Plenty has changed since the 1970s in Kenya, when Mara Serena Safari Lodge first opened its doors, and the hotel holds onto the charm of its 1970s roots, while also celebrating the progress Kenya’s conservationists have achieved over the decades. Celebrating the 1970s and if orange and earthy brown hues are your palette of choice, Mara Serena is your masterclass in interior design. Fashioned after the typical mud-hut villages nearby, the hotel’s 74 rooms are naturally molded and hark back to simpler times. The zany earthship decor will feature in as many of your vacation photos as the majestic animals in the reserve, and the service and personal care and attention from staff leaves nothing to be desired. And the natural environment in which the hotel is set leaves no doubt why this large hotel continues to be a top choice for visitors staying in the Masai Mara.
The hotel itself is positioned on the top of Ol Donyo Oseiya hill, with rooms built into the hillside in a flowing fashion - there are lots of stairs leading up and down little hills throughout the hotel, so some guests may prefer to request rooms closest to the main reception lobby. The rooms themselves are simple and unfussy, with space for a king-double bed or arranged in a twin-bed configuration. A third bed can be arranged by request. Rooms feature a basic en-suite bathroom, with a shower cubicle, sink and flushing toilet.
The communal bar and dining areas feature traditional Maasai wood carvings, which can also be seen in local communities and bought from craft shops as souvenirs. Guests enjoy the use of the 2.4m deep swimming pool, where staff also serve drinks and snacks in a relaxed setting. Thanks to the camp’s larger-than-most size, there’s always a lively atmosphere around the site, with plenty of opportunities to meet fellow travellers and make friends from across the globe. Teenage guests, who enjoy the sense of freedom that newfound friendships can bring, particularly appreciated this, along with the space to spend time bonding with family members without feeling trapped. Mara Serena is therefore an ideal family destination for a multi-generational trip that will be a highlight of the year for everyone.
Activities at Mara Serena Safari Lodge
Primarily, guests visit Mara Serena to partake in the game drives organized by the lodge. The expert driver guides are very familiar with the reserve and will take you to popular animal grazing grounds and watering holes. Besides the local concentration of black rhinos, you’ll also see lions, giraffes, elephants, and zebras in their natural habitat. The cohabitation of predators and prey can lead to some exciting scenes of Africa’s great wildlife in action. For something truly spectacular, arrange a hot-air balloon flight at dawn (at an additional cost). The hotel has its own hot-air balloon and launch site nearby the main lodge and to watch the hazy orange sun rise over the reserve as animals emerge for their first drink of the day is something you will remember forever. Visit in the July to October dry season to catch some of the impressive migration river crossings in the Mara Triangle. Beware the crocodiles, who put on a thrilling performance as wildebeest trample through the low-water rivers.
To understand something of the local culture, take the hotel’s Maasai village visit tour in which you’ll learn about day-to-day life for villagers, and may even watch a traditional ceremony. Combining the appeal of the cultural and natural excursions, special meal experiences are also on offer at the lodge, including a Hippo Pool Breakfast - served by the hotel’s chefs on the shady banks of the Mara River - and in the evening, enjoy a lantern-lit poolside barbeque.
Tripadvisor comments Mara Serena Safari Lodge
The architecture of the hotel is idiosyncratic & distinctive, but the views are fabulous from every part of the estate. The service was great and attentive; the food good and plentiful. The individual rooms are fun and have good views across the Mara.
fergusongerry409 from Birmingham, UK
Such a beautiful place to stay. Everyone was very welcoming! Rooms were very clean and uniquely designed. Each meal time had fresh hot and cold options available, however a lot of Indian dishes. Each room offered a beautiful view from the balcony.