in Karen.
Anga Afrika, a collection of eight enormous, furnished tents in peri-urban Kenya, sits on its owner’s estate, about an hour’s drive from Nairobi. Down a few bumpy dirt roads, past the Resurrection Gardens of the Catholic Consolata Mission, and next to a cow farm, Anga Afrika bestows a quiet, isolated, and lush ambiance.
We were the only guests at the time we arrived, and staff played African Top 40 from the central pavilion as they went about their work and we settled in, took a walk around the property, made a few friends.
The tents are set on raised platforms, and welcome you with a slice of porch and seating for four. The interior accommodations are stunning, equal parts Indiana Jones and post-colonial luxury. Oil lamps and electric space heaters; heavy wooden trunks and indoor plumbing; a simple desk with chair and lamp for scrawling inspired tales into a leather-bound journal after a long day in the bush. Also, wifi.
The furnishings at Anga Afrika are an absolute delight, a mix of fine carpentry, brick, stone, utilitarian ironwork, and layers of animal skins and Maasai shuka. It’s kitschy, sure, but it works; I’m not sure whether it’s meant to be over the top, or what foreigners on safari high come traipsing through, taking it all way too seriously, imagining themselves adventurers somehow free of the doldrums of geo-political history. I resigned myself to being in on the joke, and relished the aesthetic. For lunch, tomato soup on the porch, followed by hefty and well-seasoned hamburgers.
The tents are set quite close together, so there’s not a lot of privacy. Nevertheless, when staff unravel the window flaps and the night air turns cold, the interior lamps casting a gorgeous yellowed glow, this place feels marvelously intimate. And the hot water bottles slid between the bed sheets at dusk are a nice touch!
We took breakfast in the lofty dining pavilion, half restaurant, half low-set tables and love seats, for lounging and gathering in groups.
While there weren’t many guests during our stay, I imagine Anga Afrika is a terribly cozy destination when it’s livened up a bit, silverware clattering in the dining area, fires roaring at night. But with a maximum sleeping capacity of 18, give or take a few children, the grounds are never overrun.
We spent most of the morning lounging, walking the grounds, chatting up the owner. There are elephants and giraffes and rhinos not far, plus hikes galore. But what we (I?) needed was a breather, so we breathed. For the record, I was awful on this holiday: high-strung and anxious, all shallow breaths and furrowed brows. I may have also spent an alarming amount of time with the pack of friendly dogs that roam the grounds… all in the name of de-stressing, right?
We had a lovely stay in the end, charmed by banana trees and rustic luxury. I’d definitely recommend Anga Afrika for a quick trip that feels like a proper getaway, and for living out your Indiana Jones dreams, with the perks of a modern stay.
Rhino Park Road
+254 734 820 860