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“fantastic” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Mara Safari Lodge

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Masai Mara North Conservancy | P.O Box 260, Maasai Mara National Reserve 00621, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
lincolnshire
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“fantastic”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2009

We stayed here from the 1st -4th Nov 09, myself, husband and 12 year old child. We have never done a safari before and didnt really know what to expect but we were met at the airstrip by Julius and knew then that we were in for a fab time. Julius was our driver for our stay and he was so warm and welcoming as well as being very knowledgable about the whole area, in fact he was from the local masai village as were many of the staff. On arrival to the the camp we were amazed at how beautiful it was with all the wood carvings etc. we were met by Simon and George with some welcome drinks and a talk about the camp itself. We were escorted to our tent which was far more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. Daniel was our room attendant and he bought us hot drinks in the morning as requested and nothing was too much trouble. Our son couldnt wait to get up at 6am each morning for the game drives. Each tent is situated along the mara river with the most wonderful views of the hippos and crocodiles. We had the jeep to our selves which we loved and Julius took us out for the game drives finding everything but the leopard. We felt very priviledged to have experienced being close up to the lions etc and to have seen the wild life in their natural environment. it is an experience we shall never forget. Julius took us to see the white rhinos which are guarded 24 hours a day, the journey is quite long and rugged terrain (we got a puncture on return) but it is well worth it to see the rhinos and the view from up there is spectacular. Julies also did us a packed breakfast which we had not far from the rhinos, this was amazing, very peaceful, amazing views just the most amazing experience to have breakfast out on the mara. During the journey you pass by many masai villages and see lots of children running to school, we wish we had taken pens and paper etc which we could have given them along the way.
After the morning drives you are taken back to camp for breakfast, and are greeted with welcome smiles and everyone wants to make sure you have the best experience possible. All the meals were fab and varied each day, and it was great to have your table set ready for your return either along the river for breakfast or by an open camp fire for even meals. My husband was celebrating his birthday whilst we were there and they made him a huge cake with his name iced on it and they had masai warriers come and sing and dance for him which again was something really special.
During our stay, Reagan took us on a bush walk which was fantastic, again he is so knowledgeable and a genuinely lovely man. The camp is open and guarded 24 hours, we felt very safe at all times. We were mesmerised to see crocodiles eating a hippo right in front of our tent on our last day.
We cant thank all the staff enough for the wonderful job they all do in making sure everyone has the best experience possible. we could quite happily have stayed their for the rest of our holiday. Our friends have been on 2 previous safaris's over the years and they said that the Royal Mara has been the best camp they have stayed at. They are building a new reception area and swimming pool which will be amazing when its finished. we would love to return here in 2 years time when it will all be finished. We stayed in tent number 1 which was right near the building area but this did not spoil our stay in anyway at all. Big thanks again to all the staff from the Smith family.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled with family
    • 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
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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West Yorks
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2009

Extremely welcoming and friendly. Nothing too much trouble. John, Reagan,Julius and Nelson to mention a few were excellent, and made our stay a pleasure. Hope to come back in 2 years for at least a week. A 2 night stay was not enough. The brochure is true to life, and the surrounding area is an eyeopener.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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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Preston Weymouth
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 1, 2009

Wow is a understatement!! I agree with a previous review, The Photo's do not do it justice. We had the most amazing time at this fabulous camp. The interiors of the tents have so much charm and all the details are hard to take in. Beds are very comfortable, the shower was a bit unpredictable but hey. Food was always good and to be seated by the Mara river watching the Hippos while eating is indescribable. I had no idea these animals are so noisy, but it made me smile at night to hear them so close.
All the staff are very attentive especially Regan nothing to do with his fully loaded rifle!!
On the drive from the air strip we saw lots of animals, and on arriving at the Royal we were greeted with a cooling drink before being shown to our tent to freshen up and unpack. Then a lunch of T bone steak and a chance to relax before our first game drive.
We saw everything but a Leopard, but having seen 5 last year in Tsarvo it was not our top priority, a Cheetah and migration was the must see and we were not disappointed. We saw the demise of a unfortunate wildebeest to a crocodile, gruesome, but very exciting.
Our driver John was a true gentleman throughout and did his best for us. Breakfast in the Mara reserve was a highlight of the trip.
The area is so dry but I understand some rains have reached the Mara I hope it is not to late. The Masai have lost so many cattle are worried for those remaining as if it rains it will turn cold and the animals will not cope.
Our safari was arranged by Abdul of Tunda tours who met us in Nairobi to finalize timing and to collect payment. Nice guy who turned into my hero when Fly 540 ( not my favorite airline ) tried to get us onto a flight to Mombasa instead of Malindi but Abdul stepped in and calm was restored!!
The Royal are constructing a new reception, dining room, shop and viewing area at the end of the complex which will over look a huge pod of Hippo's and crocodiles I think it will be fantastic, just ask Regan to walk you down and have a look.
For anyone concerned about safety, as the camp is not fenced, no worries, just open the door and step out and a man will appear from under a tree quite bazaar, but very reassuring.
To sum up, would I recommend the Royal Mara? 100% yes. We wished we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Hitchin
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2009

We visited the Royal Mara Safari Lodge for two nights in October flying up from our hotel on the coast. The Mara is very dry at the moment because of the drought over the last couple of years and our first view once we landed was a cloud of dust approaching which turned to be the truck from the Royal Mara coming to pick us up. It was just a 20 minute drive to the Lodge but on the way we saw giraffe, zebra, gazelle, warthogs.... We turned into what looked like a little glade and there were the tables set under the trees on the banks of the river. We were met with a welcoming drink of juice and then taken to our "tent". The lodges are probably even more magnificent than they look in the photographs on the website. We had a couple of hours before our first game drive and though we would have been happy to sit and watch the hippo wallowing in the river just yards away and watch the glorious birds one of the guards, Moses, came to our door and took us down to the bend in the river to see even more hippo and to show us round the site. After a lovely lunch under the trees we went on our first game drive. Simon our driver was excellent. He showed endless patience answering our questions, and finding game for us. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, we didn't find a leopard but the whole experience was all we could have hoped for and more. He also made sure all his passengers were catered for making sure we all got to see and do what we had our hearts set on. If we are ever lucky enough to go back we'd hope that Simon was there to look after us again. I just can't fault the place. The setting is just great - reading my diary now I can't believe that I was sitting with dozens of hippo just below me, a lovely kingfisher sitting on a branch just yards away.... The food was great - far too much of it for me but it was all lovely which is amazing when you realise all power is from a generator. The evening meals round the fire were magical. I would highly recommend the Royal Mara - setting, staff, food... everything! were all great.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 22, 2009

We recently stayed at the Royal Mara and I have to say, what a fabulous stay. I just wish we had stayed longer. We booked it with Mic's Tours in Kenya. The staff at the Royal Mara couldn't do enough for you, they were helpful, friendly and very professional. Our driver, John was brilliant. He did so well at getting as close as possible to the animals. We also did a bush walk with Regan. The owner George and his son came to visit and they are just such nice people. Our lodge was magnificent, beautifully carved furniture, right on the river Mara over looking the hippos. At night the hippos would come around the lodges to graze, amazing. We had lunch in the bush and on our last morning we had breakfast on the Mara, John did a very good job at setting it all up. The chef at the Royal Mara packed us off with a wonderful breakfast. Every meal we had was superb, thank you chef. The Royal Mara is definately the place to stay. You have everything there, and you even had time to relax and enjoy the hippos. This is our second time to Kenya and our second safari, and all I can say is that the Royal Mara was by far the best. Thank you to all of you for making it a fantastic stay. Gemma and Andrew

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scarborough, England
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 16, 2009

My fiance and I stayed at the Royal Mara Safari Lodge from the 15th to the 18th September 2009. We booked a two week holiday to Mombasa staying at the Kole Kole Beach and Spa Resort in Diani Beach, but as I tend to get bored with sitting round the pool all day, we decided to add a 4 day safari so we could get the best of both worlds. I set about doing some research and after reading a lot of reviews we decided to safari in the Masai Mara, mainly choosing the region because of the famous tribesmen and the wider variety and larger numbers of resident wildlife. After choosing the region we then had to find the right lodge to stay at, again we set about reading reviews and researching the numerous camps that are available. When we came accross the Royal Mara we were initially drawn to the beautiful hand-carved lodges that had flushing toilets and proper hot showers, it was rated #8 of 60 camps in the Masai Mara at the time, but looked like it had more to offer than the camps that were rated higher, Governors Camp and Kicheche etc. In a lot of the reviews on trip advisor we kept coming accross a local safari agent in Mombasa called Julius Nzumbi of JT-Safaris (google to find his website). I contacted him from the UK via his website to find out if he could arrange a 4 day safari to the Royal Mara, and after a few emails and agreeing on a good price,I paid a small deposit by bank transfer. Julius deserves a mention as he is very honest, totally proffessional and a top bloke as well. He arranges all your internal flights, transfers and insists that the lodges give his customers the best rooms and service too.
After a few days lazing round the pool in Diani we were picked up by Julius' driver and taken to Ukunda Airport, about 15mins drive from the hotel. The flight took less than 2 hours and we were met at the Livingstone airstrip by a safari guide from the Royal Mara who took us on a mini safari on the way to the camp. In this 30min trip we saw more animals than we expected to see in the whole 4 days, Giraffes, Elephants, Baboons, Zebra and a Hyena eating his lunch to name just a few. It was mind blowing and made me think of the scene in Jurassic Park when you first see the Dinosaurs! Wildlife is abundant in this area as the Mara River flows through the camp providing plenty of water for the animals to drink and lots of prey for the predators.
Upon arriving at the camp we were met by Simon the manager, who provided us with a drink and some hand towels and filled us in with the camp protocol. There is no perimeter fence around the camp so wild animals are free to wander or inhabit the area at any time, also on an evening the Hippos who inhabit the Mara River come up the banks to graze on the grass that grows around the lodges, they make some awesome noises in the middle of the night! Due to this, you cannot leave your lodge at any time without a Masai guard to escort you, they were a really friendly bunch (Hi to Moses and Sammy) and were interesting to chat to. After a quick freshen up in the room it was time for lunch by the river which to our astonishment was a 3 course feast including a giant T-Bone steak which was cooked to perfection! All the food we were served was lovely and we were amazed how they managed to cook-up such fine dishes in the middle of the savannah. After lunch we were introduced to our safari guide, Julius, who like most, if not all of the staff, was a local Masai. His knowledge of the area and the fauna and flora were extremely impressive and his English was near perfect, he had a killer sense of humour also. The beauty of the Royal Mara's safari drives was that as you are not in the government run conservancys the vehicles are free to roam wherever they can physically go meaning you can get as close to the animals as the guide deems safe and is as unobtrusive to the animals. On our first safari we were lucky enough to witness a lioness giving birth to three cubs! The vehicles are brilliant too as they are big long-wheel-based jeeps with no side windows in and opening roofs ensuring maximum viewing potential and we were lucky enough to only have one other solo-travelling guest in ours, although they would comfortably seat 8 easy. If I was to write down the experiences we encountered over the four days it would take me hours from tracking a leopard to an encounter with a really angry male lion, it was truly magical. All I would like to say is that we had a truly unforgettable time at the Royal Mara and we are planning to return within the next two years with friends, the place is as luxurious as it can be and all the staff made us feel like long-lost friends. To me this is the most special place in Africa and if you are lucky enough to try a safari then please have a look at the Royal Mara, and take it from me you will not be disappointed...

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2009

I would like to thank you George Sr. as well as George Jr. and all staff at Royal Mara for the magic time what we had there. We loved everything about its services, cleanliness, the food. Our driver John made our game drives really very special and magnificent. There was no place what he did not access as well as no animal what he did not find. Also all staff in Royal Mara Lodge was simply great. The atmosphere was like in family home and everybody was taking the best care about us. That is what has made this trip truly special and unforgettable. It was the best holiday what we ever had. We are looking to return back to Kenya again as soon as possible and for sure Royal Mara is the only place where we will stay also next time. We would like to recommend to all of our friends to visit Maasai Mara and stay in Royal Mara Lodge only. We stayed there 6 nights and it was the best decision what we have ade before our trip - not to change lodges but stay only in one place and try to discover beauties around. We organized all trip details directly with George and it was very swift, clear and straightforward. George - thanks for it again.
Please be so kind and give our best and warmest regards to Charles, Simon, John, Johnson and everybody else from Royal Mara Lodge.
Stefan & Vlasta

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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 #19 of 117 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Royal Mara Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 8
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

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