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“Best bush experience ever” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Thornybush Game Lodge

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Thornybush Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Pretoria
Level Contributor
189 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Best bush experience ever”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2013

We stayed 4 nights at the Nkelenga tented camp, part of the Thornybush collection of game lodges in the Thornybush private game reserve.
This camp is for self catering with a main house with one bedroom sleeping two and a loft with 4 beds, ideally suited for children and a very well equipped kitchen. In addition there are 3 en-suite airconditioned tents for 2 persons each. A ranger, tracker and game vehicle accommodating 9 people are at your disposal. The accommodation is serviced, all you have to bring is food and drinks and do the cooking. Wood for fire is provided.
The location is superb, we had wonderful game sightings, including 2 cheetah and 2 leopard kills. One cheetah kill was right outside the fence of the camp. We were bush having lunch, when suddenly a cheetah pounced on an impala and killed it right in front of us!
This camp is highly recommended, it is a cheaper option to the "full board"" main lodge.

Room Tip: You book the whole camp, ideally for family or friends
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Erwin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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331 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (78)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 1, 2013

We spent 2 nights in Thornybush Game Lodge and we enjoyed it very much!
The entire staff was so friendly and gracious, especially Grant our Guide – with his profound and consolidated knowledge  Thanks a lot for imparting and sharing with us!
The room accommodations were great with a comfortable bed, big terrace and a lovely bathroom (we loved the outdoor shower).
Game drive was superb and we saw almost everything…..Cheetah’s, Leopards with a kill, Rhino’s, buffalo’s and much more.

We highly recommend Thornybush Game Lodge.

Thanks a lot for incredible stay.
Eileen & Anke

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Eileen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Washington
Level Contributor
26 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2013

We stayed at the Thornybush Lodge and this accommodation exceeded expectations on every level. Our rooming accommodations were superb. Very comfortable bed, private soaking pool in back of very private room. Beautiful bathroom with outside & inside shower as well as a soaking tub. The food was top quality and in abundance. The service of all the staff was incredible. Donna was exceptional at making you feel welcome and being very attentive to our every need. The spa was phenomenal, my son & I had one hour massages that were great (the only thing I was confused about was how to tip the spa personnel, since they didn't allow you to pay at the spa-bill to your room, we left tip in the staff box in the lobby, however not sure if this was the correct way to do this--I hope they received the tip). The safari was amazing. Greg (not Craig) was our ranger & July was our tracker & they did an exceptional job getting us up close & personal to an abundance of wild animals. Greg was also very informative & really allowed us to enjoy these amazing animals, encouraging us to not only photograph, but really take in these animals. This truly was a life changing experience & would recommend taking a safari at least once in your lifetime & do so through the Thornybush lodge. My only regret is I bought a great hat through their souvenir shop & lost at our farewell dinner-great hat & souvenir--bummer.

Room Tip: All rooms are great rooms. If traveling with kids, request a family suite but all the rooms are con...
See more room tips
  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Jed C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 29, 2013

Thornybush Lodge was a wonderful way to begin our visit to South Africa.

Grant, Mel and their staff were all very warm and welcoming and made sure that every need was met. We loved the lodge, especially the dining and lounge area that are beautifully furnished and overlook the waterhole.

On our first drive I mentioned to Grant and Aubrey that it was my ambition to see a leopard in a tree - and they said that hopefully we would see leopard, but in Thornybush Reserve it was not common to see a leopard in a tree as there are not so many hyenas and so not much need for them to protect their food. However on our very next drive we came across a mum leopard and her 9 month cub walking along the river bed which was wonderful to watch in itself - and then the cub darted up a tree closely followed by his mum - and so I got to watch and photograph my first leopards in a tree!

There were so many other highlights including the warthog and bushbuck mowing the lawns at the lodge, a black rhino coming out the bush to investigate whilst we were having our sunset G&T (we quickly moved into the jeep for a closer encounter), great ellie and lion sightings and luckily even more amazing leopard sightings and of course all the other wonderful game such as giraffes, zebra, kudu, bushbuck, inyalas, waterbuck, etc etc. Sunsets were magnificent and the African bush incredible.

Our room was lovely, comfortable, with a lovely outlook of the bush and as it was at the last cottage away from the lodge it was very peaceful - except for a couple of baboons that had taken residence in a tree just outside the room and could be fairly noisy as we woke up for the dawn bush drive. It was quite a walk from the lodge to the room, but in the evenings and early mornings you are safely accompanied to and from your room by a guard. The meals were excellent with a wonderful variety of food, wines and dining experiences. The pool and sunbeds overlooked the waterhole, so you can watch the game come and go as you relax in the midday sunshine.

We really hope to go back one day.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PerthJMC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gibsonia, PA
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2013

I took a group of 20 to Thornybush. To a person, we were all blown away by the experience. The accommodations were great, the staff was incredibly helpful, our drivers and guides were excellent, the food was great, and the spa was wonderful. We had a huge treat one afternoon when a group of 18 elephants went to the watering hole, then spent the next hour "having lunch" in the bush behind our rooms, so we had a close up and personal elephant experience! The outdoor barbeque in the riverbed was such a beautiful surprise. One couple in our group had taken a very upscale safari to Kenya and Tanzania, but he said he never got as close to the wildlife as he did on our game drives. They also made the effort to make sure that everyone in our group got to see the same animals every day so that no one felt slighted. We were so sad to leave and would love to return. In fact, one person in our group is considering taking a leave from his job in the states to return to work at Thornybush for several months. It was an experience we will never forget. I cannot thank the staff there enough for all that they did for us.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sunbeam84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, TN
Level Contributor
96 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2013 via mobile

I can't really add to the other reviews. They are all accurate. We saw all the big five within 24 hours. We saw a pair of leopards twice in two days, which is quite rare. This is a great place. The only downside is that there is something of a long drive on a very bumpy road to get here, if you don't fly directly into their airstrip.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank StraightTalk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bronx, New York
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 24, 2013

My husband and I spent the first week of our honeymoon at Thornybush Game Lodge where we enjoyed our BEAUTIFUL honeymoon suite - overlooking the African bush. Not only was our lodging magnificent, but the safari's that we enjoyed twice a day were made even better by our Ranger - Justin and his partner/tracker, Orlando. Thanks to them and their excellent knowledge and driving skills, we were able to see the Big 5 and more! The food was absolutely delicious, as were the "sundowners" at the end of the day. We went to the spa which wasn't too expensive and excellent. We want to go back for more!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LaMontanara
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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