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Reviewed 11 August 2014

Pretty well everything about the Arathusa met or exceeded our high expectations. Even my 2 teenage sons were blown away by the 3-day safari, and that is saying something!

They concentrate on the things that REALLY matter for a high-quality safari experience - like the sheer excellence of guides, the comfort of accommodation, the range/quantity of food and drink, the vehicles, the ambiance of common areas where you can chill between drives, the waterhole, the friendliness of staff - are all 5-star. So we felt it was excellent value, as you're not paying for stuff that's irrelevant.

Here's some random statements that might be of use:
Electric sockets are 3-pin round, and if you have a lot of electrical equipment I suggest bringing some of your own adaptors in case the lodge runs short.

Wifi is available in reception and bar/chillout area, not in the rooms, which seems a sensible arrangement (note you have to pay a small fee for this which is perhaps the ONLY annoyance of the Arathusa!)

Reception has a desktop computer you can use - I wish I had brought some blank DVDs with me, to offload the gazillions of photos and video clips from our camera memory cards which we soon filled!

You really can survive a 3-day safari in just 2 pairs of zip-off trousers! Blankets and hot water bottles provided for the dawn game drives.

The 25-minute small-plane flight between KMIA and the Arathusa airstrip is a lot of fun! Quite expensive for a family of 4, but it will stick in the memory for a long time whereas the 2 1/2hr road transfer is a bit tedious.

I can't believe I say this, but it is actually possible to see too many leopards!

Room Tip: We had rooms 9 & 10 which directly front the waterhole and had no shared walkways in the way. Some other rooms had slightly obscured views (I think maybe rooms 3-7?) Luxury rooms are better suited to those wanting privacy.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank stayathomedad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2014

Cliff Notes version:
Great accommodations. Restaurant-quality food. Request Drizz and Derrick (aka Double D) and you'll have the best safari you can ever imagine.

Now with more detail...

Accommodations:
I went with 3 other girlfriends to Arathusa for 4 days in the beginning of July. Two of us stayed in the cabin named "Bushwillow." There was a huge comfortable bed, beautiful bathtub, shower with good water-pressure and temperature, two sinks, and just a huge amount of space. The only thing that this city girl needed to get used to was that the shower walls were clear. My friend and I just made sure to be on the other side of the cabin while the other person was showering. :)

As for lodge, food is great and abundant. The view of the watering hole/mini-lake is awesome. There's plenty of places to just curl up with a book and enjoy the outdoors. The only thing I would say I missed was having wifi. I was able to go online for about 10 minutes on the lodges guest computer, but I wasn't able to use my iPhone at all. Not a big deal, but it would've been nice to post on instagram and whatnot!

Food:

Breakfast had a ton of options. I always went for the bacon and mushroom omelette.
For lunch you had about three choices every time, and every option looked delicious.
Dinner would be a full 3-4 course meal. There were somethings I didn't eat (like springbuck) but there was so much food overall that I was always satisfied at the end of the meal.

Safari:

My friends and I were with the BEST ranger and tracker, Drizz and Derrick (aka DD.) These guys were able to find us Cheetah, Lion, Giraffe, Elephant, Leopard, Hyena, Cape Buffalos, Rhinos, Wild Dogs, Zebra, Hippos. EVERYTHING. And they got us up close and personal.

I say they are the BEST because while we saw other vehicles driving around trying to find animals from the safety of their cars, DD would just jump out of the car and track the animals on foot if they have to. They are tenacious and brilliant at what they do. They are also just the nicest and most fun guys you'll meet, so you're guaranteed to have an awesome time.

(oh..and if you go in July...bring lots of layers, warm socks, and a scarf to wrap around your neck. it gets chilly out there!)

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Ann H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 August 2014 via mobile

My husband and I absolutely loved our stay at Arathusa! From the safari game drives, to the accommodations, and food, everything was top notch! The only thing we would have done differently would be the trip in. We landed at Nelspruit and took a private car 2 1/2 hours down unpaved roads. Apparently there is a landing strip that you can take a small plane into. I would have much preferred this! I would love to return someday!

Stayed: March 2014
Thank Zapp_077
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2014

My partner and I have just spent 3 days here at Arathusa, and what a fantastic experience. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel so welcome. We saw the big 5, the ugly 5 and the pretty 5 and got so close and personal to these animals it was out of this world, no need for zoom! This was thanks to our fantastic ranger Roy and tracker Chris, who were known as "Rock and Roy" they even managed to track down a lion v buffalo kill. These guys knowledge of the bush is just superb, with total respect for the environment and it's animals.
The food was spectacular, and some of the meals even come with a surprise :)
The lodge itself is beautiful, with resident hippos in the watering hole, which you can hear into the night, we were also lucky enough to see elephants and giraffes at the watering hole to during our stay, whilst relaxing after lunch.
We also had some amazing hot stone massages and facials at the spa over looking the watering hole.
From meeting other couples who had come from other lodges within the area we definitely made the right choice with Arathusa, the reviews below certainly lived up to our expectations and more, such an amazing memorable safari experience.

Room Tip: We had jackleberry room which was the only room facing the watering hole with an outdoor pool and a spa bath in the room overlooking the watering hole. The other luxury rooms are a fair walk from the lodge. I would recommend Jb room for luxury or a waterfront standard room which are also really nice.
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
2  Thank Loubyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2014

We had the most amazing time at Arathusa! Our guide and tracker, Sean and Reef, made a wonderful team. We were up close and personal with so many animals. They were fantastic at finding 'hard to find' animals and were so respectful and knowledgeable about all of the wildlife...especially the birds :) From the moment we arrived the entire staff was friendly and so accommodating. For our anniversary they decorated our room and they were as excited about it as we were! There was nothing to complain about here...from the room, to the food, to the atmosphere, to the amazing game drives, to the relaxing massage at the spa....all fantastic!!!

Room Tip: Every room was a great room overlooking the water hole. We could here the hippos all night :)
  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank Jen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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