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“Amazing”
Review of Etali Safari Lodge

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Etali Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Madikwe Game Reserve
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Amazing”
Reviewed 17 March 2017

We had a great time. The rooms are very confortable and big. With a lot of fetuares. From your deck you can see the game if you were lucky.
The Team is very obliging and friendly.
During the game drives you learn a lot from your guides. You see a lot of animales.
Was a lot of fun and an amazing time. again and yet again!

  • Stayed March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
1 Thank kk683
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Etali-Safari, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 10 April 2017
Dear KK,

Thank you for the warm review of your stay. We are glad to hear that all features of your stay were to your liking and that you had such an amazing time forming memories at the lodge. We look forward to hosting you again soon!

Kind Regards,
Koos and the Etali Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (102)
Date | Rating
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English first
Wyncote, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
254 reviews
133 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 116 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2017

I have spent a great deal of,time visiting many different luxury lodges in different reserves of South Africa over many years. I was anxious to go to Madikwe and I chose Etali. The lodge has some attractive features but, in general, it is corporate in feeling. It is impossible to find any intimate spot on the property. The rooms have all the 5star comforts but there is nothing artistic or native about them. The decor could be found anywhere in the world. The restaurant is large and also has a very corporate feel.
The food was good, by no means outstanding.
I did like the topography of the preserve very much and our ranger was excellent. Once again, the reserve has so many vehicles that they have to line up to view special,animals and often they cannot get a place in the queue. This also,gives the entire area a more commercial feel.
I wish they could send the multitude of vehicles in different directions on any given game run so that the guests have more of a feeling of intimacy with nature.
The fact that this reserve is so close to Johannesburg probably accounts for the aspects of it that I did not like.

Room Tip: They all seemed the same to me
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  • Stayed February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Joan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Etali-Safari, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 15 March 2017
Dear Joan,

In response to your critical review of your stay at Etali, I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the concerns you have raised:

Your impression of the lodge as corporate and lacking intimate areas surprised us somewhat. Etali is a family owned business which prides itself on giving absolutely individual attention to a maximum of 20 guests at any given time. In this way, we have always been able to cater to the individual needs of our guests in terms of their personal preferences.

The individualistic focus of the lodge extends also to our rooms, which are designed to give an unhampered and individual connection to the natural surroundings without any ostentatious ornamentation. Decorations which are found within the rooms are all sourced from the surrounding areas and are incorporated in a minimalistic way contribute to the “bush zen” feel we have created. Preferences regarding decor are, of course, subjective and we encourage guests interested in visiting the lodge to take a look at the pictures of our suites on Tripadvisor or our website to see whether it matches their preferences.

Our various dining areas, such as our bush boma, and main dining room offer sufficient space for all the guests while extending the focus of a connection with nature found in the rest of the lodge. Dining options focus on the requirements and desires of the individual, being a smaller lodge allows us flexibility in accommodating both religious, health and personal dietary preferences and the quality of our cuisine is a point of pride often commented upon by Tripadvisor reviewers. We are sorry to hear that you did not find our meals simply good and not outstanding and will continue to strive for perfection in our culinary offerings.

We are glad to hear that your experience with your guide, Kristoff, was excellent. I have spoken to him, and he confirmed that he had entered the queued to see the African Wild-dogs and Cheetah. Interestingly these popular and endangered species were found within one kilometre of each other during your stay, which accounts for the number of vehicles that you saw in the vicinity. Kristoff assures me that he made a concerted effort to “break from the pack”, and your drives also included more secluded visits to unique areas within the reserve along with private and un-rushed sightings of Lions, Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo and more.

Madikwe has a strictly enforced code of conduct for guides, and while guests can reasonably expect to share sightings with a maximum of 3 vehicles, guides within Madikwe collaborate in locating animals and generally do not have any difficulty either joining the queue or viewing our more “special” species. The park itself is 75 000 hectare (750 square kilometre/290 square miles) with a maximum of 60 vehicles on a myriad of roads at any given time, and no limitations on where one can traverse. Most sightings of other vehicles are therefore limited to a friendly hello as guides pass each other while traversing the park.

Finally, I can confirm that Madikwe is indeed relatively close to Johannesburg and can be reached in approximately 4 hours driving, or 1 hour by flight from O.R. Tambo international airport. Generally, this adds to the convenience in reaching the park for our many domestic and international guests. However, I know that your experience was somewhat different, as you drove west from Limpopo province to Madikwe. As your stay was directly after major rains in the area I know that the dirt road you used in reaching the lodge was un-drivable causing a major delay in your arrival, and required us to send a vehicle to assist you in reaching Madikwe. Based on this difficulty, you had requested a refund from the lodge, a request which I was unable to meet. I hope that this did not contribute to your negative experience at Etali, and we encourage self-driving guests to contact the lodge immediately prior to leaving their point of departure, in order to avoid any temporary problems on our South African roads.

Thank you for taking the time to review your stay at Etali. As rare as critical reviews are, they do offer us the opportunity to clarify what a stay at the lodge Etali Safari Lodge in Madikwe entails, and are therefore a valuable form of communication with potential guests. I also hope that my response has clarified some of your concerns.

Kind Regards,
Koos Potgieter
Owner & Director - Etali Safari Lodge
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 11 March 2017

Fantastic staff, great game viewing, food was amazing. Couldn't have asked for a better stay. The lodge is beautiful and worth the trip for anyone looking to enjoy a luxury safari trip. Highly recommend!

  • Stayed March 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank O1726UDclaudiac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Etali-Safari, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 16 March 2017
Dear Claudia,

Thank you very much for your enthustiastic recommendation. It is always welcome when guests give such positive feedback on their Etali experience. We look forward to hosting you again in the future!

Kind Regards,
Koos and the Etali Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
48 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2017

The Scene: Having been to Madikwe (and Kruger) before, I was spoilt for choice when trying to pick a good safari lodge for my girlfriend’s first visit to South Africa. After reading some very positive reviews on TripAdvisor, we ended up picking Etali. After 10 days in Cape Town, we flew into O.R. Tambo @ JNB and grabbed our hire car to drive to Madikwe. The trip is about 4.5-5 hours door to door. We left at 11 am and got to the lodge by 4, just in time for the afternoon game drive.

Positives: From the moment we arrived, the family-feel of Etali and their staff stood out and made you feel right at home. We had just spent 4.5 hours on the road and after being greeted with a welcome cocktail, insisted we sit down, relax and eat some food they had saved us from the lunchtime service before worrying about checking in or getting our credit cards, passports, etc. out. This really set the positive tone for our 3 day stay with the wonderful Etali Team. The accommodation is top class, each room is very large and has it’s own deck along with indoor and outdoor showers. There is also a small splash pool to relax in during the day. We had an amazing view from our room which was about 50 metres from a watering hole where we were able to see elephants and other animals come to drink throughout the day. The safaris were truly excellent, with our guides going above and beyond to deliver a sighting of all Big Five during our stay – day 2 of our trip, all Big Five in two game drives.

Negatives: The in-house Spa could be considered slightly pricey for what you get, but this would really be scraping at the bottom of the barrel for an unforgettable stay. As you can probably see from the length of our Positives, this place was hard to fault.

Top Tip: If you are unsure between Madikwe or Kruger, having been to both, Madikwe is far less commercial and quainter (plus there is no need for malaria pills in Madikwe) – and even after choosing this remarkable Game Reserve, you really could not do any better than Etali.

Stayed December 2016, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank lostinLondon522
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Etali-Safari, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 16 March 2017
Dear lostinLondon522,

Thank you very much for the kind, thoughtful and detailed review of your experience at Etali along with your strong recommendation. It is always a pleasure to hear that a guest has appreciated all the effort given by the Etali team to ensure that each stay is unforgettable.

Regarding our spa; while not complementary our spa does make use of the highest quality of health and wellness products and professional spa therapists. We do our best to ensure that our prices are comparable to similar facilities within South Africa. We also offer our steam room and gym facilities complimentary to all guests, regardless of whether they book any additional treatments.

Thank you again for the feedback, we hope to see you again soon at the lodge!

Kind Regards,
Koos and the Etali Team
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Midrand, South Africa
Level Contributor
3 reviews
Reviewed 6 March 2017

What a wonderful experience we had at Etali 3 weekends ago. The Mrs' and myself needed a break and Etali was our choice. Since we arrived we were treated like royalty & we soaked-up every moment of it.

Our guide Patrick and tracker Herman, spoiled us with all the magnificent animals and scenery. The hostess Tshepiso really out did her herself as everything was running smoothly at all times. The food was fantastic every meal time, and all credit goes to the Chefs and kitchen staff. The service team was constantly seeing to our needs, with a big shout-out to the trainer Thato, you did a awesome job.

Now to the two Spa ladies, you guys were professional and we had great experience, it was just a pity that the suitcase was too small; as your services are definitely a daily requirement in the rat race we live in. The owners also made us feel welcome as they made their rounds striking conversations with all the guests.

I would recommend a break-away to Etali Safari in Madikwe to the city slickers, safari seekers and couples just needing a break.

To all the staff of Etali Safari, You guys are fantastic & keep it up!

Room Tip: Any room is a great room, you're in the bush and secluded from all other guests.
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  • Stayed February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank JPRothmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Etali-Safari, Owner at Etali Safari Lodge, responded to this review, 7 March 2017
Dear JP,

Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed and thoughtful review. The entire team appreciates your compliments for their hard work, which helped to make your stay so memorable.

We hope to see you again soon at the lodge!

Kind Regards,
Koos and the Etali Team
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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 #4 of 23 Speciality Lodging in Madikwe Game Reserve
Price range (per night): R9 427 - R14 266
Hotel Class:5 star — Etali Safari Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 10
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Also Known As:
Etali Safari Hotel Madikwe Game Reserve

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