Thornybush Private Game Reserve

Big 5 encounters and the sheer diversity of wildlife have helped establish Thornybush Private Game Reserve 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.

Saseka Tented Lodge

Accommodation options at Saseka Tented Camp include eight luxury tents, each with its private deck with uninterrupted views of the seasonal Monwana riverbed, outdoor shower and pool, stylish interiors, and can accommodate two guests each. The tents are away from the main area and are ultra-spacious on permanent foundations. Glass doors open up onto your private deck and pool, with sun loungers and chairs.

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Thornybush Game Reserve Accommodation Guide

 

A general overview of Thornybush Game Reserve

 

Thornybush Game Reserve is a private game reserve in Limpopo that shares an unfenced border with the renowned Kruger National Park (KNP) in South Africa. Thornybush Game Reserve thus forms a part of the recently established Greater Kruger Park, an open conserved area that totals approximately 7,000,000 acres or 23,000 square kilometres.

The reserve is set on riverbeds or overlooking waterholes, and the main purpose is to create out-of-the-ordinary safari experiences for its guests. The reserve is only about an hour’s drive away from two of the main gates to the Kruger National Park and promises to provide an unforgettable safari experience.

Thornybush is located in a mixed woodland eco-zone, which is one of several eco-zones in the lowveld of Limpopo, and the one with the highest variety of fauna and flora.

With regards to wildlife, the area has it all – from excellent opportunities to encounter the members of the Big 5, which include lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard, to a full varied range of other indigenous wildlife. The best way to enjoy this offering of wildlife is by several game drives during your visit and the many offered open vehicle safaris are the best way to get even closer to these majestic animals.

Under the guidance of experienced and qualified rangers, you may experience more than one such a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Of all the game drive possibilities, night game drives are possibly the most popular and rewarding.

At night that part of the bush that one cannot experience on your own during a self-drive safari, comes alive as the nocturnal animals start to emerge and go hunting and feeding. Most of the vehicles used for night drives are fitted with effectively adapted spotlights to provide optimal game viewing in the dark.

The reserve and surroundings offer accommodation by means of 12 highly rated lodges, from where both local and foreign visitors can enjoy a true African luxury experience, but in a typical safari setting. Eleven of the lodges are situated in the Thornybush Nature Reserve and the 12th are located in Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The lodges vary in size and stature, but in all of them, guests can sit back and just enjoy the magic of the African bush.

Many of them offer the convenient option of travel packages that are all-inclusive and offer all meals, drinks, activities and more as part of the Thornybush Game Reserve prices. We also offer Kruger National Park Tours from Cape Town.

The History of Thornybush Game Reserve

 

Although it is now part of the Greater Kruger National Park, the Thornybush Game Reserve is one of the original nature reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park, with the first lodge opening its doors in 1961. During the years it has added 11 more lodges to its collection and today operates in both the Thornybush and Sabi Sand Private Nature Reserves.

Over the years the reserve has been involved in a range of wildlife projects such as the first translocation of an entire elephant herd from Kruger, extensive studies of pangolins, one of the first leopard introductions onto a private reserve, and the first release of a black rhino onto a private nature reserve in the Lowveld.

The fences adjoining the world-famous Kruger National Park were dropped in 2017, allowing for new herds of wildlife to roam freely across the 14,000-hectare reserve and realise the full potential of Thornybush as a private nature reserve.

Some of the milestones of the reserve are:

  • 1955 – Thornybush is fenced and is one of the first private nature reserves in the Greater Kruger Park
  • 1961 – Game Lodge opens its doors
  • 1992 – Elephants are introduced into the reserve and N’kaya, Shumbalala, Serondella and Monwana are open.
  • 1993 – In April, Thornybush is proclaimed a nature reserve in April. Bush babies from Natal are released and studied in the reserve
  • 1994 – The successful reintroduction of cheetah
  • 1995 – Jackalberry opens
  • 1998 – Adds 821 hectares to the reserve when it acquires Thornybush Game Lodge
  • 2000 – Waterbuck Lodge opens
  • 2001 – Simbambili Lodge opens
  • 2007 – Originally known as Inzalo, it rebranded as Thornybush Collection and acquired Chapungu Tented Camp adding another 83 hectares to the reserve
  • 2009 – The River Lodge opens
  • 2010 – Thornybush becomes the first lowveld reserve to treat rhino horn as a form of tackling rhino poaching
  • 2011 – Waterside Lodge opens
  • 2017 – Thornybush drops its fences and becomes part of the Greater Kruger
  • 2019 – Saseka opens and Thornybush Collection rebrands as Thornybush

Since the fences had been dropped, animals that had not previously been spotted in some specific parts of the area were suddenly free to come and go as they wished. Hunting in the area became obsolete and with time the animals grew used to tourist-packed vehicles with nothing but cameras shooting away at them.

Over the last few years, this resulted in the reserve developing a reputation as one of the best places where visitors would have a very good opportunity to enjoy a wide-ranging variety of magnificent animal and bird life.

Where is the Thornybush Game Reserve located?

 

Thornybush Nature Reserve is a protected game reserve in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park as a member of the Associated Private Nature Reserves (APNR).

Thornybush Game Reserve consists of approximately 14,000 hectares of mainly open savannah and is situated on the western boundary of the KNP. The reserve is a private game reserve, near Hoedspruit, in the Limpopo province of South Africa. It borders the Kapama Game Reserve and is located close to the Timbavati Game Reserve and the Kruger Park.

Big 5 encounters are the ultimate bush experiences for guests in the reserve, with visitors particularly impressed with the lion and leopard sightings. However, it is the vast diversity of wildlife, that has seen Thornybush emerge as a leading safari destination. With its passionate and expert guide-and-tracker teams leading the way, visitors leave with an understanding of the entire ecosystem and the enthralling cast of animals.

With all the fences between Thornybush and the Kruger National Park, now removed as part of a successful wildlife conservation initiative, the ecological benefits of the initiative have made the region one of the most popular ecotourism destinations.

The accompanying conservation efforts have ensured that the resident wildlife population now includes all of the Big 5 game: lion, African bush elephant, African buffalo, African leopard and black rhinoceros, as well as many more.

How do you get to the Thornybush Game Reserve?

 

Getting to Thornybush Game Reserve is accessible by road and air.  

 

South African Express Airways offers two daily scheduled flights from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport to the Eastgate Airport (also known as the Hoedspruit Airport), which takes approximately 55 minutes. There is also one daily flight from Cape Town International Airport to Eastgate Airport, which takes approximately two hours and 30 minutes.

Transfers can be arranged on your behalf from Hoedspruit Airport to the Reserve. This takes approximately 30 minutes by road. You also have the option to schedule a charter flight that will take you directly to one of the Thornybush Nature Reserve Airstrips. Private charters are available through several reputable private charter companies. Thornybush Game Reserve has its own 1,2-kilometre tarred runway located on the reserve.

If you intend to get to Thornybush Game Reserve by air, it would be best to discuss all the options for booking your international and local flights with your travel agent. They will be able to secure the best tariffs and then match them with your safari dates so that you will be transferred from the airport to the reserve in a comfortable private, air-conditioned vehicle.

Although the reserve is only a few kilometres from the Eastgate airport, it can take up to a few hours to get to some of the accommodation facilities within the reserve, as speed limits are strictly enforced, especially on the gravel roads, for your safety and the comfort, as well as the safety of the animals in the reserve.

The reserve can be reached by car from Johannesburg in about 7 hours. To get to Thornybush Game Reserve by road from Johannesburg one follows the N4 motorway east to Witbank, bypasses Middelburg towards Nelspruit and takes the Belfast off-ramp to drive through Belfast, Dullstroom, Lydenburg and Ohrigstad.

You have to make your way over the scenic Abel Erasmus Pass and drive through the Strydom Tunnel and then through Hoedspruit to the junction. At Hoedspruit, you turn right towards Klaserie. After about 6 kilometres, turn left into Argyle Road and follow the Thornybush signboards to the reserve.

Why would you want to visit the Thornybush Game Reserve?

 

There are numerous good reasons to include a visit to Thornybush in your southern African travelling itinerary.

The Thornybush Game Reserve is situated adjacent to the world-famous Kruger National Park but without any of the previous fencing, the game reserve now shares open borders with the park and forms an integral part of the national park’s ecosystem.

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 guests, especially the lion and leopard sightings.

However, it is the vast diversity of wildlife, that has seen Thornybush emerge as a leading safari destination. With passionate and expert guide-and-tracker teams leading the way, guests of Thornybush leave with a genuine understanding of the entire ecosystem and the fascinating cast of animals. Here you can experience your own piece of Kruger in a much more exclusive way, since the animals are free to roam wherever they please, but the visitors to the official park are not.

Guides and trackers at Thornybush take a holistic approach to wildlife experiences and strive to explain how the whole ecosystem is connected, from the smallest dung beetle to the large elephant. The better the understanding of the bush and how everything works together, the more rewarding visiting the bush is. The passion of the guides brings something new to every game drive or bush walk.

Thornybush is a private reserve that ensures visitors enjoy intimate, uncrowded encounters with the wildlife as well as extended time on sightings. The density of the game is exceptional and you have the opportunity to get up as close as the action allows. Even searching for wildlife at night with a spotlight adds a thrill to your trip.

Due to the abundance of a constant source of water in the rivers, good groundwater levels and a diverse range of vegetation, various animals are drawn to the area, which in turn means more predators. Thornybush is indeed the ideal place to see a diversity of wildlife, from the trumpeting elephant herds along the river bed to the roar of a lion pride and a close encounter with the ever-elusive leopard.

Thornybush caters for all kinds of travellers, whether you are a single traveller, a couple, on a honeymoon, a group of friends or a family with children. Guests have the freedom to choose how they want to spend their time at the reserve, where they would like their meals to be served, with enough free time to soak up the peace and quiet of the bush.

You can pamper yourself by visiting the spa which will ensure you relax fully while visiting the reserve. Every treatment is customised to the individual with therapies aiming to bring balance to your well-being. Whether it’s a massage or skin treatment, the spas at the different lodges will have something for you to indulge in.

A safari is an ideal break from routine for all members of the family, in which phones can be put down and heads turned up to the beauty of the wildlife and landscape. Sharing this unique experience is the perfect way to bring families together and create lasting memories, whether it’s on the game drives, around the dinner table or a fire.

At most of the lodges in Thornybush guides take children on tailored walks and point out insects and plants to them. Baking and bush art are also offered where the children use natural elements like leaves and seeds in their creations. This brings them even closer to nature through their senses and creates something memorable as a keepsake.

For a romantic getaway, Thornybush has you covered. Almost all the lodges offer honeymoon suites, whether for newlyweds or couples on anniversary trips or any other special celebrations. The suites come with larger rooms, private decks with plunge pools, outside showers and views of the bush and passing animals.

The experience of game viewing in this reserve is now even more rewarding, with the presence of all species including the Big 5. The area attracts a variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, waterbuck, and giraffes, with the king of the jungle also often visiting.

To experience all this to a maximum, the reserve’s accommodation establishments all offer daily open safari vehicle drives as well as off-road drives to staying guests for an unforgettable experience.

The area is well located for excellent bird watching. Thornybush itself offers great overall birding with at least 300 species that have been recorded.

All this means that if you want to have a close and intimate encounter with the animals that can be found in Big 5 territory, Thornybush is the destination for you.

Participating in open vehicle safaris, going on thrilling bush walks, and staying in the choice of unobtrusive accommodation facilities throughout the reserve, will guarantee some unequalled encounters and sightings.

To summarise some of the most prominent reasons for visiting Thornybush:

  • You will be able to experience the wilderness in the Greater Kruger Ecosystem
  • A variety of luxurious accommodations are available
  • You will get excellent value for money
  • Game drives are offered during the day and night
  • It is perfect for Big 5 sightings
  • It is the perfect destination for singles, couples, groups or family holidays
  • Photographic Safaris
  • Fly-In Safaris
  • Celebrations, Weddings, Birthdays and more
  • Some of the rarer creatures are sometimes encountered, of which civets and honey badgers are just two.

What can you do while staying at the Thornybush Game Reserve?

 

Everything in the Thornybush Game Reserve has been designed so that you can have a unique experience within unspoilt nature and your visit to the reserve need not have to experience one moment of boredom.

The continuous presence of the water lures animals and birds, especially elephants, hippos and crocodiles, but also makes for magnificent sunrises and sunsets with the Drakensberg looming in the distance as a backdrop.

You can ready yourself for animal sightings galore. Chances are very good that you will see most if not all of the Big 5, but apart from that you will see an abundant number of other animals and birds. Elephants, buffalo, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, baboons, crocodiles, raptors and much more will be seen whilst on game drives or even just walking around where you are able and allowed to.

With an ever-present spotlight on offering attractive wildlife-related activities to guests, you can be sure that there will be an experienced ranger or two to assist you in any of your endeavours, whether you are in search of the famous Big 5 or are interested in locating some of the rare birds of the area.

 

Game drives

 

Open safari vehicle game drives that are offered during the day and night permit close-up encounters with wildlife

Thornybush Game Reserve covers thousands of hectares on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park, which means that exceptional Big 5 game viewing can take place in a private area where guest numbers are limited.

Experienced and qualified rangers use their vast knowledge and bushcraft on Thornybush game drives in order to search for the much sought-after Big 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard) but guests will soon realise that searching for these famous animals is only part of the total game. There is so much more to enjoy watching other plains game such as zebra, wildebeest and giraffe, not to mention the smaller and more elusive inhabitants of the African bush.

The open vehicles in which these drives are negotiated, add a greater sense of adventure for close encounters with African wildlife and guests usually thoroughly enjoy these outings.

During a sunset or night safari, your stops will be timed and planned by the ranger or guide to get the best opportunity to photograph a stunning sunset and listen to the traditional night sounds. Powerful spotlights are usually provided and used to locate the more elusive nocturnal animals.

The reserve is well-known for its night-time wildlife encounters, and guests should always be on the lookout for civets, owls, bush babies, aardvarks, hares and the elusive leopard, to name but a few. Night drives are even more magical, with the life at night in the bush brought to you with the help of powerful spotlights.

Game drives in general are interpretive drives in the bush in specially adapted four-wheel drive vehicles, to find wildlife and watch its behaviour in a natural environment. This allows guest to rest their feet while exploring the African bush farther than they ever thought was possible for close-up game encounters you won’t believe or ever forget.

Bush walks

 

Thornybush also offers a bush walk with an armed ranger to add to the thrill of encountering animals on foot. These walks are always guided by an accompanying experienced and armed ranger, even more than one, and they are ready to share their knowledge and expertise on the footprints and other signs left by animals.

The focus of these walks is on tracks, scats and other signs of the wild.  Most of these can’t easily be seen from game vehicles, so this way you can learn how to personally identify the paths the animals make and follow and discover more of the smaller critters and plants of the area. You will witness the daily experiences of the animals by sharing their game paths, and waterholes and become more knowledgeable about their environment.

Although these guided walking safaris are something spectacular, during which you can truly immerse yourself in the surrounding nature, you can also embrace pristine African landscapes with an abundance of wildlife and birds in and around all the accommodation establishments offered in Thornybush.

Since Thornybush is known for its variety and abundance of wildlife, an array of plains game such as zebras, wildebeest, buffalo, impala, kudu and giraffes can usually be found and larger game like hippos, elephants and crocodiles can be found in the various dams, rivers and water holes at any time throughout the day.

The availability of many of these animals as prey in turn attracts lions and other predators, which will then closely be followed by scavenging hyenas, jackals and vultures.

 

Bird watching

 

With more than 400 species found in the area, Thornybush is a firm favourite destination among birders, and a range of encounters with the rarer species can be expected. Water birds like storks and herons can be found in the lush vegetation along the banks of the rivers and other water sources. Photographers will have more than enough opportunities to shoot that award-winning photo of a bird in flight or one fishing next to the water.  Predatory birds such as eagles and hawks, including the highly valued and popular African fish eagle, are also regularly spotted in the area.

 

Boma dinners

 

When returning to the camp after a successful evening game drive, guests are usually welcomed at most camps by an enticing sight of beautifully presented dining tables encircling a roaring boma fire. Guests can sit down next to the crackling fire to be warmed by its heat as well as an aperitif before enjoying a scrumptious barbecue meal and letting the evening progress into the night while discussing the day’s adventures.

 

Other activities

 

But bird and game viewing are not the only activities that you can keep yourself busy with while staying in Thornybush.

The reserve is a real mecca for avid photographers and cinematographers, especially since the area is so well known for its amazing sunsets and panoramic views. Stargazing is offered by some venues on cloudless nights and offers a spectacular experience.

Outside the reserve, the Hoedspruit area has many opportunities for participating in adventurous activities such as horse riding, hot air ballooning, white river rafting and many more.

You can also consider a visit to the Khamai Reptile Park in Hoedspruit, which was formerly known as Swadini Snake Park, which houses some of South Africa’s deadliest snakes, as well as other centres if you would like to gain even more knowledge of the area.

The Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in the area is home to many of South Africa’s abandoned, injured or poisoned wildlife. A visit to the centre can be an experience of a lifetime and will leave every guest with a love of wildlife and animals with a lasting memory. You can enquire at your lodge about a visit to the centre, which would welcome you to a unique experience.

Gym facilities are found at most of the lodges and offers a healthy way to work up a sweat on the various machines and equipment while watching out over the bush below. The many well-equipped gyms cater to the guests’ need for physical exertion – something often necessary when the temptation to overindulge in the culinary delights offered at the same lodges gets the better of your willpower.

Moreover, such exercise in the bush can be just the alternative after you have adequate time for relaxing on a deck or next to a pool.

To complement some healthy exercise, spa treatments like massages, or skin and beauty spa treatments, can enhance a deeper and more spiritual aura cleanse for better body balance and an enjoyable sensory experience.

Such massage treatments can leave you feeling revitalised and rejuvenated after a hot day in the sun and offer the perfect alternative to rest and relax. These havens of tranquillity provide the ultimate and much coveted African Spa experience.

One of the best ways to end a day in the veld remains to cool off in a swimming pool, and if you can do that with a spectacular view of the unspoiled landscape around you, it is a bonus. Most lodges boast viewing decks with swimming pools that are excellently situated for both bird watching and game viewing, whilst enjoying the cool water with a refreshing drink in hand.

Weddings and honeymoons – For the couple who seeks an intimate destination for this special time in their lives, Thornybush Game Reserve is the ideal place for that kind of romantic breakaway. With its warm heart of African hospitality, beautiful sunsets, panoramic views and beautiful accommodation, it offers the ideal venue to escape to with a close group of family and friends. 

Thornybush Game Reserve Accommodation?

 

Thornybush is located in the subtropical Lowveld of South Africa, an area with multiple eco-zones that results in a significant variety in its fauna and flora.

With regards to the flora in the area, well over 330 tree species have been documented in the region. Of the better-known predominant species in this wooded savannah are fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees.

The diverse flora of the region in turn accommodates a diverse array of fauna. More than 300 different kinds of birds inhabit the area. These include several raptor species such as the lappet-faced vulture, Pel’s fishing owl, and martial eagle and impressive larger birds such as the kori bustard, ground hornbill and saddle-billed stork.

There are many species of mammals, ranging from plains game such as wildebeest, zebra and giraffe, to predators such as lion, cheetah and leopard. The rivers and other watering holes are home to herds of hippos and crocodiles.

Through a combination of many water sources, vegetation and terrain, wildlife is drawn to the Thornybush Reserves. The large numbers of plains game attract predators such as lions, leopards and cheetahs, which sets the scene for one of nature’s most fascinating battles of survival.

Thornybush has a completely natural ecosystem, with all the animals being free to walk on and off the reserve according to their feeding needs. Giraffes, wildebeest and waterbuck are plentiful and are one of the reasons for the presence of great numbers of predators. Big herds of buffaloes are also frequently spotted in the reserve.

Thornybush’s bushveld is synonymous with the African continent, and although the occurrence of each species fluctuates according to a specific area, the long grass combined with striking woodland trees such as the fever, mopane and thorn trees, are easily recognisable as far as you go.

Once spring arrives, the baobab trees, knob thorns, marula, leadwood, apple leaf and sjambok trees are covered by breath-taking seasonal flowers, and later pods and fruits that in turn bring an influx of migratory birds to the area.

The conservation efforts of Thornybush Game Reserve and the surrounding area are also not limited to wildlife only. With some plant species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, conservation policies include the clearing of any alien vegetation, controlling and curbing erosion and planting of indigenous trees and plants to ensure their prevalence.

Due to no fencing between Thornybush Game Reserve and Kruger National Park, a much bigger ecosystem is there to be experienced. This created a larger, completely natural habitat for all the major animals you can expect to see on a wildlife safari, of course including the Big 5.

As the reserve has enough water sources, many hippos and crocodiles are spotted. The former can often be seen wallowing in the river during the day, and the latter can be spotted lazing in the sun on the riverbanks.

Due to the more pristine nature of Thornybush, as compared to the busier parts of the Kruger National Park itself, there is a better chance to spot rare animals, such as jackals, civets and honey badgers, here.

The ideal time for game viewing is probably the dry winter season, especially during the last dry months before annual rainfall starts, as animals may then gather around the water sources in larger numbers. This is also a comfortable time to spend in the veld since winter temperatures are fairly mild.

 

To summarise:

 

Animals that are common to the area and may be spotted in abundance, are buffalo, wildebeest, elephant, hyena, giraffe, zebra, hippo, crocodile, warthog and a variety of antelope.

White rhinos and lions may be seen occasionally, while black rhinos, leopards, cheetahs and wild dogs are present, but would count under the rarer sightings.

What type of accommodation does the Thornybush Game Reserve offer and what amenities/facilities are available in the game reserve?

 

Accommodation in Thornybush Game Reserve comes in many different and attractive shapes, ranging from very luxurious to those offering more affordable lodging for families with children.

Set on riverbeds or overlooking waterholes, the Thornybush lodges are luxurious oases where guests can savour the joys of the wilderness in comfort. The reserve is home to 12 lodges that vary in size and stature, but all of them encourage guests to sit back, not worry about a thing and just enjoy the magic of the African bush.

The whole reserve is managed as an eco-tourism destination with there being quite several private commercial game lodges located within the reserve, catering for the whole spectrum of visitors.

The following lodges and camps offer accommodation in the Thornybush Reserve:

  • Saseka Tented Camp
  • Simbambili Game Lodge
  • Thornybush Game Lodge
  • Jackalberry Lodge
  • Serondella Lodge
  • Monwana Lodge
  • Waterbuck Lodge
  • Chapungu Tented camp
  • Waterside Lodge
  • Nkaya Lodge
  • Shumbalala Game Lodge
  • The River Lodge

 

All of these lodges in the reserve offer guests an unforgettable Big 5 experience and much more.

The following is an overview of these lodges, concerning the type of accommodation, facilities and activities offered except during your stay.

Saseka Tented Camp

 

Saseka Tented Camp is described as the shining jewel in the Thornybush crown. The camp is located on a bed in the Monwana River and a lodge was created that has a unique layout and finds a balance between cutting-edge design, and classical style while still feeling connected with the outside environment.

All the tents are situated away from the calming tones of the main area, and are luxurious with stylish interiors, sweeping decks, private pools and uninterrupted views of the seasonal Monwana riverbed. The camp consists of nine luxury tents and one villa.

The eight suites, that accommodate two guests, with elevated views of the riverbed, are spacious safari tents on permanent foundations. Each has glass doors that open up onto your private deck and pool, complete with sun loungers and chairs. It has an en-suite bathroom as well as an outdoor shower.

The lighting of the tented suites is impressive and blends in perfectly with the darkness of the surrounding bush. The sounds of the bush are allowed to filter into the tents to give you a truly immersed safari experience.

The following amenities are available in the suites:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Bathtub
  • Indoor and outdoor shower
  • Coffee maker
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • Kettle
  • Laundry service
  • Mini bar
  • Mosquito net
  • Private pool
  • Wi-Fi
  • Phone
  • International adaptor
  • Safety box
  • Toiletries
  • Slippers

 

The Leadwood Villa is the only tent built for families and large groups, accommodating a maximum of six adults and three children across four suites. The communal spaces are big enough to spend quality time together in the privacy of your lodge. It includes a central lounge, dining area, kitchen, private deck, fire pit, garden area and a large pool.

In addition, you have your private game-drive vehicle with a guide and tracker. You do not have to go to the main lodge for a meal but it can be prepared by your dedicated chef and served at the villa, which adds to a further level of privacy.

The following amenities are available in the villa:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Bathtub
  • Indoor and outdoor shower
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • Coffee maker
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • International adaptor
  • Kettle
  • Laundry service
  • Library
  • Mosquito net
  • Mini bar
  • Safety box
  • Children activities
  • Wi-Fi
  • Phone

 

The main area of the camp has a large, tiered deck with a wide view of the riverbed. Guests meet here for a drink or a meal, share stories of their sightings of the day listen to the sounds of the bush or simply relax. It also features a lounge, dining area, bar and spa where guests are pampered in a tranquil environment leaving you refreshed after a busy day in the bush.

The lodge offers morning and afternoon game drives, walking safaris, bush breakfasts, and community interaction. It runs a non-profit organisation that aims to uplift the surrounding local communities that many of the staff members come from. Initiatives such as community-owned agricultural businesses, food security, youth-focused conservation awareness, sustainable procurement and infrastructure upgrades are all major areas that the lodge focuses on.

Other services offered are babysitting, bush breakfasts, bush dinners, and deck games. The lodge has full mobile coverage as well as Wi-Fi.

Simbambili Game Lodge

 

Simbambili is the only lodge at Thornybush that is situated in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and offers the same game viewing as all the other lodges of Thornybush. The lodge has been managed by the same couple for the past 10 years and they have added a comfortable and sophisticated feel to it. All the suites have recently been renovated to blend in even more with the dense stands of jackal berry and knobthorn trees that grow along the meandering Manyeleti River.

Simbambili offers a truly romantic break-away with its massive decks and the shaded Sala beds. The guides and trackers have a wealth of knowledge and passion for what they do, leaving lasting impressions on visitors.

The lodge has only nine suites that all face the riverbed and woodlands. Each has its own private plunge pool and Sala bed on the deck. The Waterhole Suite overlooks the waterhole and the coming and going of animals that come to quench their thirst.

All the suites have a shower, free-standing bath, his and her sinks and modern finishings.  The outside deck is where most guest spend their time in the pool or Sala bed, just lazing the days away.

Amenities include:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Kettle
  • Coffee maker
  • Mini bar
  • Mosquito net
  • International adaptor
  • Bathtub
  • Shower
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • Laundry service
  • Safety box
  • Mobile service
  • Phone
  • Wi-Fi

 

There is also a honeymoon suite and together with the Waterhole suite is larger than the luxury suites with added amenities. Both are situated on the far corner of the grounds and offer even more privacy. These two suites also come with a shower, free-standing bath, his and her sinks and modern finishings but have an added lounge area that provides more space. The outside deck faces the extensive bush, with a plunge pool and shaded Sala bed. It has the same amenities as mentioned in the suites above.

The main lodge has a lounge and dining area, a huge deck, a bar, a spa and a gym.

Activities offered at Simbambili include morning and afternoon game drives with a dedicated and knowledgeable guide and tracker. Guest also have the option of guided bush walks after breakfast which will bring you closer to the bush and an abundance of smaller species. Your guide will teach you all about the fauna and flora of the region.

You can indulge in spa treatments, like holistic signature body, skin and beauty treatment or simply learn to relax your spirit, harmonise the body, preserve youthfulness and enhance your health and vitality.

In addition, the lodge offers bush breakfasts or a riverbed braai. Guest can also opt to simply relax in their suite, enjoy their plunge pool and rest in between game-viewing activities.

Simbambili is also the ideal venue for your safari wedding and honeymoon. The privacy of the lodge makes it the perfect safari getaway. It also has conference facilities. The lodge has full mobile coverage as well as Wi-Fi.

Thornybush Game Lodge

 

The Game Lodge in Thornybush was the first lodge operating in the reserve and opened its doors in 1961. It put Thornybush on the map as a reputable safari destination offering world-class game viewing.

The lodge offers accommodation in 20 luxurious suites that fan out from the main area. Eighteen of the suites face the river and two are family suites.

The 18 luxury suites are far apart from each other offering privacy. With huge sliding doors to the deck and large windows above the bath, guests have views of the riverbed and the animals that come and go all the time. Each comes with an en-suite bathroom, indoor and outdoor shower and very comfortable beds.

Amenities in the suites include:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Bathtub
  • Indoor and outdoor shower
  • Coffee maker
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • Kettle
  • Laundry service
  • Mini bar
  • Mosquito net
  • Private pool
  • Wi-Fi
  • Phone
  • International adaptor
  • Safety box
  • Toiletries

 

The two family suites are larger than the luxury suites with a bigger lounge area as well as day beds to accommodate the children. Added to these two suites are a large private deck and its plunge pool. They have the same amenities as mentioned above.

The thatched main area overlooks a waterhole as well as the riverbed that is frequently visited by elephant herds, buffalo and many other large game. The lower deck flows between the open dining area and the bar. Meals are taken either at the dining area or in the bush where you are surrounded by lanterns, candles and off-cause the sound of the African bush.

Activities on offer are morning and afternoon game drives as well as guided bush walks that usually take place after breakfast before the heat of the day chases you indoors. In addition, there is a swimming pool, library, outside lounge area and spa. The lodge also has conference facilities and a babysitting service. There is mobile coverage and Wi-Fi.

Jackalberry Lodge

 

Jackalberry Lodge is truly a unique destination in which to unwind while enjoying a bush safari or sitting on your deck watching the light dimming on the northern escarpment of the Drakensberg mountain range. The lodge overlooks a waterhole that is frequently visited by herds of elephants, zebra, wildebeest and a variety of antelope. Guest don’t even have to leave the comfort of the main area or their own suites to enjoy the coming and going of the animals below.

Accommodation on offer at Jackalberry consists of seven thatched suites that can accommodate two guests each. The suites are all private and have enough space inside and out for a comfortable stay. All the suites have en-suite bathrooms with a shower and a large bath. There is also an outdoor shower. The private veranda allows not only game viewing but also a perfect area to relax with a book.

Amenities offered are:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Bathtub
  • Indoor and outdoor shower
  • Coffee maker
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Hairdryer
  • Kettle
  • Laundry service
  • Mini bar
  • Mosquito net
  • Private pool
  • Wi-Fi
  • Phone
  • International adaptor
  • Safety box
  • Toiletries

 

The family suite can accommodate two adults and two children. It has two adjoining suites that are planned in a similar way as the other suites. The en-suite bathroom has a shower and bath as well as an outdoor shower. The suite also has a private deck and comfortable furnishings. It has similar amenities as mentioned above.

The main lodge has a lounge and dining area under mottled shade for long, relaxed lunches. There is also a pool, spa, and bar.

Jackalberry offers twice daily game drives, one in the early morning and the other in the late afternoon. Guests can also participate in guided bush walks. It also offers babysitting and there is mobile service and Wi-Fi.

Serondella Lodge

 

Serondella, which Shangaan means, ‘The Place of the Elephant’ is a very intimate lodge that only accommodates eight guests at any given time. It is situated overlooking a waterhole where elephant herds are regularly seen passing through. The waterhole is surrounded by a stand of Tamboti trees and beside elephant, antelope, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, the occasional lion and leopard can be seen. Due to the good sightings at the waterhole guests prefer to simply stay in the camp area than go on game drives.

The lodge also has a treetop lookout deck and a central swimming pool. However, the deck overlooking the waterhole is the most popular and the area most guests prefer to relax in.

Serondella offers accommodation in four thatched suites, of which two have waterhole views and two bush views. One is a family suite.

The three luxury suites offer views from the bedroom as well as the bathroom. Guest can even spot animals passing by while you soak away your tension in the large bathtub. The suites are air-conditioned for the heat of the summer and have a stone fireplace to heat the colder winter nights.

The family suite is perfect for a group as it has three self-contained bedrooms. Two bedrooms are downstairs and two upstairs. It comes with a lounge as well as an open fireplace between the two downstairs bedrooms. It has the same perfect view of the bush and animals that might pass by.

Amenities on offer are:

  • Air-conditioning and ceiling fans
  • Mosquito net
  • Coffee maker
  • Kettle
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry service
  • International adaptor
  • Safety box
  • Toiletries
  • Slippers
  • Wi-Fi
  • Wheelchair friendly

 

The lodge offers morning and afternoon game drives, boma bush dinners, an inside dining area, babysitting, a bar, and guided game walks. There is full mobile coverage as well as Wi-Fi.

Monwana Lodge

 

Monwana Lodge is situated where the dry bed of the seasonal Monwana River passes a grove of Tamboti trees deep in the heart of the Thornybush nature reserve. The lodge specializes in a true African bush experience with typical South African hospitality.

Guest have the option to relax in the privacy of their suite decks, or the main area of the lodge, from the deck or swimming pool.

The lodge has only five thatched suites, of which four overlook the waterhole. The luxury suites have a king-size bed with an adjoining private lounge and an open fireplace. It walks out on a deck with loungers to relax in. All suites have en-suite bathrooms with showers and baths looking out through floor-to-ceiling windows. No opportunity is missed to watch animals meandering by in the surrounding bush.

One of the suites serves as a honeymoon suite and is similar to the luxury suite with a few extra touches. This includes a large sunken bath and an outdoor deck that is designed to create the perfect romantic retreat.

The family suite sleeps four and has similar features to the luxury suites.

Amenities on offer include:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Coffee maker
  • Kettle
  • Laundry service
  • Mosquito net
  • Hairdryer
  • International Adaptor
  • Safety box
  • Slippers
  • Toiletries
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Wi-Fi

 

Activities offered at the lodge include twice daily game drives, guided walks, babysitting, bush dinners and the swimming pool. The lodge has mobile coverage and Wi-Fi.

Waterbuck Lodge

 

Waterbuck Lodge is a very quiet yet luxurious lodge with accommodation for only eight people at a time. There you can truly become one with the bush for a relaxed safari getaway. The lodge is set deep in the bush and the elevated deck, thatched bar area and swimming pool are perfectly set to take the sounds of the bush in and keep a watchful eye on the waterhole for any animal activity.

The lodge has four thatched suites that accommodate two people each. One faces the waterhole and the other three face the bush. The suites are set far apart from each other creating a sense of privacy. Each has a sliding door that opens onto a private deck on which guests can relax and keep an eye on the wildlife that passes by.

Inside are large beds with fully equipped en-suite bathrooms. An additional shower can be found outside that provides a view of the bush.

Amenities are as follows:

  • Air-conditioning and fan
  • Coffee maker
  • Kettle
  • Laundry service
  • Mosquito net
  • Hairdryer
  • International Adaptor
  • Safety box
  • Toiletries
  • Wheelchair friendly
  • Wi-Fi

 

Activities on offer at the lodge are morning and evening game drives, guided bush walks, spa, boma or bush breakfasts and dinners. The lodge has mobile coverage and Wi-Fi.

Chapungu Tented camp

 

Chapungu is a small and intimate tented camp offering a colonial safari style in luxury tented accommodation. Besides the luxury accommodation, guests are rewarded with excellent game viewing opportunities in the pristine African bush.
Accommodation at Chapungu boasts eight luxurious air-conditioned tented chalets with en-suite bathrooms and its bushveld bath. Additional facilities include tea and coffee-making facilities and ceiling fans.

The main area at Chapungu features a dining and lounge area, a curio shop, a boma and a rock pool. In addition, there is a cellar that stocks a variety of fine South African wines.

Activities offered at Chapungu are morning and evening game drives in an open safari vehicle. Guests can also indulge in a relaxing spa treatment at Amani Spa at the nearby Thornybush Game Lodge, where you have a wide selection of treatments to choose from like a massage or soothing facial. You can also cool off the rock pool after spending the day game viewing in the African bush.

Chapungu is the ideal venue for an intimate safari wedding or honeymoon.

 

Waterside Lodge

 

Waterside Lodge is a truly family safari lodge that caters specifically to the needs of families with children in style. Children of all ages will be well taken care of while parents set off on game drives and walks. Various activities, and excursions like ballooning and scenic drives as well as fun organised around the lodge pool, ensure that everyone relaxes and has the best experience.

This family-friendly safari lodge is situated at a lake in the Thornybush Game Reserve and offers accommodation in 20 suites set among the towering trees and gardens. All the suites have fully equipped bathrooms and a private deck from where you can view the activities in the surrounding bush and the lake. Two of the suites share an inter-leading door which is great for a large family with children.

Room facilities and services include:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Safe
  • Hairdryer
  • Tea and coffee station
  • Laundry service

 

Activities at the lodge include daily game drives and guided game walks. Game drives usually take place at the optimal times for game viewing which is in the early morning and late afternoon. The drives are led by experienced rangers and trackers. Bush walks with an armed guide take place after breakfast. You can cool down in the lodge swimming pool or participate in local excursions that are also on offer for those who want to get out.

Facilities and services include:

  • Boma
  • Swimming pool
  • Children’s programme
  • Babysitters
  • Internet access in the library
  • Curio shop
  • Swimming pool
  • Lakeside Conference Centre for up to 60 people

 

The lodge caters specifically for children and they will be allocated a specific ranger who enjoys interacting with youngsters. Together they will set off on special, safe game drives and walks designed for the ages and interests of the children. Activities also include pool picnics and treasure hunts.

Nkaya Lodge

 

Nkaya Lodge is located on a hilltop with spectacular views of the surrounding savannah and the Drakensberg mountain range. The lodge is situated deep into the bush at Thornybush Game Reserve, far away from civilization and yet, set in luxury that you can only dream of. Guests will enjoy timeless African days and enchanting evenings with clear skies.

The lodge has four spacious air-conditioned double-bed suites that can accommodate a total of eight guests. Each comes with private lounges and twin en-suite facilities for his and her.

The main lodge area has a dining room and lounge, as well as an enormous fireplace that forms the focal point of the lounge. Meals are served in the reed boma or under the stars. There is a pool to cool down in or sip on a sundowner at the outdoor bar.

Activities offered at the lodge are game drives in open Land Rovers and bush walks for the more adventurous that are tailored to guest requirements.

 

Shumbalala Game Lodge

 

Shumbalala Game Lodge is a luxury 5-star safari lodge situated under shady trees on the banks of the seasonal Monwana River. Accommodation is offered in ultra-luxurious suites to only eight guests to ensure optimal privacy and personalized service.

Shumbalala offers accommodation in four luxury suites and the exclusive Presidential Suite. Each suite boasts air-conditioning, open fireplaces, an additional outside shower, a private viewing deck and a designer window in the en-suite bathrooms.

Suite Facilities include:

  • Individual Air-conditioning
  • A choice of king or twin-bedded rooms
  • Pure Cotton Percale Linen with a choice of pillows
  • Mosquito Netting
  • Overhead Fans
  • Mini-Bar
  • Safe in room
  • Tea and Coffee-Making Facilities
  • Direct Dial Telephone
  • Cell phone Reception
  • Fireplace

 

The Presidential Suite features two spacious bedrooms and a separate dining room. It boasts the same features as the luxury suites, with added luxuries. Relax in your private lounge or on your private pool deck while enjoying excellent game viewing.

Presidential Suite Facilities, including facilities of the superior suites, include:

  • Two en-suite bedrooms, king and twin bedded
  • Private Boma with outside fireplace
  • Private Dining Room
  • Private Lounge
  • Private Plunge Pool
  • Butlers Kitchen
  • Private Service Available
  • Full En-Suite Bathroom including (Superior and Presidential Suite)
  • Shaver Plugs
  • Additional Outside Shower
  • Hairdryer
  • Full range of amenities
  • Lodge Facilities
  • Pool
  • Library with Internet Station
  • Lounge with Fireplace
  • Wi-Fi Enabled Public Areas (Complimentary)
  • Underground Cellar
  • Outside Boma
  • Laundry Service
  • Transfers
  • Airstrip (on the Reserve)

 

Activities at this ultra-luxurious lodge include an early morning game drive to hopefully spot the Big Five and a diverse range of wildlife and bird species. After breakfast, the more adventurous can look forward to guided bushwalks. Indulge in high tea in the afternoons before you embark on a sunset game drive. In between bush activities, guests can relax beside the pool.

While on your evening game drive you will enjoy drinks and snacks in the bush and on return to the lodge receive a welcoming sherry. Before you sit down in a five-course dinner you should first choose your wine from the wine cellar.

The River Lodge

 

At the River Lodge, you will experience 5-star services and amenities in the untamed African bush, while blending in with a Big 5 sighting. The lodge is situated on the perennial Timbavati River. It only accommodates twelve guests in six suites which include the two-bedroom Royal Suite which ensures a personalized wilderness experience.

Three suites of 80 square meters each radiate elegance and luxury. The African bush is welcomed in through stackable doors. You can watch the animal from the comfort of an extra-length king-size bed or the indoor lounge area. The en-suite bathroom is a romantic affair as the stacking doors enclosing the foam-filled Victorian bathtub can be opened so that you can enjoy the African star-lit night sky. You could also opt for an indoor or outdoor shower while listening to the sounds of the bush around you.

Facilities and amenities include:

  • King Size extra length bed
  • En-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower and bath
  • Indoor lounge area
  • Outdoor deck lounge
  • Plunge pool overlooking the riverbed
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Bath Gowns
  • Pool Towels
  • Luxury bathroom amenities
  • Tea and Coffee station
  • Mini-bar
  • Snack-bar
  • Variety of insect repellents

 

The spacious 100-square honeymoon suite is situated alongside a busy elephant trail on the elevated banks of the Timbavati River and nestled amongst the Combretum trees. Shadows cast by the Magic Guarris trees rooted within the teak deck allow natural light to filter into your suite. The infinity swimming pool can be heated to be used on cold winter nights while an indoor fireplace adds to the ambience of the suite. It offers all the luxuries of the other suites and more.

Facilities and amenities include:

  • King Size extra length bed
  • En-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor shower and bath
  • Indoor lounge area
  • Outdoor deck lounge
  • Heated infinity pool overlooking the riverbed
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Bath Gowns
  • Pool Towels
  • Luxury bathroom amenities
  • Tea and Coffee Station
  • Mini-bar
  • Snack-bar
  • Variety of insect repellents

 

The Royal Suite is the epitome of a luxury safari experience where you have your private villa on the banks of the Timbavati River. The suite boasts 220 square meters and is guaranteed to exceed your wildest expectations. It is luxurious, spacious and secluded.

The Royal Suite extends via a boardwalk under the riverine trees adjoining two en-suite bedrooms, which are separated by a large living and dining area. The rim-flow heated pool next to the deck is also enjoyed by many elephants seeking an alternative freshwater source on their footpaths along the Timbavati River.

The Royal Suite is an ideal option for friends or family travelling together who wish to enjoy their own private safari experience.

Facilities and amenities include:

  • 2 x 85 square meter bedrooms
  • 1 x 60 square meter lounge/living area
  • En suite bathrooms with bath, indoor and outdoor shower
  • Large lounge area including satellite television.
  • Spacious deck lounge areas
  • Heated infinity plunge pool
  • Hairdryer
  • Safe
  • Bath Gowns
  • Pool Towels
  • Luxury Bathroom Amenities
  • Tea and Coffee Station
  • Mini-bar
  • Snack-bar
  • Variety of insect repellents

 

The main lodge area has a relaxing lounge and dining area with a swimming pool overlooking the covert water hole. With infinite views of the perennial Timbavati River game viewing can be enjoyed from the deck at the main lodge or while taking a dip in the pool while sipping on a cool beverage.

Activities include morning and afternoon game drives on open-vehicle game drives as you go on the lookout for the Big 5 as well as various animals that include mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and more. Guided bush walks allow you to get up close and personal with smaller creatures, as well as flora which can go unnoticed when on a vehicle. You also get to follow tracks in more detail, which is truly a special experience.

When is the best time to visit the Thornybush Game Reserve?

 

It is possible to visit Thornybush all year round, but summers in the northern part of South Africa can get extremely hot. The rainy summer season also brings an influx of mosquitoes and the risk of malaria is at its highest then.

The seasons in Thornybush occur in opposite times as compared to Europe and North America. The sparser vegetation during the dry winter season brings animals to waterholes and makes for easier game viewing, so it is best to visit in the winter between May and September. While winter morning and evening game drives may be quite frosty, day temperatures will be very comfortable.

Birding is excellent though during the summer months from October to April and the lush greenery then makes for fantastic photography.

A month-to-month guide for visiting Thornybush Game Reserve:

May to September marks the dry season.

October to March is wet and the game reserve is not overly crowded.

April to September offers excellent wildlife viewing.

April to May may bring a little rain but have mild weather. Temperatures usually fall between 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit) and 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit).

September to October one can expect very little rain and mild weather.

June to August is characterised by cool mornings and nights. Nights are usually around 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) while afternoon highs get to 25 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit).

December to February can be very hot and steamy. The summer season is also very humid, with rainfall being frequent. Temperatures can go above 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). On average, afternoon temperature is 32 degrees Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit).

 

Anti-poaching measures in the Thornybush Game Reserve

 

With Thornybush Game Reserve being part of the Greater Kruger conservation area and home to a big part of South Africa’s rhino population, anti-poaching measures take centre place in the management of the reserve. Thornybush is a private reserve, privately funded and had been hit hard by illegal poaching in the past.

Guests on a safari in Thornybush are often fascinated by the anti-poaching work that is being done on the Thornybush Nature Reserve. The reserve has a highly skilled team of soldiers on the ground, who are often accompanied by a dog. These brave animals draw huge amounts of attention and questions.

The Thornybush anti-poaching squad work closely with a team of specially trained dogs, known as the K9 unit. This dog unit plays a very important role in the combating of poaching in the Greater Kruger Park region.

The dogs are highly trained work on the front line and can track poachers faster and more accurately than any human. They are becoming core members in the fight against conservation crimes working with a team of dedicated dog handlers.

Today, South Africa has the largest population of rhinos in the world and is very important that they are protected for generations to come. Between 2007 and 2014 the country experienced an incredible rise in rhino poaching of which the greatest losses occurred in the Kruger National Park, a protected habitat that is over 19 485 square kilometres.

Since Thornybush Game Reserve is open to the KNP it serves as a critical buffer zone for this pristine wilderness area. With the assistance of the K9 unit, they have taken up the task to help protect the wild rhino against poachers.

Safety during your stay in the Thornybush Game Reserve

 

As with most national parks and private reserves in South Africa, Thornybush is very safe to visit due to stringent safety measures and access control.

Most of the people employed in the reserve are passionate about conservation and the hospitality industry and will do everything possible to make your trip safe and comfortable. Wildlife viewing is generally done very safely with a professional guide ensuring your safety on a guided safari.

Self-drive safaris are safe as well, as long as guests treat animals with due respect and follow all the park rules. Some general safety guidelines and tips to adhere to are:

  • Always follow the guide’s instructions and guidelines when on a game drive or bush walk
  • Always keep your voice down and act as quiet as possible when close to animals
  • Stay in the vehicle during game drives except at designated areas where you are allowed to climb out under supervision
  • Don’t stand up in open safari vehicles, hang out of the window or sit on the roof of your vehicle when self-driving
  • Don’t get too close to animals if you are on a self-drive safari and back off immediately if it seems that the animals are disturbed
  • Never drive between elephants in a herd, especially if there are females and young ones in the herd
  • On a walking safari stay together as a group and close to your guide. Always walk in single-file
  • Never walk between a hippo and water; the animal may panic and charge at you because you may block its safety route to the water
  • Don’t wear bright and colourful clothes or strong perfume on walking safaris

 

Crime

 

If you are a foreign visitor, Johannesburg will most probably be your entry point into the country for visiting Thornybush. Crimes and car-jacking do occur in and around the city hence it is advised that visitors try to limit the risks by taking simple safety precautions if they self-drive to Thornybush Game Reserve.

You may feel safe inside your vehicle but stay aware of dangers and keep your doors locked and windows rolled up at all times, even if you’re in an area that you think is safe. It is not uncommon for thieves to wait near intersections and on highway off-ramps, approaching vehicles when they stop and attempting to rob the driver and passengers.

Keep valuables like camera bags and handbags out of sight to avoid attracting attention from would-be thieves.

The roads leading into and out of Kruger Park are popular for carjackers to strike, so be cautious of any debris on the road which may have been placed there on purpose by criminals in an attempt to get you to stop. Don’t get out of your vehicle to clear anything from the road, just try to drive around it or better still, turn around and seek safety.

Don’t pick up hitchhikers, it is not worth the risk. When parking anywhere, always keep your vehicle locked with the windows rolled up and all valuables out of sight.

If your vehicle breaks down or you get a flat tire, pull over, put on your hazard lights and remain in your vehicle with the doors locked and windows up while calling for roadside assistance.

Don’t be scammed by criminals posing as traffic police, pulling you over for a supposed traffic violation and demanding an on-the-spot fine. Offer to go to a police station to pay the fine or motion for them to follow you to the nearest police station.

 

Malaria and vaccinations

 

Although the risk of contracting malaria is higher during the damp summer months (October-April), Thornybush does lie in a malaria zone and you should guard against mosquito bites with repellents, preferably those containing the most effective DEET, and by taking proper antimalarials.

Always cover your arms and legs in the evening and use insect repellent to protect against mosquitoes. Sleep under the mosquito nets provided at most lodges and camps.

FAQ’s

Thornybush Game Reserve is situated east of Hoedspruit and Klaserie on the western boundary of the Kruger National Park in the Limpopo Province of South Africa and forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park.

You can visit Thornybush all year round, but summers can get extremely hot. The rainy summer season also brings an influx of mosquitoes and the risk of malaria is at its highest then.

No – although there are no fences separating Thornybush and the Kruger, it is located on private property. It does form part of the Greater Kruger conservation area though.

All the animals comprising the Big 5 frequent the area, but the animals are free to roam where they please, which means each safari is unique.

Yes, many of the lodges and other facilities cater specifically to families.

Thornybush is located within a malaria area. It is best to contact your physician for information on anti-malarial prophylactics prior to your departure. Keep your arms and legs covered after dark, sleep under mosquito nets and use repellents where possible.

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