As events around the world continue to unfold with respect to the Coronavirus pandemic, we find ourselves together in a set of unusual and difficult circumstances.

We have great empathy for the challenges facing our guests, as well as our staff, wanting to ensure their health and safety, and that of their loved ones. Please be assured that we are strictly adhering to the directives of leading health authorities – including the World Health Organization – and that appropriate protocols are in place at Arathusa Safari Lodge.

All staff have been trained (re-enforced on an ongoing basis) to observe the highest standards of personal hygiene, as well as observing protocols dictated by the World Health Organisation in respect of interactions with guests and one another.

Suites, guest and staff facilities, the kitchen and communal areas are cleaned and disinfected frequently and thoroughly. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is available in all communal areas, in guest Suites and on game drive vehicles. Where possible, we allocate no more than 6 people per safari vehicle. However, when the lodge is at full capacity, it may necessitate us having to accommodate 8 people per safari vehicle.

No buffets are served, and each meal is individually plated during breakfast, lunch, afternoon teatime and dinner. Guests are seated at their own tables during meals, with a space of at least 2 meters between each table.

Any staff returning from leave are screened thoroughly in advance of going on duty.

We are in close and constant contact with medical professionals in Hoedspruit and Hazyview, and have access to the Nelspruit Mediclinic (private hospital) in the event that a guest or staff member shows symptoms of COVID-19.


Travellers departing from South Africa will require a negative COVID-19 PCR test certificate, which is not older than 72 hours.

For guests departing from OR Tambo International Airport

NEXT PATHOLOGY offers a swift 2 hour turnaround time on PCR testing at OR Tambo International Airport. They are licensed with the Department of Health specifically for the diagnostic testing of SARS COV-2.

  • Express PCR Test: ZAR 2,000.00 per person
  • Open 7 days a week (6am – 10pm)
  • Travel certificates issued 
  • Bookings and walk-in available (groups of 10 or more must pre-book)
  • Dedicated call centre for any follow-up queries


Ground floor Intercontinental Hotel, Kafue Room, OR Tambo International Airport
*The hotel is situated outside the international arrivals hall
Tel: 011 697 2931

(Information supplied by NEXT PATHOLODY, and is subject to change)

For guests departing from Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport

For the convenience of our guests, we have made arrangements for on-site PCR testing (mouth-rinse test) directly at the lodge, handled by a professional paramedic (registered with Healthcare Professional Council of South Africa – HPCSA) from Hoedspruit. This bypasses the need to travel via road (a one way drive of approximately 2 hours) for testing at Ampath Laboratories, which takes away from the invaluable time spent on safari.

So as not to miss out on the morning game drive, tests are usually conducted at 09h00 after guests return from their safari. Samples are then personally delivered to Ampath Laboratories in Nelspruit, with the results available within 24 – 36 hours, and certificates are emailed to the guest/s directly.

Payment may be made to the service provider directly in cash, or added to the extras bill which is payable on departure. Please enquire with our reservations team regarding applicable rates, which fluctuate based on the number of people requiring the test.

Important cautionary notes:

• Ampath Laboratories in Hoedspruit only conduct mouth-rinse tests. These are not as accurate as the nasal swab, and there is an increased risk of a false positive result. There have been instances of guests testing negative the following day. For mouth-rinse tests, it is important that guests do not drink, eat, brush teeth etc. for about an hour before the test, to avoid the risk of a false positive.

• Should a guest test positive, they will be unable to transfer via road or air, as mandated by transfer companies and airlines. This may result in an outbound international flight being missed/ cancelled, with additional costs being incurred to book a new flight out.

• Guests who test positive will have to quarantine in isolation, per COVID-19 Hygiene, Health and Safety protocols. This means that our staff are unable to service accommodation, and any meals will need to be left outside the door of the quarantined space. Guests are also not able to use public facilities within the lodge.

• We will afford guests the opportunity to remain in their rooms (if available) at an additional rate for accommodation and meals, or we may need to move them to pilots’/ b-grade accommodation (if available) at the relevant applicable rate.

• Should guests wish to book this testing service at Arathusa Safari Lodge directly, please contact our reservations team prior to arrival (, and they will gladly assist with all arrangements.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries or concerns.

Tel: +27 11 678 0626
Mobile: +27 65 897 4794 / +27 65 951 2419

Download COVID-19 information