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“Highlight of our trip to South Africa”

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Arathusa Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Highlight of our trip to South Africa”
Reviewed 16 January 2009

I would highly recommend this lodge to anyone looking to experience a true safari in South Africa. I selected Arathusa based on the positive reviews on Tripadvisor and was absolutely delighted! Our first drive was exhilarating and we saw all of the Big 5. The staff is very friendly and the food was excellent. There were several couples on their honeymoon and most of the guests were quite young. Arathusa is a great deal compared to some of the other private lodges in the area. The rooms were very nice and the lodge was well designed without feeling stuffy and formal in any way.

Stayed November 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank kcsd21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Philadelphia
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2009

In late Nov 2008, my wife and I stayed at the Arathusa Safari Lodge for 3 nights and enjoyed every moment of our stay! This due mostly to the hospitality of the lodge and especially our Guide and Tracker, Jason and Roy, respectively.

Arathusa is located in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve along with a handful of other privately run lodges which border Kruger National Park to the west. We drove ourselves to the lodge from Hazyview in a rented Kia Rio in just over 2 hours and had no problems finding it nor any problems traveling the unpaved road.

Arathusa is a peaceful, clean and safe safari lodge (accomodating no more than 20 guests) with comfortably decorated huts overlooking a nice and unfenced watering hole. See the many other glowing reviews here for specifics on the lodge.

Plainly put, I'd highly recommend Arathusa for those interested in a very hospitable lodge with limited tourists (both at the lodge and in the bush during drives) employing very skilled guides and trackers who do all they can to give you an "up and close" experience to the Big 5 and MUCH more.

We spotted the Big 5 in the first two of six total game drives. Other highlights included a live leopard kill of a Vervet Monkey right in front of us and an active mating event between two leopards. Our guide Jason even treated us to a night-time star gazing lesson on the adjacent air strip. His love and knowledge of the area/bush made our trip fantastic.

Arathusa is a must stay in the Kruger region!

  • Liked — Intimate proximity and experience with the Bush
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank scap8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 January 2009

The three day Arathusa safari experience was the highlight of our family's sixteen day South African adventure, exceeding our expectations in every way. The lodge itself was just as I pictured a safari lodge, with thatched roofs and open spaces. Just the right combination of Africa-in-touch-with-nature and luxury vacation. The individual bungalows were private, luxurious,and well equipped--I especially felt decadent showering in the walled outside shower under the stars, then coming in to my turned-down, mosquito net enshrouded bed with a chocolate on the pillow (there is an inside shower and separate tub as well). Meals were outstanding and served in the open air boma, dinners around a campfire. Guests were an international mix and we met people from USA, Sweden, Switzerland, Holland, Australia, UK, Denmark, and the French island of Reunion. With a maximum of 20 guests, you get to know each other.

We checked in the first day in time for the afternoon game drive and saw four of the big five on just that one outing. Jason was an awesome guide, incredibly knowledgeable and a lot of fun. Morning game drives began with a 4:30 AM wake-up call. Each day was different, a new adventure--exciting enough that even our 21 and 22 year old sons were eager to be up that early to not miss a thing. Jason and Roy, our tracker, were sure that we didn't just see the Big Five (we did), hippos, antelopes, hyenas, and giraffes, but also didn't miss the smaller things--chameleons, golden orb and baboon spiders, leopard tortoises, myriad birds. The animals are wild, but the viewing is intimate (not too intimate with the black mamba!). A highlight was to see three different leopards, two with their kills (impala and wildebeast) visible up in trees. Evening game drives ended with viewing the stars and identifying the constellations of the southern hemisphere. It was our first safari, and a perfect experience.

  • Liked — Everything.
  • Disliked — We had two rooms for our party. One of the air conditioners broke, but was promptly repaired.
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank ElizabethSharp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Europe
Level 5 Contributor
38 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2009

We booked our vacation "last minute" during the peak Xmas season so were unfortunately only able to stay one night at Arathusa - but we would have loved to have stayed longer.

The camp has a laid back, intimate atmosphere (the website pictures don't do it justice), staff are friendly & the huts are very comfortable. Food was excellent - a delicious 3 course dinner around an open fire and an extensive breakfast - of which the fruit platter & fresh muffins were standouts.

The two game drives were the highlight of our whole vacation - we saw four of the "Big 5" - including two phenomenal leopard sightings - plus giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, impala, jackal & hyena.

Our guide & tracker (Andre & Rifos) were patient & professional - skilled not only in finding the animals but in positioning the 4WD close by without disturbing their behaviour. All the lodges in the area communicate with each other by two way radio but sightings are carefully managed and we saw no more than one other vehicle at each sighting. We were also fortunate enough to enjoy an impromptu star gazing excursion with Jason - whose passion for astronomy was totally infectious.

As the previous reviewer mentioned, the waterhole was rather low due to lack of recent rain, so no hippos but we still saw a family of warthogs, some zebra & even a couple of monkeys - all from the comfort of the communal lounge.

If you want a flat screen TV in your room - look elsewhere - but if you want a magical safari experience, this is it.

  • Liked — Game viewing
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed December 2008
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Gr8_AussieGirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durham
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
63 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 December 2008

We usually opt for 5star accomodation so I was not expecting too much from Arathusa as it is one of the cheaper lodges on Sabi.Rhinoafrica had recommended this to me as our first choice was fully booked but honestly I need not have worried as our stay was fantastic. We self drove to Arathusa and the gravel roads were easy to navigate even though we did have a slight detour as tour agent gave us out of date directions. Make sure you use Arathusa's directions!!!! Our private lodge was very nice indeed, clean and well furnished .Large indoor and also outdoor shower and nicely tiled floors. A lot of the lodges have been recently renovated.

Game drives with Ryan were brilliant. Ryan really knows his stuff and he's just a really nice guy. The rest of the staff went out of their way to make our stay a good one. Safari drives are in open top jeeps for maximum viewing of game.

The dam was quite low so no hippos but that didn't detract from our experience. They were waiting for the rains.

The food was good. Not 5 star but Arathusa isn't a 5 star lodge. The breakfast was buffet style with cooked option and dinner 3 course served in boma around a open fire. It really wasn't bad food at all.Drinks were well priced - they could have been over the top as we were a captive audience!

The lodge was full - approx 20 guests - and I have to say we met some really nice people, who all seemed to have a good time and all with very positive things to say about Arathusa.

We actually went on to Hamiltons Tented Camp - over £500 per niight as we wanted to do a self drive around Kruger and if I have to be honest , Arathusa wins by a mile in every respect.

  • Liked — Game drives and private lodge
  • Disliked — Nothing really
  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Durhamlady13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Austria
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 November 2008

We stayed at Arathusa in October 2008. The reason we selected Arathusa is that they are renowned for Leopard viewing - now we know why :-). Unfortunately we could stay for only one night because this was the only vacancy they had - but we saw Leopard on every game drive, during the day, also on the night drive. We saw two different ones actually, the resident female Leopard with an Impala kill up on a tree (only a few hundred metres from the lodge) and another one relaxing on a small hill on the ground - so we were not disappointed!!! We did not see Lion but all the rest of the Big 5. If possible you are given a very high quality of sightings since in a private reserve you can go offroad for major sightings. Accomodation and food is of high quality and perfectly fine for the price range (remember, this is one of the "affordable" lodges in Sabi Sands), the service is excellent and we can definitely recommend Arathusa (however, if we would return, we would probably choose another lodge and or game reserve just for the change). Only small disappointment was that the waterlevel in the waterhole/lake in front of the lodge was very low (which is normal at the end of the dry season in October) and the so the Hippos who usually live there had moved on - but they should return after the rains, don't worry :-)

Thanks for the wonderful time we had and also for the help with our flat battery!

  • Liked — View of the waterhole from the bed :-) outdoor shower
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank stef2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
East Sussex England
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 October 2008

We have just returned from a wonderful stay in South Africa. The highlight of the trip has to be the amazing four days we spent at Arathusa. From the moment we arrived we were made to feel so welcome - the staff did everything possible to ensure we had a great time. The accommodation was superb and just what we had hoped for and the food equally so.

The game drives were unbelievable and surpassed our expectations. (having read various reviews we couldn’t imagine that we wouldn’t be disappointed) The expertise and enthusiasm of Jason, our ranger and Roy our tracker have left us with some great and unforgettable memories. We saw so much in addition to the Big Five and the off road driving was an experience in itself

Everything was superb and just what we had wished for. I really hope we will return one day and urge anyone who has the opportunity to visit to do so. A truly brilliant place with lovely lovely people, and of course,magnificent animals!

  • Liked — Can not fault anything - game drives ranger tracker and staff were all brilliant as was accommodation and food
  • Disliked — nothing!
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Rosemary053
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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