Mpumalanga's Sabi Sand Game Reserve is one of the gems that are concealed on the outskirts of the world-acclaimed Kruger National Park. This is the home of the opulent Arathusa Safari Lodge, where superior safaris, abundant wildlife and plants as well as service that defines excellence can be enjoyed in tranquillity.
Situated on the banks of the river, guests of Arathusa will be privy to regular sight of some of Africa's wildest residents drinking and cooling themselves down in this water. These animals include hippos as well as the Big Five (elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and buffaloes). Guests' private balconies are the perfect vantage point from where to enjoy these unique sights.
Arathusa got its name from the Northern Sotho word "Reathusa". This translates to "to help one another" in English and refers to the warm South African hospitality that permeates the lodge, as well as to the efficiency and willingness of the staff to assist guests with their unique needs and desires.
In 1960, a local farmer, called Dries Steyn, lost his farm, Seville, as a result of expropriation by the Apartheid government. He then purchased Arathusa. Afterwards, the farm of Seville was made part of the Black Homeland Gazankulu. Today, Seville is still part of the village of the same name, which is only 20 kilometres from Arathusa.
From 1998 to 2006, the lodge was operated as Chitwa Chitwa Safari Lodge on a lease. However, the lease expired and Arathusa was once again within the hands of the owners to run. Today, the owners still manage the lodge on a personalised and hands-on basis.
The Camp is a central place for guests to meet, relax and tell of their African safari experience in a peaceful setting. Natural elements of wood and thatch and an open-plan design have been used to create a sense of oneness with nature. The camp is situated adjacent to the serene lake, while an infinity swimming pool boasts views of the frequented watering hole. Relax in its cool waters as the impressive beasts of the bushveld refresh themselves a stone's throw away.
The Camp includes an open-air boma, which is a traditional African place of meeting. This enclosed dining area is the ideal venue in which to savour some dinner and relax with friends, family, colleagues or fellow guests under the high star-speckled skies of Africa.
The Standard Rooms each have a thatched roof, en-suite bathroom with a separate bath and shower, an outdoor shower, stocked mini-bar, electronic safe, hairdryer, air-conditioning, mosquito net and a tea- and coffee station. A private verandah ensures that guests have the best views possible of the surrounding beauty. The design is tasteful and elegant. Twin rooms can be organised.
Arathusa's Luxury Suites are new and spacious, guaranteeing a real sense of being utterly pampered. These units measure 136 square metres and are equipped with private plunge pools, a large en-suite bathroom, outdoor shower, mini-bar, lounge and private verandah. The plunge pool and verandah both guarantee unrivalled views of the surrounds.
At Arathusa, guests are encouraged to indulge in an authentic African safari. For this reason, there are no telephones or televisions to distract one or keep one attached to the outside world. However, if necessary, the reception area has telephone, fax and email facilities available, which guests are welcome to make use of.
Guests of Arathusa will enjoy the hearty portions, fresh ingredients and novel approach to dishes, reminiscent of "mum's cooking". Meat, fruit, vegetables and herbs are all of the finest quality, typical of South Africa's exquisite range of fresh produce. In addition to superior food, meals are also a time for socialising and enjoying time with others in a relaxed atmosphere.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at this safari getaway. Breakfast is Continental in style and is served as a buffet, along with a cooked option. Lunches are tasty and, although light, provide ample sustenance for a busy day spent exploring the bushveld. Finish the day with a three-course dinner in the dining area or in the boma for a completely different experience.
South Africa is renowned the world over for its outstanding selection of wines. Most of these are produced in the Western Cape, dubbed the Cape Winelands. Sample some of the outstanding reds, whites, rosés and sparkling wines, with flavours to compliment every dish on the menu.
Arathusa Safari Lodge is set within some of the country's most beautiful landscapes and, as such, lures guests into the bush to explore the fascinating fauna and flora of the area. Game drives in open safari vehicles are conducted in the morning and evening. These are the coolest times of the day, prompting a greater variety of wildlife to leave their shady burrows and hideaways in search of food, water and fresh air. The animals are accustomed to humans and often come quite close to the vehicles, giving passengers excellent views of their majestic forms from close up.
For an even closer encounter, experienced guides conduct walking safaris. It is vital that these take place in the cooler hours, as this area can become very hot, particularly when actively walking through the bush. This provides amazing photo opportunities and lasting memories of South Africa.
Arathusa Safari Lodge is home to a number of exciting species of both plants and animals. Especially popular are the leopards. Usually a shy and reclusive species, these can often be seen prowling the expanses of the reserve in all their natural beauty. Six of the 14 resident leopards are more commonly sighted than others, and guests are likely to begin to recognise individuals as they watch them on a regular basis.
Elephants and buffaloes as well as several prides of lions are also regular sights, reminding guests of the magnificent proliferation of animals that Africa offers. In fact, there are over 300 buffaloes and equally impressive numbers of elephants that traipse silently through the terrain.
Other animals include giraffes, zebras, impalas, warthogs and their neighbours. In addition, an array of bird species has made Arathusa their home, and avid bird watchers are reminded to bring their binoculars and reference books.
Johannesburg to Arathusa Safari Lodge - approximately 550 km (approximately 7 hours by road)
Nelspruit to Arathusa Safari Lodge - 170 KM ( approximately 2.5 to 3 hours by road)
Hoedspruit to Arathusa Safari Lodge - 80 KM ( approximately 1.5 hours by road)
Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport to Arathusa Safari Lodge - 165 KM (approximately 2.5 to 3 hours by road)