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Trip Report Trip report - Arathusa in Sabi Sands, Pafuri Camp and Mashatu Tented Camp

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My husband and I went on our our second Southern Africa trip in June 2009. Here is our trip report – it is too long, but we had such a blast I wanted to share it with you.

May 29 – Fly to London AA in coach. We wanted to have a layover so we could get used to the time change, so we visited London for a few days.
June 2 – Fly BA to JNB in business class (yeah for FF Miles!!)
June 3 – Ariive JNB, transfer to Federal Air Terminal, fly to Arathusa
June 3 – June 6 Arathusa Safari Camp
June 6 – Driver transfer to Pafuri Camp in Northern Kruger
June 6 – June 9 Pafuri Camp
June 9 – Driver transfer to Mashatu Tented Camp in southeast Botswana
June 9 – 13 Mashatu Tented Camp
June 13 – Fly Mashatu to Polokwane to JNB
June 14 – Lipizzaner horse show, late flight home, business JNB-LHR, coach LHR-JFK
June 15 – Arrived home. Started planning our next trip to S Africa

We landed at JNB in the morning, we were met at the airport and taken to the small airport where Federal Air operates (had to go back to main terminal – we forgot to get money from an ATM. Too tired, I guess). We were there for a few hours napping and having a light continental breakfast. We boarded our small (about 8 seats, I guess) aircraft and made our way to Arathusa with a quick stop to drop other passengers off at another camp. We were met at the "Arathusa airport" and made ourselves comfy in our room where we'd stay for the next three days. Wow - Arathusa was so much nicer than expected!! Our rondovelle was one from the end in front of a large waterhole. There were animals everywhere. It was very large with a king bed (nice surprise) and mosquito nets. There is an outside shower, as well as an inside shower and a bathtub (another surprise). Very large, neat as a pin and very clean. The camp was being spiffed up while we were there - painting and adding brick pathways. The common areas were very nice. It even had an infinity pool that looked over the waterhole. Our meals were served on a deck overlooking the water hole. At night with lanterns in a circle and brunch was under a shaded deck. The food was excellent. We always had two options for dinner (great soups!) and brunch was cook to order-pretty much anything, plus muffins and fresh fruit. The snack before the afternoon game drive was always a nice bit of something yummy. The staff was very friendly and we had a great experience.

We were lucky that everyone there with was so nice. There were ten of us in our vehicle. At first, I was a bit ticked off that there were so many of us, but the rest of the guests were so much fun. There was a single woman from Kansas who was there for the week, a couple from Brazil, a couple from France and a trio from Germany. It was fun getting to know them a little. Our guide, Ryan - a young man from S Africa and our tracker, Maurice, were very friendly and knowledgeable. We were just amazed at the numbers of animals we saw on all the drives, and we never felt rushed or “bored” at the sightings. It was our first time in Sabi Sands, so we were really surprised at the number of leopards and rhino. We loved Arathusa and would recommend it for anyone looking for a quality game experience but not looking for a luxury lodge and spa treatments with a really fun mix of guests. We missed our last drive on Saturday morning, but we could have left after it as our drive to Pafuri was not as long as expected. We got there in less than 5 hours.

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