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“Paradise on earth!”

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Reviewed October 13, 2012

This was my first trip to Masai Mara and indeed Kenya. I had heard tales of how amazing the lodges on the Mara were but I could not have imagined they truly are and in particular the Royal Mara, from the moment we landed at the small airfield the service was attentive, and our driver Wilson took us up the lodge pointing out various wildlife in the way to the lodge, which was alongside the Mara river, occupied with thousands of Hippos who were visible throughout my stay. I was travelling alone and allocated no. 5 of one if the 8 "tents" which is an injustice as they had every comfort of a 5 star hotel room. Security was tight as there are no fences and an animals will freely roam and so whenever walking from tent to outdoor restaurant or reception area I had my own guard who would appear as I left my door. As I was only staying for 1 night our guide in the 4x4 "simon" was keen to ensure I saw as much as I could in one of the two drives , I saw everything except Rhino. I felt totally safe even on the walking safari when we encountered a cobra on its nest protecting its eggs The food was first class, 3 course meals including beakfast and just needed to pay fir drinks which were cheap. It was a truly amazing experience and would highly recommend the Royal Mara.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank dhjrtw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 4, 2012

Quite how this oasis of bliss can be found in the middle of the African savannah is a miracle. Flying two hours west from Mombasa into the African Rift Valley, we weren't expecting this level of luxury combined with an authentic feel of wilderness and "safari".
Between the airstrip and the Lodge we'd already ticked off an impressive list of animals.
We were then checked into our beautiful accommodation before being sat down for lunch.
The statement "your soup today will be cream of asparagus" was followed by an enquiry as to how we would like our t-bone steaks. The food was of a standard better than our hotel, and our hotel restaurant was exceptional. You will not be disappointed.
As for the lodge.....prepare to be overwhelmed.
You will be walked there by a guard whose attention you need to seek before venturing anywhere. This is an "open" area and animals will wander about (more especially at night).
The double-tented enclosed "tent" is beautifully furnished with the huge four-poster bed the stand-out feature.
You will spend a bit of time taking photos of the interior so you can show your friends the luxury you stayed in. Then you go onto your verandah and marvel at the river and the hippos just yards below.
The staff cannot do enough for you, nothing is too much trouble. They will do laundry should you require it, bring you fresh coffee prior to your morning (jeep) safari, and attend to your every request.
There is a morning safari leaving at 6.00am, returning at 9.00am for a great breakfast.
At 10.30am there is an optional (included) walking safari which involves you and two armed guards leaving the lodge area and going "walkabout". It lasts about 90mins and is brilliant! Lunch is followed by an afternoon (jeep) safari and the wonders just keep coming. The drivers are in constant communication with each other and you will be taken to spots of special activity/interest....Lions feeding/sleeping, the Cheetah, baby elephants, vultures on carrion, etc, etc and even more etc.
Despite what you might think about the advice, and depending on when you travel (we went last September, 2012), bring warm clothes (a long sleeved t-shirt/shirt, a fleece and some light waterproofs). I'm Scottish and used to the cold and rain, but was glad I packed some.
A torch, decent binoculars and a good camera are essential...depending on how fussy you are about hair, a small dryer might be a useful (if inconvenient (?) addition to your luggage).
We tipped the driver $K1,000 a day and discretionary sundries for the waiting staff and armed guards.
On our 1st night we heard a thundering of hooves stampeding past the tent. Enquiring in the morning we were told it was just the Zebras. "What stampeded them?" I asked. "Oh, they were being chased by two lions" was the reply from the guards who are present (and armed) all night.
The 2nd night the sedentary grazing of the Hippos right outside the tent woke us.....it was both eerie and wonderful.
Royal Mara is simply a different class.
I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Room Tip: If you are worried about walking any "distance" regularly, ask for a "middle" nu...
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  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank NorrieT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 28, 2012

The Royal Mara was truly what you would expect from a tented camp.It has really old world appeal with the heavy wood furniture. Nothing was too much trouble for all the staff. As I have difficulty walking great distances everything was moved to make my life easier. The game drives with Julius were amazing. We saw everything including a crossing. The rest of my family went on a bush walk. This was a great experience for them as Reagan the guard was so knowledgeable and took them up close and personal with the wildlife. If you want to hear hippos munching the grass outside your tent during the night, this is the place to go! The food was excellent and we especially enjoyed the sundowners at the end of the game drives.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Susan F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012

We have just spent 3 days 2 nights at the royal mara the place is absolute paradise every aspect of it is perfection and the food is just to die for I can't reccomend it enough we had an absolutely wonderful time we booked our safari with julius t safaris from England I can't praise him enough either the booking process was easy and when we got here he met us at the hotel so we could pay our balance on the day we were going he personally collected us from the hotel and took us to the airport and then collected us on our return it was all completely seamless he even bought us a gift. Please don't be frightened of dealing with him he is a consummate professional

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank coxy1209
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2012

Stayed at the Royal Mara for 5 nights in late August. We really enjoyed our stay and were very well looked after. I would highly recommend this place to anyone considering visiting the Mara. There are many positives:

Great location
- Right beside the river with resident hippos outside the veranda providing entertainment
- No fence around camp means that animals often wonder in and graze beside the lodge.
- Abundant wildlife at this time of year, far superior compared to the National Reserve which is we also visited. We saw 4 of the big five within the first 2 hrs of our very first game drive.

Large, comfortable lodge
- Plenty of hot water for showers
- Tent set up on a raised platform with wooden roof so you still get the “tented” safari feel, with a lot more comfort
- Very large: includes a four poster bed, sun loungers, separate shower room and toilet, his/hers washing up vanity, table & chairs on veranda
- No mosquitoes or any creepy crawlies. Didn’t even need insect repellent throughout our time there.
- Very intimate, as there are only 8 rooms

Keen and friendly staff
- Assigned staff who will be with you throughout your entire stay including the game driver, waiter and house keeper.
- Staff are very keen to ensure that you are happy. They are friendly and courteous, rather than being overly formal.
- A morning coffee/tea/chocolate wake up call and turn down service
- We were not scheduled to leave until the afternoon flight (pass check-out time), but nevertheless where feed lunch and given an available lodge to fresshen up prior to leaving
- Laundry service is included in the room rate

Great game drives & extra activities
- Rooms seem to pretty much have their own cars. It is their policy to not overcrowd the vehicle so you can move about more freely to view the animals and take pictures. We were only a couple and shared the car with a single traveller for half our stay and then it was only us for the remainder of the time.
- Drivers are very proud of their jobs and are so accommodating. When we wanted to visit the rhino sanctuary, this was promptly scheduled. You simply talk to your driver about what you want to cover
- Situated in a private conservatory means that the cars can go off road providing better game viewing
- You are not limited to the conservatory itself as the guide will take you to the wildebeest crossing points in the national park (although, I would not go for any other reason as there was so much to see at our conservatory)
- We also got to go on a night game drive which was an amazing experience (followed a pride on lions on the hunt). Again you just need to schedule with your guide
- There are also daily walking safaris which are tailored to the group’s level of fitness

Good Food
- We were not expecting a lot, but were very happy with the food. Simple and well executed. During our stay there was a good breakfast spread with fruit, bread, cereal, eggs to order, sausages & bacon. Lunch consists mainly of BBQs and stews with soup and desert. Dinner was 4 courses with 2 choices for mains. Considering that it was such a small camp, they do a great job with the many dishes on offer. My husband loved the soups and freshly baked breads. Coffees & teas provided.
- Location changes, they move dining service around the camp. One of the days, our group was treated to a bush BBQ under a nice tree in the middle of the plains, complete with giraffes and gazelles strolling by.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank SydneyBarney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2012

Great staff. Very personal. Make you feel at home atmosphere. Amazing food in the middle of the bush. Top class. Thick steaks, great selection of soup, exceptional stir fry dinners. Loved their Apple Brie soup. Had a fantastic bush barbecue lunch inn plain view of wildlife. Game drives amazing. Saw lions galore, cheetah, leopards, elephants. Even got the migration en masse. A truly fantastic safari stay. We have stayed at other camps in the Mara over the years but this place was truly the best. A gem in the Mara. Will surely return with family next time. Thanks for a great safari Royal Mara.

Room Tip: Dont miss a game walk with Reagan in the bush.. Very knowledgeable not only about the wildlife but a...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank fred o
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2012

Stayed there for two nights on 15 & 16 August from the moment we landed at the nearby airstrip to the moment we left everything can be described as truly amazing.

The camp tents, if you can call them tents, are better than some 5 star hotels. We had a family tent which was more than big enough for the 4 of us. Nothing is too much trouble for the staff here and their service is second to none. On arrival at the gate we were met by the resident Eland who is domesticated and loves attention. Steven met us in reception and explained the camp rules and what we would be doing during our stay. The food here is brilliant with a good selection and outstanding quality (our first lunch consisted of soup, T- bone steak and desserts to die for). The price of the drinks is also very reasonable with a good choice of wines etc. Meals are taken overlooking the Mara river with a log fire burning in a pit during the cooler evenings.

Thank you also to william our very attentive waiter who could not do enough for us.

The tents overlook the Mara river and on this stretch they have their own resident pods of Hippo and several crocodiles also inhabit this area and you can watch them from the safety of your tent going about their daily routines. Of a night time you can hear animals wandering around the grounds safe in the knowledge that the camp is well protected by the staff.

Our housekeeper Simon kept the place spotless and woke you up prior to the morning game drives with fresh tea/coffee or hot chocolate. The laundry in this camp is also incuded in the cost and when left comes back ready for you the next morning.

The game drives with our guide another Simon were stunning, Simon knew all the animals habits and their territories and within two hours we had seen as four of the big five (no rhino) Simon found us the three resident prides of Lions, Leopard with a kill (zebra up a tree) Cheetah with two cubs and his knowledge of the animals was brilliant. He also knew the best places for us to get some stunnig photos of the landscape. We wanted to see rhino so Simon took us the next day to a place where he said we would get close to Rhino, about an hours drive away from the Royal Mara. On arrival at the place we got out of the vehicle and were introduced to a ranger, Peter, who then took us on foot into the bush where we walked with the two resident rhinos a truly amazing feeling and one which we wil never ever forget.

Also whist at the Royal mara we did a bush walk with Reagan one of the camps staff and he showed us things and places you would not see from a safari vehicle this walk lasted about 1 1/2 hours and was very informative. We also did a night drive with Simon and Moses and saw a different side of life in the bush. Simon and Moses found us a leopard hunting, pride of lions, white tailed mongoose and an Aardvark. The area around this camp is teeming with wildlife of all varieties and importantly the staff of the Royal Mara know their importance to the area and to the conservation of the species resident there.


Sadly when we had to leave to continue our safari at other camps George junior was there to wish us a fond farewell.

I would recommend this camp to anybody, their customer serviceand attetion to detail is second to none. We will be going back there one day.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Ebonyuk
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 #46 of 146 Specialty Lodging in Maasai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: $392 - $700 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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