Firstly I would like to pass a small comment on some of the less than positive reviews placed about this camp – and thankfully there are only a few. To my mind when you come on safari, you come ‘bush prepared’. Ideally you would sleep under the stars in a small tent in a sleeping bag, and eat from food made around a camp fire ‘at one’ with the animals and surroundings. Now I know that this isn’t always possible, and that we all like a little more luxury than that, but moaning about not having wi-fi and telephone reception? Moaning about not being provided with mosquito repellent? Moaning about open bathrooms? Seriously???
I spent 3 days and 2 nights here a couple of week2 ago, and whilst I could not fault the accommodation and service, I do have a couple of observations from my perspective as a ‘lone’ traveller particularly as we incur the additional cost of a single supplement.
I think that this camp could, with just a little thought and at no real cost, make the experience better for single travellers. Don’t get me wrong, the staff are friendly and helpful, but there were little things that just might have been done better to help the socialisation within the camp. Firstly remember this camp only has 8 tents that are spread over a very large area, and you are expected to being accompanied when moving around the camp, so socialising with your camp neighbours is not easy. For example I found myself being placed in a 4x4 with two people who didn’t speak my language, even though there were other English people in the lodge, and it would have been the easiest thing in the world to have partnered me in the same vehicle as them. Now I appreciate that this isn’t always possible, but on this occasion it was but this didn’t seem to be a consideration.
Secondly, at meals, I was always placed on a dining table by myself (fair enough)but and at the far side of the couples and family tables. Now again I’m not sure this was totally deliberate, but I did feel somewhat like an outcast. I did have some minor issues with the menu options but I fully understand the difficulties of cooking for comparatively small number of guests – it was just that to be offered T-bone steak as a sole lunchtime choice for 2 of the 3 lunches I took at the camp was a surprise, especially when I don’t eat steak. But that’s just a personal thing, and I certainly wouldn’t complain about the quality of the food or how it was cooked.
Lastly was that I was just expected to undertake a bush walk safari as a replacement to a late morning vehicle safari – I wasn’t asked, and when I queried what my options were I was told that the next vehicle safari was at 3:30pm, which was a little ridiculous as we had only just returned for breakfast at 9:30am. My hesitancy was because I have two dodgy knees, and I had no idea how they would react to a 2 hours bush walk. I did approach the manager, and whilst he did rather reluctantly suggest that he might be able to get a driver back to take me out in a vehicle I felt this would be difficult for him. I therefore did the walk with the proviso that someone might have to bring me back to the camp if my knees reacted to the walk – luckily they didn’t but the point is that this really should be an option, and if people do not want to do this or feel physically incapable of this, then they should be able to take a game drive without feeling that they are asking for something extraordinary.
Now it does sound as if I’m having a right moan, and that the lodge is not good – that really isn’t true as it has lovely accommodation (way in excess of what I would be prepared to accept when on safari, albeit a little like being in ‘Middle Earth’ and somewhat cavernous for me on my own) and the staff are very friendly and the game drives very good. My comments are just about some of my specific experience of being a lone traveller, and in that respect I believe that the camp could, without too much effort, do a little better and be a little more thoughtful. But certainly if you are a couple, group or family I am sure you will love this lodge and will certainly love the Mara North Conservancy.
- 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