Thornybush | Game Reserve, Lodge & Safari

If you are ready for a South African adventure of a lifetime, it is time to visit Thornybush Game Reserve. Africa is famous for its epic safaris and this game reserve is situated within one of the most renowned safari destinations in all of South Africa, the Kruger National Park. This makes Thornybush Reserve a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike.

This article will include everything you need to know about this game reserve. This includes what you can expect to see at the game reserve, their safari game drives, and the best accommodation spots to rest in after a long day in the bush.

Game Drive Sunset

Thornybush Game Reserve

Thornybush Game Reserve first opened in 1955, making it one of the oldest private game reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park. In 2017, the Private Game Reserve removed the fences that separated them from Kruger National Park.

The removal of the fence separating the nature reserves has now allowed over 500 species of animals to roam their 14,000 hectares of land. This increases tourists’ chances of spotting the African wildlife, specifically the famous Big Five. The Big Five includes the African bush elephant, lion, leopard, Black rhino, and African buffalo.

There are several other iconic African animals that you may also spot when visiting the Thornybush Private Game Reserve. From short meerkats to tall giraffes, if you want to witness the majestic South African wildlife in their natural habitat, this is the place to be.

lion safari

Thornybush Game Lodge

Get ready to wake up to the tranquil sound of chirping birds and watching elephants drinking from the waterhole with the backdrop of the natural African landscape. This is what you can expect when staying in the beauty that is the Thornybush Game Reserve.

Thornybush has a collection of different lodge accommodations to suit a variety of needs. Whether you prefer an ultra-luxurious safari stay or a more simple stay, you can choose one of these glamorous lodges that best fit you.

Thornybush Game lodge

The Thornybush Main Lodge opened in 1961 and was the first lodge in the nature reserve. This lodge offers both Luxury and Family suites. There are 18 luxury suites that have a stunning view of the river, which is often visited by the wildlife of the Nature Reserve. The lodge also has 2 family suites, each have its own private lodge area and day beds.

leopard safari

Nkelenga Tented Camp

Nkelenga Tented Camp is a self-catering lodge that has a beautiful view that overlooks a Thornybush dam. This lodge offers two types of accommodation, tented suites and the main house.

The tented suites are perfect if you are looking for glamping accommodation, with private large tented camps that each have air conditioning and other amenities that you would not have at a normal campsite. The main house accommodation comes with four single beds which makes it the ideal accommodation choice for families and those who want to have four walls around them.

Jackalberry Lodge

Jackalberry Lodge is perfect for both couples and families, this lodge has seven private thatched suits and a family suite. The suites can accommodate two people, and each has its own private deck with indoor and outdoor showers. Because of the peaceful atmosphere at Jackalberry Lodge, their suites are the perfect option if you want to fully immerse yourself in nature.

zebra safari

Tamboti Villa

Tamboti Villa is the newest addition to the Thornybush Game Reserve, as it only officially opened in March 2024. Situated under groves of Tamboti trees, this villa offers four suites that each accommodate two people. This villa has a gorgeous pool and a deck from which you can sit back, relax and try to spot the African wildlife.

Saseka Tented Camp

If you are looking for a luxurious camp experience, Saseka Tented Camp will be the perfect accommodation for you. This gorgeous accommodation embraces a modern look while being in the middle of the game reserve.

There are eight private tented suites, each with its own private pool and deck. There is also the Leadwood Villa that offers a more glamping safari stay. Each villa has a double bed, bathtub and even wifi while being situated in a thorny bush setting.

cheetah safari

Thornybush Game Reserve Big Five Safari

When visiting the Thornybush Game Reserve, a must-do activity is their Big Five Safari. On this safari, you will be able to get a close-up view of these wild animals in their unspoiled habitat. You can either take flash-free pictures of the animals or simply admire their natural beauty in the moment.

Guests of any of the amazing lodges on the reserve are able to go on game drives twice a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The morning game drives even includes a bush coffee break and a breakfast. The afternoon game drive is usually done around sunset, which gives you a chance to watch the beautiful African sunset on the vast landscape, which is truly a sight like no other and will leave you with lasting memories.

rhino safari tourist

The game drives at Thornybush Game Reserve are done in open vehicles and are usually 3-hours long. Every game drive is done by professional guides who have vast knowledge about the nature reserve and the wildlife. These guides are also experienced trackers, increasing your chances of locating the local wildlife during your safari experience.

When you are ready for your next safari experience, make sure to book at the best time to increase your chances of seeing some of the majestic wildlife. Similar to their accommodation options, Thornybush offers a variety of safaris to suit all individuals.

Thornybush Lodge has a safari to suit everyone. This includes their romantic safari, wellness safari, transformative safari, and family safari. At the wellness safari you can treat yourself to full-body massages and yoga sessions, this is the perfect safari if you are in need of some relation time. While the family safari focuses on reconnecting the family with fun and interactive games.

game drive sunset

Final Thoughts on Thornybush Game Lodge & Reserve

Thornybush is a stunning location that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. If you are looking for the romanticism of Africa, this is the place to visit. The safaris on offer are some of the best in the country and will take you into the African bush to try and see the animals that you have dreamt of seeing.

With the reserve’s wide variety of accommodation options, you will definitely find the perfect place to rest to ensure that you have the best safari vacation. If you are ready for the best safari adventure, start planning your vacation to Thornybush South African Game Reserve.

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