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“Another perfect stay. Birding paradise.” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Mara Safari Lodge

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Masai Mara North Conservancy | P.O Box 260, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00621, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Detroit, Michigan
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
“Another perfect stay. Birding paradise.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

You know a hotel is good if half the guests staying there have been before. This is the situation I found myself in while sipping wine around a bonfire at the Royal Mara. We had a perfect stay, and were surprised to find we enjoyed ourselves even more than the last time. As usual the service was great, the game drives were awe inspiring. This time we were excited to find they had made a few upgrades! This time they had wifi in the rooms (how they get wifi in the middle of nowhere still baffles me) and the food was even better than our last visit. The rooms were as beautiful as I remembered, and I always find myself wishing I was back in that insanely comfortable bed listening to the animal sounds to wake up in the morning.

Im a big stickler for great service, and thats the main reason I like this place. Everyone who works there is personable and amazing, always taking note of what they can do to make you happy. I was excited to see many of the same people were there from our last visit and they actually remembered me! Also, In the past year Ive also developed a huge appreciation for birds and birding. The drivers were amazing in accommodating me with this. On an average day I would see at least 40 species! The drivers had a knack for always finding whatever someone in the car would fancy, and I really appreciated this. My only complaint is that after seeing so many birds Im now spoiled, and can never appreciate birding anywhere else as much!

Again a huge thank you to the drivers, Regan for the game walks, and everyone else who made our stay at the Mara so memorable. We will see you again next year!

  • Stayed January 2013, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (69)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
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English first
Norfolk, UK
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2013

My partner, 10 year old son and I travelled to the Royal Mara from our beach hotel through Julius T safari's (seperate review to follow) for a 2 night stay. We had chosen this lodge on the basis of previous Tripadvisor reviews but we still were not prepared for how amazing this place was.

We were picked up from the airstrip by James, who was our driver for the entire stay, and immediately saw so may animals on the way to the lodge our son was beside himself.
You are given a lovely welcome by all of the staff in the reception area and then taken to your tent to settle in before lunch. The tent was bigger than our beach hotel room, huge comfortable beds and an enormous shower room. The balcony outside overlooks the river Mara and the resident hippo's which can be very noisy, but we loved hearing them- its all part of the Royal Mara experience.

We ate our meals by the river during the day, in the shade at lunchtime, and around the firepit in the evening which gave everything a lovely atmosphere. The food was really nice, we tried everything on offer, and the drinks were very reasonably priced.

What made our trip special was the staff, from the guards walking you around at meal times (they also take you on a walking safari which I highly recommend) to the housekeepers, drivers, and waiters. George Jnr is the Manager/ son of the owner and is ever present- chatting to you about your game drives, or answering any questions you can think of.

The game drives themselves are great, so many animals to see at a really close distance, and James was so good at positioning us to get some great photos. We saw lions chasing a gazelle, 2 male lions miss out an a warthog breakfast, and 2 beautiful cheetahs. We didn't see a leopard or rhino but we didn't feel cheated as it impresses upon you that these are wild animals who do not just hang around waiting for the tourists to take their photo (plus it gives us a really good reason to come back another day!)

Overall we cannot recommend this lodge highly enough, and look forward to a return trip in the future.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Poznan, Poland
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 1, 2013

Big area with only a few (12?), comfortable, huge huts, Very clean, very well furnished. Excellent food. Welcoming personell. At night hippos and other animals preying next to a hut. Tasty drinking chocolate at 6:00am just before an early morning game. Meals just on the river, dinner with hippo preying in bush next to us, exotic frogs singing in the evening. Everything was just amazing. The only issue for some malcontents may be electric power which is switched off each night. For us this was just exotic and fun. We had a very good, experienced, very polite driver Jeffrey. He drove us not only through reserve but showed us a piece of Africa outside. We learned from him may things. And we are in touch with him on fb now. Thank you, Royal Mara!

Room Tip: Very end hut - the biggest chance for hippo preying at night
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  • Stayed January 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

We stayed at the Royal Mara for 2 nights 3 days oorganised by JT Safaris, we were totally blown away by the lodge it was amazing, didnt sleep much as we stayed awake all night listening to all the amimal passing by our lodge. Would definately recommend staying there and would do so again. Having breakfast with the hippos, lunch under a tree in the bush and supper under the stars, We had a driver called Simon who went the extra mile in finding all the amimals we wanted see and more. Ragan and Moses were our guards and made sure we were kept safe. All the staff could not do enough for us and made our stay memorable. The only down side to our stay was a Japanese lady who complained about everything from her drink not being cold enough and her supper was 10 minutes late,and the amimal were making to much noise, I felt sorry for the staff who had to put up with her lack of manners she was totally out of order and said she could get them all sacked if she wanted too, she needed to get a life and stop being so rude..

  • Stayed January 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Royal Mara for 4 nights just after Christmas 2012. Our drive from the airport to the resort included a few pit stops to photograph Giraffe, Zebras, Warthogs ,Topi, and Thompson Gazelles. Upon arrival we were greeted by George Jr. and ice cold glasses of OJ. Throughout our stay , George Jr was very knowledgeable about the area and was a constant source of great info on the Maasai culture, animal behavior, and history of the camp.

The rooms were tremendous and very clean. The pics on the website don't quite do it justice. We stayed in #6 situated in between the breakfast/ dinner area and the daily pick up for game drives. The bed was very comfortable, and flushing toilets were definitely a bonus. Hot water was best either just after breakfast (10am), or just after dinner (9pm). Lights out was at 10:30pm and then came back on at 5:30am. It is great to be able to sit on the balcony and watch the hippos, BUT word of warning if you are a light sleeper: you may want to bring earplugs as the hippos can get quite noisy late into the night (2-3am) and the camp has frequent visitors that include elephants and hyenas.

We saw the big 5, including multiple sightings of Leopards and lion prides! We owe it all to our driver Wilson, a seasoned veteran who was one of the drivers for BBC's "Big Cat Diaries" and ensured there were great spottings on each drive.. He was enthusiastic and very happy to answer questions about Maasai culture. Unfortunately we did not see any cheetah's but we'll save that for the next trip ;) (Quick side note: It can get chilly/ windy on early morning game drives and at night, so I would recommend bringing layers that include a heavy sweatshirt/ fleece and hat.)

George Jr., Wilson, and the rest of the staff (including our waiter Nelson, and guard Stephen) really made this trip amazing. We cannot wait to return and would highly recommend Royal Mara to anyone wanting to go on safari!

Room Tip: Since you cannot leave the tents at night after lights out the room choice doesn't really matter...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

We had a really incredible safari and I would definitely recommend Royal Mara to potential safari-goers.

This is a small lodge with 8 rooms only which made it stand out from our previous safaris where we have stayed at larger lodges.

The location is good, in the Mara North Conservancy, and the rooms overlook a river full of hippos. We got used to the sounds of hippo as we fell asleep in the evenings!

The guides were fantastic. We actually had two different guides - Wilson for the first 2 days, and Jeffrey for the third. They both had different styles and were equally good. We were extremely lucky to see so many animals (which was a change from some of our previous safaris following drought) - there had been heavy rainfall which meant that although some cars were getting stuck and driving conditions were more difficult than usual, the landscape was green and beautiful with lots of animals. We saw elephants, giraffe, zebra, lions, leopards, cheetah, antelope, hyena, wildebeest, baboons etc. The vehicles were also v good with large windows, ideal for viewing whilst seated.

The level of service was very high. Everyone, from the wardens to waiters/chefs to guides were of top quality and looking to please. George - the manager/owner's son was very friendly and happy to chat about his experiences in Kenya, our daily adventures, or dietary requirements.

In terms of dietary requirements, we are a difficult group to please as our group is mostly vegetarian, I am vegan, and my mother does not eat onions and garlic. The chefs were able to cater for us perfectly and I ate happily. We had a bush lunch one day whilst the sun was out which was a wonderful experience.

The rooms are grand in terms of size and decor - from pictures I had seen prior to our arrival, I thought they may be over the top and not in line with the surroundings, but they were actually very comfortable and I liked the style. Beds also v comfortable.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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.
Michigan
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2013

My family of 7 stayed here in late December 2012. We have traveled the world and our stay at Royal Mara was one of the best and most memorable ever. The service, the accommodations, the atmosphere, and the food - all superior. The constant presence of. and mingling with the guests by, friendly owner George added to the warm ambience. Our Maasai safari guide, Julius, was exceptional. He was amazing at finding wildlife. His knowledge of the savannah and animal behavior were almost mystical. During our 2-day stay, we saw about 30 lions, a cheetah and a leopard, all up close and personal, and every other kind of animal we had hoped to see - too long a list to recount here. We agree with the wonderfully descriptive camp details provided by other reviewers and so won't repeat them here. The Masai Mara region truly is a special place on this planet, and the North Mara Conservancy (where the lodge is) is even more special due to its low lodge and vehicle density, the ability to travel off-road and see the wildlife at very close quarters, and successful anti-poaching efforts. Our stay here was so special that the other four lodges we stayed at elsewhere in Kenya, all highly rated in their own right, never came close. The Royal Mara is not only a place, it is an experience, and in our opinion, it is not to be missed.

  • Stayed December 2012, 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
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 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 #16 of 109 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 
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Also Known As:
Royal Mara Safari Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Royal Mara Safari Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve

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