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“Beautiful setting” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Etali Safari Lodge

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Etali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Beautiful setting”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 September 2013

This was our fourth and final safari location on our family's first-ever visit to Africa. By the time we got to this last safari, we had seen everything of the Big Five except for the rhino, so it was a great pleasure to finally see one at Madikwe. It was also wonderful that owner Koos took the time to discuss his views on how best to preserve these endangered species (through farming!) and made for a great conversation.

Given that we had already seen so much before, my thoughts on the actual safari are that it was perfectly sufficient but alas somewhat constrained by the feeling we were driving around in circles (this is true for many safaris, but perhaps we just felt it more here). Thus my lasting impressions of Etali are more directed towards the lovely location and accommodations. Our room was so lovely and welcoming, and the staff lit fires in the fireplace for us before the evening got too cold. We enjoyed the outdoor shower but it was too cold for us to use the hot tub without spending the day warming it first. The views were spectacular and the watering hole up front had some of the best animal sightings of the trip.

The food was amazing and enthusiastically presented, and great wine pairings. I know this is a higher-end price point and cannot compare it to the others in Madikwe, but I can say that I was totally comfortable with the property and would not hesitate to recommend.

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Wallingfordgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Etali-Safari, General Manager at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 8 October 2013
Thank you so much for taking the time to post your review about Etali Safari Lodge. We are so pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us and that we were able to ensure that you completed your ‘Big 5’ experience with some great rhino sightings. You were with us during a very wintery week, so it is good that we were able to keep you snug with a lovely log fire in the room. Hopefully if you return in warmer months then you will also be able to enjoy swimming whilst watching the wildlife.

I will certainly pass on your wonderful comments about the amazing food and wine to our chefs and front of house team. Such positive feedback is always appreciated by our friendly and enthusiastic staff.

Thank you once again for choosing Etali as part of your African experience and for recommending us to others.

Best wishes from Koos, Susan and all the staff at Etali
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420 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (97)
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English first
Rustenburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
24 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 September 2013

We booked Etali Safari Lodge in Madikwe Game Reserve as a Birthday Treat. As we live near Rustenburg, it is a lot closer than Kruger Park, and some say that Madikwe is on a par with Kruger.
Etali charges 5 star prices, but it is a 3.5 star experience.
The place is magical, the food is mostly 1st class (except average braai dinner), and some of the staff are professional. The room was wonderful, generous size, with huge bathroom and secluded oudoor deck with plunge pool. The public areas are well laid out and tastefully decorated. There is a delightful outside deck overlooking a waterhole.
Unfortunately, the service lets the place down, this was not a 5 star overall experience. There is a lack of service delivery that adds up to spoil the effect. The front office lady, Kate, realised that we were not happy, and tried to turn us around by offering us a Bush Breakfast which was a memorable occasion.
The Spa is average, requiring a supervisor and staff training.
Etali has such potential, and we thought our expectations would be exceeded. Unfortunately, we left disappointed.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Paul B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Koos-Etali, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 4 September 2013
Dear Paul
Thank you for making the time to post this review.
As one would expect, it is not nice to receive a review which has some negative comments. However, I do want to assure you that we value any feedback because it helps us to identify areas we need to improve on and to be true to our objective of continuous improvement.

Since you provided us with some comments directly, we did have a management discussion and review of your comments. I want to thank you for the constructive nature of your comments and can assure that we looked at each comment and already identified ways of dealing with those areas for improvement.

Perhaps one day we will have the opportunity to host you at Etali and can then demonstrate to you that we took your advice seriously.

Regards
Koos
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
melbourne
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 September 2013

Having been on many luxury safaris in South Africa, I can say that Etali is quite unique. The accommodation is luxurious and the waterhole in front is very active with animals. But it is the added extra special touches that make Etali stand out above the rest.They went out of their way to make my birthday special. Garth the Chef provides fabulous and plentiful food. The game drives were excellent and Kel & jerry were able to provide us with some unique and special sighings. This place has a soul and it is evident in the way the staff interact with you and themselves in such a happy and caring manner. Kate went out of her way to arrange a flight for us with no fuss. Koos the owner, who is always on hand, has ensured that Etali is the place you want to stay in Madikwe! I highly recommend staying here.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MelbourneAustralian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Koos-Etali, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 4 September 2013
Thank you for your feedback about your visit to Etali.

It was great meeting you and we certainly had fun hosting you.

I am pleased that the changes to your flight arrangements worked well and I trust that you had a fine trip back South.

We look forward to hosting you at Etali in the future.
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1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 September 2013 via mobile

We just got back from an amazing 4 day stay at Etali and all I can say is that when they called it 'a place of new beginnings', they got it absolutely right! My husband and I took our 3 daughters aged 13, 9 and 4 to Etali for a long awaited family break which also coincided with our eldest daughter's 13th birthday (also doubled up as an initiation into adulthood for her!). The Etali experience started out positive from the word go. We approached six different lodges in Madikwe game reserve, and Etali was the quickest and most responsive. They corresponded with me on email even over the weekend, and Susan, the proprietor, got on the case when her staff were off and went out of her way to accommodate our needs. This would be a hallmark of the entire experience, which left me feeling that the owners not only have a clear vision for their lodge, but that this vision is shared by all their staff as well. Etali was all about special little touches that made us feel special. From the game drives that we had twice a day, each of which was unique (we saw all the big five, and then some), the special meals, birthday cake, baby sitting and games for the kids, spa treatment, drinks outside the waterhole where the animals came for their drinks, boma dinner on a warm night, bush breakfast and romantic dinner organized by our daughters and kindly accommodated by the lodge staff... Our little one wasn't left out, even with the reserve rules that did not allow kids under 6 on the game drives, they found special ways to accommodate her without tiring her out, including having her and her sisters bake cup cakes for dessert! Clearly, I can't thank the owners and staff of Etali for such a wonderful stay and can go on for ages. It's hard to single out everyone who made our stay so enjoyable but in the African way, I must single out Koos and Susan the owners, Kate, Maudley at the spa, Obakeng and Thulani who were our guides on the drives, Hayley who became a friend to our little ones, the Chef and all the kitchen staff, security staff and the housekeeping staff who we never saw, but always seemed to magically keep the rooms in perfect order all day! We will certainly be back!

Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
Helpful?
1 Thank Risper O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Koos-Etali, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 4 September 2013
Thank you for your feedback on Tripadvisor.

It was a pleasure for us to host the whole Risper family at Etali.

I can assure you that we take all comments seriously, be it bad or good. Your report on your visit would be a good comment to add to any audit report!

Again, thank you for choosing Etali Safari Lodge for your celebration and we look forward to welcome you back at Etali.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Shanghai, China
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2013

Last weekend I visited Etalit Safari Lodge with some friends for lunch and a day at the spa. The day started with drinks out the on terrace overlooking the lodge's watering hole. We sipped our drinks and watched zebra and impala gather around the watering hole for their midday refreshments... very nice. A tasty buffet lunch was served outdoors and we all helped ourselves to beef stew, chicken, bean salad, and bread with malva pudding and custard for dessert.

Spa treatments came after lunch, and this is where the day turned a little weird. There were five of us in our group, and we each had booked manicures (45 minutes each) and full body massages (one hour each). However, the lodge only had two spa staff, which meant that they saw us two at a time and the rest of us had to hang around for four extra hours to receive our own spa treatments. That meant six hours total to do five pedicures and five massages! Because time was running short - Gabs is about a two hour drive from Madikwe and this was a Sunday afternoon - we decided to cut down on our original plans and just do either a pedicure or a massage each. I chose the massage, which was great and very relaxing, but I was disappointed that the lodge hadn't properly scheduled our spa treatments to allow us enough time to do what we wanted. That was poor planning on their part.... they should have started some of us before lunch.

At the end of the day, we had a nice visit to Etali... after all, who wouldn't love lunching outdoors with a view of the animals and a massage afterwards?! However, the day could have been a lot better. We felt discriminated against as "day visitors" - sure, we weren't spending the night, but we were spending $100 each for the day and could have been a potential source of referrals and extra business for the lodge. They didn't see it that way, and chose to treat us more as cheapos who couldn't afford to stay there for the night.

The clincher came late in the afternoon, when were sitting by the pool waiting for our last friend to finish her spa treatment. We practically kicked out of the pool area and told we needed to leave the lodge and now.... ostensibly because of Madikwe's rule that day visitors leave the park before dark, but I suspect also because we were taking up valuable pool space which could be better used by the lodge's more valued overnight guests. Either way, the whole reason we were still waiting was because they hadn't scheduled us properly!

My final review? A very nice day, but compared to the level of service I've found at Madikwe's other lodges, especially Mosetlha and Motswiri, Etali was nothing special. Save your money, or spend it somewhere else.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JanetShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Koos-Etali, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 4 September 2013
Thank you for your response on Tripadvisor.

It was good to read the constructive comments you made.

Regarding your concern about the available time for all the treatments for your group I want to apologise. It seems to be a miscalculation on available time for treatments for your whole group. We have two therapist on duty at our Wellness center and our planning should be around that restriction.

I can assure you that we do not differentiate our service for people who stay overnight and day visitors. We do however have rules in the game reserve that we have to abide to. I assume the comments you made about your departure time was because of the restriction we all abide to when it comes to driving in the Reserve after dark. The Reserve is Big 5 reserve and we don't want any guest to face elephants, etc on the road in the dark. Apart from the animal issue, we are blessed with rhinos in the Reserve and any unnecessary vehicle activity after dark adds to the workload of those who are there to protect our animals.

We view all guests as future guests and hence we would never view day visitors as less important than any other guests. I am sorry that you experienced it differently.

Again, thank you for your comments. We look forward to hosting you in the future.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 August 2013

I have been privileged enough to have stayed in a number of Lodges in Southern Africa . My recent stay at Etali is without doubt the best Lodge and Safari experience I have had during those 18 years .

The accomodation is luxurious , the service is attentive without being intrusive , the food is excellent and the Game Viewing was exeptional . In fact I saw a multitude of Game just sitting on my terrace overlooking the waterhole in front of the main lodge.

I cannot recommend this Lodge highly enough and will definately be visiting again which is against the norm for me . The owners Koos and Susan were present during my stay and were friendly and helpful throughout . Special mention to Garth the Chef who cooked to order and Obi and Thulani my Ranger and tracker .

To anyone who reads this , you wont be disappointed .

Room Tip: Number 6 is the best room
See more room tips
  • Stayed July 2013, travelled on business
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kenny T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Koos-Etali, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 4 September 2013
Dear Kenny
Thank you for providing feedback on Tripadvisor after your visit to Etali Safari Lodge.

It is always fantastic for us to receive feedback and to hear that you rate this as the best safari experience you had in Southern Africa. That is what we strive for all the time.

Hopefully when we have the pleasure to host you again in the future, you will see that we have improved even more because we view improvement as a continuous process.

Again, thank you for your comments. It is inspiring.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
johannesburg
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 July 2013

I stayed here during July for 1 night only with my colleagues. The staff went out of their way to ensure we had everything we needed. I loved the huge deck in each room with your own private splash pool and loungers. I stayed in Room 6 which had a lovely view of the watering hole. The food was delicious and while having dinner the staff all sang for us, which was really nice! I never got a chance to try out the spa but it looked lovely! I would definitely stay here again!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank SATraveller6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Etali Safari Lodge

Property: Etali Safari Lodge
Address: Madikwe Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > North-West Province > Madikwe Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Etali Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 10
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Etali Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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