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“Back again and better than remembered - Fantastic Safari”

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Back again and better than remembered - Fantastic Safari”
Reviewed August 6, 2011

We visited Royal Mara again with some other friends and had an unbelievable stay. The wildlife was exciting. There were animals everywhere. We saw several prides of lions, leopards mating, herds of buffalo and giraffes, a big group of elephants and other numerous assorted and plentiful game. In fact we saw the big five which we never expected to see all in one trip. I felt like I was inside a national geographic special.

The camp is luxurious and beautiful. The rooms are splendid. We enjoyed sitting on our veranda and watching the hippos in the river entertain us. At night we loved the wildlife that surrounded our room and serenaded us to sleep. It was unbelievable sleeping in the wild and yet so secure.

The food was marvelous and varied. They recently set up a teppanyiaki (SP?) table and we loved the grilled dishes they served us. We also loved the bush lunch on the open plain under a tree. It was amazing enjoying a BBQ while surrounded by countless wildebeest and zebras. Unbelievable.

The staff was fabulous. Always pleasant and eager to assist. Our driver was very knowledgeable. He could spot the wildlife even without his binoculars from far away. He gave us extensive explanations of the Mara and its wildlife. If you go to Royal Mara ask for Julius as your driver.

Overall it was an unforgettable experience. We cant wait to visit the Royal Mara again. No other place compares

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
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1 Thank trippergb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Malaga, Spain
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2011

We've just returned from our 3 days stay at the Royal Mara and are still full of perfect memories. We booked last-minute, while being already in Mombasa, and paid 1000 USD per person for the package which included hotel transfers, plane tickets and stay at the Royal Mara including three meals per day.

The lodge is owned and run by George and his son George Jr., who are Greek Americans who moved to Kenya from New York 6 years ago. The concept of the lodge is to provide every guest with a tailor-made agenda and personal attention, and it's working great! Both father and son would spend a lot of time with the guests, entertaining them with stories of their experience with wildlife.

The Royal Mara has 8 lodges for 2 persons each, each of them being wonderfully equipped. All of them are located on the bank of Mara river, where a family of hippos is splashing around. The housing is simply fantastic and exceeded all our expectations, having a great design and being even way better than the hotels on Mombasa coast. All lodges have electricity, hot water, fridge and a terrace with sunbeds.

After arrival to the airstrip the guests are transported to the lodge, where they get assigned a personal butler and waiter. During the stay, guests are always accompanied by armed guards who make sure you don't fall prey to the predators around :). The lodge is located just outside the Maasai Mara reserve, which has some advantages - first, you don't get to pay 80 USD park fee per person per night, and second, your driver can go off the main roads and get you as close to the animals as possible, while inside the reserve the drivers may only use the existing roads.

Our game driver was Jeffrey, who was very knowledgeable about the animals and gave us a lot of interesting information. He was always the first to be on the best sites, where the lions or leopards were playing around or enjoying their prey.

On our first day, we have spotted elephants, lions, a cheetah, giraffes, hyenas and all kinds of gazelles. On our second day, we decided to go inside the Maasai Mara reserve to see the famous site where the zebra and wildebeest cross the Mara river. The reserve is approximately 1,5 hours drive from the lodge, and once inside, there is a bunch of buffalos and a family of lions close to the entrance. The river crossing site is a very popular location and gets crowded with cars that may wait there for hours until the animals decide to cross. The drivers, however, know each other and communicate, so it is advisable to go on the game drive in the reserve, and just check from time to time if the crossing is about to happen. Besides, as the river is taking many turns, there are many other places where the wildebeest may cross, and we have spotted a huge herd crossing in a place which was narrower and shallower than the original site. It was a great view!
On our third day, we took the morning game drive and afterwards a walking tour around the camp with the guards. There is also an option to take a balloon ride early in the morning.

One thing that deserves a special mentioning apart from excellent location and housing, is the food. During our stay George personally oversaw the cooking and the food was just perfect! The selection of dishes is truly royal - every day a variety of different european cuisines until the guests cannot get up from the table! :)

All in all, our stay at the Royal Mara was a great experience. They have a very dedicated staff trained to meet all the needs their guests may have, caring to organize a personal program for everyone. Would definitely recommend them as one of the best lodges in Mara and a very good value for your money!

Room Tip: All rooms are located along the Mara river providing views on the hippo families, so it doesn't...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Murph900
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
105 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 97 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2011

Our guide throughout the 3 day 2 night stay at Royal Mara, John, was waiting for us along the airstrip when we landed at Masai Mara. The lodge was absolutely everything one could possible think of such place. The so called tents were sizes of one-family-houses and were guarded 24h by armed men as the camp was not fenced but freely accessible by wild life.

Typical day was like this:
05.30 electricity is switched on
06.00 coffee, tea or hot chocolate in tent
06.30 game drive
09.00 breakfast (optionally picnic breakfast during drive)
10.30 walking safari near and around the camp
12.00 resting
13.00 lunch
15.00 game drive
18.30 return to lodge, hot water and electricity
20.00 dinner
22.30 electricity switched off, lala salama

Many thanks to everyone in Royal Mara who made our stay very memorable!

Room Tip: all 8 rooms (houses) are wonderful
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
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2 Thank HelTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo-7
Level Contributor
42 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2011

The rooms were excellent in all ways full of luxury. But, that was only second best.. First place goes to GAME. We saw the big five on all our game drives. Also, we saw the great migration in an spectacular manner. Our game driver Julian was wonderful. Yet, only down part was hotel can improve on the food selection.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
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1 Thank SharoncPerera
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Peebles, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed July 27, 2011

We stayed at the Royal Mara for 2 nights during our holiday based in Watamu - we booked the safari locally with Abdul of Tunda Tours. From the moment we landed in the Masai Mara it was absolutely magical - we were met by Wilson, who was to be our driver throughout our stay and then taken to the Royal Mara. We were totally taken aback by the luxury of the lodges - beautiful hand carved furniture, sunbeds on the decking overlooking the River Mara and more than enough room for 2 adults and 2 teenagers. We had our own housekeeper, Simon, who woke us at 6am with tea/coffee/hot chocolate to get us started for our 6.30am game drive and he even took our dirty laundry to be cleaned each day. The food was incredible and the setting unbeatable - bush lunch, breakfast by the River Mara, dinner around a roaring fire - all served by our own personal waiter, the lovely William! We wanted to see all the big cats during our stay and Wilson, our driver didn't disappoint - he found them every time and he was so knowledgeable and interesting by the end of our safari we'd even learnt how to spot there was a big cat nearby! We cannot recommend the Royal Mara enough - the staff are so welcoming and so pleased to meet you - Stephen on arrival, the armed guards who escort you through the camp and Simon, William and Wilson who looked after us so well we felt like royalty. We will be 100% back at the Royal Mara - booked through our good friend Abdul, Tunda Tours!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
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2 Thank Peebs8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2011

We have been to the Mara before and stayed at Mara Serena (which we loved) so thought we'd try a smaller camp in the Mara North conservancy which is a completely different area.
All I can say is that we had an AMAZING time at the Royal Mara.
The lodges are just fantastic and the attention to detail with all the wood carvings is incredible. The sun terrace with loungers to relax on overlooking the river where you can watch the hippos swim by is lovely.
Hearing the hippos (so close!) eating and snorting right by your lodge at night is just brilliant too.
However the two things that are really worth mentioning about the Royal Mara are; the people and the location.
All the staff - from the game driver (Jeffrey was probably the most knowledgeable game driver we've met) to the game rangers, the waiters and the chefs, are all so lovely and SO keen for you to have a good time. Nothing is too much trouble and they are all so friendly. We had lunch in the middle of the Mara one day under some Acacia trees and it was amazing what the chefs managed to produce in the middle of nowhere! Dinner by the camp fire was a lovely way to end every day too.

The location is worth mentioning because, having stayed in the Mara Serena area, this conservancy feels very different. Wildlife was very abundant (we saw a Leopard up very close just chilling out in the sun, Cheetah, Lion the Big 5 plus many many more) but there are fewer rules and restrictions about the time of day game drives can take place so our game drives were about 2.5 - 3 hours morning AND again in the evening (bear this in mind and don't drink too much beforehand!) plus we did bush walks each day and a night game drive which was possibly one of the most fun things we did. We were also able to drive off the main roads a bit more freely and yet, in the time of year we went, it felt like we were often the only vehicle out there. Just amazing.

We booked direct with George at the Royal Mara and he was so helpful - providing us with incredibly detailed emails about what we could provide for us. While I was a bit nervous about booking direct rather than through a travel agent, it all worked out brilliantly and we landed at Mara Shikah airstrip and there was our game driver waiting to collect us as arranged.
Royal Mara is a very special place and they have more improvements planned, such as a swimming pool, so I think it will only get better.
A special thanks to Steven (our waiter) and Steven (the game driver) plus of course Jeffrey our fantastic game driver.

Room Tip: They're all lovely - really doesn't matter which one you choose
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank willow572
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mumbai (Bombay), India
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2011

Me and my Family visited The Royal Mara this July for 5 Days and 4 Nights and it was the best decision of our lives. The rooms are amazing, spacious, relaxing and with the Mara River(with resident Hippos) right next to you, its perfect. The food is so so good! I am sure this is what the gods eat up in the heavens, its just delicious! Every day they serve you different menus and each day is better than the previous. The security is top notch, they are with you 24/7. The staff is warm, loving and just plain excellent. My special shout out to Mr. George Sr and Jr, they are the bests hosts any guest can hope for. If your are planing a trip to the Mara, this is where you should stay. Kudos !!

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Ushmey
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

Property: 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 #52 of 139 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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 
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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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