I can not express just how fantastic this lodge really is, but I will try my best to describe just how this experience became truly a once in a lifetime experience that left us lost for words for 3 days and 2 nights.
The Royal mara is a site located in the Masai mara and is situated on the river bank of the Mara river, which is filled with Hippopotamus and not to mention a resident nile crocodile which is huge! The site consists of 8 raised wooden lodges housing anything from couples to small family's. The site is not fenced and therefore requires security 24/7 especially during the evening when the Hippos leave the river in pursuit of food. Meals are 5 star and are a unexpected treat served in 4 courses at a table by the river for breakfast and lunch and for dinner by the camp fire next to the main building. You are assigned your own personal waiter for the whole holiday , ours was a young lad called Nelson and being a Manchester United fan we got on like a house on fire. :-)
The lodges themselves were beautiful. They included carefully handcrafted furniture with details of safari animals, his and hers wash facilities, warm shower and an electricity supply although limited throughout the day and night. The Bed deserves a special mention as it was big enough for an elephant possibly two!
The safari being the main reason for visiting the lodge obviously did not disappoint. We were fortunate to see every animal up close this included a Leopard on noth days up the same tree. This meant I was able to get some of the best photos I have ever taken, see the attached pics or my profile page and judge for yourself. The only animal that we were not able to see at the mara lodge during our stay was a Cheetah, but as if by magic we did spot one on our way back from the ballon ride at little governors camp, see below for more details about the ballon ride. We also chose to make the long journey to the Rhino reserve up in the hills and boy was it worth it. After a 1.5 hour drive to the location, we were greeted by arm guard and then walked on foot for 20 meters through a few bushes to be suddenly met by 5 Rhino (including a young male and a huge Bull). We were as close on foot as 5 meters and they were not spooked and we did not feel threatened. This was one of the most amazing moments of my life! Finally a bush walk along the river with a ranger through the surrounding area was also a great bit of exercise and insight into plants, bugs and smaller animals.
Finally as part of our package we paid to do a ballon safari which meant getting up at 3:30am knackered whilst dodging hippo and then leaving our lodge for a 1.5 hour drive to Governors camp. This was an experience as all we could see in the darkness was animals eyes until the sun started to come up. We then had to cross the river in a small boat by rope and walk a short distance through Little governors camp to the ballon take off point. We did the ride which was great but by far the best bit was the crash landing! The tour was finished off with breakfast and the journey home with the ballon pilot and his wife who were english and kind enough to try and spot a cheetah for us. This meant we did see all the animals whilst on safari and for that we were grateful. Finally we arrived back to the lodge for our final lunch meal and said our goodbye's to Nelson and the rest of the staff. Instead of a tip i gave Nelson my united kit, never seen such appreciation in my life.
Lastly I must mention that i did not get bitten once during my stay by any bug of any kind including mosquito's I was amazed as many other people who ventured to other reserves and lodges were eaten alive.
- 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