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“Luxury in the Wild”

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Arathusa Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Luxury in the Wild”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 February 2014

My wife and I spent just two nights at Camp Arathusa in September 2013, and it was amazing!
For our first safari we had divided our trip into two nights at Camp Shawu in Kruger followed by two nights at Arathusa in the Sabi Sands reserve, where we hoped for a better chance to see a leopard.
Chrisna from “Siyabona” organized our itinerary.
After the small camp and almost family atmosphere of Shawu, Arathusa was not only bigger, but seemed very structured, organized and professional, appealing to a lot of European and American visitors with a bigger and more specialized staff. However Arathusa offered its own unique charms and truly amazing experiences. Solid walls and windows, air conditioning and a private deck with a tub made for a very comfortable stay. The frequent and creative meals - braai in the boma, breakfast in the bush or just lunch in the open space by the watering hole - did not leave much time to actually enjoy the cabin.
The camp itself is not surrounded by fences; armed escorts become neccessary between dusk and dawn. A wandering elephant herd might block access to your cabin, a hyena prevent you from leaving the vehicle, kudus watch you in the outdoor shower or a hippo waiting at your front door in the morning.
Our ranger/tracker team of Sean and DeBeer was very knowledgeable and made every effort to give us the best game drive experiences. While wildlife seemed less abundant than in Kruger, a pack of lions devouring a fresh kill and a leopard on the hunt made for very unique sightings. Sean even took us on an impromptu bush walk, because we were not going to be there for one of the scheduled walking excursions, and his fascination with the local birds gave everything a personal twist.

We arrived at Arathusa later in the afternoon than expected and missed the first evening game drive. While the drive looked short on the map, and google gave us a faster route, local instructions from Simon our ranger at Shawu added about 2 hours to the trip. Apparently google is not always aware of the actual road conditions in Africa and would have sent us through rather rough and in the end slower and longer driving. As it was, the part of the drive in the Sabi Sands reserve is not on paved roads.
Wildlife sightings in Kruger added time to the drive as well.
These are things to keep in mind when planning time for a drive.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
2 Thank Lars A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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790 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (255)
Date | Rating
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 January 2014

After 2 weeks camping in Botswana - this was a little slice of paradise! I had a wonderful 4 days and wanted to stay much longer. Would highly recommend to anyone.

I had picked Arathusa because of their extensive traversing rights and was extremely pleased with the wildlife sightings. 6 leopard (one on several occasions including making a kill in front of us), 4 lions several times, cheetah, buffalo, white rhino (including a 3 day old calf that was the cutest thing EVER!), elephant (including mud bath), leopard tortoise, lots of antelope (impala, waterbuck, bushbuck, nyala, grey duiker, steenbok), birds, giraffe, warthog, zebra, wildebeast, jackel, hyena (including cubs), and the ever present hippos. One afternoon I could see 5 different species at the waterhole at one time - just sitting at my room! If your number one goal is to see wildlife - Arathusa is an excellent choice.

I have to specifically point out that Roy (guide) and Derrick (tracker) went out of their way to make a dream come true for me - with luck and a lot of skill, they tracked down a leopard named Karula for me. It's not every day someone makes your dreams come true so they will always hold a special place in my heart.

Did my shower leak? Sure, but the room was so huge I just moved my suitcase over a few feet!

Was the food the best ever? Not quite - but it was very good and very plentiful!

The staff was overall incredibly lovely, friendly and willing to bend over backwards at the slightest request. As a single traveler I was a problem for the gentleman in charge of the dining room, but after a short discussion he agreed that I should be able to sit where I wanted and it was not difficult to move my place setting.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwEnQ3Ft-ag

Room Tip: Jackelberry is the room attached to the spa - last one you can walk to on your own. It ROCKS! You...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank EarringQueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NJ
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 January 2014 via mobile

I agree with pretty much everything others have said - great game drives, super guides and trackers, fabulous chef and food.

However, I am writing this review just to disagree with so many statements I've seen that the luxury room is not worth it. The standard rooms are lovely, we looked at one. But the luxury rooms are pretty sick! Not only is the room huge, but it's so super private and has an amazing deck with plunge pool. For our honeymoon, it was sweet. You can run around naked all day feeling like you're in the middle of nowhere (which you completely are). There's nothing like feeling you're in the middle of the bush all by yourselves.

We loved Arathusa, but for us, the room was a huge part of the romance of it. Highly recommend for a honeymoon or romantic trip.

Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
2 Thank L R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2014

We have just returned from a three night stay at Arathusa with our two kids aged 13 and 16. What a wonderful experience we all had The safaris themselves 5 am and 4:30pm were very exciting. We saw the Big Five by the time we left as well as many other animals .The lodge food is fabulous. My son has life threatening allergies to peanuts and eggs. They removed all nuts from their kitchen during our stay so that my son could eat all of their food. They even brought him special egg free muffins at breakfast time ( the height of personal attention) The Lodge is top class and we felt very privileged to be there. Thank you Arathusa- we will all remember this experience forever

Room Tip: Standard rooms are better than the luxury rooms as closer to dining areas and lounge room and don...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank MarcelleSydney
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2014

My family's dream vacation had always been to go on safari and when it came true at Arathusa it exceeded all our high expectations! It is such a unique experience all packed into a long day from 4:30 in the morning till at least 10 at night, and every second is worth it! The staff really cares about your comfort and well being, and when it comes to game drives the rangers and trackers really care that you are seeing all the animals you want to see. You may drive around for a while looking for something special and think, this is boring when am I going to see some action, but sometimes those drives turn into the best. Every single game drive I went on had a different highlight experience distinguishing that drive from the others and due to that I am not able to pick a specific highlight. Being located right on the watering hole also really enhanced the experience of the safari because even during the down time during the day you were still surrounded by all types of amazing wild life! The food at Arathusa was excellent, ranging from their natural meets of impala and kudu to the beef we are more used to in the states. The rooms are well accommodated, and very structured, I felt really safe in my room, and I didn't have any bad bug experiences. Yes the bugs were there, but they weren't as bothersome and gross as I expected. I could go on and on about my incredible time at Arathusa and it still would not be a sufficient enough review! I highly recommend this reserve for anyone looking for a great safari experience. I miss it every day!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Jen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Millington, New Jersey
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 January 2014

Arathusa is a beautiful, first class, luxury spot in the heart of bush country. The staff is outstanding and very friendly. You will feel very well looked out for and safe. We rented one of the luxury cottages and it is the most beautiful accommodation we have ever stayed at. Out door plunge pool and shower. Very, very romantic and very private. Our Guide Ryan and Tracker DeBeere knew the bush backwards and forwards. We saw all of the big five. The ONLY thing that would have made it more perfect would be if drinks were included. Charge me another $750 Rand per Day per person and include drinks. It is hard to know what you will feel like drinking on your sun downer five hours in advance!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank GMR2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UK_Traveller019
Level Contributor
56 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 January 2014

OK, downside first: the lodge itself is more than 20km from any paved road and you need a decent vehicle to get there. But that's the only downside, and everything else is all you'd expect of a luxury safari lodge.
The rooms themselves - thatched huts - are excellent, very comfortable with air-conditioning and good facilities. The food was great, and morning and evening game drives are part of the package. You can also do a bit of walking too - with the guides - if you fancy. Sabi Sands reserve is right next to the Kruger National Park, apparently shared between a number of private lodges, and covers a large area so there's plenty of game around.
But the highlight is probably the location itself, fronting a (man-made) lake in the heart of the reserve. So elephants, hippos, impala and a wealth of other wildlife come right to you!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank UK_Traveller019
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

Property: 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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