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“This safari lodge is awesome!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Royal Mara Safari Lodge

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Tempe, Arizona
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“This safari lodge is awesome!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 August 2011

This Safari Lodge is Awesome

My girlfriend and I had never been on a Safari before, so I was nervous about spending alot of money on something that wouldn't be the best, and none of my friends had ever been. I did a bunch of searches online and I found Royal Mara, then I found the reviews here, and with so many people saying great things, we decided to book it.

If you've never been to africa before (we've just travelled mostly in the US and 1st world countries), it is a bit of a shock to arrive in Nairobi airport. We left the next morning from Wilson Airport to fly out to the Mara (About 45 minutes I think). When we landed, a driver was there to bring us to the camp. The amount of animals we saw just driving to the camp was unreal. It was like we were the animals in the moving zoo of the car, because all the animals, Elephants, Zebra, Widebeest, Topi, and many others were just hanging out as we drove by.

The camp itself is definitely a private place, and made us feel like we had spent twice as much money. Our own private villa, with guards (there are no camp fences there). We could hear the animals all around us at night, even the roars of the lions across the river as they hunted at night. Just too much to do justice to the experience. Top notch food (lots of variety), service (early morning until late night the staff is actually tuned to serve you), cleanliness and comfort. Really a 5 Star Hotel in the middle of nowhere.. Who would have thought it possible..... Two words.... "Go There". Royal Mara has us hooked. We'll be back. Fantastic work on a life changing experience.

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank zackdbelow
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
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (89)
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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 August 2011

I felt like we found Shangri La at Royal Mara..

First off, when you fly into the Mara, you feel like you are going back in time. Twin Prop plane to a small dirt airstrip. When you leave the plane behind, you take another step back in time, travelling through trees, across savannah and through herds of animals. Just getting to the hotel is exhilirating, and after the warm greeting at the airstrip, they already had me antsy waiting to see if what I've read on Trip Advisor about the camp is true, and boy I tell you it is.

I was greeted by a line of the hotel staff that made me feel like a visiting dignitary. They gave us fresh juice and moist towels to wash our hands and face. After passing pretty much no traces of civilization along the way to the camp, I was astounded by how luxurious it was once I got there. Just to imagine everything they had to do to get all of that out there built in the middle of nowhere, and this was by far not your typical tent on the ground that you find at pretty much all of the other Safari camps (even the expensive ones).

We were escorted to our room, and my eyes almost popped out. I'm sure you've read the other comments, but I definitely wasn't really expecting so much. It was like a mini house. Double vanity, toilet, shower, private deck, king sized bed. All hand made furniture with intricate carvings, and pure privacy with an intimate view of the river.

Even before we had our first game drive, we were watching monkeys across the river and listening to hippos. Our deck was bigger than my patio at home, and it was our private deck, not some shared thing, and had our own private view of the river.

Julius was our driver, and he seemed to know everything, and simply knew where to go to find any type of animal we were looking for. We didn't pay the extra for a private car, but we got lucky and had one anyway for the 3 days we were there. I guess it just depends on what other groups there were, but it definitely added to the feeling of luxury (having a private driver).

I'm not sure how they have such a diverse selection of food in the middle of nowhere, or how they manage to find the people who cook and serve it so well, but they do. It is hard to believe, but when I first started looking for places, a tour operator I spoke with didn't even mention this place as an option. Just goes to show you that doing your homework pays off.

I will definitely come back, and recommend to others. I just hope they don't get too busy that the rates go up, because for the price, I couldn't find anything comparable or even close to what I got at Royal Mara.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Hockner
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 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, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank trippergb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Malaga, Spain
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 August 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, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Murph900
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Helsinki, Finland
Level Contributor
104 reviews
50 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 July 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, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 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, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
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
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 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, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Peebs8
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, Masai Mara National Reserve 00621, Kenya
Region: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Masai 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 Speciality Lodging in Masai 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/Masai Mara National Reserve

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