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Arathusa Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 February 2012

Our room by the pool was extremely spacious and was a beautiful location on the lagoon and close to the reception area. I liked being close to the dining areas, but it was still very private. Armond was our guide and he was so knowledgeable! We were there just after the January 2012 floods and we could only go on 5 - 10 percent of the reserve, so that was slightly disappointing, but we still saw the wonderful animals. A great experience and location for our first safari. They do charge for any water you take on the game drives, however. I thought they were complimentary and was surprised when I got my bill at the end of our trip to be charged. I would have just taken my own had I known that.

Room Tip: I liked being close to the reception area and on the lagoon. We met a couple who had a 10 minute wa...
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank Roslyn1011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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569 - 573 of 837 reviews

Reviewed 30 January 2012

My parents included a safari on their bucket list, so my sister and I decided Arathusa would be the place to make their dream come true. And it didn't disappoint!

We booked late and the only rooms available to us were the luxury suites..which are incredibly luxurious. An outdoor dip pool, our own porch and lounge chairs, a jacuzzi, two showers, a huge living area and a luxurious king sized bed with lovely linens. It was, however, a long walk back to the main camp, so if you have mobility issues these would not be the place for you; although the staff made sure to take my parents to their door..not quite sure how they accomplished this, but my parents were very grateful. The walk didn't bother me, because I walked off all the calories eating the delicious food. In the future, I would want to be in the regular lodges as they rim the waterhole and you just walk out your door and can see all the animals.......resident hippos, elephants, zebra, antelope, etc.

Breakfast is at 8am after the morning safari and included a continental buffet of fruits, muffins/breads/yogurt/cereal and granola with the waiters then taking orders for a full English style breakfast. The rangers eat alongside the guests (where are guides?) and it's fun to get to know them. You are on your own until lunch at 2pm. Take advantage of the beautiful infinity pool and lounging areas in the main camp or catch a few more sleeps. Lunch is a hot meal followed by a 4pm safari. Dinner (a 3 course affair) is at 8pm; one night we ate boma style around a firepit; other nights at our own tables. You may bring your own wine for a corkage fee. Know that anything other than coffee, tea and water you will be charged for. Water is provided free for safaris, but you do pay for anything else on safari. I am a chef and the food, while not "gourmet" was always tasty, served warm and the meats were tender and cooked to order perfectly as were all the fresh vegetables and side dishes. My only complaint was that the kitchen needs a lesson on cooking soup...skip the soups.

All that stuff is great, but we came to see animals...lots of animals. When you arrive at the lodge you are given a ranger/tracker for the duration of your stay. Our ranger, Philip and tracker Rifus were able to show us the big 5 on our first drive. Their knowledge of the animals and bush is incredible and their genuine love of the bush shows when they are tracking the elusive wild dogs and leopards. Whether hightailing it back to the lorry after almost getting run down by some cape buffalo, or dropping Rifus in the bush to find a leopard, or helping another ranger get their lorry out of a ditch..they showed us all a great time..something we will never forget.

On our first afternoon ride, coming straight off a 3 hour car ride from Nelspruit, we jumped into the lorry and away we went. We saw giraffe ambling right next to us, a huge herd of elephants just materialized out of the bush coming withing 2 feet of our vehiclel two sleeping lionesses at dusk, zebra, impalas. Amazing. Wild dogs, hyenas, rhinos, cape buffalo, hippos, lions, leopards, kudo, zebra, impala, everyday. I know I'm missing some..but you get the picture. We frequently went offroad in the most incredible landscapes to follow game. It seriously took my breath away.

The entire staff were so gracious, always accommodating and courteous. We loved interacting with the other guests from around the world and made some new friends we hope to keep in touch with. Arathusa is truly a place where dreams come true.

Room Tip: All of the regular lodges rim the watering hole and those, IMO, are the best. We stayed in the luxu...
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank suechef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2012

Arathusa Game Lodge was an amazing experience. We had an amazing guide and tracker who taught us lots about life in the bush, the game, and the evolution.

We were particularly lucky, only having gone on 3 game drives we saw all the big 5 plus African dogs and hippos.

I am not entirely hedonistic when it comes to vacations, but I like my food and drinks and usually I wouldn't sign up for a 4:30 AM wake up - but I couldn't wait to get up because I was so excited and intrigued to be looking at animals again.

Expect long periods on the drive of seeing nothing while looking for game. It's not a problem though and here's my guide for handling it:

1. The drive through the African bush is interesting enough. Look around at the different plants.
2. Look deeper into the bush and try to spot animals the guide doesn't see. By my third drive I picked out warthogs and Kudu that we almost drove by. (Gold star for me?)
3. Talk and ask about the local wildlife behavior. It's more complex than sleep, hunt, mate.
4. Enjoy the wind through your hair in the back of the landcruiser.
5. Try to listen to the tracker and guide speak in their African language and see if you can notice any trends.

After this experience, all I want is more safari. I'm watching more nature shows than ever before. I suggest at least 4-5 game drives if you make a visit.

The food and drinks on site were also very nice, including a few meals with local game (kudu and warthog). The rooms were really cool as well, and the service was really kind.

Make sure to take advantage of the bug killing spray in the room. Just using the mosquito net for sleep is not enough to protect you.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank switzloco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2012

I loved the location, the vistas, the staff and the food! The chef was first class, I loved everything we ate there. The staff was attentive and kind. I loved hanging out at the pool cooling down after seeing leopards and then getting a massage at the day spa.

A great experience, and a wonderful way to wind down after an aggressive safari trip in Kruger Park and partake in some luxury!

  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank Kim T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2012

My husband and I stayed at Arathusa in early Jan for 3 nights. I only wish we'd had more time. We were on the younger side of the guests there, but I believe all the guests there were enjoying themselves.
The drives were spectacular. The first was at 5am after a 4:30 wakeup call with a stop for coffee/tea in the middle. You will appreciate being out before the sun gets too hot in the summer. Our guide was Ryan and he is amazing. He is like an encylopaedia of wildlife, botany, etc, and he is hilarious too. He made every drive enjoyable and seemed to be very comfortable getting us close to the animals, but in a safe way. He was very careful about giving them their space, and instead of just taking us to look at sleeping animals because they were there, he planned each drive so that the viewing of active animals would be at its best. Our tracker, Debeer, was excellent as well. They are quite the team.
The afternoon drive was accompanied with a drink and snacks halfway through. Beware - you will pay for that drink on your final bill. We saw lions, leopards, wild dogs, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, elephants, hyenas, jackals, wildebeast, warthogs, impala, kudu, bucks, and an array of birds. It was really quite special.

In terms of the food, breakfast is served buffet style with eggs to order and was great. Lunch and dinner are served as a la carte meals with an introduction from the executive chef. We had some truly excellent meals at Arathusa. You will not go hungry here.

In between the drives one can spend the day relaxing by the pool overlooking the watering hole where we were fortunate enough to see many animals. We used the spa for a couples massage which was excellent and relaxing whilst overlooking the watering hole.

The rooms are lovely. A nice king sized bed, good air conditioning, big washroom with indoor and outdoor shower. The turn down service was great as they put down your mosquito nets for you during your evening drive.

We cannot wait to return to Arathusa. We had a phenomenal time and would not hesitate to recommend it to friends and family.

Tips - not really for children even though they let children over 12 at the lodge. Recommend the standard rooms over the luxury rooms as they are more than nice enough and come with a better view. There are definitely bugs around, but this is not specific to this lodge.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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4  Thank squishymichy
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
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 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

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