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“Gorgeous location and pure indulgence”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Etali Safari Lodge

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Etali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
39 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Gorgeous location and pure indulgence”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 22, 2010

The staff were all extremely friendly and welcoming. The game we saw was spectacular and the rooms are immense and very luxurious. We travelled with a small baby and they provided us with a very lovely babysitter who looked after him during game drives/dinners. The game drives were as long as you wanted them with some yummy snacks and a very knowledgeable guide/tracker. I'm only marking them down as the food from the new chef was not so brilliant but more importantly he promised us dishes which then didn't happen without any explanation and afternoon tea was very limited (as there were not many of us). They did feed you 5 times a day though which was really good value and drinks are included too!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank CapeTown78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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435 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (99)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
New Hampshire
Level Contributor
77 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 15, 2010

This lodge overwhelms any others - the staff, food, incredibly knowledgeable staff, beautiful game drives, the complete privacy of your room, deck, outdoor pool and shower all contributed to a perfect trip. Michael and Bernette were marvelous as ranger and managers and Docktor was a tracker extraordinaire. This will definitely warrant a return trip. We not only saw game, but birds, and stayed out on the drives if the game was active, not like most other lodges who give the requisite 2 hours and then back. Cheers to Koos and Susan for providing such a gorgeous retreat.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank svh175
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 12, 2009

I had previously been to Madikwe 3 years ago and stayed at another lodge (Rhulani) in the south west corner of the reserve so I was keen to compare it with Etali which is more in the north east area.

Etali was amazing. Its hype was deserved.

The game drives were excellent - our ragners (Eugene and Lazarus) were knowledgeable and fun and as dedicated to showing us a good time as we were keen to have it. The drives routinely lasted longer than 4 hours which meant we were very spoilt indeed.

The individual lodges were super luxe with our own whirlpool on the deck and complete privacy from other guests. The outdoor shower was also a great way to start the day.

The food was top notch and the BBQ in the boma one night was fun, with a singing performance of the staff creating special memories.

Etail was superb and an excellent choice for a safari in Madikwe. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank UKTraveller2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
France
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 27, 2009

Simply amazing! What a beautiful place to spend a few days to relax. The staff were so unbelievably helpful especially with the children. They catered for every need! It was amazing when we watched about 30 elephants at the watering hole from our hot tub on the verandha!! The food was outstanding... and we were delighted to have a BBQ on two nights of our stay as it was by a fire and candlelit. Very special and all the family could choose what they wanted to eat as it was a buffet. Special mention to our amazing game driver Ruan who managed to find us so many animals and was determined to make sure we always had a good vantage point! Best part of our holiday and we will be going back as the owners and all the staff were so friendly!!!

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank beachbum909
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
40 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2008

Etali Safari Lodge completely over-delivered on my single traveller, exclusive safari expectations.

The massive suites are unobstusively tucked into a hillside vantage, and blend seemlessly with its Madikwe bush environs. The lodges' responsible tourism credentials are impeccable: no large machinery were used during construction and their staffing policy includes hiring staff from ALL villages surrounding the game reserve, not just the nearby local villages. Apparently they dont hire staff from other lodges,training them from scratch and thus creating much needed, new skills and jobs! Pretty impressive but more importantly the Etali team seem genuinely happy to be there, doing their jobs efficiently and unobtrusively.

The 130 sqm suites, afford a large and private bush relaxation area. The best features are the comfy bed and crisp sheets, the massive bush-view rolltop stand-alone bath, the alfesco shower under clear blue skies and the heated plunge pool privately tucked to the side of a large wraparound viewing deck. Safari tan box - ticked!

One word for the food, devine!

I also had some down time in the wellness centre and can recommend the signature treatment - the Tlhakanya Africa Massage - which is guaranteed to melt away any and all tension knots.

The true measure of any safari lodge... its guides and the game viewing. A guide and tracker team Rohan & Ronnie interpreted the Madikwe bush with passion and a respect for its beasties. During four game drives highlights included: Lion mating, lion cubs, large herds of buffalo, large herds of elephant, many rhino including one with a very young calf. We also saw a large variety of antelope and birds. Madikwe is famous for its endangered wild dog and I will be back to track them down!

  • Liked — The massive suites with heated plunge pools - perfect for some safari sun relaxation
  • Disliked — Not being able to share Etali with someone - i will be back with a partner!
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank SingleonSafari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Killingworth, Connecticut
Level Contributor
89 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2008

My husband and I and our children ages 11 and 13 stayed at Etali Safari Lodge in August 2008. We were at the end of a long visit to South Africa, and it was the perfect way to end our trip.

The entire lodge is exceptional. Spend some time talking to the owners about their vision for the lodge and the construction process. Every detail is designed to bring the outdoors in and to make guests feel at peace with their surroundings -- muted colors, wide windows/doors running the length of the villas opening out onto verandahs with a view of the bush. I loved the claw-foot tub with the bath salts and the outdoor shower.

The food was excellent, and served in just the right quantities. Be aware that there is a set dinner menu, with a choice of 2 entree selections. We never felt the need to make special requests, but I got the distinct impression that the staff would be more than happy to accommodate certain likes/dislikes, so I would encourage guests to make their wishes known early and often. To give you an idea...our first dinner started with a prawn "lollipop" in a butter sauce, a butternut squash soup with leeks and coconut milk, a choice of duck or lamb, and creme brulee for dessert. My kids tried duck for the first time! Saturday night dinner was a fabulous barbecue in their outdoor patio area, and on our last night we had a cheese stuffed mushroom cap with herbs, carrot soup with ginger and fried leeks, a choice of beef tenderloin or fish (kingclip) and a chocolate fondant with homemade rum raisin ice cream.

We experienced great weather -- sunny skies, and warm enough for a framily from Connecticut, USA to sunbathe and take a dip in the cold pool (maybe high 70's low 80's?) The South African guests thought we were crazy and walked around in long pants and sweaters. It got cool at night -- maybe 40's/50's -- perfect for sleeping.

Be aware that the game drives tend to be very long -- ours were nearly all at least 3 1/2 hours and sometimes 4. They provide thick ponchos with a weatherproof exterior, which really helped for the first hour before the sun strengthened, and again in the evening after dark. A warm hat and a scarf would be good to bring, as the wind can be quite chilly when the sun is not strong. We saw lions, elephants, white rhino, giraffe, hyaena, african wild cat, impala, nyala, water buck, widlebeest, zebra, warthogs and more. Coming across 3 male lions stalking a zebra at night was probably the highlight! If we were to do it again, though, we would look into varying the schedule with a guided walk, or even sitting out one. The main lodge verandah overlooks a man-made watering hole, and you can sit on the porch and let the wildlife come to you! We missed the lions by one day, but during our stay we saw wildebeest, zebra, giraffes, elephants and warthogs all come to the watering hole.

The other comment I have is that the staff was exceptional. We hand the same guide/tracker for all our drives, so they knew what we had already seen so that we could seek out other animals and see some varied terrain. Someone was always waiting with a hot or cold washcloth when we arrived back from each drive. Every member of the staff was always asking what they could get for us -- very nice, personal service.

We did use the wellness center for treatments. My one suggestion is that if you are interested in the spa services that you discuss this ahead of time with the lodge. They were able to fit us in -- but there was only one spa staff person there the days of our visit, so scheduling was tight.

I was sorry to read the review that was negative about children. Our children were well-received and well-behaved, and we were grateful that they were welcome. It was a fabulous family experience for us.

Helpful?
2 Thank connecticuttraveler6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
virginia
Level Contributor
26 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2008

I loved my stay at Etali. But, I would like to warn others that children under 12 are allowed at this and MANY other lodges. Two little brats nearly ruined my trip. I don't know how a lodge owner is suppose to glean if the little ones are brats or not - but once that door is open, believe me, brats will enter with the good children!!! In fact, were it not for two very ill behaved under 12 year aged children, I would say this was a perfect trip. Unfortunately, it was not "perfect" because of two little boys who were never told to behave.

Definately do a walk. Ruan, Lazerus and Mark did an excellent job on our walk.

In all, a nice lodge with great guides and trackers.

  • Liked — Guides and Trackers
  • Disliked — Two brats who were never asked to behave.
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank vatravelergirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Etali Safari Lodge

Property: Etali Safari Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 23 Specialty Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Etali Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Etali Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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