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“Marvelous experience and quality to match”

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
West Yorks
1 review
“Marvelous experience and quality to match”
Reviewed 8 November 2009

Extremely welcoming and friendly. Nothing too much trouble. John, Reagan,Julius and Nelson to mention a few were excellent, and made our stay a pleasure. Hope to come back in 2 years for at least a week. A 2 night stay was not enough. The brochure is true to life, and the surrounding area is an eyeopener.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank eddieWestYorks
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Dorset, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 November 2009

Wow is a understatement!! I agree with a previous review, The Photo's do not do it justice. We had the most amazing time at this fabulous camp. The interiors of the tents have so much charm and all the details are hard to take in. Beds are very comfortable, the shower was a bit unpredictable but hey. Food was always good and to be seated by the Mara river watching the Hippos while eating is indescribable. I had no idea these animals are so noisy, but it made me smile at night to hear them so close.
All the staff are very attentive especially Regan nothing to do with his fully loaded rifle!!
On the drive from the air strip we saw lots of animals, and on arriving at the Royal we were greeted with a cooling drink before being shown to our tent to freshen up and unpack. Then a lunch of T bone steak and a chance to relax before our first game drive.
We saw everything but a Leopard, but having seen 5 last year in Tsarvo it was not our top priority, a Cheetah and migration was the must see and we were not disappointed. We saw the demise of a unfortunate wildebeest to a crocodile, gruesome, but very exciting.
Our driver John was a true gentleman throughout and did his best for us. Breakfast in the Mara reserve was a highlight of the trip.
The area is so dry but I understand some rains have reached the Mara I hope it is not to late. The Masai have lost so many cattle are worried for those remaining as if it rains it will turn cold and the animals will not cope.
Our safari was arranged by Abdul of Tunda tours who met us in Nairobi to finalize timing and to collect payment. Nice guy who turned into my hero when Fly 540 ( not my favorite airline ) tried to get us onto a flight to Mombasa instead of Malindi but Abdul stepped in and calm was restored!!
The Royal are constructing a new reception, dining room, shop and viewing area at the end of the complex which will over look a huge pod of Hippo's and crocodiles I think it will be fantastic, just ask Regan to walk you down and have a look.
For anyone concerned about safety, as the camp is not fenced, no worries, just open the door and step out and a man will appear from under a tree quite bazaar, but very reassuring.
To sum up, would I recommend the Royal Mara? 100% yes. We wished we had stayed longer.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank dorsetjane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hitchin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 October 2009

We visited the Royal Mara Safari Lodge for two nights in October flying up from our hotel on the coast. The Mara is very dry at the moment because of the drought over the last couple of years and our first view once we landed was a cloud of dust approaching which turned to be the truck from the Royal Mara coming to pick us up. It was just a 20 minute drive to the Lodge but on the way we saw giraffe, zebra, gazelle, warthogs.... We turned into what looked like a little glade and there were the tables set under the trees on the banks of the river. We were met with a welcoming drink of juice and then taken to our "tent". The lodges are probably even more magnificent than they look in the photographs on the website. We had a couple of hours before our first game drive and though we would have been happy to sit and watch the hippo wallowing in the river just yards away and watch the glorious birds one of the guards, Moses, came to our door and took us down to the bend in the river to see even more hippo and to show us round the site. After a lovely lunch under the trees we went on our first game drive. Simon our driver was excellent. He showed endless patience answering our questions, and finding game for us. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, we didn't find a leopard but the whole experience was all we could have hoped for and more. He also made sure all his passengers were catered for making sure we all got to see and do what we had our hearts set on. If we are ever lucky enough to go back we'd hope that Simon was there to look after us again. I just can't fault the place. The setting is just great - reading my diary now I can't believe that I was sitting with dozens of hippo just below me, a lovely kingfisher sitting on a branch just yards away.... The food was great - far too much of it for me but it was all lovely which is amazing when you realise all power is from a generator. The evening meals round the fire were magical. I would highly recommend the Royal Mara - setting, staff, food... everything! were all great.

  • Stayed October 2009, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Catsqueak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Plymouth
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 October 2009

We recently stayed at the Royal Mara and I have to say, what a fabulous stay. I just wish we had stayed longer. We booked it with Mic's Tours in Kenya. The staff at the Royal Mara couldn't do enough for you, they were helpful, friendly and very professional. Our driver, John was brilliant. He did so well at getting as close as possible to the animals. We also did a bush walk with Regan. The owner George and his son came to visit and they are just such nice people. Our lodge was magnificent, beautifully carved furniture, right on the river Mara over looking the hippos. At night the hippos would come around the lodges to graze, amazing. We had lunch in the bush and on our last morning we had breakfast on the Mara, John did a very good job at setting it all up. The chef at the Royal Mara packed us off with a wonderful breakfast. Every meal we had was superb, thank you chef. The Royal Mara is definately the place to stay. You have everything there, and you even had time to relax and enjoy the hippos. This is our second time to Kenya and our second safari, and all I can say is that the Royal Mara was by far the best. Thank you to all of you for making it a fantastic stay. Gemma and Andrew

  • Stayed September 2009, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank iammeg64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scarborough, England
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank louisandjenny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank steve7851
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Midlands
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank RJBMidlands
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 #53 of 139 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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