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Etali Safari Lodge

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- Set in one of the quieter game reserves
- Luxurious yet authentic in character
- Private viewing decks and plunge pools
- Good provision for children

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Etali is a privately-owned luxury lodge located within the Madikwe Game Reserve, an expansive protected reserve in the far north of South Africa. The property has a sophisticated yet down-to-earth feel and does away with unnecessary modern conveniences in order to focus on offering an authentic, refined and highly personalised safari experience.

The accommodation comprises eight stylish ‘standard’ suites, plus one designed especially for families. All suites are fully air conditioned and come with amenities such as indoor and outdoor showers, a minibar, a fireplace and a private game viewing deck complete with plunge pool and sun loungers. There’s plenty of space and the outdoor deck provides the chance to observe some of the reserve’s many animals in complete privacy.

Morning and evening guided game drives are offered, with each one providing the chance to spot a different line-up of animals. There are also guided bush walks for those looking to get up close and personal with the area’s flora and fauna. Stargazing is also popular, especially since the lodge has its own on-site telescope through which an abundance of stars can be viewed on a clear night. The reserve covers some 75,000 hectares and is home to around 120 mammal species, along with 350 bird species. Despite being the fifth largest game reserve in the country, Madikwe is exceptionally quiet and far from touristy in feel. It’s a good spot for viewing the Big 5, along with other notable animals including the cheetah, the African wild dog and both the black and white rhino. The guides leading the drives and walks are professional experts who have a wealth of wisdom on the reserve to share with guests.

The lodge is very family friendly, and there are plenty of age-appropriate activities for children to partake in, such as arts and crafts, face painting sessions, cookery classes and special drives. Those travelling with younger ones should look to book the family suite, and a babysitting service is available on request. While it’s rare for animals to approach humans, parents are reminded to keep their children under adult supervision at all times due to the lodge's rural location.

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What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 501 reviews


  • Hi Lisa,

    The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.

    Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)

    Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019

  • We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
    We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
    Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
    Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
    Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
    Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
    Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
    Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
    Level of service, quality of food throughout

    MissingCatherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019

  • We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!

    The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).

    A few points:
    Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.

    Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
    They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.

    Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!

    The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!

    MissingKatrina P reviewing Value KZN Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019

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