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All reviews heated plunge pool watering hole game drives wild dogs animal sightings special requests water hole spa treatments an amazing experience safari lodge boma dinner the reserve personal service food was amazing once in a lifetime bush walk special thanks
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Reviewed April 12, 2013

My daughter booked back to back lodges for herself , my husband and I for three nights and we all had a wonderful time. We started out badly by getting ourselves lost but were given directions to the gate and escorted to the lodge. The welcome we received was unbelievable and the stay just got better and better. All the staff treated us like royalty and made us feel very special. The game drives were amazing with great guides, (Doctor you are one in a million !) My husband managed to lose a bag with all his tablets and money in but thanks to Ronnie and Johnnie it was found off road, we couldnt believe they found it !My daughter and I both indulged in a massage whilst at the lodge, it was superb, thank you so much . Jeff the chef laid on some delicious food, can honestly say I have never eaten so much. (well-it would be rude not to ) To see wild animals up close was breathtaking, we were blessed to see a whole pride of lions on our first day and managed to see all five of the big five before we left. Who would have thought dung beetles would be so interesting? And that Zebras fart lol, SO funny. We thought the icing on the cake was to see a herd of elephants at the water hole on our last night but there was more to come as a bull elephant came to visit us just as we were leaving, amazing ! Thank you all, will live on the memories for years.

Room tip: We loved our back to back room, even had our own plunge pool on the deck.
Date of stay: April 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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Thank Tiggerwosere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Before I wrote this review, I was going over and over everything that happened while I was at the resort, wondering what could have made it better. I am still wondering!
I will start off by stating that upon arrival at Madikwe, I was surprised that we still had an hour journey to the lodge. However, as the evening was closing in, it gave us our first opportunity to check out a real game drive.
Upon arrival at Etali. it was night-time and very dark. We sat down for dinner, and the service and food, along with the smiles, made me feel very welcome and comfortable. I loved the fact that they included drinks with the meal. I got the impression immediately that this was a classy place, not out to penny-pinch.
Over the next 3 days, I was treated like a king; Everything from start to finish was of the highest caliber, which was a pleasant shock.
The game drives were great, the staff (trackers and rangers) were all first class, and I could not have asked for anymore.
The game drive breakfast was first class, and the outdoor dining to die for.
What sealed the deal for me, was that the owner was constant fixture ensuring that we all had everything we wanted. this is truly a first class resort, being run by a very classy team.
I cannot wait to return!!

Room tip: As close to the main lodge as possible
Date of stay: March 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled on business
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Thank no818528
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

First of all, Obie is without a doubt a knowledgeable and experienced ranger and makes ones experience at Etali a memorable one. Thank you. Whilst this was a lovely stay a few things proved dissapointing:
1. Rooms are poorly lit
2. Wash basins very low, so that unless you are a child you have to bend down to wash face, brush teeth, etc... and I am very much of average, short height!!
3. Whilst we were there paths are VERY badly lit and on our last night not a single light, candle anything of any sort was anyware to be seen. Having an armed guard escort didnt exactly make one feel any safer in pitch total all around you
4. Whilst the food was beautiful present and of good quality, it always lacked salt or sugar!!
I would say this is an average lodge, 3 stars at most so if you are looking for 5 star this is not the place to come to. If however, you are only interested in a safari and getting to see wild life, this certainly fits the bill.

Room tip: Choose a room facing the watering hole
Date of stay: March 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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4  Thank Fomc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Etali for 3 nights in October 2011 (this review is long overdue). It had been a lifelong dream to experience an African safari, and Etali did not disappoint. Within minutes of settling into our villa, a herd of elephants silently arrived at the watering hole in front of the lodge. I could hardly contain my excitement of things to come. Our ranger and tracker, Obie and Doctor, did an amazing job of finding the animals. They were as excited about the smallest of birds as they were about the largest of the big game. They were patient with our questions and photography, and passionate about their work. The biggest thrill was the night a group of 3 male lions slowly walked past our parked jeep. I held my breath the entire time!! Our memories of the game drives will stay with us forever.

The stylish villas were spotlessly clean and beautifully furnished in contemporary South African decor. We had total privacy, with a huge viewing porch overlooking the natural landscape, an indoor and outdoor shower, and a plunge pool. Aside from being actually luxurious, the most important luxury was that of feeling like we were the only ones there.

The food was truly delicious at every meal, served on a lovely dining terrace. The night the dinner was set up in the boma, a lion appeared at the watering hole, causing the rangers to stand guard with their rifles. It was never permissible to walk around the lodge at night without a guard due to the proximity of the wildlife.

The staff were all wonderful and provided excellent service in all respects.

Lastly, the proprietors, Susan and Koos, were gracious and attentive hosts. They treated everyone as their personal guests. We had the privilege of hearing from Koos the challenges of managing a safari reserve and lodge. That weekend, the reserve hosted an auction to offer certain animals that were in high demand by other reserves in South Africa. They attempt to balance the populations within each reserve.

I highly recommend this lodge for an excellent game drive experience, lovely accommodations, great food and wonderful service. It was truly a dream come true. Thank you, Etali!!

Date of stay: February 2012
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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1  Thank cctravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

My wife and stayed at Etali for 3 nights in mid january after 3 nights at another lodge in Madikwe.

The visit had highs and some disappointments.

First the highs, the game ranger, Obi, and the tracker, Ronnie, were magnificent and managed to track a pride of lions in the bush that had not been spotted for a week by any of the local rangers. They were friendly, knowledgable and made the stay for us very special, 5 stars. On the day we left the heavens opened and they drove with us to the main Madikwe road to be sure we didn't get stuck on the way out, thanks.

The food is very good and compliments to the chef, every meal was top class. because of the rain we could not enjoy the boma but instead had a braai on the main balcony but which was very good.

Rooms are of a very good size and the splash pool was a welcome relief on the hot days, clean and just the right temperature.

Disappointments would be the general ambiance of the main lodge area and the rooms which despite being large and spacious just seem to lack the level of comfort that one expects in lodge of this type. I know this is a personal view and others may differ but compared to the previous lodge we came from it seemed cold and uninviting and the main lodge was not somewhere one would wish to linger too long and relax. I guess we expected a bit more luxury...

In summary, great rangers made the holiday but the general lodge ambiance would not bring me back.

Date of stay: January 2013
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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4  Thank 959SteveB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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