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“A magic location for a very Nice lodge !” 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
Paris, France
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“A magic location for a very Nice lodge !”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 17, 2013 via mobile

Good things :

- Perfect location.
- Lodge front of Mara river with hippo view.
- Rooms very well decorated.
- Wifi free and fast.
- Tours are magic. Morning & noon safaris are great !
- Staff Nice and helpfull.
- Service perfect


Bad things :

- Heaters should be available especially on winter Time.

- There wasnt a lot of variety of food.

Conclusion :

Worth going there for a wonderful expérience !

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 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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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)
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st Petersburg, United States
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2013

Having enjoyed our Safari in 2012 so much we decided to make a return visit to the Royal Mara in June 2013 and were certainly not disappointed with our decision. This is a very small Lodge with only 8 spacious and well equipped lodges, remembering where you are I truly believe the owners and staff do an outstanding job. The food is good, the atmosphere is great and the game drives are wonderful. As our guide of 2012 was so good we requested his services again this year and the Royal Mara obliged with this request. James, our guide is a wonderful person, guide and now "part of our family." This year the game viewing was particularly good for me as I am a "Big Cat Lover" and we had so many Leopard, Cheetah and Lion sightings that you could easily loose count. There we many Lion Cubs this year which was a real bonus. We were fortunate to see a Giraffe of only a day old and huge hers of Elephant with babies of all ages and sizes. I hope to return again if health and resources allow. The entire staff need to be recognized for their outstanding work and the owners George Sr and George Jr need a special thanks for being so accommodating to our needs. The Perfect Safari experience.

  • Stayed June 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Surrey
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

As a party of five we stayed for two nights in the Royal Mara, it exceeded expectations the lodges were large and very spacious decorated in Safari style but still with modern facilities excellent shower and his/her sinks. The food was fantastic better than a lot of hotels we have stayed in around the world and served outside by the river with hippo's and other wildlife passing by. Our safari driver Wilson had been working on the the "Big Cat Diary" and the passion he felt with his job was infectious. We saw five out of the Big five although the Rhino was in a sanctuary for obvious reasons. The staff were always cheerful and very helpful including the two guides who accompanied us on a walk where we saw an hippo which had been hurt, they became very strict and insisted that we should be quiet and move the long way around the animal as in pain he could lash out and become very dangerous. Would we go back - yes definitely. We were there in September 2011

Room Tip: There are no bad lodges on this site
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  • Stayed September 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 1
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Bridgewater NJ
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2013

We stayed two nights at the Royal Mara and truly enjoyed our stay! The staff (everyone included) was warm and very accomodating. Since the conservancy is private only used by tourists/travel guides affiliated with camps on the conservancy it creates a much more intimate sarfari drive experience. Our guide, James was very knowledge and went out of his way to enable us to see what we wanted. Nestled along the river, the lodge has a prime location and since it only has eight lodges it is located in peaceful setting. Kudos to the James the Manager and his staff for making it a delightful stay!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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
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Brisbane, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

We spent 5 nights at Royal Mara and it was one of the best experiences of our lives. Our guide, Julius, was outstanding. Apart from his favourite spots he had a network of other guides willing to assist him with sittings. In the conservatory they have an unwritten rule about the number of vehicles around an animal so there is no crowding. The resort is not fenced so the animals, including the hippos graze around the resort at night. No place for sleep walkers!

Graham Buderus

Room Tip: Ask for one by the river
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  • 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
    • 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.
Tokyo
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

We stayed at Olonana for 4 nights before coming to Royal Mara so it was hard not to compare the two camps since they were almost the same price.

What I loved about Royal Mara:
• You can drive off road in the Mara Conservancy so you can get closer to the animals. If not for this we would not have seen the amazing things we did including: several leopards, 2 leopards mating, a pride of lions with a kill, and a beautiful bull elephant feasting on a tree.
• The 2 hr walking safaris were amazing. Getting up close to the hippos was great. Reagan is very knowledgeable and a trained sniper if need be.
• The staff are lovely, hardworking people, who deserve better from management.

What was disappointing:
• The food was very basic and a world away from the lovely food we had at Olonana. Repetitive menu, recycled sauces, frozen vegetables and in some cases I am fairly sure at least the tomato soup was canned. A bottle of wine we ordered before dinner was not chilled, so I asked if they could put it in the freezer for 20 minutes but it was served warm!
• Tents are modern, the bed was comfortable but our hot water was never hot. We didn’t even use the cold water tap when having a shower and the pressure was a drizzle at best. The zip on our tent was constantly jamming, which didn’t happen with our kids’ tent (different style of zip). Also our front door on the balcony was very difficult to close. I asked if it could be fixed and was told, yes, but when it wasn’t, I was told, “the guy who does that was not around.” It was tent No. 7. I’m sure whoever is in that tent several months from now will have the same problem.
• Internet was extremely bad. Only functioned properly in the middle of the night. It was possible to get emails at times but to send one with an attachment was not possible. When I asked about this, I was told “look where we are, what do you expect?” If that is the case, then don’t advertise that you have “high-speed internet.” Our internet was fine at Olonana btw. Unfortunately both my husband and I needed to stay in contact with work, so Internet was essential.


The general feel of the place is everything is done on the cheap: Vehicles are old and uncomfortable; staff don’t have nametags; there was no conditioner in the shower; no umbrellas so we walked to dinner in the rain one night. Whenever tea was served, it was already made and quite strong. The teapots were badly stained as were the teacups in the rooms. There were toothpicks on the toilet floor and bathroom in the kids’ tent and our bidet was not clean. There was also no mosquito repellent available. We bought some with us but because we were in 2 tents and needed security to walk us everywhere, I thought it would be good to buy another. Not possible unless they went to a nearby town, so I didn’t bother. In an area like this, and paying such high prices, these sorts of things should be available and in fact are at other camps!!

The final straw for me was the morning of checkout. We were going on a walking safari at 10am and were supposed to checkout at 12:45. However, 5 minutes before the walking safari, we were asked to vacate both our rooms “because other guests are arriving at 12pm.” It was just very unprofessional. If we had been told in advance I could have prepared and packed properly. Instead we all scrambled to quickly pack before the safari. I found out from another staff member that the next guests were arriving at 2pm and they had not arrived when we left at 12:45pm, so they treated us badly for nothing. It’s purely a lack of direction from management.

This is marketed as a luxurious camp and it is just isn’t, although the prices certainly are. Do your research; there are better camps out there for the money.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Drysdale
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

The Royal Mara has two great attractions - its staff and its location. The Royal Mara's staff are superb, doing their jobs quietly, unobtrusively and efficiently, yet always willing to take the time to share their intimate knowledge of the area with us. As other reviewers have mentioned, many of the staff have to be away from their home for months at a time, but you'd never know this from the positive and enthusiastic way that each one did their job. The lodge overlooks a river favoured by hippopotami, so there is always something to watch during meals, which are all served outdoors. The hippopotami also ensure that there is generally something to listen to at night, as they call to each other while crashing through the undergrowth (and the lodge site!) on their way to feed.

Located in the Masai Mara, the lodge's twice-daily game drives offer unrivalled opportunities to observe closely a wide range of wild life. I won't duplicate other reviewers' lists - they're all true! We were there in late July to see the annual migration of thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles travelling north from the Serengeti Plains. The lodge isn't in the path of the migration, so we had a full day at a nearby conservancy, through which flows a major river that the herds have to cross as part of their journey. (The $80 for the day-long trip isn't included in the cost of staying at the lodge.) Many readers will have seen photographs and videos of such crossings, when massive crocodiles attack the wildebeest and zebra; when we were there, many people exhibited a macabre excitement at the prospect of animals killing each other, but soon tired of waiting and left when the crossing didn't happen immediately. They missed a fascinating spectacle of animal indecision: the build-up to a crossing is at least as interesting as the crossing itself. Streams of zebra approach the crossing point nervously and hesitantly, only to be pushed aside by a stream of wildebeest who do the same until they, in turn, are displaced by zebra. All the while, animals rush around fighting and bellowing and the air is tense with nervous excitement until, at last, one animal literally takes the plunge into the river, setting off a stampede of thousands of animals that can last for an hour or so.

Blessed with such excellent staff and such an idyllic location, the owners of the Royal Mara have, in my view, become complacent, offering a standard of facilities that doesn't justify their prices. Electricity - and, therefore, lighting, heating and hot water - is available for just a few hours a day. The furniture in the tents - while very picturesque - is acutely uncomfortable, apart from the bed. The ten-year-old game drive vehicles are showing their age: I was never comfortable in one, despite delighting in everything I saw and heard. Finally, while the food and drink is healthy, plentiful and presented beautifully, it lacked the imagination and variety that the Royal Mara's prices would lead you to expect. As Trip Advisor readers know better than most, the Masai Mara game lodge market is very competitive, so if the Royal Mara is to maintain its current position, it will have to revisit its pricing and upgrade its facilities.

Room Tip: Rooms 4 and 5 are mid-way between the dining area and the game drive departure point.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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 #17 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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