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“Up Close and Personal”

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Thornybush Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Up Close and Personal”
Reviewed March 7, 2012

Another amazing experience! We were able to see all the big game animals easily. The lions were the most amazing of course.

We would have sundowners every evening out in the bush. Great staff, great guides.

Another wonderful trip put together by Intrepid Expeditions'Simon Gluckman simon@intrepidexpeditions.com

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with friends
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Thank Tuckerman_48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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337 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (80)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
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  • Portuguese first
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English first
Cape Town
Level Contributor
46 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
Reviewed February 17, 2012

I was looking for luxury accommodation at the last minute and was lucky to get a place at Thorny Bush Main lodge over the Christmas season. I stayed there for 4 nights. December is definitely NOT the right time to go on safari and as a South African I knew that and was prepared to take my chances. I was basically looking for luxurious air conditioned accommodation and good food. I got exactly that. Please note however not that the gravel road leading to the lodge ( half an hour's drive from the main tarred one) is very bad and much worse during wet weather. It is made for 4x4's and very tough on sedan cars.

The staff are very warm, friendly and attentive, especially Donna who was a most delightful host. Kudos also to the Food and Beverage lady ( Clara?) who was very caring. She notices that I was not in for dinner and very kindly phoned and offered to send a late of food to the room.

The room which is in the form of a separate lodge is fairly hidden from its neighbors, ensuring privacy, had a expansive deck, huge and very comfortable bed with mosquito netting, a beautiful bathroom and inside and outside shower all with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the river bed ( which is mostly dry). Tea and coffee with proper ground coffee and plunger and little rusks was a nice touch. The fridge bar however was very poorly stocked with no snacks except a small and crumpled Mars bar!

The dining room and lounge area of the lodge was set out on a large deck overlooking the partially obscured river and was welcoming and pleasant. The service was good. The breakfast was substantial but the lunches, although tasty was a bit disappointing for a 5 star establishment. I would have liked to have seen more variety of salads as well additional than o main courses offered ( not everyone likes curry!). There was also only one dessert offered, whereas one could have been offered fruit/cheese and biscuits as an alternative. Dinner was always good and the barbecue we had in the boma were we all sat together with our guides was a great experience and the food was excellent and plentiful.

'Ocean' was my very experience and knowledgeable guide on the game drives and together withe a delightful French family I saw the Big Five in the space of 2 days as well as many amazing birds. he also took us on a wonderful and instructive bush walk.

The Spa is small but well equipped and the treatments I had with Bongo was on par with international standards elsewhere in the world.

A few quibbles though: The pool is totally inadequate for the size of the lodge. It is really very small and can only accommodate about 8 people comfortably which is a great pity.

Also I feel that there definitely should be flat screen TV's in the bedrooms with cable, especially for those rainy days ( plenty of them in December and January!) and for keeping up with the news and sports. When I mentioned the lack of the TV, I was told that the lodge wanted people to 'mingle' which is strange considering that most of the guests are from International and speak different languages!! The small rather dark uninviting TV lounge/ internet room/library ( very poor selection of books) is inadequate.

The bar should be open most of the day for lunch/early evening drinks with someone on hand to attend to the guests. This was not always the case.

My car was returned to me muddy and dirty. A nice touch would have been to have had it washed before the delivered it back to me at the end of my stay!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
3 Thank Tripper032
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed February 2, 2012

This was our first safari experience and it exceeded our expectations in every way, starting from the moment we arrived and Donna, the manager, had freshly made passionfruit lemonade waiting for us, which we drank while watching nyalas at the watering hole in front of the lodge.

The rooms are really casitas, very private from each other, and have the largest beds I've ever seen which are quite comfy, sliding glass doors opening to a huge riverfront deck, outdoor stone showers facing the river, and the best bathrooms ever--glass-walled on both sides, with a deep ergonomic soaking tub. It was summer but that wasn't going to stop me from taking a warm bath during daylight hours just to experience that view.

The game drives were incredible and our ranger, Craig, and tracker, Alson, made them unforgettable and fun for us. The reserve has an intimate feel which lets you get really up close and it never feels crowded. We saw the big 5 within the first 2 drives and repeatedly, and also a mother and baby cheetah up close twice, loads of friendly giraffes, kudus, wildebeests, warthogs, porcupines, beautiful birds...I will never forget seeing a male lion 10 feet away in a cozy little meadow eating its meal. The scenery is gorgeous and the mid-drive coffee/cocktails so civilized. The first 3 drives we had the land cruiser to ourselves, but it was also fun to meet new people.

The service at the lodge was unforgettable--I have never felt so well taken care of and it feels like the staff to guest ratio is 2 to 1 or something. And the food--fantastic! Great bar and library areas, etc. The smiles of the staff including Noel and Grace made our meals a pleasure. For lounging and looking at the stars. The infinity pool was great for hot afternoons and the spa was great for a jet lag massage.

I thought the size (18 rooms) was just right--it still felt very private and we sometimes had the lodge to ourselves, but there was a festive atmosphere at dinner (which is held in varying places--the braai barbecue in a sandy area, or else on the main deck and I think they have them on the airstrip).


I cried the day I left--that's how special this was.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Anamini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swansea, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed January 29, 2012

To celebrate my 60th birthday as part of the holiday to SA we stayed at the Thornybush private game reserve. I can only praise everyone of the staff for their warm welcome and the way they looked after us during our 4 day stay. Nothing was too much trouble for them and was presented with a bithday cake after dinner by all the restaurant team, great touch. Our lodge, the food and the safari drives were 5 star. I cannot speak too highly of our guide "Ocean" and his tracker Ernist. Every drive was different and always a brillant experience, it was not just a case of seeing the big 5 but the stories Ocean told of each of the groups or families. On one morning drive we tracked a mother cheetah who camily came to sit on top of a termite mound and one by one her young cubs came to sit with her an unforgettable experience.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank raygwyn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Berlin, Germany
Level Contributor
72 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed December 28, 2011

If you are looking for the best kruger experience I totally recommend a private reserve like Thornybush Main Lodge. The lodge is beautiful, the staff very friendly, the food is great and most of all the Game is totally amazing. Within my 2 night stay I saw the big 5 and was totally lucky to see an animal kill. This lodge is real value for money.

  • Stayed November 2011
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Helpful?
Thank Dolphin01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
77 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed December 13, 2011

I celebrated my 50th birthday at this incredible lodge. Best game ever seen in this area- the Big 5 and more......The staff and level of service was amazing- they really go the extra mile to ensure that guests feel welcome and satisfied. The suites are luxurious and well equipped. A perfect week end and birthday!

  • Stayed December 2011
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank KimCL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviewed November 7, 2011

Thank you to JB and his team for a perfect and memorial experience. We loved it

  • Stayed September 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Bradfordshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thornybush Game Lodge

Property: Thornybush Game Lodge
Address: Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Thornybush Game Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thornybush Game Lodge (Graded 5 star by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa)- 18 luxury suites & 2 family suites (40 guests). Nestled in the heart of Big 5 country adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park, with a huge diversity of mammal and bird species, lies 11 500 hectares of pristine African Bushveld, this is the Thornybush Nature Reserve. The elegant and exclusive Thornybush Game Lodge awaits discovery by the discerning traveller. Unrivaled big game viewing is complemented by exquisite accommodation and sublime cuisine. Thornybush Game Lodge boasts 18 stylish air-conditioned luxury suites and 2 family suites, all with extensive living areas overlooking the seasonal Monwana River. From within the luxurious suites, each with full en-suite facilities and private decks, sweeping vistas can be enjoyed over the savannah and an ever-active water hole. Superb attention to detail and highly personalised service make for a memorable stay. Enjoy exciting dawn and dusk safaris in open Land Rovers and on walking safaris, take a moment to browse in the intimate library or simply enjoy a treatment in the Beauty Spa or relax at the pool with your favourite cocktail as you bask in Africa’s glorious sunshine. An African safari can be a life-changing experience. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thornybush Game Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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