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“Amazing setting, a real honeymoon treat.” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Royal Mara Safari Lodge

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing setting, a real honeymoon treat.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 12, 2009

We stayed 4 nights at the Royal Mara for a special end of honeymoon treat & we were certainly not disapointed. It was suggested by Doc from Kenayn adventures to give us the luxury tented camp experience we wanted at a price we could afford & it was a perfect choice.The tents are truly luxurious and spaced apart to give privacy & an intimate feel. The staff are all very friendly & the service was excellent.. The beautiful surroundings made it a delight to be up at the crack of dawn, the Mara is an amazing place, simply stunning.
The food was fabulous, a 3 course dinner conjoured up in the middle of the bush - unbelievable! To be able to have meals outside overlooking hippos basking in the river was an unforgettable experience.The camp is located outside the Mara triangle, approx 1 hours drive from main gate but there is plenty of wildlife & stunning scenery with the benefit of being quieter & the ability to get closer to the wildlife. We did have a day drive into the main Mara reserve as we hoped to witness a river crossing, which luckily we did, it was amazing & worth the extra $60 per person cost to go into this area. We had our own excellent driver but he was accompanied by Emmanuel, a wonderful & skilled Maasai guide from the camp & a pleasure to meet.
The only downside was we did not have enough time to fully relax and enjoy the peaceful luxury of the camp itself or participate in the bush walks which were offered as we had 2 full day drives plus balloon flight..
The camp is being extended to include a larger bar area & swimming pool located next to the beautiful Hippo lagoon, so i imagine this will be an added bonus, though it is the small intimate & friendly feel of the camp that makes it so special.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mindz64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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399 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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Carlisle, UK
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2009

Royal Mara is a truly amazing place to stay. Each of the suites is unique and very stylish, with beautifully carved furniture. It has been built to make the most of its natural surroundings, and the suites have verandas that back on to the river so you can sit and chill out between game drives but still see wildlife whilst you are doing it. The suites are all very private, so you can have your own space to sit and relax. Its great that despite all this luxury, the suites are still under canvas, so you don't geel cheated out of the whole "safari" experience!

The lodge is not fenced, so you get animals roaming around, which I thought was great - through the day you can see the baboons and impalas roaming around (I sat on the steps of my suite and watched an impala frazing about a metre away from me), and at night you can really hear the hippos (they are very noisy animals!) and other strange rustlings and screetchings! We always felt very safe though, and the guards always appear very quickly to escort you around.

You can watch the hippos whilst you have your breakfast and lunch, but make sure you go down to the hippo pool at the end of the lodge too.

Simon and his team of staff are all incredibly friendly, helpful and efficient and nothing was too much trouble for them.

Another brilliant thing was the fact that you never get more than six people in one of the Landcruisers that they use for their game drives. This means you always get a window seat (I felt quite smug whenever we passed some of the vehicles used by other lodges, which had people sitting three or four abreast).

Royal Mara is a truly unique experience, and the standard of the accommodation, the service provided by the staff, and the whole "safari experience" they give is out of this world. We are so lucky to have been able to stay at the Royal Mara, and I just hope that we are fortunate enough to go back some time in the not too distant future.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Snaffle100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lancaster, England
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 2, 2009

We loved our stay here. The accommodation is very spacious and interesting - the furniture is a sort of african gothic that borders on the bizarre but is good fun. And only 8 tents. Very comfortable, hot shower, good food, lovely staff etc. But what really makes this place is the beautiful setting and the flexibility of what is on offer. All day game drives if wanted (great for going into the main reserve which by the way costs an extra 60 dollars - and you do need dollars), bush walks and bush lunches at no extra cost. And there are a lot of animals about - not as many as in the main reserve but in this area there is much less traffic which makes for a very rewarding experience. I would go back in a shot. We showed the details of the camp to an Italian couple who stayed at a nearby larger lodge - they were so jealous! I would always spend the extra. We booked the safari from a local guy in Kenya - much cheaper.

Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
Helpful?
Thank CLEMandOBs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
22 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2009

We stayed at the Royal Mara for 4 days in mid-August hoping to see the Great Migration and we were extremely impressed with the Royal Mara.

From the airport pickup the vehicles and driver were top notch. The quality of the landcruisers with the large open windows was brilliant and as good as any I've seen in South Africa, Tanzania or Kenya. The drivers were great and very knowledgeable and the schedule for game drives began early in the morning (around 6:30am) to catch all the animals waking up and hunting before it gets too hot.

The Royal Mara is a fairly small camp with only 9 tents (when we were there although there are expansion plans) but this gave it a cozy feel and given that it is not fenced and right on the river, you have all manner of animals walking through the camp at night (if this concerns you, I suggest you find somewhere else). The rooms/tents are very luxurious with a nice deck overlooking the river at most rooms/tents and a huge shower and double sink bathroom which I was very impressed with.

My only issue was that the food is decent but far from the best I've had at safari lodges/camps and there isn't a lot of variety available.

That said, I believe the service and staff more than make up for the shortcomings and the staff really were very good and willing to cater for any requirement (we thought it would be nice to have a couple of G & Ts on the plains whilst watching the animals and this was easily catered for).

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank zan500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2009

What a wonderful adventure, and I would return to the Royal Mara without hesitation. I have over 30 years in the Hotel Industry, have traveled extensively, and I can say the staff at the Royal Mara is outstanding! We first must thank Julius, our guide and driver. With each drive, Julius, was on the lookout! He could spot a pride of lions a mile off in the distance, laying in a group of trees. It was amazing! He was knowledgeable, and very thoughtful. There were five of us, including two girls of 12 and 13 year's old, and the girls are still talking about him. I hope George, the owner of the camp, appreciates what an asset Julius is to his operation.

He is just one of many that I have to mention. Thomas, the head waiter, Simon who took care of our rooms, both again, great and always kind. Regan, who took us out on our daily bush walks, was always fun and entertaining, and like Julius, very informative. David and the other guards that walked us back and forth from our tents to the main dining area. Our Chef, food was terrific, including a soup of the day that was always outstanding. Charles, the camp manager. Accolades to all!

The camp is lovely, and has some wonderful features. The furnishings are creative, and all handcarved by local artisans. They were constructing a new restaurant area, and swimming pool, which will be a tremendous addition to the camp. This camp has only been in operation for a couple of years, and think that they have potential to go to the next level if they choose.

We really enjoyed our stay, and hoping that we will all return, and soon.

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LuluShanny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 15, 2009

The Royal Mara Lodge accommodation was fabulous, wooden buildings on stilts with Teflon tents securing our home for the next 3 nights. A 4-poster bed decorated with wooden animal carvings and furniture to match certainly ensured we were going to be well looked after by day and by night. Food was served by the Mara River where we could peacefully watch the hippos lounging in the mudded water. 4 course lunch and dinner ensured you were never hungry and certainly did nothing for those wanting a healthy eating holiday! There was 24 hour escorted guard ensuring although we were in the middle of the Mara we were always protected for there are no fences separating you from the animals. It is difficult to put into words how it feels when you are woken in the night by the roaring of an angry lion protecting its prey, or a hippo quietly grazing on the grass outside your lodge but rest assured it was the most comfortable of beds and I have to say some of the best nights sleep I have had in ages! Even though it is pretty chilly at 6am getting up for the morning safari was not a problem. A quiet knock on the door from our butler Chris bringing us an early morning coffee, tea or hot choc with biscuits hit the spot! The staff were fabulous, whether they were the waiting staff, the security or the hotel management they all spoke perfect English and always had a smile on their face! The lodge is run by the Sphikas family who we only met on the night we arrived, however as we booked direct with them rather than a travel company we were certainly given a personal service before we had even left England. We explained we were coming for our honeymoon and they were able to give us a deal and also arrange later flights on departure day so we got another day's safari!

  • Stayed June 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank dougnjo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 26, 2009

What a great spot. The 'tents' are superbly luxurious with plumbed in bathrooms and magnificent hand carved furniture.

Meals by the river and by the campfire have a magnificent ambiance and the standard of food is really really good. In fact it was probably better than our hotel and we thought that was good.

The staff are great and make sure you have a good stay. There are no fences so there is a lot of wildlife in the camp. We had hippos in every night and lions and hyenas on one occasion. You get armed guards if you want to walk anywhere. They are excellent and great fun. Regan is the head of security and can take you on a walking safari which is just fantastic.

One thing to watch for when booking a safari is the vehicles/drivers. We didn't know this in advance but we lucked out because Royal Mara have good solid Land Cruisers and great off road drivers. That enabled us to get across the park much easier, faster and also got us closer to the animals. We were really keen to see a leopard and we'd never have managed to spot one without the skillful driver we had. Avoid any safari camp that uses the Nissan vans - they are rubbish.

Apparently they are putting in a pool before December 2009 which means if (when) we go back we'll probably book a longer safari and skip some game drives to chill out in camp. We went to Malindi (dream of africa) for a few nights then flew to the safari, then flew back to dream of africa for a week. That was a wonderfully relaxing way to do it but if we wanted to save a few pounds i'd go from Nairobi straight to the Royal Mara and skip the Dream of Africa.

Book it - it is epic.

PS book through Tunda Tours. Abdul is the cheapest and most trustworthy guy around. He also knows all the places and can troubleshoot if you have any difficulties ( we didn't but he still called the camp staff every day to make sure we were happy and to try and get us free stuff)

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ramone161
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 #49 of 140 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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