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“Fantastic Safari Experiance” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Arathusa Safari Lodge

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Arathusa Safari Lodge
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4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Kruger National Park, South Africa   |  
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Aylesbury, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Fantastic Safari Experiance”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2014

The Arathusa Safari Lodge is located in a private game reserve outside of the Kruger National Park. We stayed in a luxury lodge for four nights. These are more remote from the main centre and although without a lake side view are large, well equipped, private and surrounded by bush. The game drives, with our knowledgeable Ranger Roy and Tracker Chris, were absolutely magical. The morning drive in time quite often to see the Sun rise with the afternoon drives continuing into the darkness. We saw all of the big five and many more, driving off track and at times ducking under branches as we tracked the animals.
We really enjoyed the communal aspect of the drives and meal times. The food, which was quite often announced in person by the chef, was superb. We were fortunate enough to enjoy one evening meal away from the main centre, located in the bush with an open fire and lightning provided by oil lamps.
The Arathusa Safari Lodge provides an outstanding service and is highly recommended.

On a word of caution the security at Arathusa was excellent however if like us you take the connecting flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit and carry valuables in your cabin sized luggage. Ensure this is locked in case like us you are suddenly informed that this has to travel in the hold. No such restriction was made on the return journey.

  • Stayed March 2014, 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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481 reviews from our community

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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 (143)
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Stavanger, Norway
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 25, 2014

We stayed at Arathusa for 3 nights in April, as a young couple. We were lucky enough to see leopards 4 times, as well as all the big 5. The game drives were by far the highlight for us. Our tracker Derek and guide D were great, very knowledgeable but also fun. You could tell they really loved what they were doing. It was great to feel like we learned something from them. We loved the intimate atmosphere, great service, food, and felt very well taken care of. Our room was also very nice. We also really enjoyed socializing with other guests at the pool and during meals. We chose a normal room so we would have a view, and just went to the communal pool. The superior rooms have private pools. The one thing that could have been improved was the quality of treatments at the spa. I got a facial, massage, and manicure, and my husband got a massage. The setting of the spa and the service were amazing though, so we didn't really mind. We flew from JNB to HDS and then had a car transfer. The transfer took 1- 1.5 hrs and was actually really interesting. We saw some animals, and a little of the country, and spent the whole time getting a history lesson from our driver. Will definitely be back!

  • Stayed April 2014, 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
    • 4 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.
Durham, North Carolina
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

Arathusa Safari Lodge set a high bar for my first experience on safari. The staff was welcoming, the food was delicious, the lodging and setting were lovely, and the drives were excellent. I saw all of the big five in the first two drives, and our tracker Derek and ranger Debeer went out of their way to maximize our viewing of the fascinating animals in the bush. Their passion and respect for the local flora and fauna was evident, and after eight drives and four nights I became addicted to the beauty of the area. My safari trip began with a 20-minute flight from Kruger airport to the Arathusa air strip. The bush flight was amazing, and I highly recommend this flight to all instead of the 3 hour drive that most visitors take to reach the lodge.

Room Tip: I recommend the water-facing standard room vs the deluxe accommodation in the bush. With the water...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canmore, Canada
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2014

We had saved our safari experience for our last week in SA and what an experience it was!!! Arathusa was anything but ordinary. From our room, to meals to game drives, our experience was "over the top". Our accommodation was in a "standard" room but it was huge with the bath and shower area as large as the bedroom which overlooked the pond where elephants, warthogs, hippos and other wildlife came to drink in the mornings and evenings. The communal meals were fun with everyone sharing their experiences. The land cruisers each had a tracker and ranger and you were assigned to the same tracker and guide for the duration of your stay. DeBeer and Derrick were the absolute best. We were very fortunate in seeing a leopard on our first game drive and then a cheetah the same evening. Wildlife is abundant in this game reserve and the trackers and rangers are sensitive to the habits of these animals while getting as close as possible for the clients to see these gorgeous animals. During our three night / four day stay, we were fortunate to see wild dogs which are very rare. We had the opportunity to have breakfast out in the in a clearing one morning on our way back from our early morning drive. The chef and his staff also had a braai for us on our way back from our evening drive. The food was great with lots of selections to choose from. The early morning wake-up calls were at 5AM and we were in the land cruisers by 5:30AM for our morning rides (3 hours) and then a possibility of a bush walk with one of the rangers (if you so wished) and then you could rest, go to the spa or do whatever you wished until 4PM when it was time for the evening ride. Kudos to the cleaning staff who always seemed to manage to have our rooms cleaned and tidied by the time we returned from our morning drive. How they did that, I don't know but it sure was appreciated. We had a truly amazing experience and would hope we could return agaon.

  • Stayed April 2014, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2014

Arathusa Safari Lodge and her staff made my final week in South Africa an absolute memorable week.

I saw all of the big five, had the best meals ever, great massages and met wonderful fellow travellers. Being a single traveller, their concept of having communal breakfast, lunch and dinner tables is very nice. Also, you are assigned a ranger who will take you on game drives twice a day and you team up with the same travellers and ranger every day so you really get to share the safari experience. The food is worth a great big star and being 100% vegetarian myself, I do not get to say that often. Every lunch and dinner was a new experience for my taste buds.

The safaris are an absolute pleasure too with great wildlife to spot, very knowledgeable rangers. A big thank you to Rein and DeBeer. They are both wildlife friendly and try to give you the best views possible. I was very fortunate. Saw a leopard walking around, taking a tree-nap as well as having a great and tasty impala up in his local tree hangout. Loads of elephants, giraffe, buffalos, wildebeest, waterbucks, impalas, nyalas and more. A mother lion with three cups, hyena mom and kids, jackals, two rivalling lion parties roaming the area at night. Oh, and I was "lucky" enough to smell a dead giraffe some lions were feasting on. Boy, is that an experience not to forget! As well as the look on the lion's face when he realised we were observing his Michelin meal in the bushes. He looked up and growled.

As the lodge is facing a large waterhole, every day is a new wildlife experience watching (and hearing!) the hippos hang out, the elephant pass by and more wildlife coming in for a quick drink or stroll across the field. We were lucky one day to see close to 20 elephants in all shapes and sizes including baby ones pass by from one side to the other.

My "standard" lodge was spacious, well decorated, well equipped, private deck overlooking the waterhole, bathroom with bathtub and shower, luxurious, good mosquito net all around the bed and a nice thatched roof.

The wake-up calls at 5 o clock become routine after two days and the few extra hours one might like to sleep, you can catch up during the day around the pool and in the lounging area. During safaris you get a morning cup of tea or coffee, always with a very nice home made cookie to nibble on and in the afternoon the experience is even more unique when the small table is laid out with a nice tablecloth, snacks and drinks. If it rains, do go on safari!! The one evening we all felt it was raining too much, we went anyway. The sky cleared up after about 20 minutes and we saw our first leopard!! Also, the ponchos they provide are excellent. Warm and waterproof.

The spa offers great massages (I booked twice ;-) and the staff is wonderful, good and friendly. The spa itself is a beautiful room with a view too!

The communal lounging area with pool is also great. Loads of places to hangout, books to read and beautiful books on South Africa to look into.

All in all, I am grateful for my time spent here and can highly recommend it!

PS - I spent 4 nights here and I would recommend you do too. So worth it! Time to relax and really get the most out of the venue and safaris. Try to arrive before 4 PM so you can join the afternoon game drive on your day of arrival and try to depart post 10 AM so you can join the morning game drive on your day of departure. Two extra game drives and who knows what you might see! I saw the leopard-eating-impala on my very last morning game drive! Would not have wanted to miss that for the world!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2014 via mobile

After an extremely long NY winter, Arathusa helped me find the spring within me. I'm refreshed and excited about life, fascinated by all life, intrigued by nature, and warmed by the kindness and welcoming nature of such beautiful former strangers.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Frodsham, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2014

We stayed here for our first three night in SA. The journey from the UK was long and the 3 hr. drive from Nelspruit airport over potholed surfaced roads and poor condition dirt roads was exhausting. However, once we arrived it was all worthwhile. The staff were helpful, the food was generally excellent (we had one less good meal), the room was very good and the game drives were very productive.

Room Tip: get a room fairly close to the central dining area if you feel uncomfortable about walking through a...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
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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
Hotel Class:4 star — Arathusa Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 13
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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