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All reviews outdoor shower river bed the reserve game lodge staff were wonderful safari experience overlooking the river plunge pool an amazing experience off road sundowner drinks african bush male lion meal times watering hole big animals wild dogs
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Reviewed January 23, 2019 via mobile

Thornybush has a great collection & this was our 2nd time staying with them. This time we were in their Main lodge, and here’s the run down:

Check in was a breeze. We LOVED our manager woman (darn I forgot her name! Maybe Kelly?). Room was very well decorated -with balcony, all glass bathroom, outdoor shower, view of a watering whole with lots of animals to watch! Turn down service was a nice treat. They put a mosquito net around the bed for us. They also provided 3 different types of coffee pots in the rooms (I imagine it’s for whichever you’re used to)! And a mini bar with complimentary drinks! Great beds, pillows and sheets. great international plugs

The internet in the rooms was terrible! It’s so much easier if we just don’t plan to be online! I would MUCH rather have NO WiFi, then be told there IS WiFi and spend time & get frustrated trying to make things work.

Our game drives were good, but our particular guide, (who was very nice), seemed to be young & mostly more concerned with being “liked” by his colleagues than giving US an amazing experience. Only when we really pushed to see one of the big 5 did he find some sleeping leopards. He spent a good majority of time chatting on his radio to other drivers vs talking to us about what we were seeing. I think there were too many vechile trying to get to certain spots?! We received inaccurate & conflicting information. IE. We came across a pack of wild dogs, but weren’t really told why they were so important (We found out later from a more experienced guide at another lodge what a special & unique opportunity that was).

The Food was really good... and they give you soooo much! It was mostly buffet style (although I had a mild stomach ache 2 of the days). Unfortunately, we never really new if alcoholic drinks were included or not... so be sure to ask! We learned after that it’s one of the big price difference in the game lodge packages (So if you’re not a drinker, maybe book one that doesn’t include alcohol).

I celebrated my birthday while there & they left a YUMMY bottle of delicious local liquor & nice candle for my bday in the morning... and THEN they sang the coolest version of Happy Birthday to me- that anyone has ever sung! And gave us a HUGE delicious chocolate cake- which of course we shared with everyone. When we got back to our room that night, there was even a hot bubble bath waiting for me! This is GREAT place to spend your birthday!!

We had a lovely balcony and could sit on it for hours just watching the full baboon families (who torture the staff!), the funny monkeys and so much other wildlife. One day the monkeys hung out on our patio all afternoon with us... a mom and her nursing & playful baby were the coolest thing ever to witness. It’s mind blowing that they’ve learned how to open the sliding doors though.... so we had to be mindful (apparently they’re little thieves too).

The staff members were very sweet & remembered our names.... which is sooo very nice and adds a very personal service.

The company makes sure to create groups who continue to go on drives together & sometimes dine. It’s fun to create a connection with new friends. So while THIS particular lodge is a bigger one, you get the intimacy of a smaller one & the amenities of a larger one.

Super close to Hoedspruit Airport. We just rented a car and drove ourselves - which was a fun adventure too. There are many lodges in the collection to choose from based on many budgets! You can’t go wrong.

Date of stay: January 2019
Trip type: Traveled with family
Thank A3Queen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Candice W, Guest Relations Manager at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2019

Hi there A3Queen, thank-you so much for leaving this detailed review of your stay at Thornybush Lodge! I'm really sorry to hear that you weren't happy with your ranger - I'll make sure to escalate this. As for being able to hang out with some monkeys - they really do bring a smile to the face :) Thanks again!

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Reviewed January 23, 2019

I went with a friend and we stayed five nights, I wish it been more! We arrived just after three in the afternoon and were asked if we wanted lunch as they had saved some for us! We didn’t in the event and were shown to our accommodation where we did a quick change and went our on our first game drive. We met Jack our ranger who was funny and quick witted. He was so knowledgeable about, not only the animals but the plants, trees (who can forget the Tamboti tree?!) and especially the birds. He can do all the bird calls! If you are lucky enough to have him as your ranger do ask him. Ishmael, our tracker was a man of few words (watch his hands signals to Jack) but with the biggest smile. We saw so many animals, large and small; dung beetles being one of my favourites. They are so clever! We were privileged to hear a male lion vocalise, they don’t roar we were told! Jack and Ishmael managed to locate him and we followed him for ages, the sound really resonates inside you. It was magic. The accommodation was very well ordered overlooking the river bed where a lion took up residence one night! When we came out of our room on the first afternoon there were about 8 Nyala just wandering around! We were opposite a clearing where we saw baboons, elephant, Nyala and wildebeest. The vervet monkeys could be a bit of a pest but you just have to shout and stamp your feet and they run away, although only a small distance! They never attempted to steal anything from the staff though! The food, especially the breakfasts, were wonderful and I have mention Noshem (I think that is how it is spelt) wo was our butler during our stay. A lovely smiley lady with a great sense of humour. There was also the gentleman, usually in a pink shirt, who would stand by the buffet and crack jokes with you! In fact all the staff were truly fantastic. All happy, smiley people who appear to be one large family. They really are an asset to the company and made our stay very special. We ate breakfast in the bush on our last day which was magic. Dinner one night was also in the bush and one night in the boma. If my bank manager says I can I will go back next year!

Date of stay: January 2019
  • Trip type: Traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Explorer629792
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Candice W, Guest Relations Manager at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2019

Hi there Explorer629792, thank-you so much for taking the time to leave this review of your stay with us! Those monkeys can be very mischievous :) Looking forward to having you back next year.

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Reviewed January 19, 2019

Our 4 day stay at Thornybush main lodge and safari was the best travel experience we have done. It was a 10/10 hands down. The food, villa #14, safari experience with Tendai and July was incredible! Not only did we see the Big 5 on the first day we saw cheetahs, wild painted dogs and giraffes! The lodge is very organized and professionally staffed. We also had a great spa experience. This place is excellent and highly recommended, you will not be disappointed.

Date of stay: December 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Doug D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Candice W, Guest Relations Manager at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2019

Hi there Doug D, thank-you so much for taking the time to leave this review. How exciting that you got to see wild dogs - they are so rare! Hope to see you back some day.

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Reviewed January 17, 2019 via mobile

I cannot recommend this place highly enough, the accommodation is fantastic, the people fabulous and the food is excellent.
The guides (Greg and Million) have been brilliant and their knowledge of the wildlife extremely good and very helpful.
You must go, and we will be back.

Date of stay: January 2019
Trip type: Traveled as a couple
Thank JohnL5339
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Candice W, Guest Relations Manager at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded January 31, 2019

Hi there JohnL5339, thank-you so much for leaving this review of your stay at Thornybush Lodge! Looking forward to having you back some day soon :)

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Reviewed December 11, 2018 via mobile

I just want to say this place has the comforts of home with the in the middle of nowhere location.
Once you arrive you are shown the place and your accomation . They have the set times and when you go on safari .
I absolutely was amazed by the scenery and the animals we encountered. We saw zebras giraffes elephants and lions . The guides are very professional and take you all over the reserve .

Date of stay: December 2018
Trip type: Traveled with friends
Thank Tony P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Candice W, Guest Relations Manager at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded December 20, 2018

Hi there Tony P, thank-you for taking the time to leave this review of your stay at Thornybush Game Lodge! Hope to see you back again some day.

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