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“Truly a special place” 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
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
“Truly a special place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 26, 2013

Royal Mara is truly a special place. I travel most of the year for business and this is the one place that I find my mind wandering back to. I've now stayed at Royal Mara 3 times, and somehow it keeps getting better each time. Somehow, the food was even better the third time. I loved the soups and the rolls. The butter is even the perfect temperature for spreading. One of my friends could not stop raving about the butter, lol. The breakfast and salads are delicious as well! I never went hungry. All the food was completely included. The service is also very attentive and comprehensive. Which brings me to the best part of Royal Mara.

The staff is so friendly. They are always saying "Hello" and asking how your are doing. Almost every day we went on a walking drive. It was great to get so much fresh air and exercise, but it was also awesome to walk and talk with local Masai. Those guys have been living in that area for generations, so it is very evident how closely they carry their peoples' ties to the wildlife. There are domesticated cows kept by the various tribes, but it is taboo for them to eat wildlife! So you can trust that the driver of your car on safari has a deep respect for the animals he is driving you to see. And the fact that they were so welcoming and hospitable makes all the difference in creating an awesome experience!

I lastly commend Royal Mara on pure attention to detail. The rooms are spacious and luxurious (intricately carved furniture, etc), and now they have WIFI! Monkeys, elands, and many many more species even roam freely throughout the grounds. Every afternoon, a huge family of probably 100+ mongoose would seemingly migrate by the lounge to some burrow nearby. It was truly an awesome sight for an afternoon sitting in the lounge and drinking Tuskers. For me, Royal Mara became a sanctuary of relaxation and dining while being close to the animals and having the convenience of staying in touch with work over email. The game drives are even more awesome, but you know the kind of hotel where you almost don't want to leave to go do things because it's so nice just spending time in your room and in the lounge? Also, you feel like you don't want to even leave. Well this is that type of hotel. Which is why the game drives have to be so amazing, to make sure you get out and explore the savanna more deeply.

If you stay at Royal Mara, expect your time to be comfortable and enchanting. Now that the rooms have free WIFI, i can't think of what more I'd want out of this hotel.

Note - I gave the fitness center 5 stars because I view the walking game drives as their version of fitness center and they are awesome / beautiful. Way better than any other fitness center I've used.

  • 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
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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 (67)
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English first
Detroit, Michigan
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
23 reviews 23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
29 helpful votes 29 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
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 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.

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Additional Information about Royal Mara Safari Lodge

Also Known As:
Royal Mara Safari Hotel
Royal Mara Safari Hotel Maasai Mara National Reserve
Royal Mara Safari Lodge Kenya/Maasai Mara National Reserve
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 #14 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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