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“I was spoiled to be at this safari lodge” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Royal Mara Safari Lodge

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Royal Mara Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“I was spoiled to be at this safari lodge”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 February 2011

Royal mara was spectacular. The level of service almost made me feel uncomfortable. The setting was amazing. Everything was just so good.

We were picked up at the airstrip by Julius and drove about 20 minutes to the lodge. It was our first exposure to safari and it kind of blew our minds. We were on a dirt road, until there was a wooden "Royal Mara, 7km" sign, and we turned and started driving across a field. The lodge is in the middle of nowhere, except all the drivers thankfully know exactly how to get there. It's right on the Mara river. The "tents" are right along the river, and there are hippos out there all the time, making silly hippo noises.

The lodge has no fence so animals can wander through. It might sound scary but its not. There's always someone around to walk with you from the tent to the main area. One day some Elands were walking through, and one of the guards broke off a piece of branch and we fed them! It was nice!

The tent was huge and nice. The bed was huge and nice. The shower was nice! There's only hot water and electricity sometimes, which might sound weird now, but once you get there it makes sense and its nice that they aren't being wasteful.

We went on game drives with the lodge drivers. They were terrific. They found all kinds of animals for us to look at, and they were nice and friendly and we liked them a lot!

We had a bush lunch on our first day, and a picnic on one of the other days. We were there for 4 nights.

The food was really good! We were having some stomach problems because we stopped drinking liquor. Once we figured that out, and started having more whiskey, things got way better and we got to enjoy the food more. There were always 4 courses, but by the third course we were mostly full! Nice soups and nice seconds and nice mains.

The level of service was unparalleled in my experience. We had a dedicated person who turned down our rooms, and brought us tea and coffee and juice in the mornings and before dinner drinks in the evening (Thanks Johnson!). We had a dedicated waiter for each of our meals (Thanks Stephen!). It was nice to have the same person every day. And everyone was completely capable and very friendly. We were sad to leave!

Safari days are very busy and very full, but that's probably best, even though all we wanted to do was sleep all the time lol. I don't know if there was anything that we liked the least. Maybe just the getting up early :)

Maybe there are other lodges out there that are as good as Royal Mara, but I dont know how it could really be improved upon.

  • Stayed October 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nowisimon
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
Edgworth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
25 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 February 2011

We did 2 nighst 3 days safari booked through JT Safaris, whilst we were on a 2 week holiday at Baobab Beach. The safari booked by JT was brilliant everything went smoothly so I recommend booking with JT Safaris. The Royal Mara was excellent the place is amazing! Our room was huge with beautiful wooden furniture and a lovely view of the Mara River. We could see Hippo & crocodile from our balcony. The food was very good and everything was well organised from getting up in the morning to a hot drink and then being escorted to our van, with armed security, as it is not fenced off and the animals are nearby. Our driver was Jeffrey and he was brilliant, very knowledgeable regarding all the animals and he did everything he could to give us an excellant safari experience. We got to see leopard lions cheeter & all the other animals. Also on a game walk with Reagan we saw a Black Mamba Snake! It was a wonderful experience. If you do go on Safari make sure it is at the Masai Mara as you will see everything you want to see (see my pictures).

Thank you Jeffrey and the Royal Mara Team and also JT Safaris. x Jo Ordish

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JO-ORDY
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Moscow, Russia
Level Contributor
50 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 January 2011

Trip details: 6 day safari to Masai Mara (Royal Mara Safari Lodge), Lake Nakuru (Lake Nakuru Lodge), Amboseli (Ol Tukai Lodge), Tsavo West (Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge), two adults and a child of 10 y.o.

Very special lodge located in the Northern conservancy area near Masai Mara National park and on the bank of Mara river. Most likely extremely good location to watch the great migration (August-September). The best time to visit is from August to November based on the info obtained from the local guides, during this period of time the majority of the animals are at the territory of Masai Mara
(the rest of the year they spend in Serengetti, Tanzania)

We liked:
- Proximity to the nature. Wildlife is very close: mongooses, vervet monkeys, birds are at the lodge territory some antelopes / other animals can easily enter the area, hippos are strolling around bungalows at night time
- The lodge is not overcrowded at all, for the time being only 8-9 separate bungalows are open with 9 more to be open within this year
- Personal service
- Good chance to see lots of different animals (unlike other national parks one can drive close to the animals and not only along the roads, if the car permits – a jeep vs minibus is advisable not only during rain season)
- Friendly stuff

We did not like:
Nothing to say, everything seems to be very good if not excellent

  • Stayed January 2011, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank d495
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago
Level Contributor
51 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 January 2011

We are avid travelers, having visited 45+ countries in the last 3 years, with experience at all types of accommodations. We stayed at the Royal Mara Safari Lodge for 3 nights, including New Year's Eve. We've only gone on safari once before and so are relatively new to this. From the get go while we were planning our trip from the US (book directly with the Royal Mara--no need to use a travel agent), George Sphikas (the owner I believe) was incredibly helpful in his communications--he explained things easily, helped with planning logistics (air travel, taxis and transfers) and basically had all kinds of useful tips that made our planning experience painless. So when we arrived in Nairobi, everything went like clockwork.

At the Royal Mara camp, we were impressed by the facilities and the service. The pictures online don't do the place justice. Our tented lodge was beautiful and located right on the banks of the Mara River where the hippos' calls would serve as a lullaby at night. The new reception area hadn't opened yet, but we were given a tour of it and it looks like it will be amazing.

As for the service, everyone was friendly and accommodating. The guards were always there to ensure our safety (wild animals do roam through the camp at night) and they would fill us in on Masai culture and animals tips. Our assigned waiter, Stephen, was fantastic! He catered to our every dining need and always made sure we were comfortable. Stephen also shared many local tidbits with us in terms of activities and things to do. During New Years Eve dinner we were treated to dancing by the local Masai people which also included some of the staff.

Our favorite part of the experience was the safari drives. Our driver, John, collected us at the airstrip and escorted us on our drives. John was knowledgeable about the local plants and animals and despite all odds found us the elusive leopard. John also concluded our drives with private sun-downer drinks on the Mara.

Overall, we'd say that the Royal Mara Safari experience cemented our love affair with safaris. The place was great as is and will only get better once the new reception area opens. Again--no need to book through a tour company as a little effort on your part and help from George will reap its own reward. Thanks again to everyone for a memorable time.

  • Stayed December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jmleon72
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Istanbul
Level Contributor
130 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2011

The Royal Mara Lodge was indeed a positive experience for our very first safari trip together with our two children aged 9 and 5. The staff are quite friendly, the guides try to do their best and there was consideration for children which is not very common for lodges in this part of the world. We would choose the Royal Mara Lodge if we were to go back to the Masai Mara someday...

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank KenyaTraveller70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lugano, Switzerland
Level Contributor
27 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 January 2011

We stayed at the Royal Mara Safari lodge for 13 nights (the longest stay in the lodge!!!).
What to say, ALL WAS AMAZING AND UNFORGETTABLE: the location, the room, the service, the food, the environment, the owners, the park, the animals…
We liked all of our stay, the breakfast near the Mara River, reading books on our veranda and at the same time looking the hippos and the crocodiles in the river, the game-drive, the game-walk, the very romantic dinner outdoor near the campfire…..We saw a lot of wild animals, it was fantastic……one morning when we were on our terrace we have seen a leopard walking right opposite of the river!!!!! The Mara Park has many many animals, when we were out of the lodge for a game drive, we didn’t meet a lot of cars in the park, that means we used to look at the wild animal without another boring cars….We were relaxing every day during the game drive, because our car wasn’t overcrowded. We never felt in danger during all our stay, everybody took care of us.
We recommend to stay in this lodge for a period longer than 2-3 nights, in order to fully enjoy everything!!
We were go back to our home completely relaxed and now, after only 2 months, we’re very sad because we miss everything and everybody.
Many many thanks to all of you: George Sr, George Jr, Reagan, Steven, Julius, Johnson……
Barbara&Sandro (Lugano, Switzerland)

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sandro_barbara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Aylesbury
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 January 2011

We stayed at the Royal Mara for 2 nights/3 days and it was the most amazing experience.

We booked the safari via JT Safaris (www.julius-safaris.com). This was our 2nd visit to the Masai Mara and both times we booked with Julius. He runs a reliable, friendly and professional company who are very competitive on price. We would always recommend to book with him, you will not be disappointed. He is based in Diani Beach near Mombasa.

The accommodation here is of the highest standard. The beds are huge and comfortable and the room was spotlessly clean.

The staff are superb. Our driver was called Wilson - nothing was too much trouble for him (he managed to keep smiling even though we had 3 flat tyres on the last day!) It all added to the experience of the safari!

The game drives were excellent. We saw several lions (we managed to get up very close to them), cheetah, hyenas with a kill, elephants. But the highlight of the safari was seeing a leopard 3 days on the trot in his tree with a kill,. We watched him for ages!!!! Our driver said we were very lucky to see the same Leopard 3 days running, as they usually move on.

The food at the Royal Mara was fantastic.

If you are thinking about booking a stay here, then I would urge you to do so.
I really do not think you will find a better place in the Masai Mara. It is so luxurious, bearing in mind you are in he middle of nowhere! The game drives were better here than at the Kichwa Tembo - we managed to get up very very close to the animals here.

Julius also arranged a balloon ride for us which was fantastic and well worth the extra money.

Overall, I would rate this as a 5 star lodge and I would not hesistate to return here.....

  • Stayed November 2010, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Merbee
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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