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“Tranquil Inspiration!” 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
Dallas, Texas
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
32 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
“Tranquil Inspiration!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

Royal Mara Safari Lodge is a true gem. The level of hospitality, service, and attention to detail was superb! The food is delicious! The rooms are private, peaceful, and luxurious! All of the furniture in our room was hand carved with animals, and my girlfriend could not stop taking pictures of the cool furniture. But even cooler than that was the family of hippos that we could see directly in front of our private balcony pretty much every day. It's so peaceful hearing the animals at night, neither my girlfriend nor I have ever slept better. The beds are divine. The mattress was huge and perfect. There is mosquito netting, but I never saw any mosquitoes. It's almost a shame the rest of the camp is so awesome, or we would have spent all of our time in the relaxing room listening to the peaceful animal sounds.

There are two major relaxation areas at Royal Mara. One is the reception, which is almost on a peninsula, surrounded by the river. I LOVE it there. I must have counted 80 hippos at once. The other area is cool too. There are elands roaming around the camp, and with so many (safe) animals mingling around the camp (monkeys, birds, elands, etc) the place feels so serene and natural. Almost like a paradise that wasn't meant to exist on earth. It's exciting, but also completely safe. There are armed guards who escort you privately everywhere around the camp for safety. To your room, to eat, to the reception, to go safari. You always feel completely safe and comfortable. We never even felt that we were in a dangerous situation, but I can not tell you how good it feels to have an armed employee to escort you and talk to you about the camp, animals, etc. It just makes you feel secure.

Ah yes, the animals. I've never seen so many amazing and incredible animals. I remember counting the distinct species and just loving the diversity! While at Royal Mara, we usually went on 2 driving safaris per day, probably 10 in total. They were all different, and awesome! We saw lions hunt and kill an eland. It was AMAZING!!!! But the Mara is a huge place, so we went so many places. We saw 2 different Masai tribes, and got to see them perform some cool ceremonies in their villages. A group of tribesman even stopped by dinner one night for a very awesome dance and performance. It was very unexpected, but very very cool. The local people are so friendly and seem to really love the contribution Royal Mara makes to the local economy. I'm so impressed not only with the hotel itself for providing an unparalleled travel experience, but with what appears to be a strong sense of goodwill and noticeable civic mindedness. The owners of the hotel work closely with local tribesmen and park rangers to provide for the protection of the animals. It's so awesome. I believe they helped something called "Mara North Conservancy". We would go out on a safari to see lions and there would be the BBC there right next to us filming "Big Cat Diaries", then there would be rangers in the next jeep over making sure everyone was safe. They weren't particularly there to keep the people safe... but the animals. The people are safe as long as they don't get out of their vehicles. The rangers protect the animals from poachers. There's actually a ton of freedom on your safari too. If you want to see a particular type of animal, they go looking for it for you. If you are bored of one animal, you can drive on and see different animals. If you really love one animal, you can stay and watch it for a long time... If you want to spend time by the river, no problem! You want to go up a hill and take some pictures by some cool African trees and vistas? Sure! It's really up to your group and which sorts of wildlife you want to spend the most time watching. Our driver was so informative and interesting. He was obviously local and had spent his whole life growing up in that valley. But he spoke perfect English and his friendly nature was great! It was amazing to see how much he and other locals loved working with the camp and helping people see the animals safely, and under conditions which help provide the finances for ranger care and protection of the animals.

I travel all the time, and I never write reviews, but Royal Mara simply deserved this. I've never been more impressed by a hotel experience as a whole, and anyone who visits Royal Mara will not be disappointed! We already booked another trip for next year and requested to stay in the exact same room that we had last time! We are already planning the pictures we are going to take and getting excited about the animals!

I assumed there would not be internet since it is in the middle of the African Savannah, but the camp was just getting their first wifi installed in the lounge / food area during our trip. I couldn't stream videos, but I could check email and read articles no problem. That was a surprise, but nice. I don't exactly go far away from cities in Africa to watch youtube, but it will be nice once the telecom companies release 3G in Masai Mara.

If you want to see hippos and elands up close, this is probably the best place in the world to do so.

  • Stayed April 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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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (71)
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Wales, UK
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012 via mobile

This was my first trip to Masai Mara and indeed Kenya. I had heard tales of how amazing the lodges on the Mara were but I could not have imagined they truly are and in particular the Royal Mara, from the moment we landed at the small airfield the service was attentive, and our driver Wilson took us up the lodge pointing out various wildlife in the way to the lodge, which was alongside the Mara river, occupied with thousands of Hippos who were visible throughout my stay. I was travelling alone and allocated no. 5 of one if the 8 "tents" which is an injustice as they had every comfort of a 5 star hotel room. Security was tight as there are no fences and an animals will freely roam and so whenever walking from tent to outdoor restaurant or reception area I had my own guard who would appear as I left my door. As I was only staying for 1 night our guide in the 4x4 "simon" was keen to ensure I saw as much as I could in one of the two drives , I saw everything except Rhino. I felt totally safe even on the walking safari when we encountered a cobra on its nest protecting its eggs The food was first class, 3 course meals including beakfast and just needed to pay fir drinks which were cheap. It was a truly amazing experience and would highly recommend the Royal Mara.

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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SOUTHWOLD SUFFOLK
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2012

I could not have wished for a better 3 night safari stay than this. The whole experience was so surreal . The camp was open to the wild ,no high fences to keep the animals out at night ,just the rangers looking out for us all night long ( bless em). September & october seem best times to see the most animals including the great migration of wildebeasts. The lodge food was all served alfresco with a fire raging in the background to keep us warm. All the tents are beside the river which is home to some 300 pod of hippos which will come out at night and graze beside your tented lodge as will buffalo zebra and others. Lions are only a stones throw away when hunting at night.All in all a fantastic stay and will be going back one day in the future.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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
    • 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.
Stornoway
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Quite how this oasis of bliss can be found in the middle of the African savannah is a miracle. Flying two hours west from Mombasa into the African Rift Valley, we weren't expecting this level of luxury combined with an authentic feel of wilderness and "safari".
Between the airstrip and the Lodge we'd already ticked off an impressive list of animals.
We were then checked into our beautiful accommodation before being sat down for lunch.
The statement "your soup today will be cream of asparagus" was followed by an enquiry as to how we would like our t-bone steaks. The food was of a standard better than our hotel, and our hotel restaurant was exceptional. You will not be disappointed.
As for the lodge.....prepare to be overwhelmed.
You will be walked there by a guard whose attention you need to seek before venturing anywhere. This is an "open" area and animals will wander about (more especially at night).
The double-tented enclosed "tent" is beautifully furnished with the huge four-poster bed the stand-out feature.
You will spend a bit of time taking photos of the interior so you can show your friends the luxury you stayed in. Then you go onto your verandah and marvel at the river and the hippos just yards below.
The staff cannot do enough for you, nothing is too much trouble. They will do laundry should you require it, bring you fresh coffee prior to your morning (jeep) safari, and attend to your every request.
There is a morning safari leaving at 6.00am, returning at 9.00am for a great breakfast.
At 10.30am there is an optional (included) walking safari which involves you and two armed guards leaving the lodge area and going "walkabout". It lasts about 90mins and is brilliant! Lunch is followed by an afternoon (jeep) safari and the wonders just keep coming. The drivers are in constant communication with each other and you will be taken to spots of special activity/interest....Lions feeding/sleeping, the Cheetah, baby elephants, vultures on carrion, etc, etc and even more etc.
Despite what you might think about the advice, and depending on when you travel (we went last September, 2012), bring warm clothes (a long sleeved t-shirt/shirt, a fleece and some light waterproofs). I'm Scottish and used to the cold and rain, but was glad I packed some.
A torch, decent binoculars and a good camera are essential...depending on how fussy you are about hair, a small dryer might be a useful (if inconvenient (?) addition to your luggage).
We tipped the driver $K1,000 a day and discretionary sundries for the waiting staff and armed guards.
On our 1st night we heard a thundering of hooves stampeding past the tent. Enquiring in the morning we were told it was just the Zebras. "What stampeded them?" I asked. "Oh, they were being chased by two lions" was the reply from the guards who are present (and armed) all night.
The 2nd night the sedentary grazing of the Hippos right outside the tent woke us.....it was both eerie and wonderful.
Royal Mara is simply a different class.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Room Tip: If you are worried about walking any "distance" regularly, ask for a "middle" nu...
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  • Stayed September 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Framlingham, United Kingdom
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2012

The Royal Mara was truly what you would expect from a tented camp.It has really old world appeal with the heavy wood furniture. Nothing was too much trouble for all the staff. As I have difficulty walking great distances everything was moved to make my life easier. The game drives with Julius were amazing. We saw everything including a crossing. The rest of my family went on a bush walk. This was a great experience for them as Reagan the guard was so knowledgeable and took them up close and personal with the wildlife. If you want to hear hippos munching the grass outside your tent during the night, this is the place to go! The food was excellent and we especially enjoyed the sundowners at the end of the game drives.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
leigh
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

We have just spent 3 days 2 nights at the royal mara the place is absolute paradise every aspect of it is perfection and the food is just to die for I can't reccomend it enough we had an absolutely wonderful time we booked our safari with julius t safaris from England I can't praise him enough either the booking process was easy and when we got here he met us at the hotel so we could pay our balance on the day we were going he personally collected us from the hotel and took us to the airport and then collected us on our return it was all completely seamless he even bought us a gift. Please don't be frightened of dealing with him he is a consummate professional

  • Stayed September 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 10, 2012

Stayed at the Royal Mara for 5 nights in late August. We really enjoyed our stay and were very well looked after. I would highly recommend this place to anyone considering visiting the Mara. There are many positives:

Great location
- Right beside the river with resident hippos outside the veranda providing entertainment
- No fence around camp means that animals often wonder in and graze beside the lodge.
- Abundant wildlife at this time of year, far superior compared to the National Reserve which is we also visited. We saw 4 of the big five within the first 2 hrs of our very first game drive.

Large, comfortable lodge
- Plenty of hot water for showers
- Tent set up on a raised platform with wooden roof so you still get the “tented” safari feel, with a lot more comfort
- Very large: includes a four poster bed, sun loungers, separate shower room and toilet, his/hers washing up vanity, table & chairs on veranda
- No mosquitoes or any creepy crawlies. Didn’t even need insect repellent throughout our time there.
- Very intimate, as there are only 8 rooms

Keen and friendly staff
- Assigned staff who will be with you throughout your entire stay including the game driver, waiter and house keeper.
- Staff are very keen to ensure that you are happy. They are friendly and courteous, rather than being overly formal.
- A morning coffee/tea/chocolate wake up call and turn down service
- We were not scheduled to leave until the afternoon flight (pass check-out time), but nevertheless where feed lunch and given an available lodge to fresshen up prior to leaving
- Laundry service is included in the room rate

Great game drives & extra activities
- Rooms seem to pretty much have their own cars. It is their policy to not overcrowd the vehicle so you can move about more freely to view the animals and take pictures. We were only a couple and shared the car with a single traveller for half our stay and then it was only us for the remainder of the time.
- Drivers are very proud of their jobs and are so accommodating. When we wanted to visit the rhino sanctuary, this was promptly scheduled. You simply talk to your driver about what you want to cover
- Situated in a private conservatory means that the cars can go off road providing better game viewing
- You are not limited to the conservatory itself as the guide will take you to the wildebeest crossing points in the national park (although, I would not go for any other reason as there was so much to see at our conservatory)
- We also got to go on a night game drive which was an amazing experience (followed a pride on lions on the hunt). Again you just need to schedule with your guide
- There are also daily walking safaris which are tailored to the group’s level of fitness

Good Food
- We were not expecting a lot, but were very happy with the food. Simple and well executed. During our stay there was a good breakfast spread with fruit, bread, cereal, eggs to order, sausages & bacon. Lunch consists mainly of BBQs and stews with soup and desert. Dinner was 4 courses with 2 choices for mains. Considering that it was such a small camp, they do a great job with the many dishes on offer. My husband loved the soups and freshly baked breads. Coffees & teas provided.
- Location changes, they move dining service around the camp. One of the days, our group was treated to a bush BBQ under a nice tree in the middle of the plains, complete with giraffes and gazelles strolling by.

  • Stayed August 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 4
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 #19 of 110 Specialty lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Mara Safari Lodge 4*
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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