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 [email protected]
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!
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!!
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.
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.
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!
The kids having fun ;-)
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.
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