Bali 2016 – Mara River Safari Lodge

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Our 3rd instalment of our recent holiday to Bali sees us travelling to the Mara River Safari Lodge. The first 3 nights were at Holiday Inn Baruna followed by 3 nights at Courtyard Marriott Seminyak. We had been to the Bali Safari and Marine Park in 2013 with the kids having a great time. I had won a competition through Essential Bali on Instagram which included 1 nights accommodation at Mara River Lodge, entrance to the park and breakfast at Tsavo Lion restaurant. Not sure how I had suddenly become so lucky with all the competitions but I suppose you’ve got to be in it to win it!! Feel free to message me with any questions through Facebook or Instagram. Also you can chat to me on email at

Happy reading 🙂

Tuesday 6th September

Our drive Made picked us up from the Courtyard Marriott Seminyak at 12pm to transfer to Mara River Safari Lodge.  It took us about 1 hour to drive there and when we arrived they sent a van from the Mara River Lodge to transfer us to the hotel. They upgraded us to the Tandala rooms which were closer to the pool area and overlooked the animal area. The Swala rooms, which we were originally booked in, are on the ground floor closest to reception. Above these rooms are the Twiga rooms and further down was our room Tandala which are on the second floor but with no room underneath. If you kept walking down the path you reached the family apartments that surround the pool area. I also noticed in the brochure that these guests in the Kifaru and Tembo family rooms have free breakfast pickup via the elephant ride to breakfast. We were able to take a buggy to our room as it was so hot and if we needed to be picked up we could just call reception. The walk didn’t take long and was quite nice in the shaded areas. Our room was set up with a rollaway bed for Charlotte and Mason was going to sleep with us!! I thought it’s only for 1 night, it can’t be that bad 😉 The room was a good size but perhaps only for a couple and maybe 1 child!! The bathroom was rustic with a shower, toilet and basin with a window out to the animals. It was very hot in the bathroom as it was semi outdoors and not much shade on top. The room was also quite warm as the AC didn’t really drop the temperature as the roof was so high. It had the usual things like TV, fridge and phone but the best bit was the balcony overlooking the animals. Wasn’t overly secure so we had to sit with Mason if he was out there and unfortunately the door had another one of those turn knobs but he had troubles opening the doors as they were quite stiff and hard to move!


1434-640x480Buggy drop off/pick up

1432-640x480View from lobby over the animal area

1427-480x640Charlotte saying hi to the Meerkats at reception

1445-480x640Walkway in front of Tandala suites

1446-480x640Not a bad view from bed!

1447-556x640Desk area


1449-480x640Tandala bathroom

1450-480x640View from bathroom

1675-480x640Looking out of our room up to the path to the pool area

1553-480x640Gorgeous high roof of Tandala suite

1706-480x640Swala room on ground floor

1753-480x640One of the Swala room was being renovated so I had a sneak peek. These could also be interconnected with the next room.


Charlotte and I headed off to explore the park while Jed and Mason had an afternoon nap. So easy to walk straight into the park and we headed straight to the theatre for the Bali Agung performance. Was fantastic and both Charlotte and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Next it was off to catch the bus for the Safari Journey, a great way to see all the animals in AC comfort. It goes for about 1/2hr and you are able to leave strollers in an allocated area at the bus terminal. It was great staying at the Lodge as the park was very quiet at 4pm when we were looking around. It was also cooler as the heat of the day had passed. We walked past the Waterpark which we used last trip but Charlotte wanted to try out the rides at the Funzone. She had a great time and we spent about a hour going from ride to ride. She was quite unhappy that the merry go round wasn’t working and I must say I was a bit dubious about the very green water surrounding the Flume ride. We got quite wet at the end and I made sure my mouth was well and truly shut!!

1452-480x640Charlotte ready to explore!

1455-480x640Ready for the Safari Journey







1483-480x640Animals on the Safari Journey


1495-480x640Ride at the Funzone

1499-480x640Charlotte heading to the Jungle Cruise

1500-480x640Having fun!!

1505-480x640Jungle Cruise

1511-480x640Flume ride at Funzone, we got a bit wet!!

1515-480x640Bridge in the Funzone

1516-480x640So many fun things to do!!

1517-480x640Price list for extras, different tickets cover different things. Our ticket through the Mara Lodge covered the Waterpark and Funzone

1518-480x640Which packages included the Waterpark

Back to the hotel to find the boys and head to the hotel pool. Such a lovely view from the pool overlooking the animals and there was a platform where you could feed and watch the animals from. Drinks weren’t cheap with the bintangs 45,000rp and juices 57,000rp! All good we were on holidays and I liked the look of the family apartments overlooking the pool.

1528-640x480View from the Mara River pool

1548-640x480Platform area to feed the animals

1546-640x480Pool Bar

1531-480x640Kids enjoying an ice cream

1536-480x640Watching the animals from the viewing platform

1545-640x480Family apartments overlooking pool area

Back to the room to get ready for the Night Safari, Bali style at 7pm. There were a series of times from 6:30pm that we could choose to go on with the Night Safari followed by a buffet BBQ dinner. We loaded up onto a small truck with a cage on the back and off we went! We had a lot of fun and Mason also had a blast. If your kids are quite shy or don’t like the dark it probably wouldn’t be the best for them as once you start driving you can’t get out until the ride is over about 15 minutes later. Also it was great fun having the tiger jump on top of the cage but might be daunting for some young ones! The night safari isn’t cheap, $65aud per adult, $58aud per child and Mason was free as he was under 3 yrs. It did include dinner as well but drinks were extra other than water. There was plenty for us to eat at the buffet and the kids enjoyed it as well. Charlotte loved the fire show that happened during dinner and then bought an Elephant poo notepad from the shop. Such a great idea on how to recycle just about anything!! During dinner I enquired with reception about the possibility of them allowing us to use a 2nd room to sleep in. The AC still wasn’t working that great and it was going to be a long night ahead! We finished up at about 8:30pm and reception gave us a 2nd room key to use. Mason and I took the second room while Jed and Charlotte stayed in our original room.

1556-480x640The Lodge reception at night

1559-480x640Ready and holding on for the night safari

1565-480x640The Lions enjoying a feed

1570-480x640Feeding the zebras

1573-480x640Mason loved feeding the animals the carrots

1579-480x640The tigers were amazing!

1585-480x640The tiger up close! He had just been swimming so was dripping wet!!

1597-480x640Feeding the elephants

1610-480x640Charlotte had a great time

1611-480x640The start of the fire show

1613-640x480BBQ Buffet dinner

1614-640x480BBQ buffet dinner

1619-640x480A great family night out

1621-480x640Charlotte writing on her elephant poo paper

1623-480x640All set for a good nights sleep!


Wednesday 7th September

Today was Galungan and also Jed’s birthday. Mason woke at 6am which was a sleep in for him! Was quite lovely waking early to see the light change outside and the animals start to move around and be fed. We waited until 7:30am before returning to our room and give Jed birthday hugs. Off to breakfast at Tsavo Lion restaurant and they made me a latte so I was happy until I realised I had to pay extra for it!! A good range of food but remember to ask for eggs to be ordered, they didn’t really let us know this but we figured it out! Charlotte came back from the toilet very excited that she saw a lion and she waved to him! She wasn’t very happy that we only had 1 night booked, she wanted to stay for longer. We weren’t checking out until 11am so we went for a wander around the park for a couple of hours and fed the elephants. Oh goodness Mason was so funny, he was not keen at all on letting go of the carrot and the elephant and him had a little tussle over it!

1627-480x640Waking up to this beautiful view

1629-640x480View from the balcony of the second room looking toward the pool area

1653-640x480Gorgeous rice paddies outside of the park

1661-480x640Mason heading back to our room

1672-640x480Lovely view from our balcony

1693-480x640Walking to breakfast with the birthday boy!







1731-640x480Tsavo Lion Restaurant

1747-480x640Heading out to explore the park


1760-480x640Getting directions 😉


1774-480x640Feeding the elephants!

1777-480x640Checking out where the elephant poo paper was made

1781-480x640Jed’s face says it all!! Japanese tourists wanting photos with the kids, Mason was extremely interested 😉




The kids having fun 😉

1850-480x640T-shirt from Safari park for Charlotte 110,000rp

1851-480x640PJ’s for Mason 110,000rp

1810-480x640Thank goodness they had taken the keys out!!

We had a great stay at Mara River Lodge and I’m glad that we tried it out. The whole experience is not cheap but to see the joy on Charlotte’s face the whole time we were there was fantastic! The inclusions with the accommodation are excellent and are what probably make the rooms seem so expensive. The 2 night package also includes dinner at Tsavo Restaurant one night and the Night Safari the other night so would probably be the best option to get the most out of the experience. I would highly recommend booking a family room if you have more than 1 child. The rollaway bed just fit into our room and it was quite squishy for 4 of us. Also even though the family rooms are furthest from reception and entrance to the park, the buggies were readily available and came very quickly. The gardens and pool area near the family rooms were lovely.

To check out Mara River Safari Lodge prices and more info click here

Kate xx


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Tags: Elsewhere in Bali, Family Trip Reports
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