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“We would go again in a heartbeat!”

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Thornybush Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“We would go again in a heartbeat!”
Reviewed August 1, 2012

We've now visited here twice. Firstly, last year we ended our 3 month round-the-world honeymoon with 3 nights at thornybush and it was hands down the best experience of our lives and we didn't talk about anything else once we got home- Amazing! Our ranger Dylan and tracker Rixon were fantastic. First thing we did when we got home was book another trip, this time taking along close friends and family making us a group of 6 and Thornybush fully lived up to our expectarions based on our first trip. This time arond we had a different ranger and tracker, Greg and July, and even Justin our ranger-in-training, their skill and knowledge is incredible, you know you are in good hands not only to find the animals and get the best viewing experience but also knowing you are safe and they are capable of getting you out of any situation. Our highlights were chasing down wild dog (a rareity) and tracking and finding the elusive black rhino and leopard. No less important were all the other animals we got to see - lion, cheetah, white rhino, elephants, hippos, crocs, buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, girraffe, all kinds of antelope, many bird species including vultures just to name a few! We were also lucky enough to see hyena on our first trip although I believe that is incredibly rare.
If you are going in winter (which is a great time as it doesn't rain, no mozzies and the foliage is low for best viewing) remember to pack warm as it does get very cold in the open jeeps! The lodge does provide blankets and hot water bottles for added warmth.
On the lodge itself - Food is always amazing, different settings for dinner keep things interesting as well as a surprise bush breakfast down by the riverbed. (Note the river is dry all but for 5 days a year, not that it takes away from the awe of the landscape) The rooms are more than comfortable, heating and electric blankets to keep you warm in winter. All the lodge staff are so friendly, (Thanks Donna for looking after us!) Overall a perfect place to stay, can't possibly recommend it highly enough.

Room Tip: All rooms are amazing, you can't lose.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Ashakimberley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Arlington VA
Level 6 Contributor
92 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Don't doubt all of the many five star reviews of this five star property. It truly is wonderful! One in the collection of Thornybush properties in this private reserve, you will see the Big Five and many others as you ride through the bush with your guide and tracker. The vehicles have tiered seating making it easy for everyone to see and the ability to go off road provides close up encounters with the animals. Our team, Pete and Charles, not only succeeded in spotting the animals in multiple drives but also tirelessly answered our many questions. The drives last 3-4 hours. Visiting in the winter month of June it was easy to view the animals with less foliage on the trees. If it is cold in the early morning, don't worry. The hot water bottle and blankets provided will keep you comfy. The other perks of the early morning and late afternoon drives are the beautiful South African sunrises and sunsets. And when it is dark...you won't believe the stars!

The day will start with hot coffee or tea, juices and muffins or rusks. When you return from the morning drive, a large bountiful breakfast buffet awaits as well as ordering eggs and meats from the menu. Relax in the open air lounge with wi-fi before you freshen up for lunch. You might feel like a nap by now, possibly followed up with a walk around the property during the day, some sun by the pool, or a spa treatment. There is also a great little gift shop with handi-crafts, jewelry, and safari- type clothing. Afternoon tea is ready before you head off on your next drive. Upon returning, either a boma dinner or perhaps a la carte from the menu will be the offering. Your guide may also join you to share in conversation and answer more questions.

The accommodations are superb. Attractive little villas with a large bedroom, large bath, and very large balcony for relaxing and viewing the animals that may stop by. Of course there is a private outdoor shower in case you don't want to miss a chance to enjoy more of the outdoors. A ceiling fan, HVAC unit, electric blanket, robes, mini bar will provide all of the comforts. No TV so plan to totally disconnect and relax. For the cooler months, plan to layer your clothes, bring gloves and a hat for the early morning drives. Don't worry about the laundry, you can send it to be hand laundered at reasonable cost.

This trip of a life-time will make you return if you can!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank lilybob24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 27, 2012

My wife and I were lucky enough to visit Thornybush in June 2012 and had an amazing experience. Our trip was booked through Inspired2Explore and they did not disappoint!! From the moment we began planning our trip with Janine to our final departure from Thornybush, everything was amazing.

The amazing Thornybush hospitality begins the moment you arrive and does not stop until the day you depart. The staff was very friendly and always there to help us with any questions or requests we had. The food is exceptional and dinner each night is always exciting, as you never know what experience they will provide. They serve dinner in different areas each night and one night they surprised us with dinner for two in our room! We had our own waiter and felt like royalty. A great touch.

This was our first safari, but I can't imagine a safari getting any better. We saw the "big five" numerous times and never experienced a dull moment. My wife and I went on eight safari's total and have great stories from each ride. The best part by far was getting to know Ocean and Ismael our ranger and tracker. They have over 30 years of combined experience in the bush and it shows. They are very knowledgeable and love what they do which makes it that much better. Ocean and Ismael alone made this a trip of a lifetime with their hospitality, laughs and openness to answer as many questions as possible. It was hard to say goodbye.

A few of our favorite things:

-Staff shooting slingshots at very sly monkeys trying to steal food from the buffet.
-Our electric blankets turned on when returning to our room from dinner (it was winter and this was nice touch)
-Warm, damp towels upon returning from the evening rides
-The spa. One of the best massages we have had!
-The staff and accommodations
-And of course, the wildlife!!!

Inspired2Explore, thank you so much for booking us at such a special place like Thornybush. We will definitely recommend your expertise to anyone traveling to Africa. You know it so well and created a vacation of a lifetime.

And thank you to the staff and crew at Thornybush. Absolutely amazing!!!


Adam and Lindsay

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Adam J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
houston
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed July 24, 2012

From the moment we arrived at Thornybush we knew it was going to be a first class experience. We were met by Precious who was superb in showing us around and everything we should expect. The rooms were incredible...the bath and outdoor shower were my favorite.

Our first night we met Greg and July and started our safari adventure. Greg and July made our first safari the most incredible experience I could have ever dreamed of. From Greg's knowledge and July's smile that could light up all of Africa...they made sure we saw the big five in our first 24 hours at the lodge. This is the greatest team who make sure you are treated like royalty and that you get a great adventure. Greg tells you all about the wildlife while July is always tracking for our next big game sighting. I really was blown away by the whole experience!!

The food at the lodge is excellent along with the whole staff. I do have to also acknowledge Donna for all her hard work in making sure we were happy. We also had a massage which was very relaxing.

You can not go wrong with choosing Thornybush! If you stay there I would highly recommend Greg and July as your guides.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank tonyaHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
91 reviews
49 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed July 23, 2012

Everyone kept asking why we were returning and we started to doubt ourselves - but then we arrived and remembered why! Thornybush has quality and service ingrained into its ethos - everything they do is to help you and ensure that your stay, however brief is memorable. Donna as usual seems to be on hand 24/7 and nothing is too much trouble for her and the staff. As it was our 3rd trip they made us feel extra special with extra little touches that just make you smile. Of course then there are the Rangers - we had Chris and Rexon - one former to the Lodge (but an experienced ranger) and the latter with many years experience of the park so they were a great team and we saw everything and more. Despite it being our 3rd visit we still saw new animals (Wild dogs, White Lions and many birds - Chris seeming to know every one)! I used the spa again and both Sylvia and Emily gave me lovely relaxing treatments. I love the outdoor shower and however chilly it is I always have one - it is so exhilarating. The food is excellent and all home cooked and they cater for the children too. Is there a downside - i cannot think of any - we visited a month later than before and were a little concerned when we saw quite a few children there - but no problem - they have their own Jeeps and the staff were brilliant at looking after them during the day so no noise either. I just cannot wait to go back.

Room Tip: All rooms are the same!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank maggie9898210
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Paltz, New York
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2012

I can not even put into words how amazing our experience at Thornybush was. We stayed at the main lodge for 5 nights (honeymoon). The grounds were gorgeous, the service was extraordinary, our suite was out of this world and the food was better than anything we've ever had before. The best part of our stay had to be the game drives. We saw the big 5, other common animals and some rare sightings like black rhino and wild dog. Our guide Craig and tracker Allson were spectacular. We learned so much from them. You can tell they had an amazing working relationship and friendship, which made our morning and evening drives not only adventurous, but great fun. We went to another safari camp after Thornybush for a different experience and even though we had an amazing time, we missed Craig and Allson on our safari adventures. I can't wait to visit again. I highly recommend Thornybush!!!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Chrissy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2012

Every facet of my visit was amazing, the accomodations were clean and comfortable. The meals were excellent, the lodge was spectacular, and my guides (Greg and July) were simply the best. Want to see all of the "Big Five"? I did, and my guide made sure it happened. A vacation to remember, that's for sure!

Room Tip: All of the rooms have a wildlife/river view, any room is a great room.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank PoisonOkie
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 Spa 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 part of the Greater Kruger National Park, with a huge diversity of mammal and bird species, lies 14 000 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 Cruisers 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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