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“Our first summer visit” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arathusa Safari Lodge

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Arathusa Safari Lodge
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
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Essex
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Our first summer visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Although this was our 6th visit to Arathusa, it was the first time that we had visited in summer. It was amazing to see everything so green and lush and with the recent rains there was water everywhere.
The Lodge was as welcoming and friendly as ever. The new reception area is very smart and cool and we were given a very welcome cold drink on arrival.
The food was excellent. There was a great choice at breakfast with special requests catered for. Lunch was a selection of salads and meats. A high tea before the afternoon game drive provided scrummy cakes. Dinner was 4 courses and beautifully presented. And on top of that there were snacks on the game drives, with early morning coffee and on the bar!
One night we were surprised with a braii type dinner out in the bush. All the tables, chairs, cooking equipment and bar had been transported. It was so beautiful and there was even a nearby herd of elephants. One of the rangers gave us a talk on the stars. It was a magical experience.
We were also treated to breakfast on the airstrip in the company of impalas and wildebeeste.
The game viewing was the main reason for staying and it was excellent, although the Rangers and Trackers had a much harder task than in winter with many areas inaccessible for off roading after the recent rains. Some special things that we were lucky enough to see were 2 leopards hissing and spitting at each other as they both marked the same territory; two tiny leopard cubs shooting up a tree to escape a hyena. A group of wild dogs, a herd of buffalo, a rhino having a mud bath; and lions of every size from tiny cubs to a very large male.. AND elephants everywhere, even drinking from one of the plunge pools at the lodge.
We stayed in Room 3 which was very comfortable. We were very glad of the air conditioning at night. Everything was in good working order, but the cleaning was a bit disappointing. However there were special touches. We were there for Valentine's Day and were surprised on return from the evening drive to find petals, champagne and chocolates on our bed and a bubble bath drawn.
I was taken to see the luxury lodges by one of the managers. They are truly amazing - very private and right IN the bush. But they are a bit of a walk from the main facilities and are without a view of the waterhole and it's resident hippos.
All in all it was another wonderful stay. We stayed for 7 nights and would happily have stayed for 7 more.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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422 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (124)
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Chepstow
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

Great Lodge, fantastic food, friendly staff and unbelievable game drives. Brandon and Roy whose knowledge on anything living or growing was outstanding and made the whole experience very special. Wish our stay had been longer.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NC
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

I can only compare this safari experience with our previous one at Aqila days before, which really isn't a fair comparison as they are different and really not the same thing at all. I will write one on that resort as well. Anyway, we were fortunate to miss the storm that washed out the roads days before. We arrived here Jan. 26. We finally arrived and had a half hour before heading out to the first safari at 4:30pm. It would have been nice to have been able to get more prepared (we only had our sunglasses with us and it is dark upon return). But that is just a minor thing. We were blown away by what we experienced. We felt as if we had seen a lifetime of trips just on this first safari! Everything about it was great- Ryan, you are just great....as I told you- keep up your passion. It is infectious. You too Debeer. And of course all the wildlife never disappoints. I could stay here a year and observe all the constant changes of the bush. Perhaps this may be too much for some, but for someone that is very passionate about nature such as I it would be just perfect. The 4 nights we had were too short.
The food was also wonderful- they made dishes especially for a vegetarian like myself. The food was plentiful. We stayed in cabin 2 which is near the waterhole- great for hippo viewing. The room was very roomy and comfortable- the AC worked great! The outside shower was pleasant as was the pool- a must to enjoy!
There is too much to include about all of the experiences and wildlife. We would return here in a heartbeat. All the staff were friendly and pleasant- esp. Nelson! This was an anniversary for us and on the last night , they put candles, champagne and a milk bath ready for us to enjoy in our room. I was deeply touched. Thank you to all of the staff at Arathusa! Keep your passion!

Room Tip: room 2 is more private and has a great waterhole view
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles California
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

The Arathusa Safari Lodge was outstanding. A very small Lodge with about 12 rooms. The chef would come out and announce the meals which were also outstanding. Great service. Ryan our guide was extremely knowledgeable.

The Sabi Sands private reserves are adjacent to the massive Kruger National Park with no fence. The private resorts have private roads for game drives and are allowed to go off-road to view the animals up close. The resorts have their own open Land Cruisers that seat six people. Each has a guide/driver and a tracker who sits in front and looks for animal tracks. When he spots tracks, he will get off and track the animals into the bush and radio back to the driver the exact location. We saw lion, leopard, rhinoceros, Cape Buffalo, elephant, giraffe, wild dogs, hyena and more. There is a morning game drive at 5 AM until 8 AM. Then breakfast. A walking tour is available or go for a nap until lunch at 2 PM. Tea is at 4 PM followed by the afternoon/evening game drive from 4:30 PM until 7:30 PM. The excellent dinner follows at 8 PM.

We are very experienced travelers, but this was our first time in Africa. It was great. We then went to Tanzania and stayed at three Lodges there. Tanzania was also excellent, but Arathusa was the best. We stayed for three nights which seem to be the optimum time. Any longer would become repetitious. We had excellent service.

Room Tip: We had standard room which was perfect. It has a good view of the watering hole with hippopotamus an...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2013

Our lodge was beautiful, we had the private lodges that were separated from the main facilities and right among nature. I don't usually write reviews in fact this is my first time, but I am doing it because of two of the most amazing guys, and they are the Ranger Brandon and the Tracker Roy who were unbelievable and made this magical experience all the more breathtaking and incredible. Awesome guys who should be noted. Brandon's knowledge of all the animals and absolutely every living thing including webs, trees ,leaves and the list goes on is second to none. Our family of 4 myself, husband, and my 2 older sons absolutely loved these guys who made our trip to safari so great. We managed to see all the big 5 and the last night we witnessed a leopard trying to go for impala and used our open land-cruiser as a cover and made her way straight towards us and right by where I was sitting, I could have lent over and touched her, I thought this gorgeous leopard was going to have me for dinner, it was very exciting and a great thrill. It was a very special time, thanks Brandon and Roy. The only reason I didn't give a 5 because , we had some food requirements which was organised, but could not get together much of the time, not all of the time, other than that the whole experience was 5 star and we had a ball.

Room Tip: The luxury lodges are amazing, private with a spa and a little pool on the deck among the trees and...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Londrina, PR
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

Our ranger Brandon and the tracker Roy were amazing. In the first drive we saw 2 leopards so close of the car that was breathtaking. The advantage of a private reserve is the offroad experience, that was great. Finally we saw the big 5 and much much more. Brandon is very passionate for his job, and the vibe during safaris were uplifting. Those hours passed very fast, and were a combination of fun, learning and adrenaline. Regarding the room, location and view were nice, however cleaning and general maintenance were poor. Basics things like broken piece in the air conditioning should not be accepted in such Lodge. Service in general was slow despite of friendly staff. There was one that was very nice, Nelson. He told us stories andnseems that he trully cares for us.
Another point to be taken into consideration is the access. We went after heavy rain and it was very challenging without a 4WD. Also the distance from Kruger Mpumalanga airport is not ideal.
We do recommend this lodge mainly by the game drives, specially because of Brandon.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rosemary Beach, Florida
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

One of the most spectacular meals we had in South Africa was the lamb on the spit that greeted us as we arrived on New Years Eve.!
The accommodations were absolute fantastic and the daily safari drives with our Ranger and Tracker were more than adventures in the pursuit of leopard, lion, rhino, cape buffalo, wildebeest and much more. Their knowledge of the wildlife and eco-philosophy of South Africa shared generously during our drives and afterwards was awesome and right in there with a National Geographic experience.
The open surroundings with stunning views of wildlife visiting the watering hole and the family of hippos that call Arathusa home created a very unique atmosphere . The only advice for non-South African visitors would be to fly into the local Sabi Sands airfield instead of driving in.
Arathusa Lodge is spectacular value for money and the attention to customer service memorable.

We will definitely stay longer next time to enjoy the Spa, the bush walks, the infinity pool, the creative dining creations and more than anything the adventurous drives with Brett.

Room Tip: The standard rooms are more luxurious and spacious that you will have at most five star hotels.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Arathusa Safari Lodge

Address: Kruger National Park, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 hotels in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Arathusa Safari Lodge 4*
Also Known As:
Arathusa Safari Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Hotel Arathusa Safari
Arathusa Safari Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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