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Thornybush Game Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Incredible!”
Reviewed 29 October 2013

My boyfriend and I spent 2 nights at Thornybush and it was better than we ever had imagined. It has basically ruined all future bush holidays for us as we don't think we will come close to the spoils that this holiday offered! The food was delicious, the accommodation spectacular and the staff were really fantastic. Our guide, Greg, and tracker, July, were awesome - and for the first time (after many bush trips) I got to see Leopard and Cheetah!

Thank you for an incredibly luxurious bush escape from the city. We hope to be back soon!

Room Tip: All the rooms overlook the dry riverbed and they are all stunning and incredibly private.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank L_H0ward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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337 reviews from our community

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English first
washington
Level Contributor
79 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 October 2013

My wife and I staid for three nights beginning October 15. The Lodge was everything we could have hoped it would be. All the staff were wonderful from the time we came until we left. They made us feel at home and there was nothing they wouldn't do for us. The food was excellent and available from when we awoke (5a.m.) until after dinner and the staff was very efficient. Ocean, our guide, and Ishmael, our tracker, were outstanding. The knowledge they imparted to us was amazing!! We not only saw the big five, not including the Black Rhinoceros, and Cheetahs, but many other animals as well. They were a joy to be with. We asked Ocean if he would take us on a tracking walk and it was very interesting to say the least. By the way, Ocean has a wonderful laugh. We will always remember it.

I taught Ocean and Ishmael how to "chest bump" as a way to say thank you for an incredible time. The staff got a big laugh watching Ocean and Ishmael do it.

Room Tip: We stayed in "18" which was very close to the main area.
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  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2 Thank nevnab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
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
Australia
Level 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 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 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 Contributor
273 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 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
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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 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 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 Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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