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“Unbelievable value and great place to base your safari”
Review of Thornicroft Lodge

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Thornicroft Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Unbelievable value and great place to base your safari”
Reviewed December 30, 2010

We stayed there for 4 nights and had a great time at Thornicroft exploring the park. We have been to south Luangwa twice before and love the place but this was the first time at Thornicroft - we wanted a bit of luxury but were on a bit of a budget. Thornicroft is by far the best the lodge we have stayed in Luangwa and at for the money we paid it was great value. There were some lodges that wanted $300 more pp/pn and to be honest I am glad we chose Thornicroft as it had everything we needed. Lovelly location overlooking the river, good clean open chalets that let the sounds of the bush in, very comfortable beds, big beautiful walk in mosquito nets that were really easy to get in and out of (unlike some places I've been to) and they had a great guide named Godfrey. He almost has a six sense in finding animals and found Lions everyday for us. He was also much more than a "here is a Zebra, look for 10 secs then drive on" type of guide and really knew his stuff and made even an Puku interesting! Made it a very special and personal safari experience.

We had an amazing stay at Thornicroft and will definitely stay there again the next time we visit Sth Luangwa.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank the_lillypad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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134 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
London
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2010

Thornicroft is a great base very near to the park entrance with helpful and relaxed staff and not that many rooms so you have plenty of space to chillout. Plentiful straightforward tasty food, comfortable bar area, rooms large and comfortable (but not luxurious) and wonderful location on the banks of the river. Godfrey had us out on time every day and the number and variety of animals we found was amazing. (The pool is not good). The staff went out of their way to help us with our vehicle and the animals visited the area around the hotel regularly (monkeys, elephants etc). We all regretted having booked for only 4 nights despite the early starts. Not top end but priced accordingly and we didn't need anything more.

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank whitneydh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leicester
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2010

We travelled with Landlake safaris from Lilongwe, Malawi, one of the agents for this lodge, we had excellent service and transport with Henry from Lilongwe. Thornicroft is recently opened and had a certain amount of construction going on away from our Chalet. The rooms areexcellent and well equipped, the pool rather awkwardly Zambia shaped so a plunge rather than swimming pool.

Godfrey our guide had years of experience and an incredible depth of knowledge of birds and animals. He was adept at finding Leopards and Lions, but also skilled at getting close enough with the light right for astonishing photography. The Chef was also excellent, working with local ingredients to produce delicious meals. Apparently he used to be personal chef to the Zambian Vice president. These two individuals are critical to the success of any safari lodge, and the Thornicroft has done very well to recruit them. It is a little depressing that 50 years after the wind of change blew through Africa that it is still white expats are still the employers, I hope that they are paying these two well as they have the capability, if not the capital to run a first class lodge themselves. This is a criticism of the neocolonialism of African society rather than the Thornicroft, as I could make similar comments about all the other places that we stayed in Malawi and Zambia.

The management are Dutch and very helpful and the position on the river excellent, with elephants, crocs and hippos visible from the bank. It is only a few minutes to the park so no prolonged drive to the main park, with two drives per day at 0600 and 1600 for a total of 9 hours per day. This was punctuated by rest stops to have tea or a sundowner so not tiresome. The landscape and animals made the the park, often seeing only one other vehicle each day so quite unlike the Kruger in RSA.

There was a considerable frog and gecko population in the lodge and baboons and elephants often in the grounds. The guards are to watch for these rather than human interlopers. Drinks were a bit over priced at $1.50 per soda and $3.00 for local beer, but water was free and with an 0600 start not a good idea to have too much alcohol.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank foxinsoxuk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2009

The south Luanga national park was the highlight of our Zambia trip. Thornicrofts was perfect for us, it's well placed between high end luxury lodges and budget camping. A new lodge built to a excellent standard. Each chalet has it's own shower room and rooms are comfortable, with good beds, and walk in mozzie nets. Fans not air con was more than adequate for us in September. Thornicrofts is on the bank of the Luanga river, the wildlife e.g. elephants often visit the lodge grounds. The site is guarded and at night you are escorted to your chalet. There are 2 game drives per day (park fees additional), one early morning after breakfast and one evening drive after a good lunch. Sam the game spotter is excellent, at night his flood light holder Andrew also has a great eye. We saw all that Luanga had to offer. Lions and leopards were seen each day. Night drives were especially exciting. There is a tea break on the morning drive and a sundowners break in the evening drive. Wonderful having a g&t watching the African sun set. The lodge is spacious, comfortable and clean. The food was good (all meals included), the staff are very friendly and kind. It was good value for money.

  • Stayed September 2009
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Helpful?
4 Thank lucythomas77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 7, 2009

We have been in Luangwa for 4 days and stayed in thornicroft. A new lodge, good service and delicious food. We saw a lot of game and the driver explained all about the animals. Between the game drives relaxing at the pool and after diner a drink at the bar. Yeah, that's life!

Greetz, Björn

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Eikkup
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aachen
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2009

We have been to South Luangwa for the third time. We stayed in Flatdogs Camp and in Marula before and this year in Thornicroft Lodge.
We hoped to see much wildlife of course. But we did not expect to see leopards 3 times. Great experience, so beautiful! Our guide was very patient driving around. He said he knew we were going to see leopards. He was right.

The lodge was a real surprise. It opened just one week before we arrived. Wow, what a beautiful central building. My compliments for all staff members. Although some were new in their job everything went smoothly. The food was superb and the chalets are first class. One night we had elephants around the chalets, a great view with those enormous windows.
Flatdogs was OK, Marula very basic, Thornicroft was top!

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Wittey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aachen
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 11, 2009

Brand new lodge, so the accommodation is great. Nice chalets, good bedding (!), tasty food, funny shaped swimming pool and a great staff!
Of course, Luangwa offers so much game and the guides tried to show all animals (it is not a zoo) and share their knowledge)

We had a very good time there.

Helpful?
4 Thank Wittey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thornicroft Lodge

Property: Thornicroft Lodge
Address: Along the Luangwa River | Between Kakumbi village and the park entrance, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Location: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 46 Specialty Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Thornicroft is an intimate bush-style lodge set on the banks of the Luangwa River with spectacular views over the Park. At Thornicroft you can explore South Luangwa National Park on unforgettable game drives with our expert guides. On our drives you will explore one of the best parks in Africa to see lion and leopard, not to mention all the other birds and animals that make this valley so unique.Our nine charming bush-style chalets are spread out along the banks of the Luangwa River. Each of our intimate en-suite chalets has fabulous views of the South Luangwa National Park. The chalets are designed for 2 people, but on request we can add a third bed. However if you are looking for a more affordable way to safari we have eight permanent safari dome two-person tents with shared bathroom facilities near the lagoon. The tented camp is closed from January – March.Thornicroft can also arrange transfers from Lilongwe to Thornicroft Lodge. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Thornicroft Lodge Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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