I bless the rains down in Africa

Life can move so fast that before you know it you’re walking down a street in Mexico savouring some local mezcal telling stories about this one time in Kenya…

I couldn’t stop thinking about it then, travelling with others who had experienced the same special part of the country as we had. I couldn’t stop thinking about Angama Mara and the beauty of the Maasai Mara but mostly I couldn’t get the image of my two boys driving through this far-north wilderness with me, side by side.

For a moment I was back in that hot air balloon with my favourite people, again blissfully aware of how possible, how right, how essential it is to travel with little ones. The extended family was along for the ride – sisters, brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles, husbands, wives.

Soaring up over the edge of the Great Rift Valley, there were many things that came to mind. Things like Robert Redford and Meryl Streep, for one, since Angama shares its location with the site where scenes from Out of Africa were filmed. And the beauty of earth. This region is all the romance of Africa, all the films and books and campfire stories. It is nature so vast and at peace with itself – lion, leopard, cheetah, thousands of buffalo, rare black rhino and magnificent herds of elephant, living alongside people who have known this land for much, much longer than any of us. Who understand it in a way we can only hope to learn from. The Maasai.

This is why we travel – not to have our ways and routines recreated, but to have them contrasted, shattered, to have new ways, cultures, illuminate the vastness of life. To discover the infinite possibilities of how to live, and how to live better. It’s no good to simply see and surmise, the joy and purpose comes from the mixing, the merging, the meeting.

Learning about Maasai life in this way, about pastoralists in this part of the world was something quite remarkable. Although let’s not take spear-throwing practice back home, boys. To the city or to the Zambezi. Let’s try that drawing thing again.

The other memories that flood back in moments like this are both simple and grand – like getting closer to nature, dancing in a downpour, as the heavens opened up above us all – man, animal, land – and belting out as a family with rainbows in the background, Toto’s “I bless the rains down in Ahhhh-frica!” Our African hearts soared. Our human hearts soared.

There were meals outside on the plains, fiery sunsets, indoor card games, star-gazing, searching for wild animals and getting the names of the birds right. Being away. Being together. Some were moments we can recreate at home, and others we’ll just have to return to the Maasai Mara for.

For a look at the memories I’ve recounted again and again, dear friends, the stories we’ve told and retold, sweet family, here’s a visual journal of our journey below.

Discover more about the child-friendly safari of Angama Mara here.