Royal Mara Safari Lodge is a true gem. The level of hospitality, service, and attention to detail was superb! The food is delicious! The rooms are private, peaceful, and luxurious! All of the furniture in our room was hand carved with animals, and my girlfriend could not stop taking pictures of the cool furniture. But even cooler than that was the family of hippos that we could see directly in front of our private balcony pretty much every day. It's so peaceful hearing the animals at night, neither my girlfriend nor I have ever slept better. The beds are divine. The mattress was huge and perfect. There is mosquito netting, but I never saw any mosquitoes. It's almost a shame the rest of the camp is so awesome, or we would have spent all of our time in the relaxing room listening to the peaceful animal sounds.
There are two major relaxation areas at Royal Mara. One is the reception, which is almost on a peninsula, surrounded by the river. I LOVE it there. I must have counted 80 hippos at once. The other area is cool too. There are elands roaming around the camp, and with so many (safe) animals mingling around the camp (monkeys, birds, elands, etc) the place feels so serene and natural. Almost like a paradise that wasn't meant to exist on earth. It's exciting, but also completely safe. There are armed guards who escort you privately everywhere around the camp for safety. To your room, to eat, to the reception, to go safari. You always feel completely safe and comfortable. We never even felt that we were in a dangerous situation, but I can not tell you how good it feels to have an armed employee to escort you and talk to you about the camp, animals, etc. It just makes you feel secure.
Ah yes, the animals. I've never seen so many amazing and incredible animals. I remember counting the distinct species and just loving the diversity! While at Royal Mara, we usually went on 2 driving safaris per day, probably 10 in total. They were all different, and awesome! We saw lions hunt and kill an eland. It was AMAZING!!!! But the Mara is a huge place, so we went so many places. We saw 2 different Masai tribes, and got to see them perform some cool ceremonies in their villages. A group of tribesman even stopped by dinner one night for a very awesome dance and performance. It was very unexpected, but very very cool. The local people are so friendly and seem to really love the contribution Royal Mara makes to the local economy. I'm so impressed not only with the hotel itself for providing an unparalleled travel experience, but with what appears to be a strong sense of goodwill and noticeable civic mindedness. The owners of the hotel work closely with local tribesmen and park rangers to provide for the protection of the animals. It's so awesome. I believe they helped something called "Mara North Conservancy". We would go out on a safari to see lions and there would be the BBC there right next to us filming "Big Cat Diaries", then there would be rangers in the next jeep over making sure everyone was safe. They weren't particularly there to keep the people safe... but the animals. The people are safe as long as they don't get out of their vehicles. The rangers protect the animals from poachers. There's actually a ton of freedom on your safari too. If you want to see a particular type of animal, they go looking for it for you. If you are bored of one animal, you can drive on and see different animals. If you really love one animal, you can stay and watch it for a long time... If you want to spend time by the river, no problem! You want to go up a hill and take some pictures by some cool African trees and vistas? Sure! It's really up to your group and which sorts of wildlife you want to spend the most time watching. Our driver was so informative and interesting. He was obviously local and had spent his whole life growing up in that valley. But he spoke perfect English and his friendly nature was great! It was amazing to see how much he and other locals loved working with the camp and helping people see the animals safely, and under conditions which help provide the finances for ranger care and protection of the animals.
I travel all the time, and I never write reviews, but Royal Mara simply deserved this. I've never been more impressed by a hotel experience as a whole, and anyone who visits Royal Mara will not be disappointed! We already booked another trip for next year and requested to stay in the exact same room that we had last time! We are already planning the pictures we are going to take and getting excited about the animals!
I assumed there would not be internet since it is in the middle of the African Savannah, but the camp was just getting their first wifi installed in the lounge / food area during our trip. I couldn't stream videos, but I could check email and read articles no problem. That was a surprise, but nice. I don't exactly go far away from cities in Africa to watch youtube, but it will be nice once the telecom companies release 3G in Masai Mara.
If you want to see hippos and elands up close, this is probably the best place in the world to do so.
- 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