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Mara River Lodge, Masai Mara National Park, Kenya – Mara River Lodge

Mara River Lodge is an intimate safari lodge that nestles along the banks of Mara River on crossing point of annual wildebeest migration route in Masai Mara National Park, Kenya, Mara River Lodge was formerly called David Livingstone Lodge is situated to the northeast of the Masai Mara game reserve in the Koiyaki Lemek Conservancy on a broad bend with hippo pools on the Mara River, the view from the Mara River Lodge spacious veranda is almost endless over the majestic Masai Mara - Serengeti ecosystem below, Mara River Lodge holds special appeal for those with a passion for refined splendor, ensconcing its guests in comfort, luxury and old-world elegance. From this superb vantage point, one can become absorbed in the marvel of an abundance of wildlife, including the annual migration of zebra and wildebeest, widely known as the greatest natural spectacle on earth. Mara River Safari Lodge offers peace and tranquility away from the hustle and bustle of modern life, spend some time with us and unwind. Relax to the rhythm of an African day as a myriad of bird calls herald the rising sun. Enjoy our resident wildlife, or go for a game drive and explore the range of habitats that lie within easy reach. In the evening, sip a cool drink at the bar followed by a four course dinner. Don't expect five stars; from our campfire you will see millions. Mara River Lodge has an elegant and natural feel to it which is reflected largely in the main areas of the lodge, our friendly staff are waiting here to welcome you and make you feel at home. Mara River Lodge still has the informal, intimate feeling of the original bush camp, built by legendary early explorers, now, comfortable cottages have replaced tents, but our main buildings place no barriers between you and nature, Mara River Lodge consists of 82 stone cottages that extend from the central, open-sided bar, lounge and dining room, each room has its own verandah that faces Mara River, all rooms have en-suite facilities, the cottages are made from local materials and offer comfortable accommodation, each of the appointed rooms is a haven of style and serenity, complete with balcony and private bathroom. They have 24hrs electricity, hot and cold running water and a veranda. There are 2 two-bedroom suites with a living room, TV and DVD player, Painted in traditional Maasai red ochre and lit by hundreds of lanterns, the lodge gives an immediate impression of the local surroundings. Guests are met by Maasai warriors in full regalia. The lodge is surrounded by indigenous trees and plants and it blending with the environment and combining the best of nature and unexpected wilderness comfort with some of the finest views of Masai Mara National Park. After a hot day’s safari your cozy room awaits, providing you with a hot shower and comfortable bed, guests can see hippos across the Mara River from their table as they sit down for the meals, prepared by our international chefs. At all times families of hippos spend their days basking in the deep pools below the bars and restaurant. The "View Point Bar" and rest area offers a spectacular view of the Mara River and the animals. The elegant blue water swimming pool provides our guests with an opportunity of respite from the tropical daytime temperatures. A cooling dip before breakfast, lunch or dinner works wonders for the appetite. Take a balloon ride at dawn and watch the sun cast a golden light over the swaying grasses of the Mara as it rises over the Aitong hills. After the exhilarating ride you will land for a champagne bush breakfast in the Wilderness. Sundowner and bush dinners are possible due to the unique location of Mara River Lodge, inside Lemek Convervancy. Surrounding the lodge is one of the "Seven Natural Wonders" of the world: the world's biggest land migration passes the lodge, with 1.5 million Wildebeest and Zebra crossing the nearby plains and river in search of grazing - under the eyes of hungry Lions, Crocodiles and other predators. The lodge is part of the Koiyaki Lemek Wildlife Trust, a co-operative owned by the local Maasai community. Mara River Lodge has a corporate responsibility to ensure that the community benefits directly in terms of employment and welfare. At night the residents of the Mara river come to life in a completely different way. Hippos are nocturnal animals and come out to feed in the dark. Predators thrive in the darkness that disguises their attacks. Guests can enjoy cocktails at the bar by the swimming pool or sit around the fire on the veranda, watching the nightly movements of game going to graze undisturbed on the plains! If you want to get there quickly by Air from Nairobi we have a private airstrip next to the lodge and it takes 45 minutes from Wilson Airport with operators such as Air Kenya, Safari link, Mombasa Air & Fly 540 offering daily scheduled departures. The flight however is not as scenic as mostly you get to see only clouds below you depending on the weather and on a caravan not too many people want to look down. The Journey by road takes five to six hours transfer depending also on the number of stops you make on your way. The journey is scenic down the rift valley with breath taking sights, tarmacked for the better part of the journey. But for the next sixty (60) Kilometres the road is rough and patience is required it pays off though as in the open plains you get to spot game on you way and if you’re lucky enough on a good day a parade of elephant’s can be spotted in Lemek conservancy on your way to the lodge. When driving a 4x4 is recommended or a vehicle with good ground clearance as the road leading up to the lodge are covered with rocks and stones in some sections.

Why Stay at Mara River Lodge?

1. Location: Resting along the meandering Mara River, The Mara River Lodge is an oasis of peace and tranquility in the world's greatest wildlife spectacle, the Masai Mara Game Reserve. The Mara River Lodge is an interface between you and the primal spirit of adventure in the Great African wilderness.
2. Meals: The Main restaurant serves a Champagne Breakfast daily as you watch the hippo play. Lunch and Dinner are also served here. Picnic lunches, Bush Dinners and Barbeques are set up in the middle of the vast African wilderness almost anywhere in the Masai Mara.
3. Food: The cuisine is an international fusion of fine dining from the world over, freshly prepared with the finest Kenyan ingredients. Almost all vegetables, fruit and meat are organic and purchased fresh from small farms around Naivasha and Narok where the fertile volcanic soil of the Rift Valley nurtures them with nutrition and minerals. A full cooked breakfast or a healthy option, a 4 course luncheon and a 6 course dinner with a health option is available daily. The bush dinners have a typical African menu where you can sample fine Kenyan dishes under the starry nights in the middle of nowhere.
4. Drinks: This resort boasts to have one of the best stocks of wine in the Masai Mara and constantly thrive to improve it. Wines of the world, American, Australian, Chilean, Spanish, French, Italian and Kenyan and South African Wines to compliment your every meal as well more to take home with you are available. Diners can see hippos cross the river from their tables as they sit down to first class meals prepared by the international chefs. At all times of the year five families of hippos spend their days basking in the deep pools below the bar and restaurant.
5. Safari, the Swahili word that means travel, adventure and even experience is the order of the day. Game Drives with our guides who are all members of the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association, will share their experience and knowledge with you on a 4 wheel drive game drive in our vehicles.
6. Float away in a hot air balloon over the plains early in the morning and get a bird’s eye view of this exciting views of the animal world down on the ground. See the hippo returning after a night of feasting or even a lion preying for its morning breakfast. After a presentation of this wonderful theatre, enjoy a cooked Champagne Breakfast in the middle of the Mara.
7. Talk a walk on the wild side. The resort has resident naturalist who will take you along the Mara River where you will see an amazing variety of Bird and insect life as well as all the flora of our area and its many medicinal uses.
8. A game drive under the starry African night is a must when you visit Mara River Lodge. After dinner armed with a warm blanket you drive off to witness what happens in the dark African night. Aardvarks, Hippo, African Kangaroo or Spring Hares and Rabbit all come out to feed. Cheetah, Lion and Leopard, Hyena and jackals hunt under the cover of darkness. Enjoy!!
9. Almost every evening there are Masai dancers entertaining guests with their beautiful dances in their beautiful tribal attire. A brand new spa is currently under the development process at the David Livingstone Safari Resort. Currently they have a variety of relaxing body massages available at our Massage Centre.

Masai Mara National Park

You could say the Masai Mara National Park is one of Africa’s worst kept secrets, it is the one place that almost everyone has heard of in connection to Africa and wild animals and it cannot be denied that it has to be one of the most mesmerising spots on the continent. It is no surprise that the Masai Mara ranks up near the top of most famous game reserves in the world. The land of the Mara is consistently covered with herds of antelope, interspersed with prides of lions, journeys of giraffe, dazzles of zebra, and almost every other collective animal noun you can think of. Seasoned safari travelers, travel writers, documentary makers and researchers often admit that the Masai Mara game reserve is one of their favorite places. So why is that? Perhaps it is because of the 'big skies', the open savannahs, the romance of films like 'Out of Africa' and certainly because of the annual wildebeest migration, the density of game, the variety of birdlife and the chance of a hot air balloon ride. The Masai Mara is one of the best known and most popular reserves in the whole of Africa. At times and in certain places it can get a little overrun with tourist minibuses, but there is something so special about it that it tempts you back time and again. The Masai Mara lies in the Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line some 3,500 miles (5,600km) long, from Ethiopia's Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique. Here the valley is wide and a towering escarpment can be seen in the hazy distance. Most of the game viewing activities occur on the valley floor, but some lodges conduct walking tours outside the park boundaries in the hills of the Oloololo Escarpment. The animals are also at liberty to move outside the park into huge areas known as 'dispersal areas'. There can be as much wildlife roaming outside the park as inside. Many Masai villages are located in the 'dispersal areas' and they have, over centuries, developed a synergetic relationship with the wildlife. There are four main types of topography in the Mara: Ngama Hills to the east with sandy soil and leafy bushes liked by black rhino; Oloololo Escarpment forming the western boundary and rising to a magnificent plateau;

Mara Triangle bordering the Mara River with lush grassland and acacia woodlands supporting masses of game especially migrating wildebeest; Central Plains forming the largest part of the reserve, with scattered bushes and boulders on rolling grasslands favoured by the plains game. The Masai Mara Game Reserve was established in order to protect wildlife from hunters on an area of 320 square km. The reserve, established in 1961, is not protected as a national park but as a game reserve and is therefore not ruled by the Kenya Wildlife Service (the government institution that protects the environment), but by the local district authorities. Its beauty is famous all over the world. The reserve hosts an amazing concentration of wildlife, here you can see big animals, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, impala, baboons, buffalo, zebras, elephants, warthogs, hippos and crocodiles and more than 450 species of birds. The Mara River is the backbone of the reserve, it runs from north to south and it is the natural border that migratory herds cross each year in search of better pastures. The reserve has no fences, so it is possible to see how wildlife interacts with the Masai tribe living nearby. The Masai Mara is the northwest offshoot of the great Serengeti Park, located in Tanzania; the two countries are divided by the natural boundary of the Mara River and by the geopolitical border which lies a little further. In these two parks, each year, there is one of the largest migration in the world, certainly the most spectacular because it is well visible by anyone: it deals with the displacement of about two million animals, herds of wildebeests and zebras that, following the cycle of rains and fresh pastures, move between the two parks in a long circular path. From late June to August, after the great spring rains, the herds coming from the territory of the Serengeti gather on the banks of the Mara River in large groups and wait until the leader of the pack begins crossing the river where the water is really high because of the recent rains. It is a unique show, the frenzy of the animals trying to cross the river and that of the crocodiles ready to hunt them, provide a chance to witness the true essence of wildlife. In this period the savannah of the Masai Mara is full of animals and thanks to the abundance of food and water it is possible to see them in all their activities: grazing or hunting, engaged in courtship, or in reproduction. During the months of October and November, after having exploited all the pastures of the Masai Mara and in anticipation of the arrival of the dry season, large herds gather again on the banks of the Mara in order to get back to Serengeti. The show repeats itself again until all the animals have crossed the river. From the month of November to the following month of June they will spread in Serengeti Park up to the edge of the Ngorongoro crater. During this period, the animals give birth to their foals increasing the entire herd of about 500,000 units. This is the successful way found by herbivores in order of surviving in the eternal fight with predators. Even during the dry season, between December and March, the Masai Mara has its incredible charm: the typical African savannah is vast and boundless and is set among rolling hills covered by low woodland, it is inhabited by the animals who do not take part in the migration and that remain inside the park throughout the year. Lions who take care of the new litters, young cheetas learning to hunt, litigious hippos fighting for the few pools of water, these are just some examples of the Masai Mara life that only seems to rest in the dry season, but that can always give great surprises. With its vast open plains and crocodile-infested rivers the legendary Masai Mara provides arguably the most dramatic wildlife safari experience on the continent. For about three months of the year, rainfall dependent, the Great Wildebeest Migration passes through the Masai Mara but outside of this the area still hosts a multitude of species. With high herbivore numbers predators are in profusion and the interaction on the plains of the Masai Mara is intriguing. Game drives take you close to the action on a Masai Mara safari and in some areas walks are offered to give another perspective of this fascinating wilderness. The most famous balloon safari in Africa is offered over the Masai Mara, allowing for a unique view of the endless plains. As the name implies the Masai Mara is tied closely to the Maasai people who can sometimes still be seen grazing their cattle on the outer edges of the park. Cultural interactions with the Maasai provide a highlight to the Masai Mara safaris. There are many camps and lodges for accommodation within the Reserve. These offer accommodation on the basis of either; basic, average or luxurious services and provisions. Imagine roaming the endless plains of Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya on day-long game drives, witnessing dramatic interactions between hunting animals and the hunted, then returning each night to an old-world East Africa tent camp. Today’s mobile tent camps are a true indulgence, even though they are a throwback to the days of early explorers. It’s an adventure in the wild—but also in style. You’ll feel like Roosevelt or Hemingway might have on their safaris in the early 1900s but with better service and less surly company. There’s no running water, no electricity, and you’ll dine by candlelight—from necessity not romance. You’ll sleep in a canvas tent that’s open to cool night breezes fluttering among the trees that camouflage it. Park entrance fees are paid to the local authority: which is has the responsibility of managing the reserve. Entrance fees to the reserve are usually paid on the basis of a single person per day. The Mara is patrolled by rangers to ensure that poaching is relatively non-existent within the borders of the Reserve, and the number of vehicles allowed at any given animal sighting is strictly controlled, helping maintain the feel of authenticity while you’re out on a game drive, and arguably limiting the impact on the animals being viewed. The eastern border of the Masai Mara is a 5-6 hour drive from Kenya’s capital Nairobi, and near the end the road gets rough. But it’s more than worth the trek, and once there you’ll understand why many believe that this is the cradle of civilization.


The Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) covers some 1,510 km2 (583 sq mi) in south-western Kenya. It is the northern-most section of the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which covers some 25,000 km2 (9,700 sq mi) in Tanzania and Kenya. It is bounded by the Serengeti Park to the south, the Siria escarpment to the west, and Maasai pastoral ranches to the north, east and west. Rainfall in the ecosystem increases markedly along a southeast–northwest gradient, varies in space and time, and is markedly bimodal. The Sand, Talek River and Mara River are the major rivers draining the reserve. Shrubs and trees fringe most drainage lines and cover hill slopes and hilltops. The terrain of the reserve is primarily open grassland with seasonal riverlets. In the south-east region are clumps of the distinctive acacia tree. The western border is the Esoit (Siria) Escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, which is a fault line some 5,600 km (3,500 mi) long, from Ethiopia's Red Sea through Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and into Mozambique. Wildlife tends to be most concentrated here, as the swampy ground means that access to water is always good, while tourist disruption is minimal. The easternmost border is 224 kilometres (139.2 mi) from Nairobi, and hence it is the eastern regions which are most visited by tourists.

Masai Mara Wildlife

Wildebeest, topi, zebra, and Thomson's gazelle migrate into and occupy the Mara reserve, from the Serengeti plains to the south and Loita plains in the pastoral ranches to the north-east, from July to October or later. Herds of all three species are also resident in the reserve. All members of the "Big Five" (lion, leopard, African elephant, African buffalo, and Black Rhinoceros) are found in the Maasai Mara. The population of Black rhinos was fairly numerous until 1960, but it was severely depleted by poaching in the 1970s and early 1980s, dropping to a low of 15 individuals. Numbers have been slowly increasing, but the population was still only up to an estimated 23 in 1999. Hippopotami and Nile crocodiles are found in large groups in the Mara and Talek rivers. Leopards, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals, and bat-eared foxes can also be found in the reserve.The plains between the Mara River and the Esoit Siria Escarpment are probably the best area for game viewing, in particular regarding lion and cheetah. As in the Serengeti, the wildebeest are the dominant inhabitants of the Maasai Mara, and their numbers are estimated in the millions. Around July of each year, these ungainly animals migrate north from the Serengeti plains in search of fresh pasture, and return to the south around October. The Great Migration is one of the most impressive natural events worldwide, involving some 1,300,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson's gazelles, 97,000 Topi, 18,000 elands, and 200,000 zebras. These migrants are followed along their annual, circular route by hungry predators, most notably lions and hyena. Numerous other antelopes can be found, including Thomson's and Grant's gazelles, impalas, elands, duikers and Coke's hartebeests. Large herds of zebra are found through the reserve. The plains are also home to the distinctive Masai giraffe as well as the common giraffe. The large Roan antelope and the nocturnal bat-eared fox, rarely present elsewhere in Kenya, can be seen within the reserve borders. More than 470 species of birds have been identified in the park, many of which are migrants, with almost 60 species being raptors. Birds that call this area home for at least part of the year include: vultures, marabou storks, secretary birds, hornbills, crowned cranes, ostriches, long-crested eagles, African pygmy-falcons and the lilac-breasted roller, which is the national bird of Kenya.

Visiting Masai Mara

Game parks are a major source of hard currency for Kenya. Entry fees are currently US$70 for adult non-East African Residents and $30 for children. As of July 2011 Entry fees will go up to $ 70 for adults non East African residents per day staying inside the park and $ 80 for adults non East African residents staying outside the park. There are a number of lodges and tented camps for tourists inside the Reserve and the Conservation area borders. The tourists/visitors cater for their own expenses, unless previously arranged by their agencies. Although one third of the whole Maasai Mara, The Mara Triangle has only one lodge within its boundaries (compared to the numerous camps and lodges on the Narok side) and has well maintained, all weather roads. The rangers patrol regularly which means that there is almost no poaching and therefore excellent game viewing. There is also strict control over vehicle numbers around animal sightings which means a better, more authentic, experience when out on a game drive; Lodges and camps are available inside the Reserve including Keekorok. Balloon safaris are also available. Early morning departures let visitors see the vast landscape, the rising sun, and the gatherings of animals. Mara Serena Airport, Musiara Airport and Keekorok Airport are located in the Reserve area of the Maasai Mara. Mara Shikar Airport, Kichwa Tembo Airport and Ngerende Airport are located in the Conservation area of the Maasai Mara

Booking Mara River Lodge

Masai Mara lodges range from luxury safari lodges to budget lodges and even include sophisticated tented lodges with meru tents. Each safari lodge in Masai Mara embodies a sense of individual authenticity, indulgence and refinement, and each one provides a memorable Masai Mara safari experience, the selection of lodges in Masai Mara is for the discerning traveler. It showcases the best that Masai Mara offers to entice the romantic escapist in you. Style, elegance, service, and above all, privacy are all combined to make your Masai Mara Safaris a memorable Big Five adventure at this iconic wildlife reserve. So whether it’s a lavish and indulgent getaway at one of the Masai Mara safari lodges or an once-in-a-lifetime fully guided safari to Masai Mara, we want to help you ensure that your experience is unforgettable. Booking with us is easy, quick and completely safe. Our friendly and experienced agents will respond to your enquiry within 24 hours, kindly contact us through telephone numbers or email address provided on this website,