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“Loved our stay at Thornybush Game Reserve”

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Thornybush Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level 2 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Loved our stay at Thornybush Game Reserve”
Reviewed 18 October 2013

I was part of a group of 20 folks who visited the lodge for 3 days. I can safely say that everyone had a wonderful time. Seeing all the animals was amazing but to say only that would short change the experience. The staff was equally amazing. They were very accommodating in every respect. They always were pleasant and helpful from serving coffee in the cold mornings to tasty dinners late at night.
The animals certainly are the show and seeing the Big 5 within 48 hours is hard to beat. Stalking the male lion at night and hearing its roar is an experience I am unable to describe in words. Having a female lion walk up to your jeep is a heart stopping moment. Seeing the elephants outside your room munching on trees, less than 10 yards away, is an encounter you won’t forget.
The best way to describe it is to say I would get up from my desk right now and go back without any hesitation.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank Richard410QOL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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357 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (86)
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Australia
Level 3 Contributor
23 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 October 2013

Great lodge situated close to Hoedspruit airport for easy access to Capetown or Johannesburg.

Very well appointed villas with outdoor and indoor shower. Large rooms with air conditioning, heating, and all conveniences. The main Lodge is the only access to wi-Fi and this drops out a lot of the time! not really an issue until the credit card can't be processed! Food was fabulous with the best Muesli home made! Their pastry chef deserves an award and they can put on the best Boma ever!!! Their guides and trackers deserve special mention for their skill, diplomacy and patience along with their genuine love of Africa's flora and fauna. thank you Christoph for your knowledge on photography and canon cameras!! Highly recommend this Lodge and would love to return.

Room Tip: room 9 and 18 are closest to pool,spa and dinning. Ask for rooms overlooking river
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled on business
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Helpful?
Thank travelmarsha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 October 2013

From the time we arrived at Thornybush to the time we left, the service was amazing. The staff was very hospitable and efficient. The food was good, and there were plenty of options. They made sure that our dietary restrictions were taken care of at each meal.
The outside shower was a big hit with our daughter who was taking a shower while a giraffe was watching her from near our room. We observed many other animals on the property itself, monkeys, steinbok, elephants...On our game drives, with the help of our ranger, Jaime, and tracker, "John the Best," we saw the big five plus many more. Getting up early was not the highlight of the day; however, seeing the animals in their natural habitat was well worth it. Although, I think we saw more animals on the late afternoon/dusk drive.
This was our first trip to Africa, but we hope it won't be our last.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ljstone2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Troy, MI
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 September 2013

To say that our 3-day stay at Thornybush was excellent isn't enough. We were made to feel like family by Grant, his wife, Melanie, and their incredible staff. The game drives were done professionally and safely, yet we were still able to get very close to the Big Five. To have a rhino get so close that he was scraping the car with his horn or to be able to see the freshly killed impala below the tree where two very full leopards were resting was incredible.

The food was delicious and the fancy touches were so unexpected (and appreciated). Each couple gets their own cabin with a large deck and outdoor (and indoor of course) shower. What an experience it was to have giraffe walk by while showering outside. It was truly an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend!

Helpful?
1 Thank FoodiefromTroy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level 6 Contributor
281 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 September 2013

This is a fabulous place to stay. The entire staff is excellent - they are friendly, well-trained and congenial. After one day (we stayed for 4 days, 3 nights), the staff knew our room, our habits, our preferences. They constantly strive to please you.

When you arrive you are assigned a Ranger and a Tracker team who you remain with for all game drives. They quickly learn your preferences (cats, birds, leopards, whatever) and work to accommodate them. There is a morning game drive (wake-up call at 6am) and an late-afternoon game drive (leaves about 4pm). Game runs usually last a few hours.

You start your day with a wake-up call; have an early snack (coffee, tea, muffins); go on your game drive, and then return for a delicious breakfast. There's a nice array of cold breakfast items - fruit, cereals, bread, yogurt, cheese, sweet cake - and eggs (and bacon, etc.) made to order. There's a delicious lunch (very, very good) at about 1pm, followed by tea at 3.30pm (tea, coffee, cake); and when you return, it's time for dinner!! Feel like you eat all day? You can! and it's wonderful. The chefs are very good and very creative. The lodge also surprises you at dinnertime on occasion, but I won't give up that secret.

During the day you are free to use the pool, the television room, the outside sitting areas (that are wonderful and lovely), or simply return to your room and relax. The rooms are very comfortable. There is both an indoor and outdoor shower (both are wonderful) and a large bathtub with bath salts provided. The rooms have a rather large deck as well.

The rooms are spotless. All amenities are well thought out: umbrellas, tea, water, bug spray, flashlights, slippers, robes). If it's a cold night, you will return to find that your bed has been pre-heated.

During our stay we saw the big 5 (actually, we saw the big 5 within the first 24 hours); lion cubs; a lion kill; black rhino; and everything else you go to Africa to see.

We had breakfast one morning with giraffes grazing nearby; we heard lions roaring nearby as we returned to our room one night; it was an amazing experience.

For safety reasons (there are no gates/fences that separate the Lodge from the Bush), you must be escorted to/from your room in the evening.

Gratuities are handled at departure. Suggested gratuities are as follows;
R200 per room, per day for the guide; R100 per room, per day for the Ranger; and Rand 50-100 per room, per day for the Staff (the Staff gratuities are divided up between all Staff equally at the end of each month).

Thornybush is special because it is a private reserve and they go off-road and track the animals; Thornybush Game Lodge is special because the staff is so extraordinary and because they do everything within their power to make your visit special.

We highly recommend this Lodge.

Room Tip: We were in Suite 1 (there are 18 suites), which some may think is a bit far to walk - we didn't...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank elaine212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
San Mateo
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 September 2013

We loved every minute of our stay at Thornybush. The safari experiences were wonderful and we saw 4 of the Big 5 on our first trip. Christoff, our guide and Henrick our spotter were wonderful and full of knowledge. Our room was great and had a nice balcony overlooking the "dry" river. It seems that we were fed constantly and the "sundowners" on safari were a real treat. The staff was very helpful and friendly. It was an experience that we will never forget and hope to get back there some day soon.

Room Tip: If you don't like a walk ask for a room close to the lodge.
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  • Stayed April 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Cjwebfoot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level 6 Contributor
99 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 September 2013

Lovely, laid back, no fuss place. Loved the cheeky monkeys doing whatever they can to steal the food, the view from the main terrace deck onto a water hole and the bush, where we saw, and heard, lion,warthogs, impala, kudu and more. The camp staff is kind and helpful. Our ranger did his absolute best to get us to see all big five. And we did.

The food is wholesome and generous, though it may not the latest gourmet fare. Every day a different sweet offering came with tea before going out to the afternoon drives, muffins, cakes, etc. breakfast is very good, lots of choices, freshly baked bread and pastries, good yogurt, decent coffee.

The usual drinks at sunset with biltong and some other snacks were offered too,

The rooms are very spacious, nicely decorated, with balconies from which to relax and watch the bush.

On the lawn there is always some interest: warthog, niala, baboons and even an occasional elephant who wondered into camp...

The Amani Spa was much enjoyed by some of us. The shop stocks some nice crafts, better than the usual collection in such places.

Room Tip: We were very happy with 4 and 5 but haven't seen the others.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank Capetonian14
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
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 12 Speciality 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 Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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