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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
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    Reviews (429)
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    347 - 352 of 429 reviews
    Reviewed 16 October 2009

    My fiance and I stayed at the Royal Mara Safari Lodge from the 15th to the 18th September 2009. We booked a two week holiday to Mombasa staying at the Kole Kole Beach and Spa Resort in Diani Beach, but as I tend to get bored with sitting round the pool all day, we decided to add a 4 day safari so we could get the best of both worlds. I set about doing some research and after reading a lot of reviews we decided to safari in the Masai Mara, mainly choosing the region because of the famous tribesmen and the wider variety and larger numbers of resident wildlife. After choosing the region we then had to find the right lodge to stay at, again we set about reading reviews and researching the numerous camps that are available. When we came accross the Royal Mara we were initially drawn to the beautiful hand-carved lodges that had flushing toilets and proper hot showers, it was rated #8 of 60 camps in the Masai Mara at the time, but looked like it had more to offer than the camps that were rated higher, Governors Camp and Kicheche etc. In a lot of the reviews on trip advisor we kept coming accross a local safari agent in Mombasa called Julius Nzumbi of JT-Safaris (google to find his website). I contacted him from the UK via his website to find out if he could arrange a 4 day safari to the Royal Mara, and after a few emails and agreeing on a good price,I paid a small deposit by bank transfer. Julius deserves a mention as he is very honest, totally proffessional and a top bloke as well. He arranges all your internal flights, transfers and insists that the lodges give his customers the best rooms and service too.
    After a few days lazing round the pool in Diani we were picked up by Julius' driver and taken to Ukunda Airport, about 15mins drive from the hotel. The flight took less than 2 hours and we were met at the Livingstone airstrip by a safari guide from the Royal Mara who took us on a mini safari on the way to the camp. In this 30min trip we saw more animals than we expected to see in the whole 4 days, Giraffes, Elephants, Baboons, Zebra and a Hyena eating his lunch to name just a few. It was mind blowing and made me think of the scene in Jurassic Park when you first see the Dinosaurs! Wildlife is abundant in this area as the Mara River flows through the camp providing plenty of water for the animals to drink and lots of prey for the predators.
    Upon arriving at the camp we were met by Simon the manager, who provided us with a drink and some hand towels and filled us in with the camp protocol. There is no perimeter fence around the camp so wild animals are free to wander or inhabit the area at any time, also on an evening the Hippos who inhabit the Mara River come up the banks to graze on the grass that grows around the lodges, they make some awesome noises in the middle of the night! Due to this, you cannot leave your lodge at any time without a Masai guard to escort you, they were a really friendly bunch (Hi to Moses and Sammy) and were interesting to chat to. After a quick freshen up in the room it was time for lunch by the river which to our astonishment was a 3 course feast including a giant T-Bone steak which was cooked to perfection! All the food we were served was lovely and we were amazed how they managed to cook-up such fine dishes in the middle of the savannah. After lunch we were introduced to our safari guide, Julius, who like most, if not all of the staff, was a local Masai. His knowledge of the area and the fauna and flora were extremely impressive and his English was near perfect, he had a killer sense of humour also. The beauty of the Royal Mara's safari drives was that as you are not in the government run conservancys the vehicles are free to roam wherever they can physically go meaning you can get as close to the animals as the guide deems safe and is as unobtrusive to the animals. On our first safari we were lucky enough to witness a lioness giving birth to three cubs! The vehicles are brilliant too as they are big long-wheel-based jeeps with no side windows in and opening roofs ensuring maximum viewing potential and we were lucky enough to only have one other solo-travelling guest in ours, although they would comfortably seat 8 easy. If I was to write down the experiences we encountered over the four days it would take me hours from tracking a leopard to an encounter with a really angry male lion, it was truly magical. All I would like to say is that we had a truly unforgettable time at the Royal Mara and we are planning to return within the next two years with friends, the place is as luxurious as it can be and all the staff made us feel like long-lost friends. To me this is the most special place in Africa and if you are lucky enough to try a safari then please have a look at the Royal Mara, and take it from me you will not be disappointed...

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