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“A wonderful place with exceptional staff.” 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
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“A wonderful place with exceptional staff.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2013

A wonderful stay. We experienced outstanding service during our 5 night stay.
The driving safaris (in comfortable vehicles) were superb. Julian, our driver has a great knack of finding animals and went out of his way to look for which ever animal we wanted to see.
The great thing about staying here is that it's situated in the Mara North Conservatory and there are rules about viewing animals. This means there are not hoards of vehicles crowding each animal. Only a limited number of vehicles can observe an animal/animals at the same time. So, on many occasions we had a pride of lions, etc, to ourselves and you don't feel like animals are being hassled by tourists as it may feel in less regulated areas.
The cabin's are far enough away from each other to offer privacy and are a perfect place for viewing wildlife (without even leaving the balcony). We delighted in watching the resident hippos in the Mara river from our cabin's balcony.
The manager, James, runs a great team. All staff were very friendly.
The chef makes delicious soup and even made them with vegetarian stock whilst we were there.
George, the owner was very good to deal with in the booking process answering all my questions via email.
The only suggestion I would make (and this goes for all lodges), is that rather than providing so many plastic bottles of drinking water every day, guests are given metallic, refillable bottles on arrival which they can refill as required from a water dispenser at the dining area or lounge. (they could even take these home as a memento of their trip, with Royal Mara printed on the side!) Or a large jug of spring water could be delivered to cabins each day to cut down on plastic bottle litter.
Also, the weather means it'd be a great place to install solar power. I think these environmental practices would be welcomed by guests. Just a suggestion to make the place even better!

I recommend the Royal Mara 100%. If you're going to travel all the way to Kenya you may as well stay in a place where you won't be disappointed. The experience of seeing all those animals up close will stay with me always. We were close enough that I filmed them all on my iphone. Didn't need a zoom lens at all!

  • Stayed August 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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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)
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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  • Swedish first
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Maryland
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

Overall, this place is great if you are looking for small (only 8 cabin tents) and peaceful. Not much to the grounds outside of your tent and the main building for meals, but its all well appointed and perfectly situated along the Mara river. Be warned, if you get nervous when things go bump in the night, this place gets loud at night from the wildlife in and around camp. The Hippos never stop!

The staff are all very friendly and the food is really good. The Mara north conservancy is also great a sits very open and not crowded. I highly recommend staying if you want to enjoy a peaceful safari without much to distract you.

I went during a weekend while in Nairobi for business and will say its not great for solo travelers...much better for couples and decent for families too.

Room Tip: Pick a room in the middle 4-6.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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george741, Owner at Royal Mara Safari Lodge, responded to this review, October 30, 2013
Thank you for your review. Please accept our apologies if your sleep was disturbed by hippo noise. Most guests who come to the Mara bush and sleep next to the Mara river and amidst our 200 resident hippos expect to escape their normal quiet sleep at home or in urban hotels and fully enjoy the experience of sleeping amidst the night noises of the wildlife. We are not able nor do most guests expect us to maintain total silence in a bush environment.

Regarding value many guests may not fully be informed of the costs involved on a safari package. After domestic airfare transfer costs, park fees which are now $100 per night with the new 16% VAT, the commisssions taken by overseas and local ground handling tour operators, the 2% hotel tax (in addition to regular 30% income tax), and the new 16% VAT tax on safari packages, in most cases safari camps receive less than one third of what a safari package may cost and struggle to break even, let alone make any profit, with only seasonal operations in the bush but full year round expenses.
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Newark, Nottinghamshire UK
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2013

We stayed here in October 2013 for 4 nights, everything was perfect: - staff at all levels spoke good English, very pleasant & helpful. The manager went out of his way to ensure everything was 500%. Excellent for families. We were very lucky in seeing the wilder beast migration thanks to our excellent guide James. We saw the majority of wild animals at close range & could not have asked for more. We will return

  • Stayed October 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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kent
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2013 via mobile

We cannot praise this camp enough. From the time we arrived until the moment we left we were treated like royalty. 4 nights of pure indulgence with food, company and game drives. Special mention to James our game driver who found everything we asked for, even going out early so we could photograph the sunrise! Up close and personal with so many of the wildlife. Mark who kept our lodge spotless and tea in the morning. Sammi who was our personal waiter, Reagan and other rangers who kept us safe walking around the camp day and night. Also to James camp manager who checked on us everyday to ensure we were happy and enjoying our stay. Oh gosh we loved every bit of it. Please please keep doing what you do so well. We can't wait to return with other family members. We will cherish this holiday for life. Donna and Grant Kent England.

Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bolton, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2013

Stayed here for 2 nights in September.
It is a magical place with wildlife all around - as has been said on many occasions the staff are wonderful - our guide, Julius, made sure that we got to see as much as we possibly could including a leopard on the hunt and a river crossing of a couple of hundred wilderbeast.

My only, very slight, gripe would be that you can't just sit and enjoy your surroundings.

On our last night at around 10pm, after dinner, I wanted to just sit on the verander outside our tent and listen to the wildlife all around - however, just seconds after i had sat at the table the security guard came to inform me that he would be there for the whole night. Whilst i appreciate that we were in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by wild animals it would have been nice to just have a few minutes, alone, to appreciate this. I fully understand why this is done - in order to safegaurd the guests - this is why i have said that it is only a very slight gripe in an otherwise wonderful stay.

If i go back again this would be my first choice of accommodation.

  • Stayed September 2013, 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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Mold, North Wales
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013

Stayed her for the first time in August 2012 and had to come back; so we arrived back more or less a year to the day of our first visit. We booked again via JT Safaris and we flew into the local airstrip from Amboseli in an old DC3 Dakota operated by Mombasa Air Safaris this was the perfect start to our return stay at the Royal Mara. Simon who was our guide the previous year picked us up from the airstrip and we had a short drive on our way to the lodge stopping off to have our photos taken on the banks of the Mara with hippos basking in the background. On arrival at the lodge we were met by Stephen who explained the camp rules and introduced to our housekeeper, Mark, and to our waiter ,Sammy, who were to look after us during our stay and they took us to our luxury "tent" which overlooked the Mara river with its own resident pod of hippos. Our game drives were now guided by Julius who had a work experience student, Mark, with him and we can honestly say that he has the most amazing eyesight of any guide we have used. His local knowledge of the animals within the conservancy is amazing and he could identify the individual animals within the prides of lions. He found us cheetah, rhino, giraffe with a week old calf. all manner of antelope, gazelle and birdlife. However his best find for us was a leopard cub about three months old, this was during a day trip into the Mara reserve itself also cheetah hunting again and the Marsh pride of lions hunting. he also has a photographer eye knowing where to get the best photos. With him we had breakfast in the bush under an acacia tree with the animals of the great migration milling around us a truly magnificent experience. On our day trip to the Mara we had lunch on the banks of the Mara watching the pods of hippo and crocodiles basking in the sun and the birdlife flitting from branch to branch around us. Thank you Julius and Mark for these memories.

Thank you also to Reagan and Moses for looking after us on our walking safaris into the bush, their knowledge of the surrounding area is terrific and you feel safe walking around with the animals around you.

Back in camp the food is superb with plenty to eat, the chef works wonders at producing such good food, especially the soups, the cost of drink is very reasonable with a good choice of wines. You are woken up in the mornings with fresh tea or coffee prior to going on your early morning game drives. Also included is a free laundry service which enables you to cut down on the amount of clothes you need to take. Also there is now free good quality Wi-Fi available in all the tents for those of you who feel the need to stay connected personally we enjoyed being away from it all.

During our stay here we had the misfortune to be staying at the same time as a group of 17 Chinese who were very rude to the staff and showed no consideration for other clients however the camp manager James and the rest of the staff went out of their way to ensure that we did not endure any of their bad behaviour. At two evening meals they arranged for us to have our meal on the banks of the Mara outside our tent with full waiter service so we did not have our stay spoilt by their antics. Thank you for this, it was very much appreciated and we were made to feel that our custom was appreciated and valued.

This is a place that we will visit again as it is perfect for everything you need to see the animals of Kenya all in the knowledge that you are well looked after and appreciated and in a fantastic setting.

Thanks to all again. We will be back again in the future.

  • Stayed August 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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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2013 via mobile

This facility, it's location, staff, amenities, and activities (game drives) were outstanding. The best time we had in Africa and absolutely the best safaris. The staff and management were so personable that we cried when we had to leave. This is what we always thought Africa to be. We lived with all of the animals and the wonderful Masai people and their lands.
We say this after experiencing other areas of Africa and other game drives. This place was magical.
If you really want to experience real natural and caring Africa, the Royal Mara and its offerings are a must.

  • 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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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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