Thornybush Game Lodge

Africa South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa
Thornybush Game Lodge, Mpumalanga - South Africa

Thornybush is a collection of luxury lodges in the world-renowned wilderness areas of Sabi Sand and Thornybush Nature Reserve in Kruger Park. Big 5 encounters and the sheer diversity of wildlife in the Kruger Park have helped establish Thornybush as a leading destination in the Greater Kruger Park area.

It’s the people here, however, that are the real secret to our bush magic. Our guides lead with an expertise and intuition that’s second to none, while our close-knit teams within the Thornybush lodges, from the receptionists to the chefs, create the homely environment our guests recognise as that ‘Thornybush feeling’.

The Game Lodge was the first of its kind in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, opening its doors back in 1961. As the original establishment, it put Thornybush on the map and established our reputation for world-class game-viewing.

Now, with a note of sophistication in the design and layout, our thatched main area overlooks a waterhole and riverbed frequently visited by elephants, buffalo and other large game at the Thornybush Lodge. The classic lower deck flows between the open dining area and a beautiful bar.

Sunbirds, attracted to the many aloes which surround the main deck, are just some of the many small delights you can expect on your stay at Thornybush Game Lodge.

The warm-hearted staff, riverbed setting and legacy of excellence are standout features. Meals, when taken at the lodge, are Ottolenghi-style buffets prepared by Solly, the legendary master bush chef!

Bush dinners are a firm favorite with our guests, where you get to enjoy a hearty meal, surrounded by lanterns, candles and the sound of the African wilderness.

Thornybush is a 14,000-hectare private nature reserve that shares a fenceless border with the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. Big 5 encounters are the standout experiences for our guests, with visitors particularly impressed with the lion and leopard sightings.

It’s the vast diversity of wildlife, however, that has seen Thornybush emerge as a leading safari destination. With our passionate and expert guide-and-tracker teams leading the way, our guests leave with a genuine understanding of our entire ecosystem and the enthralling cast of animals.

Private and stylishly decorated, the Luxury Suites are a joy to spend a night in and difficult to leave. The large windows above the bath and giant sliding doors to the deck offer incredible views of the riverbed and any animals that may be wallowing there.

Each of the 18 Luxury Suites have an en-suite bathroom, indoor and outdoor shower and have been carefully designed and spaced to provide privacy. The elegant finishes and extremely comfortable beds complete the impressive rooms.

Each of the two Family Suites are larger than the Luxury Suites, with a lounge area and day beds to accommodate children. As with the Luxury Suites, they have an elegant design that offers the perfect oasis of calm and rest after a game drive. These suites have a large private deck with its own plunge pool.

Dinners at Thornybush are roaming affairs – locations can range from lantern-lit bomas to starry riverbeds, but the most memorable meals are often enjoyed in the privacy of your own deck to enjoy a safari at night.

While the night sounds of the African bush ring through the air and mysterious eyes watch you from afar, you get to enjoy superbly prepared farm-to-table meals accompanied by South Africa’s finest wines.

If you’re looking for a timeout on a bush holiday, look no further than a yoga safari. You’ll feel refreshed and restored after a visit to Thornybush because nothing can quite compare with the sense of wellbeing gained from spending time in extreme comfort while immersed in nature.

The luxury of our lodges, the amicable warmth of our staff, eating well and fresh air is what everybody needs. As guests fall into the rhythm of nature, they slowly drift away from everyday stress and move towards being more mindful and centred.

Try your hand at bush yoga, indulge in an exceptional spa treatment or just let our Thornybush experience delight you into a state of complete relaxation.

Our award-winning spa treatments by Africology are sure to put you at ease and help you feel even more relaxed and pampered. Every treatment is customised to the individual with therapies aiming to bring balance to your well-being and instil a gentle glow to your days.

Whether it’s a massage or skin treatment, we’ll bring our pampering to your room to fully allow you to indulge without disturbing your safari holiday flow.

Locally sourced and ethically produced fresh produce from our community farms will delight your senses. Sit back and relax as our culinary chefs ensure all our organic ingredients are of the finest quality, plated to perfection for your enjoyment.

You’ll notice that we plan with care, and create our dishes with love as they’re served with typically warm African hospitality. No matter what your dietary requirements may be, you’ll be sure to discover that our meals are a bountiful affair with original healthy and delicious creations that create a palette of dreams.

The combination of deep rest in a remote wilderness combined with the excitement of coming face-to-face with Africa’s iconic wildlife is a sure-fire way to reboot your mind, body and soul.

The secret to its soothing nature is in the small things like the smell of the morning grass as you drive through it, how the sounds at night are eerily comforting and lull you into a deep restful sleep, and fresh air upon your face acting as Africa’s regenerative facial awakens you on your early morning game drive.

Spending time in the bush, enjoying the exemplary service of the Thornybush team and being able to completely switch off, is a powerful way to reconnect with yourself and your loved ones. This is the most powerful aspect of a Thornybush experience, bringing balance to your being that will resonate long after you’ve left.

Our guides and trackers take a holistic approach to wildlife experiences and strive to explain how the whole ecosystem is connected, from the dung beetle to the elephant. The better our guests understand how everything works together, the more the magic of the bush is revealed to them. Their passion brings something new to every drive or bush walk.

The 14,000-hectare Thornybush nature reserve is private, ensuring our guests enjoy intimate, uncrowded encounters with the wildlife as well as extended time on sightings.

The game density is exceptional and we can take you as close to the action as possible. Once darkness falls, you’ll be treated to thrilling spotlight-lit night drives in search of rare nocturnal animals and big cats on the move.

An abundance of perennial rivers, good groundwater levels and a range of vegetation means a diversity of plains game is drawn to Thornybush, which, in turn, attracts predators.

From trumpeting elephant herds along river beds, to the roar of a lion pride echoing through our camps to the thrill of a close encounter with a stealthy leopard, Thornybush is the ideal place to see the icons of the African bushveld.

We know that a trip to the African bush is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many, whether it’s a honeymoon safari, or to celebrate a romantic occasion, we’ve got you and your partner covered.

If you find yourself looking for a South African safari honeymoon, we at Thornybush know how to go above and beyond to make this special celebration between you and your partner an occasion to remember.

Each lodge has a unique nature that lends itself to the romanticism of celebrating love; whether it’s a private candlelit dinner or simply the magic of being immersed in the bush, we’ll ensure you get only the best in special treatment.

Let us take care of the small things while you spend quality time together and enjoy your intimate moments in one of the most romantic destinations in Africa.

At Thornybush, all our lodges cater for solo travellers on bush holidays. Whether you’d like a smaller, more intimate safari vacation at one of our lodges or want to share this experience with newfound friends at a larger, busier lodge, Thornybush is well aware of what a solo traveller wants out of a safari holiday.

Travelling solo grants our guests the freedom to move as they please and shape their days to their own specific whims. Meals can be enjoyed in the company of our guides or other guests, with a lot of free time in the day to soak up the peace and beauty of the bush. Browse our bush holiday specials and find the perfect solo safari fit for you.

At Thornybush, we strive to make our experiences on your safari holiday more meaningful, immersive and sustainable. We’ve seen first-hand how this can have a positive impact, not only on our guests, but in the community and environment our guests encounter too.

Our goal is to help you reconnect with nature and, in turn, reconnect with yourself and the friends and family you’re traveling with. As you explore outwardly, you also enrich your inner life, creating a positive personal impact that continues beyond a safari vacation and stays with you for the rest of your life.

Since our inception, Thornybush has played host to special celebrations of multi-generational family safari holidays. It’s amazing to see how children experience the bush and view the wildlife, and just as exciting to experience it all through the eyes of a parent, grandparent or doting aunt or uncle.

Thornybush Game Lodge is ideal for a safari with kids and family safaris, catering for all generations. We pride ourselves with specific family-orientated services to ensure everyone has a special stay.

Thornybush and Sabi Sand share a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park, allowing a steady stream of free-roaming Big 5 safari animals and wildlife. The consistent sightings of Africa’s big 5 African safari iconic animals are a key factor in the success of our lodges.

Guests will see much more than just elephants and lions because Thornybush is well known for the vast diversity of wildlife, indigenous to this area. All this is brought to life by our expert guide-and-tracker teams who have a deep understanding of the African bush with an inherent knack for finding the action with the Big five safari animals and more.

Awaken to a pink dawn, the sounds of the morning chorus as the birds begin to stir and look forward to a new day and an exciting chance to see the African wildlife begin their day – this is the ultimate welcome to a morning drive at Thornybush.

You’ll need to be up before the sun, starting with a morning coffee and a snack before you hop into our game vehicles and set off to see the best big 5 animal sightings. Morning game drives are a perfect opportunity to seek out wildlife as this is when the land is cool and the animals are most active.

Anything is possible and sightings come quickly, so prepare those cameras and have your bush eyes peeled! After a couple hours of roaming the reserve you’ll stop at a special spot for our famous bush coffee break before heading back for a delicious late breakfast.

With two game drives a day, you’re bound to spot your bucket-list big 5 animal sightings. Following a lazy afternoon, most likely spent by the pool or on your deck, we’ll meet for a deliciously prepared afternoon tea with sweet treats before you climb into your game vehicle for a three-hour drive that leads into the evening.

The sundowner stop at one of our favourite viewpoints will no doubt show off one of Africa’s iconic sights – a sunset casting golden light across an African savanna. As night sets in, you’ll start to see new animals stir on your safari at night experience, adding another level of excitement to the end of the drive.

A walking safari offers something quite different to a game drive: the thrill of being on foot in a Big 5 reserve and a chance to engage with the smaller things. You learn about tracking, insects, flowers and most of all the power of the african landscape.

It’s a chance to have an immersive experience where you get down and touch and smell what’s out there while at the same time you never quite know what you’ll encounter around the next corner. There is little that compares to a walking safari or going on a safari hiking experience in a true big 5 safari reserve.

Thornybush runs a non-profit organisation that aims to uplift the surrounding local communities that many of our staff members come from. Exciting initiatives such as community owned agricultural businesses, food security, youth focused conservation awareness, sustainable procurement and infrastructure upgrades are all major focus areas of ours.

Rooms: 18
Price: from 784 EUR per night


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