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“Overwhelming!”

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Arathusa Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 18 September 2013 via mobile

It was one of the amazing experiences we have had in south africa and by far the most overwhelming one.

We were very lucky with our rangers and tracker and could not believe that we saw the big five on our first game drive! Besides that we saw made by the rangers and there experience every game drive an leopard and even an serval and cheetah!

I'll also recommend the full body massage!

The evenings were special because of the fact that we never new where to expect our meal. I will not tell it. You have to experience that yourself! I'll only say it is not common and get over your expectations!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Kim H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 13 September 2013

Arathusa was our final stop on a two week trip through South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. We had seen a lot of amazing stuff, and it would have been easy to have experienced something of a let down. That did not happen at Arathusa.

The game drives were excellent. We saw lions, leopards, a cheetah (which I gather is pretty rare), elephants, hippos, rhinos, and a host of others. The birds were a surprising highlight. Our guide Sean was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic. His smarts weren't limited to game -- he gave us a great briefing on southern sky constellations when we were out past sundown one evening.

The food deserves recognition as well. We were basically just hoping to be able to tolerate the food -- just not really expecting fine dining when you're so far removed from "the real world". We will know to expect more in the future. The meals at Arathusa were impressive, and the chef was a character who clearly cares about his product. I always enjoyed hearing him introduce the menu.

The facilities were great. Having the watering hole right there is fantastic. We had a "luxury accommodation", which was booked for us by a travel agent -- probably wouldn't do it again, although in warmer weather, the private pool probably would've gotten more use. It was very nice, just probably more than we needed.

Finally, the staff were exemplary. Very attentive, professional, friendly. We had a minor issue with our room, and they went above and beyond the call of duty to rectify the situation (to the point that I almost felt guilty for bringing it up).

If I could offer one suggestion: complementary bottled water. I know it seems trivial, but when you're paying $400-800/night for a room, you don't really want to have to shell out another $3 every time you are thirsty. They say they don't offer free bottled water because their tap water is clean and safe, which is true, I drank a good bit of it.... but it doesn't taste good. Several guests commented on this while we were there. I realize that complaining about the taste of clean tap water in Africa is a bit obnoxious ... but I guess its a good sign that its the only negative thing I can come up with, right?

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Benjamin802
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 September 2013

We stayed at Arathusa for a total of 3 nights; 6 drives. We stayed in the sabi sand area primarily because we wanted to see leopards. Prior to staying at Arathusa, we stayed at a different lodge in Sabi Sand. Had this been our first safari lodge experience, we would have probably through this lodge was excellent, however, there were a few things that we didn’t care for. We opted for a luxury room which meant our living quarters were not near the main part of the lodge. This sounds good but as these rooms were further from the main part of the camp, you always had to wait on an escort to come and get you in the early morning and late evening hours. Sure our room was more like a house. It even had its own plunge pool and outdoor shower. It looked nice, but upon closer inspection, had a few items that needed repair. The sink had a faucet that if you turned the wrong way, it fell off. The safe was running low on batteries- once we locked it, we could not open it. We had to call the front desk a few times before someone finally arrived to replace the batteries. It seemed like staff were not happy to work here and very slow at responding to requests. Unlike the other safari lodges where we’ve stayed, it seemed like we were always waiting on the escort to come and walk us to the main part of the lodge. There were 8+ passengers in the vehicle for the game drive. It was ok if you had an outside seat, but not so great if you got stuck in the middle seat. Our ranger was Brandon- we were really happy we were assigned him- we didn’t care for the other rangers who, based on our interactions with them, we thought were a bit rude and arrogant. I felt like the traversing rights for this lodge were not so great. There were a few times we were following an animal and it would cross the road to another lodge’s property. We were not allowed to follow. The highlight of our game drives- we saw leopard on nearly almost every drive. Sure we saw the big 5, but not as plentiful as we had hoped. We were staying at this lodge to see the wildlife, and were not really focused on the food or the spa treatments. On one occasion, we had just discovered a leopard but had to hurry back to a certain spot for a “bush breakfast”. On another occasion, we had to return early so a passenger could make their spa treatment. At the other lodge we stayed at in Sabi Sand, we’d skip the sundowners and stay to watch the animals if something was interesting going on. Not at this lodge. I felt like this lodge was always trying to nickel and dime you for everything. Sure there was internet, but for a small charge. Sundowners, a key element of safari, were not included in the cost of your stay. At our other lodge, water was offered freely before each game drive. At this lodge, water was only offered before the evening drive. We were rather surprised to get a bill at the end for this. As for the food, we found it so-so. Most of the time we’d eat outside near the watering hole. The view was nice, but because it was open air, flies were always landing on the food. Who wants to eat a piece of fruit that 100 flies had landed on? Also we requested special vegetarian and vegan meals. Our meals were an afterthought. A few times at breakfast (especially the bush breakfast) there was nothing vegan to eat. What I liked about Arathusa- the infinity pool that overlooked the watering hole, Brandon, the leopards and the wild dogs, and the fact that this lodge had wifi.

Room Tip: Don't spring for the luxury rooms. It is better to have a room near the main part of the lodge w...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank lhaganmich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2013

We spent three nights, and would agree with other reviews you need the third night (more if you have them). We did two nights in other camps, and while we saw a lot, we never had down time as we traveled during the afternoons to the next camp to make the evening drive.
This camp has manicured grounds, creating a little oasis in the bush. Even if you opt to pass on a drive, there is endless entertainment from the hornbills who knock on the glass doors to the bee eaters and drakos in the trees and bushes. The lagoon provided the most varied wildlife of any we we saw, and can be viewed comfortably from the porch of your room or a variety of other. comfy areas.
Our guide, Rob, was incredibly knowledgeable and astute, and also provided bush walks in the down-time. Not to be missed.
We chose this camp mainly because of the varied wildlife (we knew this was the only camp of four visited where we'd see rhino) but also for the bush walks. I'd read a lot of reviews before the trip and know food in the camps can differ in quality, so I was really pleased here. Not only the usual fare of other camps, such as omelette bars post-morning drive, but we had traditional dishes and local wild meats cooked a variety of ways.
We loved the round, stone room, with the bed in the middle and the bathroom behind; deck/seating area off to the side and the little front porch--a typical room lay-out, we discovered (this was our first camp)
The only drawback to the camp, was the staff worked incredibly hard and long hours, and we felt another hand or two would have helped. Service was never delayed, but staff were always going full tilt and despite the smiles, in a quiet moment they looked tired.
I was amazed to find that after three days here I could have gone home, fully satiated after my safari experience. That says a lot for this total immersion. As it was, we had another six full safari days in Botswana!
Weather-wise, it was perfect. Hot enough to dip in the pool, chilly enough so no bugs! We did wear trousers, a jacket, hat and gloves starting out.

Room Tip: Rooms in the main area are great.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank funfunyumyum
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2013

We were a group of four people and we stayed there for two nights which was in our opinion one night short due to our time restriction.
Almost everything here was just great as we saw so much wildlife and the accommodation has views over a lake where we saw Elephant and Hippo. On safari we saw so much more and we spent a lot of time off tracks chasing wildlife such as lions, buffalo and hyena. Our guide was good if a little self confident and we met a variety of people from different countries
The lodge and rooms are excellent and the staff very friendly and efficient
The food was a little disappointing as breakfast needs to be a buffet as it takes too long waiting for orders to come from the kitchen and a fish dish of Snook at dinner was almost inedible due to the bones but this didn't spoil the overall experience.
We stayed at two lodges but if I had only one lodge to come to in Kruger this would be it

Room Tip: Ask for a room near the main complex as some rooms have a fair walk
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Frenchie0209
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2013

My husband and I stayed at Arathusa 23rd July for 3 nights. I spent alot of time choosing which lodge we chose for our safari and Arathusa did not dissapoint, in fact everything about it exceeded our expectations. The lodge itself is beautiful, we were in Jackelberry the last hut on the waterfront, then it is quite a distance to the Luxury huts. We are fussy and like our comforts, the room was beautiful with a living room, plunge pool and large bedroom with spa bath with massive bay window that overlooked the water with a wonderful view to the other side where many animals roamed. We preferred to stay overlooking the water as its a constant source of animal activity. Reception run by Marilize was very efficient and friendly, Regret from the Spa lovely and the Chef Malcolm so enthusiastic to make sure everything was perfect. The food was VERY good, and we never had to wait, after safari we were sometimes a bit weary and the whole procedure ran beautifully. Jacques and Derek our Guide/Rangers were just OUTSTANDING and made our experience so wonderful and memorable. We could not speak more highly of both of them. THEY MADE OUR SAFARI FANTASTIC. Nothing was a problem and they went out of their way to make sure we saw everything we wanted and were patient and professional to make sure we got the photos we wanted. The resident hippos were a constant joy and we saw many elephants, hippos, giraffe, rhino, zebra, many lions, (dead buffalo), wilderbeast, baboons and many antelope like creatures. (hope I havn't forgotten any of the animals) We were also lucky enough to see 3 leopards, which were my personal favourite. The birdlife was also wonderful and Jacques knowledge was so enriching for us. The special dinner under the stars was a highlight as was the breakfast in the bush, both serving with hot dinner plates which shows the level of professionalism by all at Arathusa. A special mention for Zandile who served most of our meals, you smile and calm, friendly way will stay with us forever. The drinks and morning tea on safari were also alot of fun. I would highly recommend Arathusa to couples, family or someone travelling alone as everyone was catered for. It would even be perfect for a honeymoon. We loved Arathusa and it has so far been the most memorable of our many overseas trips. 6 stars and best wishes to everyone at Arathusa.

Room Tip: Definately overlooking the waterhole
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  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Kristina M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2013

We stayed at Arathusa for 4 nights and did not feel this was too long - I would recommend at least three nights as a minimum to really appreciate this place. Every night the evening meal was at a different venue including a bush dinner and another at their boma. All the food was excellent and very varied. We chose Arathusa as it seemed a good mid-price range option in the Sabi Sands and as it was our second safari we particularly wanted to see leopards. It worked on both accounts - it was certainly luxurious enough for us and we saw leopards on many of our drives - including our first one. As many people have commented the waterhole is a major bonus - we spent many hours simply watching from the front of our chalet (standard units are best for views).
Having been on safari at Kruger before (which at the time we thought was superb) we really appreciated the advantage of going 'off-road' to view the animals - even though this resulted in bursting one of the tyres on a tree stump - it was an interesting place to watch the tyre being changed!
Would definitely recommend Arathusa

Room Tip: Standard rooms have best views of waterhole
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Phil J
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
Arathusa Safari Lodge South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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