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“OUT OF THIS WORLD” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Mara Safari Lodge

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Masai Mara North Conservancy | P.O Box 260, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00621, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Newport, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“OUT OF THIS WORLD”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2012

We arrived at the airstrip and were met by Jeffery our brilliant guide for the next 4 days, he guided us to all of the big 5 and much more, he was so enthusiastic and made our safari experience so special, on arriving at the lodge we were welcomed by James the manager who guided us through the site and passed us on to Simon who looked after our lodge and us with our early morning tea and coffee, nothing was to much trouble for him, we were then escorted to our meals by Reagan and Steven again nothing was to much trouble for them, Food was served by Joshua who was amazing company and made mealtimes so interesting, food was superb and thanks go to all the cooking staff, overall this was an amazing part of our holiday and we cannot wait to return. once again thank you so much all of you for making our stay so memorable.

  • Stayed January 2012, 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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361 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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New York City
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2012

This was our second visit to the Royal Mara and it was again a dream come true. The wild life was spectacular. We saw the big five and more. Lions, leopards, a cheetah with cubs. We even saw a lion kill a wildebeest. Unbelievable. Our driver Julius was great. Very knowledgeable. He found everything for us to photograph.

We had fantastic meals. The food was exquisite and of 5 star quality. Fantastic gourmet soups. Loved their apple and brie cheese soup. Great pasta and pizza appetizers . A wide assortment of salads including Greek, French Nicoise and Italian pasta salads. Even Ceasar salad freshly prepared for us table side in the bush. We even had a teppanyiaki meal prepared for us at our table next to the Mara River. Just as if we were at Benihana in New York. But the best was the bush lunch BBQ out on the open plain surrounded by grazing wildlife.

The grounds of the Royal Mara have been vastly upgraded since our last visit. They now have two lodges, one at each end of the camp. The new lodge is next to the big hippo lagoon. We loved having our meal gazing at the hippos bobbing up and down in the river. The old lodge and dining area now has a big display of African masks from all over Africa. They also now have a big curio shop with all kinds of carvings and Masai trinkets. We loved walking around the camp which is a game walk in itself.

The suites are beautiful. Full of carved furniture. We watched the river flow by before us with all kinds of entertainment. Hippos moving about, some crocodile. Monkeys on trees and even some zebras coming down to the river for watering. What a paradise.

The staff were fantastic and catered to all of our needs. At night we felt secure knowing Masai were watching over us as we were surrounded by wild animals. A unique sleeping experience. This is true bush sleeping. Thanks to all the Royal Mara staff who made our stay an unforgettable memory. Especially thanks to our waiter Mololo, our housekeeper Simon and the chef Watson. We cant wait to come back again some day.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 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
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Vilnius
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2012

super lodge! super safari! best regards from Lithuania to logde staff :)

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 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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Houston, Texas, United States
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 24, 2012

But, you do not go there for food, right? The day can be so busy and, excitng that you don't worry bout food....

The guide - Julius, was excellent. I was able to see and enjoy (including a kill by cheetah) almost everything except, a leoperd - which BTW, very sporadic at the best.

The owners, George Sr., and Jr., both are very receptive, curtious and very helpful.

I would reccomend the Royal to anyone, anytime.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled solo
    • 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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Minneapolis
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2012

We were picked up at the landing strip and on our way to camp, we saw a mother cheetah and her cub. We knew at that moment that this would be an extraordinary experience.

This was our second trip to Royal Mara. Our first was two years ago. To be able to sleep a few feet from the Mara River and listen to its many hippos was incredible. The tent (like no other tent we have experienced) was first class with beautiful safari decor. Everything was first class. We were excited to return for a second time, wondering if our second visit would match our first. This trip was equal to our first with one exception - the food. The food was excellent - if anything, there was too much of it. We particularly enjoyed the fresh fruit and vegetables and the Greek recipes.

We would recommend requesting a bush lunch one day and also taking the option of breakfast while out on safari. The Mara had received much more rain than what we experienced two years ago. It made for adventuresome driving. We were in awe of our driver's ability to maneuver the mud and standing water. We asked to be taken to the park where we could see the rhinos. We saw the rhinos but felt it was not worth the distance and would have preferred pursuing the elusive leopard (the only one of the big five that we did not see).

We would recommend Wilson as your driver. He told great stories and provided a great deal of information about the plants, animals and birds.

If we could change anything, it would be to have a little more time in our tent, enjoying the sounds of the hippos and watching the monkeys. We were kept busy from early morning until evening and returned home with thousands of photos. We had friends with us who had stayed at another resort. They kept commenting how Royal Mara was far superior to that experience. Thank you, Royal Mara, for a trip of a lifetime!

  • Stayed January 2012, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
epsom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2012

This was a birthday gift to myself as my 50th loomed on the horizon. I determined
I and my wife would be on the banks of a river in the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya looking at something larger than myself- a hippo!
Abdul of Tunde Tours in Watamu organised this trip and what a place he selected for us. We flew from malindi airport which was small and quaint but well organised. The flight was 2 and a half hours in a 20 seater with a wonderful view of Mount Kilimanjaro en route- landing on a dirtstrip runway in blazing sun having flown over herds of wild buffalo and elephants was magical. We were picked up immediately and transported in landcruisers to our destination The Royal Mara Lodge. Wild animals were abundant in the 3 km drive and wetted our apetites for what was to come.
We were met on arrival by our hosts George and George junior his son- lovely friendly people who were as accomodating as could be. Lovely cold flannels and fresh fruit juice then a brief arrival procedure before being informed of our surroundings and a safety briefing.Right on a horseshoe bend of a large river there were 100 hippos directly in front of me swimming lazily on the river. Right on cue a troop of baboons came onto the opposite 'beach' and paraded for us- magical!
We were then shown our lodge- wow what a place. There are only 8 at the Royal Mara- all are of equally high standards with amazing wood carved interiors which have all creature comforts whilst retaining the 'tent atmosphere'. Full flushing loos and tiles shower rooms with dual basins and a wonderful veranda with two sunbeds to recline on and watch the river glide by. We were overwhelmed by the quality.
There are armed guards to escort you to and from breakfast and dinner as hippos and lions may wander through after dusk- exciting but really safe as no chances are taken with your safety.
Food was beautifully presented with chefs and excellent waiter service. When you consider the logistical problems of supply in the wilderness I take my own hat off to george and his family.
We then made regular driving safaris with our driver Julius who managed to locate a variety of wildlife. I had to keep pinching myself to remind me i was actually there...lions with 8 cubs and a cheetah with cub were just 2 of our highlights over the 3 days. Herds of elephants/ 5 giraffes majestically journeying through the grasslands like ships...it went on and on.
I had let slip this was my 50th birthday and I need to say a big thank you to george and his workstaff for making it so special. On the lunchtime we were taken out to the 'bush' for a special lunch. T bone steaks and dauphin potatoes served with crisp salad , beer/wine in the middle of all the wildlife- magical! I gather this is a regular event and again hats off to george for his excellent service. We were even visited by 4 wild baboons who kept a respectful distance but fully entertained us.We also went on a walk through the bush with our armed guards in the morning along the river and about an hours game walk. Again no extra charge for this and what an experience.
In the evening George was again the perfect host with his chef cooking us quality terayaki and I was then treated to a full masai warrior dance and large birthday cake - all the guests joined in what was a great impromptu party!!
This was our first safari and I cannot recommend higher this lodge, the friendly family who run it and their wonderful staff. If you can possibly book this then do so. Again a big thank you from my wife and I.

Room Tip: No need all are placed on the river bank and each is wonderful.
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  • Stayed January 2012, 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Royal Mara tented camp for 3 nights. We booked through JT Safaris (separate review) and, as came by road, used a driver from JT Safaris rather than one of the drivers based at Royal Mara.

The "tents" at Royal Mara are incredible and are more like large chalets than tents. Each one is on a raised wooden platform and has beautiful wooden floors and carved wooden furniture throughout. We had a huge, comfy 4 poster bed, a large seating area inside and another one outside on our terrace overlooking the river. There is a large shower area and hot water was always available. Electricity is only on for a couple of hours in the early morning and about 4 hours in the evening, but this was never a big problem. It does mean that you don't have much choice about staying up beyond 11 at night, but you do have to get up really early for the game drives anyway.

I had been nervous about tented camps involving a lot of insects in the tents (especially spiders!!!), but there were no bugs at all in our tent. I think the raised platform helps a lot and the staff are always very careful about making sure the mosquito net part of the tent is always zipped up. At night there is a second mosquito net on the 4 poster bed itself for extra protection.

The camp is right on the river where hundreds of hippos live. In the daytime you can watch them wallowing and resting, but at night some of them come into camp and you basically can't leave your tent because they are very territorial. It was a thrill to have them around, but they are extremely noisy so we did get woken up in the early hours.

All the staff at Royal Mara were lovely, helpful and amenable. Because the camp is open to wildlife (no electric fence) you must always be escorted to and from your tent and around the camp for your own safety, but this was never an issue and someone was always on hand.

The food at Royal Mara is not bad, but not great either. There was nothing wrong with the quality, but it was very bland and unimaginative. Generally it was grilled meat with potatoes and vegetables and there tended not to be sauce or spice etc. It was fine and we certainly didn't go hungry! We were there for Christmas day and they made a special effort to roast a huge turkey for everyone in the camp. The turkey was cooked perfectly, but it was a bit odd that they served it with rice and lentils! Kenya is not really a culinary destination anyway, but we did eat some more interesting food in other places we stayed on our holiday.

We went on a short walking safari with a couple of the camp rangers which was both complimentary and a good experience in that it offered a different perspective to the road safaris. We went to part of the river where we could have a better look at the hippos and walked onto the plains a little bit.

The Royal Mara proved to be a fantastic base for us in that we had some amazing sightings including a number of lions and lion cubs, a cheetah and her cub, a leopard, hyenas, elephants, giraffes, buffalo... and the list goes on. We would definitely recommend a stay at the Royal Mara.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Royal Mara Safari Lodge

Address: Masai Mara North Conservancy | P.O Box 260, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00621, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Maasai Mara National Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 117 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Mara Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Royal Mara is a luxury safari and game viewing lodge located in Kenya's world famous Masai Mara, home to the annual Great Migration of the Wildebeest. We are situated directly on the Mara River with six riverfront guest suites. All suites are raised upon wooden decks with full mahogany flooring and original hand carved furniture. See the same wildlife-rich areas as broadcast on the BBC Big Cat Diary. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Royal Mara Safari Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Royal Mara Safari Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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