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Thornybush Game Reserve Greater Kruger, Kruger National Park 1380 South Africa
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#3 of 12 Specialty lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
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It’s a vast, wild place where the lions roam at Shumbalala Game Lodge, deep in the Thornybush GameReserve, one of the country’s great tracts of untamed game-viewing.Set as it is in a dry, singeing savanna of Mopane, Acacias and Umbrella thorns, quartered by easterly-flowing rivers densely shrouded in giant figs, fever trees and phoenix palms, the land is an ancient tapestry of natural wonder.Over-head the Loeries call their sharp warning while horn-bills swoop in an ungainly ballet between trees whilst vultures elevate on thermals portending an electric storm.As you push on through the bush it is the serendipity of nature that amazes most as your vehicle skirts art deco zebra, dozy giraffe, bright eyed bush babies, wildebeest (made, it is said, by the committee of left-over parts) and the rest Africa has to offer.It is even more of an adventure when you stumble upon a leopard lazing in the V of a Jackalberry tree or; a hyena giving you a lazy yellow eye in the gathering dusk; a majestic bull elephant crashing its way through the riverine thicket in search of sweet reeds or; a surprise sunrise encounter with a lion pride on the prowl.This is the world of Shumbalala.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Free breakfast
Airport transportation
Gift shop
Non-smoking hotel
Paid wifi
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Bar / lounge
Breakfast buffet
Special diet menus
Shuttle bus service
Outdoor fireplace
Shared lounge / TV area
24-hour front desk
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
Ironing service
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Room features
Air conditioning
Room service
Coffee / tea maker
Bath / shower
Seating area
VIP room facilities
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Hair dryer
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Room types
Bridal suite
Non-smoking rooms
Family rooms
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Thornybush Game Reserve Greater Kruger, Kruger National Park 1380 South Africa
Getting there
Johannesburg Intl Airport216 miSee all flights
Hoedspruit Airport10 miSee all flights
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341Reviews2Q+A95Room tips
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Popular mentions
Nizha Ford wrote a review Nov 22
20 contributions
From the moment you arrive, the attention to detail exemplifies this 5 star service and accommodation. Not only is the lodge absolutely beautiful, so are the people that run it. They have a passion for what they do and it shows in their kindness and willingness to go the extra mile. I can highly recommend experiencing it for yourself. The food was exceptional and bountiful, the rooms were spotless and comfortable and the game drives never disappointed. Pure magic!
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Date of stay: November 2020Trip type: Traveled with friends
Gayle F wrote a review Mar 2020
3 contributions
My husband and I have been all over the world. Our stay at Shumbalala has moved into 1st place! Suzette is a wonderful hostess, always making sure we were well taken care of. Tim was a well-informed, fun guide. Sam (the spotter) and Tim went above and beyond to make sure we saw all there is to see in the bush in South Africa. One day we sat and watched 150 Cape Buffalo for well over an hour as they played in the mud. What an experience. And the food? Well - there was plenty of it! It was well prepared and served as though we were in a 5-star restaurant. The staff were lovely people and we enjoyed talking with them. I would highly recommend this for your safari experience!
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Date of stay: February 2020
Sleep Quality
Valerie Ledterman wrote a review Mar 2020
2 contributions
Some friends of mine and I recently returned from a trip to South Africa that included three nights at the Shumbalala. All I can say is WOW! If you are looking for a premier, first-class location with the BEST service ever, choose the Shumbalala! It is worth every dime you spend. The accommodations were lush and beautiful. The pictures posted here are amazing but don’t do it justice—it’s absolutely gorgeous! Our guide, Tim, and spotter, Sam showed amazing knowledge on each of our game drives. It was beyond thrilling to be in the Bush with all the animals. Suzette, our Host, along with Sheila, Marco, Oneika and Francois were attentive and saw to our every need and desire for food, drink, comfort and housekeeping. I can’t speak highly enough of them ALL! Thank you for making our trip of a lifetime the best ever!
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Traveled with friends
SvenGravendeel wrote a review Mar 2020
The Netherlands101 contributions13 helpful votes
On our first ever trip to South Africa we stayed at the Shumbalala Lodge for three nights. After our short trip from Dullstroom to the lodge we arrive at the welcome centre of the reserve where we unloaded our suitcases into the lodges 4 by 4. Arriving at the lodge we were overwhelmed with the views from the main deck, the room. From your own deck you can see the rive and small waterhole were animals pass by during the day as if the guests are not there. The food whether breakfast lunch or dinner was extraordinary and no chance was left unused to surprise us. When one night the weather outside was a bit too windy we were invited to a romantic dinner inside our own room while the rain was pooring outside. The game drives were outstanding as well, simply because in these private reserves they do not allow too many vehicles so once something is spotted the rangers will inform each other and make sure that sightings stay exclusive as well. For now, a once in a lifetime experience but we have no intention to leave it this way.
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Date of stay: February 2020
Room Tip: All rooms in my opinion are superb and deliver a very unique experience with a view to die for
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Simon C wrote a review Feb 2020
83 contributions7 helpful votes
Shumbalala means where the lion sleeps in the local language. And on our first morning game drive we saw a pride of lions asleep in the morning sun about 5m from the side of our land cruiser. It was to be an experience to be repeated many times over the course of our three night stay in February as we saw all of the big five on many occasions. As Safari novices we were not sure exactly what to expect but our guide Francois and tracker Randzani expertly guided us through the vast array of mammals and birds, insects and reptiles, shrubs and trees until we were pointing out orange billed hornbills and estimating the age of young elephants from their tusks. Randzani even took us down from the jeep one morning and patiently took us through the clues to be read in a pair of hoof prints until we were able to identify a female wildebeest walking slowly in a south easterly direction towards a water hole. Francois was dedicated in ensuring we ticked off our goals to see the big five including the rhinos which are sadly threatened by poaching to the edge of extinction. The game reserves have now resorted to removing the horns that make them so valuable to poachers (they grow back slowly like toenails!) but this makes them more suspicious of humans . The highlights of our game drives included two leopards in a tree with their kill, giraffes “necking” in a gentle test of supremacy, and a young lion stalking a buffalo at the edge of the water hole. But all of this was surpassed by an encounter with a herd of elephants on our final morning. Francois pulled over at the edge of the track as the herd approached and proceeded gently passed the vehicle. Around 25 of these magnificent creatures walked by, completely unconcerned by our presence and quite literally close enough to touch. If this had been our first day we would have been concerned but having observed them earlier it was clear that if we kept still and quiet, we presented no threat to them. There were several calves with their mothers and several large bulls, but they continued to graze and drink as if we were not there. It was a true privilege to experience a little of their lives in this way and I can only hope that through the work of the reserves across Africa, such an experience can still be there for generations to follow. The rest of the staff in the lodge were also outstanding from Sheila and Busi who looked after us and Sarah who kept our room clean and tidy. Eating delicious food under the stars while elephants drank at the water hole nearby is a very special memory. Shumbalala deliberately limits the number of guests so there is a fantastic level of personal service. You feel pampered and welcomed and well cared for in every aspect. This was our first safari and so we do not have a benchmark against which to compare. But I think it will be very hard to top this in terms of the access to the animals, the knowledge of the guide and tracker , the wonderful food and the comfort in which we stayed. Thanks to all of the staff for a wonderful stay and we hope to visit again in the future.
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Date of stay: February 2020Trip type: Traveled as a couple
$1,126 - $2,108 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
shumbalala game hotel thornybush private game reserve
South AfricaKruger National ParkThornybush Private Game Reserve
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Frequently Asked Questions about Shumbalala Game Lodge
What are some of the property amenities at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
Which room amenities are available at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Top room amenities include a minibar, air conditioning, and a fireplace.
What food & drink options are available at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Does Shumbalala Game Lodge have an airport shuttle?
Yes, Shumbalala Game Lodge offers an airport shuttle for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Is Shumbalala Game Lodge accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific inquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.