While on my recent trip to Africa, particularly Kenya, I happened to go to the Masai Mara Game Reserve for a two-day workshop on 15 Oct 2010. It occurred to me that Masai Mara had many lodges along the Mara River. The Game reserve is approximately 260km west of Nairobi city. At 6.30 pm, our tour guide roved into the parking space for our first sumptuous diner at the Royal Masai Mara Safari Camp and lodges. The expectation in the faces of my team was so great, not knowing what to expect. Imagine being welcomed by Masai morans; all the dancing and songs that fill the cool air was our first encounter of the night.
The royal Masai Mara Safari Camp and Lodges is a five-star hotel and has the bushy style of home away from home. However, even in this wild environment, this lodge has all the necessary modern amenities you can think of. In addition, the Mara offers a wide range of services, as I came to learn of (African Mecca, para. 3). These services include tour and guides around the Mara, air ballooning, campfire dinners, private lounge dinners.
On this particular occasion, the services I found to be so special was the campfire table diner. I bet no one can resist being in this God-made environment! To add to this, the atmosphere and décor of the restaurant are stunningly superb. I couldn’t resist taking in the fresh air free of pollution. On this particular day, as we sat at night at the campfire, all we could get here in the air was sounds from some tired some active wildlife.
The birds slowly sang their way to sleep as the bat and crickets propelled through the cool breeze of the night. To add to this, the restaurant offers a breathtaking site seeing of hippos that crave the water to come and graze at night (Riley & Riley 12). The Royal Masai Mara relevantly has a décor that is absolutely beautiful in its own way. The first eye capturing thing is the furniture, which is made from red cedar, white, and olive Opodo logs got from the Masai forest land.
These logs are collected from fallen trees but have the strength and durability of its kind. The halls are decorated with African wildlife carvings, bird and wildlife paintings, and carvings are well arranged on the walls; the dining room, lounge, and bar are also built on wooden decks to provide a magnificent view of the rich wild habitat.
With the table set in painstaking bush style with red reserved checked linen and exquisite wildflowers, a candle gleaming as a cool Kenyan song is sung in the background, you will definitely feel at peace. This is summed up with the neatly dressed up employees in their Masai insignia that comprises of red-checkered sheets, called shukas, which they cover around their shoulder, ornaments such as bangles and earrings, and the women clad with beads around their necks (Kenya Escape Rentals, para. 4).
One thing that really excites me is the food specialty that they have. To begin with, the menu has a variety of soups, which include; mushroom, vegetable, sweet corn, chicken soup, shark fin soup, and tomato soup. Never the less, the main dish had a variety to offer. From Chicken flavored Caesar salad or mixed salad Nicoise, baked turkey Fricassee or mixed seafood in Doria sauce with baked potatoes and vegetables in season, Vegetarian dishes that included Royal Mara vegetable lasagna or Chinese sautéed mixed vegetables in a spicy-sweet Thai soy sauce with bamboo shoots. In the dessert section, there is plenty to choose from.
However, the main specialty of the day was Flambé French crepe Suzette, Greek Galaktoboureko honey pastry, or New York-style cheesecake with strawberry or Swiss chocolate topping. To be precise, the menu items featured greatly match the restaurant, and for that, it’s worth visiting the place.
This is notwithstanding, the restaurant offers a wide range of drinks. There are nonalcoholic drinks and alcoholic drinks. Nonalcoholic drinks include Arnold palmer, Clayton, Cinderella, Jeenie juice, nada daiquiri as part of what was on the menu. The alcoholic drinks included: Kenyan rich beer called tusker lager, Wines (White and Red Merlots, White and Red Zinfandel Chardonnay, Pinots, etc.), Blended and Straight Whiskies (Bourbon Whiskey), drinks that are expensive and high class, like after-dinner drinks(Jagermeister and Grand Marnier) are what we’re on the course. The Kenyan tea to mention is spectacular and so well soothing (Jolliffe, 6).
However, there was also a special nonalcoholic drink that was blended coconut mixed with blended African fruits and topped up with milk (Trip advisor, para. 4). Moreover, we had the opportunity of ordering our diner at around 7.30 pm. My team and I consulted tirelessly on what delicacies we were to have and finally agreed on the following. We ordered Tomato soup with smoked salmon amid cream cheese on Melba toast with onions, chives, and capers in sesame soy dipping sauce.
To add to that, our able attendant brought us baked turkey Fricassee in Doria sauce with baked potatoes and vegetables in season and then had a mouth-watering dessert of New York-style cheesecake with strawberry. Since no one was an alcoholic, all of us opted to have the special nonalcoholic drink that was free to all the guests (African Mecca, para. 4).
Having that in mind, I can confidently say that food quality was so high that we were short of words to describe. In some places I have visited, normally, food temperature is not a priority, but The Royal Mara had all that into consideration and had it just right as per our stipulation. That notwithstanding, their plate presentation was just perfect.
Every meal we had was brought on the right plate and arranged in a qualified way, suggesting the professionalism of the staff. With all the high quality of service and food, my verdict was that Royal Mara is a place where price counts for value, and it’s worth checking in today. Above all these, the overall concept of the restaurant did fit well with the physical menu. This is so because, when you have such a prolific meal, looking at nature and the wildlife, there tends to be a merge of the two.
The serenity that Royal Mara has to offer is one of its kind. On the other hand, I feel and know the menu design concept was absolutely followed. Take a look at the menus from most restaurants. You will see that they are arranged in sequence: appetizers, soups & salad, main entrees, desserts, and beverages, and this is exactly what The Royal Masai Mara lodge had on their menu (Elias 13; Jolliffe 21). Also, the menu design and layout clearly relayed what kind of restaurant it was. In addition, some foods had a description that made guests mouth water.
This was simply made possible by the use of cultural names. For instance, Chicken flavored Caesar makes someone want to have it hoping it tastes better like the name. Having noted that, I could confidently say that there was no violation of truth in menu standards. As a result, I feel like this was an appropriate marketing and advertising tool for the restaurant since it highlighted everything on the menu with care and caution, avoiding any lies (Sweeney, 15).
One might wonder how busy the restaurant is. The Royal Masai Mara safari lodge has a relatively high number of visitors. However, everyone is accommodated comfortably in the different areas of dining, and so the issue of overcrowding is not heard of.
Consequently, due to the many clientele bases, the staff has been put into place to ensure effectual service is offered (Adams 33). I didn’t feel any kind of delays since the service was faster than most restaurants in the world. Since the restaurant is in the game reserve, there are many activities to participate in. one can decide to go for a Masai cultural feast. Secondly, one can watch spectacular savannah sunsets from designated viewing points followed by twilight.
Finally, you can go for game drives that will make you see spectacular animals found in the savannah (Riley & Riley 24). In synopsis, there was no moment I wanted to get out of the Mara, and given a chance; I will definitely go back for a longer vacation. This is because the restaurant and the surrounding environment makes one forgets of the existing outer world and gets rejuvenated to carry on with life once out of there. If you want to live longer, go to The Royal Masai Mara Safari Camp and Lodges!
Adams, Angela. Restaurant Managers Success Chronicles. Charleston, SC: Atlantic Publishing Group Inc, 2008. Print
African Mecca. Royal Mara Safari Lodge, Masai Mara Safari. 2010. Web.
Elias, Steven. The future of tourism and hospitality management courses. Tourism Management. Colorado: New Mexico University Press, 2002. Print.
Jolliffe, Lee. Tea and Tourism: Tourists, tradition, and transformations. Texas: Channel view, 2000. Print.
Kenya Escape Rentals. Royal Masai Mara Safari Camp Lodges. 2010. Web.
Riley, Laura, and William Riley. Nature’s Strongholds: The World’s Great Wildlife Reserves. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2005. Print.
Sweeney, Kep. Restaurant Entrepreneur. Illinois: Kaplan Publishing, 2006. Print.
Trip advisor. Royal Mara Safari Lodge. 2010. Web.