Arathusa Safari Lodge
Sabi Sand Game Reserve,
of Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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ARATHUSA SAFARI LODGE - SABI SAND GAME RESERVE
Arathusa Safari Lodge is located within the northern sector of the coveted Sabi Sand Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park. This region has gained favour due to its lengthy history within the South African tourism industry, its incredible concentrations of wildlife, and the high quality private safaris on offer.
The lodge flanks the bank of a large waterhole (approximately 250m x 150m) allowing for a 180- degree view of the water. Guests are able to view and enjoy a variety of wildlife (including the big five – lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant). There are usually between 5 and 20 hippos “right on the doorstep” providing 24 hour entertainment.
Arathusa Safari Lodge is an 868 hectare property. Traversing during game drives, however, takes place across an area of approximately 4000 hectares (due to reciprocal agreements with neighbouring landowners). This does not affect the quality of the exclusive safari experience. There are very few vehicles to impact on the solitude enjoyed during game drives.
Arathusa's shared traversing area includes land owned by Elephant Plains, Simbambili, Chitwa Chitwa, part of Djuma as well as private land.
The landscape is rich and varied. Open savannahs, riverine thickets, river beds and lush bush vegetation ensure interesting sights around each corner. The perennial Manyeleti River meanders its way through the property.
“Arathusa” is derived from the Northern Sotho Word “Reathusa”, which means “to help one another”. The Farm ‘Arathusa’ was bought by Anina Dannhauser’s grandfather Dries Steyn in 1960, after his farm ‘ Seville’ was expropriated by the then-apartheid government. Seville was incorporated into the Black Homeland Gazankulu after expropriation. That farm is now part of a village called Seville approximately 20km from the Sabi Sand Reserve.
Arathusa was a family holiday retreat until 1998, when the land was leased to Chitwa Chitwa. They operated the lodge as Chitwa Chitwa Safari Lodge until 30 th April 2006, when the lease expired. Arathusa Safari Lodge has been owner-operated since then. Hannes and Anina are based at the lodge more often than not, and take a personal interest in each and every one of their guests. This is after all their family retreat. And guests are treated to a traditional safari experience in the hands of seasoned professionals.
The camp is an intimate one, completely open-plan and designed to harmoniously blend with the adjacent waterhole and African bush. Wood and thatch, air and water – an extension of the natural environment. The main living area is intended for comfort. Whether quietly reflecting on the view; reading a good book; enjoying compatible banter with friends or fellow safari go-ers - the warmth and charm of the camp environment is the foundation of the Arathusa safari experience.
An infinity swimming pool overlooks the waterhole and is the perfect spot for wildlife viewing on a smoldering African summer’s afternoon. A traditional open-air boma (brick & grass enclosed dining area) presents guests with a novel way of appreciating an enjoyable meal under the stars to the sounds of the African wild.
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Arathusa Safari Lodge is an intimate and hospitable camp. 9 thatched standard rooms are within the camp's perimeter. Each has a bathroom en-suite (with bath and separate indoor and outdoor showers), and a verandah for optimum enjoyment of the surrounding wilds. Twin rooms may also be arranged.
Arathusa also has 4 luxury rooms. These remote and exclusive units are further removed from the main camp facilities, and have their own private plunge pools and lounge areas. Fabrics are natural, furniture classic and the interior design both simple and elegant.
Additional amenities include a mini bar (stocked with a selection of beverages), an electronic safe, hairdryer, air conditioning, direct-dial telephone, mosquito net and tea/ coffee making facilities. There are no televisions in the rooms at Arathusa. In keeping with the traditional safari experience, the bush is best experienced “al dente”. Guests are however able to make calls from the reception area, and to send or receive e-mails and faxes.
The Safari Spa
Arathusa Safari Lodge now offers a comprehensive spa and wellness experience. This newly built facility has two treatment rooms overlooking the camp's waterhole and the beautiful African bushveld, and offers a wide selection of treatments to soothe the body, relax the mind, and indulge the senses. The spa has two therapists, so couples can enjoy their treatments in tandem.
Mimicking the rhythmical patterns of an African dance, the TheraNaka Signature Massage is performed with the use of specially designed natural wooden implements which, accompanied by light stretching techniques, is effective for reducing aches and pains and releasing tension. The warm Olive and Shea butter ointment will nourish and heal dry skin, while inducing a blissful state of relaxation and rejuvenation.
Dining & Cuisine
Meal times at Arathusa are a sociable affair. From the kitchen guests are treated to sumptuous dishes, fresh produce and home baked confectionary. South Africa is renowned for its fresh produce – our fruits and vegetables are a primary export to international regions all over the world. Meat, venison and poultry are also first class.
A continental breakfast is served buffet-style, while a cooked meal is served according to guests' preference from the kitchen. A sumptuous lunch is prepared by the chef, and served plated to guests directly.
Dinner is a 3-course affair on the deck overlooking the waterhole around a blazing fire (weather permitting).
Arathusa also offers a range of superior South African wines, produced in the Cape by well respective farms and estates.
Bordering the Kruger National Park, with no fences dividing them, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve is world renowned for excellent game viewing. At Elephant Plains Game Lodge you can be sure of game drives and bush walks that will live up to the Africa of your imagination! Not only will you have an excellent chance of close encounters with the Big 5, but you may even be spoiled with the more elusive wild dog and cheetah sightings. As the lodge is situated on a dry riverbed, the surrounding habitat is favourable for leopards, as these creatures enjoy the riverine and denser bush areas.
Keen birdwatchers would also be mesmerized with over 300 bird species to choose from. Over time and due to a carefully planned habituation process, some of the animals have become habituated to the game drive vehicles. This enables our guests to view the animals undisturbed, as they go about their daily routine.
There are two game drives per day, during which your experienced game ranger and local Shangaan tracker would share their extensive knowledge and love of the African bush with you. Each drive lasts about three hours with an intermediate break.
During the morning game drive you will be spoiled with coffee and homemade rusks and in the afternoon your ranger will find a suitable spot where you can enjoy the stunning views, whilst enjoying your sundowner drink. After sundowners your tracker will use the spotlight to find nocturnal animals, before returning to the lodge for dinner. Your ranger will discuss the various game drive regulations before you leave camp.
During game drive you will note that the rangers sometimes drive off of the road and into the bush. This is one of the many game drive aspects that enable us to bring you closer to the action! We do, however, work in accordance to guidelines set out by the Sabi Sand Game Reserve ecologist. We only allow off-roading in certain areas and with special precautions. The rangers do not drive over sensitive areas, will only drive over small trees if they are encroachment species and if necessary, they will do brush packing afterwards to limit the impact on the environment.
Arathusa prides itself on its’ leopard viewing. As leopards are territorial, their regular appearances in our area allow us to plot their movements and to observe their behavior. Many of the animals become familiar and are easily recognized – this enables us to name them. There is a female leopard named ‘Safari’ who is often seen around the camp. Approximately 14 leopards are found in the area in which Arathusa operate, 6 of which are seen on a regular basis.
Large herds of buffalo numbering in excess of 300 often find their way to the Arathusa lake. One need not move far to enjoy the safari experience! Elephants are also seen in numbers. There are various lion prides in the area, as well as a few nomadic males. Over 90% of guests will experience The Big 5 – very often in one day, sometimes in one drive.
General “lowveld” game are abundant in this section of the Sabi Sand Reserve, including giraffe, zebra, warthog, impala and more. This region is a bird-watcher’s mecca. A few of the rarer birds are seen from the camp itself, such as the Horus Swift.
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