Where it all began
It was then that our owner, Ashif Suleman, tentatively agreed to view a property in the Mara a local Maasai was struggling to sell, and struggling for good reason. Upon arrival, Ashif stared out at the vast property- too rocky, too open, and no source of water. In all of his better judgment, Ashif would have passed on the opportunity as many before him; however, there was another element at play- this gentleman aspired to sell the land to send his daughter to school. Alas, as a remarkably good deed, Ashif found himself the reluctant owner of 50 acres in the present day Olare.
Upon having investors survey the land, they described the landscape akin to “Mars” and said nothing could be done. Ashif then began to visit numerous camps and soon realised a common flaw- all camps were located within thick forests with beautiful cover, but with this they had taken over the habitat, compromising its former wildlife. As his property lay barren, infested with tse tse flies, Ashif made the decision to build a camp away from said forests and rivers, adopting a unique design amenable to wildlife inhabitants as they evolved over time and space.
This was truly an exercise in building something out of nothing, and the first and most critical element? Water. By building a water catchment, the river no longer dried up once the seasonal rains came, making way for our current home to over 70 hippos, 4 crocodiles, multiple lion prides, a resident leopard, a multitude of plains game and a variety of bird species. In a grand display of commitment and sacrifice, Ashif then sent his wife and two children, Sully and Sam, to Australia to complete their education; next, he settled into a tent on the rocky property, where he resided alone for 7 years, as he assisted and oversaw each bit of Amani Mara’s eco-conscious development.
A dream come true
Although the land teemed with natural materials for construction, this also equated to a very labor-intensive project. Stones were erected from the river and the surrounding property, many of these stones now adorning the main area and reinforcing the locally crafted wood of African olive. These beams were salvaged from deforestation sites and instead used in the construction. Each element of the construction was made up along the way as Ashif was building his dream, each stone, beam or drift wood carefully chosen and placed accordingly. Every detail has a story behind it. This artful balance of concrete roofs mixed with olive beams was a sight to behold the first of its kind!
Amani was born
One day the contractor was sitting on a beam with Ashif and looking over the horizon to a barren area. “Do you hear that?” he asked Ashif, “What? I cant hear anything?”. He replied “Exactly you cant hear anything it iko na Amani (is so peaceful) and there is nothing around!”. Ashif then responded “Amani! Hmmm and don’t worry if we build it they will come!”. And he was right today Amani is home to a huge eco system. of animals staring with the smallest bugs to birds and the big game!
Our African-style cabins were crafted in help by local tribal women utilising a style of mud, a traditional way of creating plaster. The river is now perennial, meaning it always flows, even during times of drought. The planting of indigenous trees was one of our first steps to rejuvenate our land; and, to date, we have planted over 50,000 trees. As indigenous trees take much longer to mature, we are now, ten years later, enjoying the fruits of our labour with a variety of species that continue to drastically change our landscape. Wanting to involve our guests in this special practice, each guest is invited to plant and name a tree prior to their departure.
A new Amani
In 2022 Amani Mara underwent a huge renovation in which our concrete roofs were demolished, making way for new cooling thatched roofs. Still today, Amani Mara holds fast our unwavering commitment to continue raising the bar on sustainability and wildlife conservation. Benefiting from our replanting efforts, we now host more hidden and varied ecosystem that calls Amani home. It is our hope that every living being finds their Amani in our thresholds; we very much look forward to awakening that which is yours, welcome home.
We very much look forward to awakening that which is yours
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