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“One big problem: too sad to leave!”

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Thornybush Waterside Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 2, 2013

We stayed at the Waterside Lodge for three nights . You can't really leave that place!
Everything down there is just perfect!
The rooms are spacious, superbly appointed and impeccably clean;
the staff - all of them - are super.
We travelled with a kid ( Emma, 9 years old) , who was spolied by everyone shamelessly.
The food is excellent and perfecty served (by the way, a big hug to our waiter, Surprise, soooooo sweet!).
The game drives are fantastic; we saw all the big5 and much more, including a moving sighting of the lion cubs playing in the sand and a sundownwer in the bush with the sound of a roaring lion; the "guitly ones" for that are ranger Sean and tracker Willes, whom we want to thank again for the unforgettable experience.
We couldn't suggest anything to those guys, just to go on this way, they're extremely professional and so warm and friendly at the same time!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank valentinag302
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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152 - 158 of 274 reviews

Reviewed September 2, 2013

I have just returned from a wonderful long weekend at Waterside Lodge.

Wow. We were warmly greeted by the staff with hot towels on our arrival and a lovely refreshing drink. Our car was parked for our and our bags taken to our rooms.

The setting on the waterside is just beautiful and so serene. There are nyala and other animals walking around the lodge and and a lovely pool area with a view of the water.

Rooms are very spacious and comfortable with lovely little touches.

Food was plentiful and delicious, we were constantly being fed! Rusks and biscuits before morning drive, a lovely stop for tea and snacks on the morning drive, lunch, pre-afternoon drive snacks (baked goodies), a stop for afternoon snacks on the drive, and then dinner! We were served by Rich for our stay who was wonderful, so efficient and friendly.

And now for the drives. Wow wow wow! Best I have experienced thus far. Our team of Moses and Jacques (dedicated to our group of six for the three days, so we were able to make ourselves heard) were just incredible, so welcoming and knowledgeable and really willing to go the extra mile to make sure we had amazing sighting! They were also able to tailor to our interests which was wonderful. We saw all of the big five, all more than once as well as so many other animals such as cheetah, hippo, giraffe, hyena, zebra, many antelope and a wide variety of bird life. No question was left unanswered. A highlight was definitely tracking a leopard through very rough terrain! AMAZING! We were also treated to a walk through the bush, where we had the opportunity to spot some of the smaller animals and learn about the plant life.

I left with a very heavy heart but feeling very relaxed and rejuvenated and hope to return soon!

Thank you once again to the wonderful staff.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Anja42
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 22, 2013

We stayed 3 nights at the lodge and this turned out to be the highlight of our first trip to South Africa! The rooms are spacious and beautiful - we had interconnecting rooms for the kids. There is plenty of wildllife on the grounds - Nyalas, Antelope, Vervet monkeys and the 'resident' Hippo. The food is great and more than plentiful. Dinner each night was a unique experience. The game drives are fantastic. We had several very close sightings of the Big 5 and even found ourselves in the middle of an elephant herd being chased by a bull elephant! The shaky video we took of the encounter will always remind us of our very memorable stay! Being on a reserve does give you better odds of game viewing and the fact that we could go offroad allowed us to watch lionesses setting up for a hunt. Amazing!
The staff goes above and beyond trying to make your experience comfortable. Be it the hot towels after each drive, welcome drinks promptly on arrival, hot water bottles for the morning drive or rooms serviced several times a day.
Special thanks to our ranger Jack and tracker Hennie and our butler Jimmy!!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank esbee9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

At the beginning of June, I took my younger brother on a surprise trip for his 21st birthday and our first stop was Thornybush Waterside Lodge for two nights, and oh how we both wished we could have stayed their for the entire ten day trip. It was unbelievable!

From even before arrival, you recieve a phone call from the manager on duty to find out how your trip down to the lodge is so far and an ETA. Greeted with welcome drinks and warm towels - perfect for the winter afternoon and sat down to go through any dietary requirements and special requests - it really gives your stay that personal touch. We were then introduced to our butler, Philip, who would look after us for the following two nights. We were then given a walk around tour of the property and shown to our room - luxury in the rustic bush at its best.

A treat of the day (day of arrival was an amazing Carrot Cake) and tea/coffee/juice is served before departing on your afternoon/evening game drive. We were introduced to our guide, Jordan and our Tracker, Rich. What an incredible team they are working together! We had some unbelievable sightings during our trip seeing all of the big 5 except for Rhino, including incredible encounters with Lion, elephant and a night sighting of a leopard.

The food was outstanding, I really was blown away by the standard of food and the presentation. There wasn't one meal that I could fault, and having my list of dietary requirements I was surprised that I was catered for so well. On our second night there we had dinner in the boma and we were surprised with a birthday cake for my brother followed by a few songs sung by the staff of the lodge.

I don't think someone could go wrong with choosing to stay at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, it truly is such a treat and the perfect 5* getaway in the bush. If you're able to somehow request Philip, Jordan and Rich - I can guarantee you that you will recieve the most incredible service during your stay!

To the management team, rangers and staff - THANK YOU for such an amazing stay.

Shongile&Mafoefies.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank KiDct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 7, 2013

Deep in the heart of a private reserve (Thornybush) and next to Kruger Park, this is one of the best safari camps we have visited. Everything from the service, lodging and food (5 meals a day) is exceptional. The staff cannot do enough, catering to your every need. Two safaris per day are included with no more than 9 people in a vehicle. This is not a zoo! With 14,000 hectares of land, they have every species of wild animals and birds found in South Africa, the Big 5 including both white and black rhinoceros. Since this is wild reserve, do not be disappointed if you do not see every type of animal; however, the guides are amazing at their ability to find them all (ours were Jacques and Moses). One of the best vacation spots on Earth. Expect to arise early – the morning safari leaves before sunrise.

Room Tip: All rooms are excellent
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Brazingo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 2, 2013

Thornybush Waterside Lodge was the mosty amazing experience. I also stayed in Room 20 which was out of this world. The grounds were stunning as were the animals which visited, some whilst we were enjoying drinks on the deck. Sean, our ranger and Willies, our Tracker were unbelievable, the food at the lodge was beautiful and the staff could not have been better.
I will never forget this place nor the safaris we did here and I certainly plan to return. I would rate this whole experience as 20 out of 10!!! I travelled with a group of 10 other Australian women in May this year.

Room Tip: Any room would be fantastic. I stayed in the very end room No 20 and it was sensational.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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1  Thank Jan H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2013

Thorneybush Waterside offered superior rooms, handsomely maintained grounds, culinary treats and unforgettable safari outings. My husband and I stayed three days with memories of gracious hosts and unforgettable safari trips into the bush.

The staff apologized for giving us room 20, located at the end of the pathway. This turned out to be a bonus as we had a stroll before and after meals through the grounds. We saw nyalas, small antelope, nibbling grass in front of our place, a very young one, too. Our room was spotless with a huge comfortable bed like the photos plus a luxurious bathroom and a back patio with chairs to view the bush.

The safaris with Jamie, our range/guide and Abraham, our tracker, were unforgettable. Cameras cannot capture the feeling of seeing a trio of leopards feeding, three female lions setting up to ensnare a warthog, a cheetah guarding a fresh kill or the giraffe and zebras grazing together. I'll always remember being next to the herd of elephants moving through the bush taking down small trees as if they were toothpicks. I appreciated the stops with snacks while we were out and the fact that our Toyota safari vehicle was new. We were on 6 safaris with Jamie and Abraham who provided rich experiences as they shared their knowledge of the bush and its history.

My husband and I like to try new and unique menu items and we found every meal with an array of delicacies from which to choose. The lodge had a talented chef and staff. I particularly liked the layered crepe with a vegetable filling that was served at lunch one day. The buffets also included traditional fare. We enjoyed two magnificent BOMA dinners with lanterns lit and fire pit, though all meals were set in various locations around the beautiful lodge.

While checking my e-mail one morning I discovered a problem back home and needed to phone and fax the USA. The staff was most accommodating and provided me with the resources to resolve the problem. And they didn't charge for these services. Hats off to them!

No one has mentioned the gift shop and while these places usually have high prices, I found a couple of items for purchase that I had not seen anywhere before or after our visit to SA. And the price was modest. Overall, the stay was the highlight of our visit to South Africa.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank LimekilnLady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thornybush Waterside Lodge

Address: Guernsey Road | Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range: $605 - $1,316 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Thornybush Waterside Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thornybush Waterside Lodge(Graded 5 star by the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa)20 Luxury Suites (40 Guests)Set on the banks of a tranquil lake encompassed with breath-taking views of the African bushveld, Thornybush Waterside Lodge affords instant relaxation.The lodges 20 comfortably appointed air-conditioned Thatched Suites blend into the natural habitat and are located along pathways surrounded by an abundance of trees and manicured gardens. En-suite air- conditioned accommodation tastefully decorated by crisp white bedding.Highly skilled rangers and trackers ensure Big 5 game viewing opportunities during dawn and dusk safaris, whilst bushwalks are for the more adventurous. Guests are invited to relax and take in the African surrounds after breakfast on the main deck area overlooking the lake, the swimming pool or alternatively retreat to the comfort of your suite.Thornybush Waterside Lodge will from mid-January 2012 have access to an even greater Reserve making game viewing some of the best in the Country. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thornybush Waterside Lodge South Africa/Thornybush Private Game Reserve

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