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“Great but beware hidden extras and tiny portions” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Arathusa Safari Lodge

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Arathusa Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
London
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great but beware hidden extras and tiny portions”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2009

Amazing place, amazing safari lcoation. We saw everything including big 5, a leopard make a kill and leopard with her cubs. In fact there were leopards everywhere.

Rooms were great too, spacious, clean and relaxing.

Only negatives were the tiny portions of food, I was hungry the entire time, and the fact that all drinks are charged for (and this is not made clear). They never show a menu and give the impression that the drinks are included when they offer them in a casual manner but all drinks will appear on your check-out bill and they are not cheap. So just beware when they take your order for a drink on the game drive that it is not included.

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Super777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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781 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 (251)
Date | Rating
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English first
Washington DC
Level Contributor
58 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2009

We were at Arathusa for 3 nights. The safari rides were good - we even saw some wild dogs (which are extremely rare these days!). Our ranger was quite good - however, when he was trying to get us to some animals before they left the property, he would race there. He sped around some curves, and we were concerned that the vehicle would tip over. We appreciated the effort to get us there, but also wanted to make sure that we all got there alive. The rooms were nice - however, they use scented cleaner, which may cause a problem if you're allergic or sensitive to fragrance. You have to pay for internet (which is extremely slow). The location was fabulous - from our veranda, we saw a lot of wildlife every day at the watering hole/lake. We were, however, woken up in the middle of the night by some very loud hippos (which is good or bad, depending on your point of view). The meals were variable - some were excellent, others not so good. One night we had beef filet, which was so tough that a saw would have been helpful. The cook was incredibly accomodating, however - we had some dietary restrictions, and she came to the room to discuss them, so that she would fully understand and be able to make the appropriate arrangements. There was another guest who could not digest oils - and the cook made special bread for her! Because the lower age limit for Arathusa is 12 years, there were no other families with children there during our stay. In addition, they had a requirement that you had to be at least 16 to go on the bush walk, which was disappointing. (At another lodge, we went on bush walks with children as young as 9.) One of the waitpersons, Nelson, was wonderful - he made an effort to connect with every guest. He even provided us with lists of helpful phrases in Tsongan (the local language) - which was great. We learned phrases like "thank you" and "my brother is very dangerous." It was a lot of fun. We met some terrific people from all over the world. On the whole, we would recommend this place - but maybe not for families with teenagers. There are other lodges that are more family-friendly.

  • Stayed August 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank trippinfam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shropshire
Level Contributor
38 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 July 2009

Stayed here for 3 nights on our first safari experience. It was outstanding from beginning to end!
We saw the big 5 (including a leopard on three occasions) and many other animals besides including the rare wild dog.
Our ranger (Jason) and tracker (Roy) were very knowledgable and could spot things from about 40 metres away which was just astonishing to watch. We also had a star gazing session one night which was a lovely touch and something completely different.
The accomodation was lovely - the rondavels were very spacious and it was a pleasure to sit on the terrace every day looking over the lake trying to spot more animals.
The food was of good quality and was served in a very intimate setting around the boma every night where you can get to talk to the other guests.
We will definitely return one day!

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank unclescooby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
94 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2009

My fiancé and I had a 5 night safari and stayed at two different lodges. Arathusa was the second lodge where we stayed for three nights. Our tour operator (African Sky) had made all our arrangements for us including flights, airport pick ups and all transfers. Everything was perfectly timed and executed; between the lodge transfers and airport drop off, we didn’t miss a game drive.

Arathusa Safari Lodge is located in Sabi Sands which is in the Greater Kruger National Park area. There are restrictions for the vehicles but not for the animals and so you can get many coming through from Kruger. The lodge itself is not fenced off and is by a waterhole so you get to see quite a range of game coming to drink and others occasionally wandering onto the lodge grounds. On our game drives, the game viewing was more than what we could have asked for! Excellent, excellent!!

The lodge has only 10 chalets with a maximum of 20 guests, no children under 12 yrs. The facilities are not luxuriously flashy like some other lodges but the bed was comfy, the bathroom was big and the decor was refined. There is a swimming pool, a curio shop and one internet terminal (connection was very slow though) that is charged at 2 Rand per minute. There is also Wifi for 150 Rand per stay but the signal was extremely weak.

On the service side, the whole team were very warm and welcoming. Being a smaller lodge, everyone knew your name and always asked how your day went. We had the chance to speak with the owner of Arathusa, who was super nice and engaging. Our ranger Jason and tracker Roy, were a fantastic team. We never felt rushed on our drives and Jason was always dispensing his knowledge; of the animals, the flora and of the stars! We couldn’t have asked for a more enthusiastic and passionate ranger.

Meals are served in an open dining area facing the waterhole. All guests sit together and the menu is set with a main course choice that changes daily. You always have more than enough to sustain you throughout the tough day!

One thing that struck us was that both lodges gave fairly detailed instructions in the Guest Folder on how much tipping they thought appropriate for the ranger and tracker. We believe that tips should be a reward for great service, and not based on a formula of how many in your party multiplied by the number of nights stayed. We felt this was too standardized and expected, no matter what level of service was delivered.

Overall, we had an amazing stay. Our ranger really was the key to making our safari experience exceptional. But the lodge was outstanding in location, size, facilities and service. We would not hesitate to recommend Arathusa to anyone!

  • Stayed July 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank AnnPerth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Corvallis
Level Contributor
85 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 88 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 July 2009

Arathusa was beyond our expectations! The staff greeted us on arrival and made us feel so welcome and instantly relaxed. Each room is it's own building with views of their lake. The game drives were unbelievable! Jason and Roy are the best that we had in South Africa, but Andre and Rufus were also great. The communication that they have with other reserves in Sabi Sands and agreements to go onto each others properties makes the experience very enjoyable and allows you to see almost every animal you could want to see. The food was great and the venue for the meals was fabulous. Because there are no fences between Sabi Sands and Kruger the animals are free to move around and for us this was the best - we didn't like to idea of seeing animals that we fenced into an area. We saw the Big 5 numerous times and saw every animal and then some numerous times just a few feet from the truck. We were only to stay one night and 3 at another reserve, but cancelled and returned to Arathusa for our last night in South Africa. It's worth every penny and I will pay it again and again as we plan to return many, many more times and take friends and family with us! Simply the best!!

FYI - If you are driving out to Sabi and Arathusa in a rental car make sure it is a good car. The road is gravel and full of washboards (about 25km long). Our rental fell apart on that road which made us late for the game drive and rattled our nerves badly. With that said, we did drive back a few days later with the same car because Arathusa was that amazing!!! I already want to go back!!

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank youngtravellers99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Liverpool, England
Level Contributor
31 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2009

You would be hard pushed to find a better place to stay in Sabi Sand. The location by the waterhole is superb and the staff are excellent. Jason, our ranger, made a real effort to get to know everybody's name and use it throughout our stay. The food was excellent and the accommodation spacious.
The game drives were the most special of all. With excellent tracking from Roy & Jason, we managed to witness a leopard kill and a cheetah kill in our 3 day stay.
We spent quality time at sightings and although we saw all the 'Big 5', we didn' t just rush around trying to tick them off.
A quality experience, made extra special by the staff.
I have included photos of some of the animals we saw.

  • Stayed June 2009, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank bluesy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
UAE
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2009

We stayed at Arathusa for 4 nights of our trip to SA. It was brilliant - I am from Africa but haven't seen too many leopards in the wild and this was my main aim of the stay. We weren't disappointed! And the greatest thing I liked was our enthusiasm was matched by the staff - they were just as excited as we were everytime we spotted something - and they were DETERMINED to show us much as they could. We didn't see huge amounts in terms of volume - but what we saw was very close and intimate and made this safari unique. I would go back - without a doubt and would recommend Arathusa over and over again! Thanks to Ryan and all the staff - it was a truly great 4 days.
Just on the side: I know there are camps out there (esp. in SA) that are super luxurious....this one isn't one of them. But for me I wanted to feel like I was in the bush - not in the middle of a city with every conceivable luxury to hand. Arathusa struck the right balance for me - very comfortable but you still felt you were in the bush!

  • Stayed April 2009, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank paff-froid
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 2 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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