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“Great location, hippos right outside, lovely staff” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Mara Simba Lodge

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Mara Simba Lodge
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3.0 of 5 Lodge   |   C14, Keekorok (Masai Mara Reserve) | Talek River, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
London
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Great location, hippos right outside, lovely staff”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

We stayed here for two nights and really enjoyed it. Comfortable rooms with balconies overlooking the river (and a crocodile and a family of hippos in our case!), great food in the restaurant and really lovely staff. I wasn't well on our first night here (not the hotel's fault!!) and they were most concerned when my husband mentioned it at dinner, offering to send my dinner to the room and call their resident Physician for me if needed. The laundry is super speedy and good value (if you're on a long trip!). The fire and music in the bar is wonderfully atmospheric. We would definitely return.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (44)
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Surrey
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

Mara Simba was our very first stay 17-19 Sept 13 whilst on an 8 day safari starting at Masai Mara and ending at Salt Lick in Taita Hills, and despite the luxury of what came after Mara Simba I would still give it an excellent rating. We are a family of 4 - Dad, mum and a 20+ and 19 year old.

Staff were extremely friendly and helpful - I don't think there is anybody outside of the UK who knows as much about football as Eric the waiter but then he is an Arsenal fan! So we had some lovely chats with him during lunch and dinner.

Food was excellent and plentiful and catered for all tastes and even for picky eaters.

We had early and tiring game drives so we were in bed early after after dinner and a couple of games of pool (clean off the bat droppings first off the table!) The bats were hanging overhead so it was unavoidable. Whilst we were there is rained heavily and a crocodile had come down to the water - apparently there was also a baby but we didn't see it.

We didn't get a chance to use the pool because of the rain but it looked nice.

In essence we really enjoyed out stay at Mara Simba and the fact the you are so close to the Masai Mara is amazing in itself. We had our own private tour guide and being at the edge of the Mara river with the Serengeti on the other side and watching all that wildlife and the migration is simply unbelievable.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the second floor which is generally quieter as you are not getting pedestrian traf...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2013

We,2 friends with individual rooms, both Dutch and worldtravelers,bought 2 packages from 25/8 to 27/8 for 1209 $ each in the Mara Simba lodge.
We were in general quite happy in this lodge,but there was one very big turnoff:
We booked here especialy to see the gnoe and other herbivores migracion and the crossing of the Mara river by these animals,which is a very special and thrilling event to experience.
Allready the day we arrived,our tourguide told us,that there were no more gnoes to cross the river,they had crossed allready because of the dry season,
and he advised us to come back next year:a very unexpected disappointing message for us,
that we hardly wanted to believe,because it was the main reason why we went to this place.
Later the tourguide did not change his opinion,but one is depending on his advice.
So we did not go to the Mara river on monday 26/8 and spend our day with viewing other animals,what we actually did allready in the safari the days before in Samburo.
That same evening we met a few german people and they told us that they were on the marariver that day and saw a big gnoecrossing over the Marariver.
Of course we felt frustrated and badly advised by the tourguide.
We decided to stay one day more to go to the Mara river the next day,by skipping our planned next safari to Ambusili,that we allready paid (1016 dollar each) and probably would not get back because of the late cancelacion.
The gnoecrossing was more important for us than that money.
Of course we complained with the manager,mr. James, about our bad treatment by the tourguide,which the manager understood.
We got his excuses.
We thought it would not be more then wright that we should not pay for the next day,because it was all the lodges fault.
The manager had to ask this first to the indian owner,but the owner did not take responsablilty by not paying only a part of the damage .
On the contrary, we had to pay for the next day,without parc-entrees etc. almost 500 dollar extra each ! (100 dollar more then we paid for the room before).
The next day we went and saw (after 5 hours silent waiting) a marvalous gnoecrossing and unnumerous amounts of gnoes yet waiting to pass.
We oncemore explained our opinion about this matter by email and liked to put it onceagain under the eyes of the owner to prevent a bad name of your lodge among all the people we reach,also potencial visitors of the lodge.We did not receive any answer.
Now is the time for telling on Tripadvisor our bad experience.

Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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London
Top Contributor
65 reviews 65 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
45 helpful votes 45 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

Perfect location on the river means that as animals pass up and down the valley, you can see a lot from your room - Crocodile, Elephant, Antelope, Hippo, Baboon
Its a well used resort but this slightly worn feel is perfect in the context. Rooms were large and spacious. Staff friendly, food good.
Longish transfer from the airstrip - that's mainly because the roads are poor.
We used their safari tour which was good as they have open sided 4 x 4, much better than the minivans we saw others in.
Next door is a Masai village which is well worth visiting
Do take lots of single dollar bills as tipping is expected & staff are not well paid

Room Tip: The buildings are in groups linked by outside paths to the main building with restaurant etc We wer...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kingston-upon-Hull, United Kingdom
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013

Having not read any of the reviews before going to Mara Simba Lodge, only on my return, I find some of the reviewers to be a little bit harsh.

From the minute I arrived with my partner to the time I left I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at the Mara Simba Lodge. I was by far not expecting 5* accommodation, after all it is in the middle of the Masai Mara and I think for anyone to expect it is frankly living in cloud cuckoo land. The lodge rooms are practical, clean and serve a purpose after all I was on safari and not looking to sit in a room for hours on end.

The rest of the lodge is what I can only describe as my dream home after watching Walt Disney's Swiss Family Robinson and wanting that amazing tree house built in my garden. Completely made of wood and thatch and believe me as a roofer I spent many an hour looking at it working out how I could replicate it. Completely open to the elements, meaning it has no walls, but in the climate they are completely not needed. All areas of the lodge, including the bar, the restaurant, reception, swimming pool I found to be more than adequate and completely fitted in with the surrounding area on the Mara River. I had no issues with the electric going off at midnight after all if the Masai can live without it then so can I for a few hours, it was no great issue to me.

Now I come to the all important issue of the staffing. I cannot and would not knock any of the staff at the Mara Simba as they truly made my holiday in Kenya one I will never forget. Forever smiling, forever helpful, gracious, happy, they made it for me and on departure I was sad to see the last of them. We all particularly enjoyed our last night when the Masai came in and danced for us and especially watching the staff join in. The party I was with had a great rapport with them and Joshua who looked after us during our meals was a delight. The meals in my opinion where superb, the best I had on the whole of my holiday and considering I went onto Mauritius afterwards, they should be very much proud of what they served up every day. Believe me it was well and truly missed and the few extra pounds I put on at the Mara Simba soon disappeared at the Coin de Mere Attitude whose culinary delights where shocking.

I really cannot sing the praises of the staff enough. All I can do is thank you for what was part of my holiday of a lifetime and I do so hope that in the not so distant future I can return.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Haslemere
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

This is an excellent lodge in every respect. It is very traditional using a great deal of wood. The staff are superb in every respect, very friendly and attentive. There is an excellent bar with an open log fire should the evenings be cool. Accommodation is either small blocks or in glamtents. I don't know about the tents but the rooms were perfect in every way. There was evening entertainment at dinner - we had a Maasai warrior dance to watch. The food is mostly buffet style but there are a couple of cooks on duty at every meal cooking fresh delicious courses. It is set right on the Mara River there is a croc and hippo residing opposite.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ottawa
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2013

very nice lodge, great staff, good choice of vegetarian food. rooms were very nicely done. it was a bit crowded but then it was the peak season around mid-August. very close to good wildlife spots in Masai Mara. we had read some average reviews about the place and were a bit concerned. but the stay was great - we did not have any trouble at all.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Mara Simba Lodge

Address: C14, Keekorok (Masai Mara Reserve) | Talek River, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #64 of 117 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Hotel Class:3 star — Mara Simba Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 84
Also Known As:
Mara Simba Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Mara Simba Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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