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“Unforgettable, excellent and best holiday of the life”

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Reviewed 10 October 2009

I would like to thank you George Sr. as well as George Jr. and all staff at Royal Mara for the magic time what we had there. We loved everything about its services, cleanliness, the food. Our driver John made our game drives really very special and magnificent. There was no place what he did not access as well as no animal what he did not find. Also all staff in Royal Mara Lodge was simply great. The atmosphere was like in family home and everybody was taking the best care about us. That is what has made this trip truly special and unforgettable. It was the best holiday what we ever had. We are looking to return back to Kenya again as soon as possible and for sure Royal Mara is the only place where we will stay also next time. We would like to recommend to all of our friends to visit Maasai Mara and stay in Royal Mara Lodge only. We stayed there 6 nights and it was the best decision what we have ade before our trip - not to change lodges but stay only in one place and try to discover beauties around. We organized all trip details directly with George and it was very swift, clear and straightforward. George - thanks for it again.
Please be so kind and give our best and warmest regards to Charles, Simon, John, Johnson and everybody else from Royal Mara Lodge.
Stefan & Vlasta

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank steve7851
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 September 2009

We booked our safari through Dok at Kenyan Adventures and we flew to the Royal Mara Safari Lodge from Diani Beach, which took about two hours (flying past Kilimanjaro on the way) for two and a half days safari. We were met at the airport and driven to the Royal Mara. We had only been driving about 10 minutes when we spotted zebra, giraffe, hyena, wart hogs and wildebeest - this was just a taster of things to come.

We were greeted by the lodge Manager and shown to our lodge – WOW! It is a very unique, cleverly designed and relaxed place. It is an open camp, so there are Masi guards assigned to each lodge 24/7. You are not allowed anywhere outside your lodge without being accompanied, which makes this place feel very safe and secure.

Everyone was very friendly, had time to chat and answer questions and nothing was too much trouble. The food was fantastic (a little too much of it, but that is certainly not a complaint). Being a vegetarian, they catered for me better than most restaurants. After settling into our lodge we had a three course lunch at a table set out on the bank of the river watching the hippos sunbathing.

After lunch we went on safari with an American couple (Nicole and Keith – how are you?). We saw so many animals and our guide, Julius, was excellent (did you know that an elephant can hide behind a tree?!!). On our return we had a four course evening meal in the restaurant. There is also a bar and sitting/relaxing area.

The next day we went for a full day’s safari and so the lodge did us a packed breakfast and packed lunch and to be in the middle of the Masi Mara eating your meal off the bonnet of a Landrover (complete with tablecloth), just can't be beaten.

As you are in the middle of nowhere the electricity is done by generators. There was electricity between the hours of 6pm and 10.30pm and 4am and 8am. It did go off occasionally for about a minute until the generators kicked in again, but it was not a problem (you are provided with a torch). Water was always available, but we were told when we first arrived that there was hot water first thing in the morning and after 9pm at night. I did go for a shower at about 6.30pm one night and there was plenty of hot water. You are also left bottles of water each day to brush your teeth.

I wish I could say more but you really have to experience it for yourself. We have so many great memories and would like to thank all the people at the Royal Mara Safari lodge for making us feel special and making this possible.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank RJBMidlands
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2009

Dear George,
We had the pleasure of staying at Royal Mara September 12-15/2009.I just wanted to write you and your talented and thoughful staff a short note of appreciation.

Upon arrival at Royal Mara srptember 12th we were a bit late and arrived at 2pm.We were met by Charles and Simon at the gate and knew immediately that this was going to be something very unique. Charles and Simon are both gentleman and true professionals in their field.Lunch was held for us and we had lunch at the riverbank that was nothing short of breath taking.Watching the hippos right in front of us was amazing.Simon gave us an orientation and off to our rooms with escorted guards(please never loose this wonderful feature of being escorted in a locale without fences).The walk was the buildup to what was next. Your crew of guards and escorts were helpful and never rushed us but were always there when we needed them. I also liked the fact that they never congregated and were ready at each and every bungalow.

The bungalows on the river are unparalled.We have stayed in some unforgetable places but this was something we were unprepared for.The detail from the door on the deck to such small things like the tent vents and placement of interior walls to the larger details of sinks, wood carvings, and furniture must have challenged even the best interior designer.

Service at Royal Mara makes you feel like you are the only one in the camp. Please safeguard this secret as it can separate you from the very best to the elite.Royal Mara obviously has attained a level above elite. Simon would ask us at evening dinner wat we would like the next morning prior to game drive. I thought he was kidding at first.Then at 6am sharp the next morning our housekeeper arrived with biscuits, coffee and hot chocolate as ordered.What a treat! Breakfast followed the game drive and was just the right touch and time at 9am.

Lunches and dinners were carefully thought out and dietary concerns were addressed.Lunch was fantastic at river bank or in the bush.Bush walks and bush lunches were unexpected and a cool surprise. We loved that this was unexpected. Who else would set up a full lunch in the bush for a few guests with a full compliment of staff, and yes even a bush toilet.The cooks always had a smile on their face and treated us in a way we treat our very best friends.They loved what they were doing and it showed.Dinner was relaxing near the fire, which I noticed was cleaned up every morning, and our young waiter named William was a joy.

John took us on all of our game drives and we found John to be informative and we loved the fact he put us in the best position for taking pictures of the animals.Another fine gentleman that seems to fit the Royal Mara mould to a tee.My wife tracked a leopard(the famous Shadow) with John for over an hour while I relaxed back at my camp. She was pumped when she arrived back at camp and had over 100 photos that were pro like pics.She is a great photographer but once again John came through in tracking and truck position.

We loved the proposed new reception center and bird sanctuary.
For anyone who is travelling the masai mara this is the cream of the crop in every way, shape and form.If we could rate this higher we would have!! Check out the website and this is the 1st place we have stayed that the actual local is so much better than the website! BY THE WAY THEIR WEBSITE IS GREAT! WWW.ROYALMARA.COM

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Marianne_Jeff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2009

The quality of the trip was unbelievable; the service, food, comfort, game drives, everything was fabulous. This safari camp is different from the rest because of the exclusivity, if you want to go somewhere with hundreds of people, pools, bars, and cheap amenities, this is NOT the place for you. This is for the true african afficionado, where animals walk through camp at night and each staff member becomes a close friend of yours. The overall quality of this camp is really very special, most true today when most other lodges are only looking to make a profit- not this one!

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
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1  Thank natalie6478
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2009

Large art filled villas, Masai butler service, gourmet meals, nightly entertainment -- all this with adjacent pods of hippos and elephant herds. Wild animals frequently come through the camp and can be heard at night.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Mumseyart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 September 2009

The Royal Mara is a great camp in a great location. We had 4 days there as part of our honeymoon and it was as special as you would want it to be. The tents are spacious and well kitted out, with comfy beds and wonderful hand carved everything. They are on stilts overlooking the river, where we saw hippos, crocodiles, monkeys, baboons, antelope etc whilst relaxing on our huge balcony. The camp is open, and you are escorted from and to your tent by armed guards, and they, as well as the fact you are raised, means there is no danger, you can just enjoy being in the Mara. Whilst we were there, we found out one morning that 2 lion nearly brought down a zebra just outside our tent!

One of the best things about this camp is that it (save the visiting director) is run by Kenyans (particularly, Maasai), which makes it feel very much part of the local community. This does, however, mean that you need to be a bit sympathetic to the culture in certain areas - the local managers are constantly wandering around at meals checking that you are happy, and raising any issues with them does get them resolved very quickly, but perhaps in a way you weren't expecting. An example would be our bathroom - not realising that the room steward also cleaned, and we didn't see him the morning after we arrived anyway, when we asked for our bathroom to be given another once over as under the electric lights (that are only available after 6 pm), it could be seen to be a little less than spotless. This we felt may be because the room is very dark during the day and there are no lights, so a bit of dirt could easily get missed. However, all hell broke loose as the manager personally oversaw the re-clean, and the room steward afterwards asked us to speak to him directly - there is a strong pride element that you don't necessarily see elsewhere - I would have no concerns in most hotels about phoning the front desk to organise a clean, but that's not the way to do it here. We realised it would have been better to request that the room steward was found and brought to us.

The food is great - good selection and great quality ingredients - my husband said the meat was excellent, they cater for vegetarians well, and we ate some of the freshest salads ever (in the middle of the bush, amazing!). The wine list is good and reasonably priced (around £18 for a decent bottle of imported wine).

The game drives were excellent, the guides extremely professional and knowledgable. We were told by the director George before we arrived that there would be a maximum of one other couple per vehicle, this turned out not to be the case for the first 2 days, but when we raised this to the management, they immediately apologised and gave us our own vehicle for the next couple of days. The camp is in one of the Reserves outside of the main conservancy, so we took a full day trip to the conservancy for the crossing, an amazing day with a 'packed' breakfast and lunch which still involved a table, table cloth, chairs etc set up by the river and overlooking the plain. We didn't realise that you could request a full day's game drive rather than returning to the camp for meals, if we had we would have made more use of this, as it is a far better way to safari. We did do a walking safari which was really enjoyable and educational.

The Royal Mara vehicles are probably the best that we saw out there - huge open wooden framed windows with a fold away roof. Some of the jeeps had even less on the sides, but had to have the roof fixed down, which meant you couldn't stand to get a better view. Other places had completely enclosed jeeps or even little minibuses, which separate you completely from the outside, a shame. Because the camp is in a reserve, there are far fewer camps and vehicles than in the main conservancy. This means you are permitted off road, and so get much closer to the animals, and also means you aren't constantly surrounded by other vehicles - our day in the conservancy was wonderful because of the crossing etc, but did make us realise how lucky we were. Before we went we were told that there were more animals in the conservancy, which apart from the hordes of wildebeast massing for the crossing, is not true at all. We saw as much, and got far closer, outside of the main conservancy, and it means you can do a walking safari, and the Royal Mara can set up lunches in the middle of the bush for the whole camp, another great experience.

If you contact the camp, the director emails you back immediately with lots of detail and answers any queries immediately - much more efficient than anywhere else we contacted.

Overall this is a lovely camp with a real local community feel. Although the tents are large and well furnished, some of the beautiful wood flooring is a little tired in places, and the camp is not top top end luxury, though nearly there. The location, the food, the vehicles and staff make it a superb experience. They are building at one end, which may reduce the intimate feel of the camp (and may disturb you if you are in tent 1, possibly) but improved facilities would possibly tip this camp into that top end - and the prices may reflect it, so I'd get in now!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lani5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 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, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Mindz64
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, 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 #54 of 142 Speciality Lodging in Masai Mara National Reserve
Price Range: £428 - £592 (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/Masai Mara National Reserve

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