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“Perfection!”

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Thornybush Waterside Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
london
Level Contributor
73 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Perfection!”
Reviewed 17 December 2013

I have just returned from the most amazing 3 night stay at Thornybush Waterside Lodge. Having stayed at many lodges in both South Africa and Tanzania I thought I had a good idea what to expect but what what we experienced far surpassed my expectations!

We arrived just before lunch and were greeted with a fabulously warm welcome and drinks. We were shown to our room (beutiful thatched bungalow withi lovely crisp white linen beds, fluffy towels, bathrobes and slippers) and then lunch was served at around 1:30pm. Don't even get me started on the food. It was far better than anything I have eaten anywhere in the world. I was travelling with my mom and 3 year old daughter and the staff couldnt be more helpful in ensuring that she was catered for at meal times. They always had pasta on standby incase she didnt fancy anything on the menu and they made sure she had ice-cream after every meal!

Our butler/waiter, Surprise was the best I have ever experienced. Just seeing his smiling face in the morning brightened my days and he kept my daughter well entertained at mealtimes as well! How he juggled serving and babysitting I'll never know.

We were introduced to our game ranger, Lucky, after a sumptious afternoon tea which I came to look forward to every day. I very nearly proposed to the pastry chef - thats how good his cakes are! Lucky was just the most amazing guide I have ever had the pleasure to meet. His knowlege of the bush is unsurpassed and he has an amazing calm and confident manner. His driving skills must also be up there as some of the best in the world! After the drive you are greeted with cool scented hand towels and drinks before another amazing dinner served either in the boma or outside. Whilst you are at dinner the staff ensure that your beds are turned down, mosquito nets are in place and chocolates are on your pillows. We even got a really lovely bed time story left on our beds one night!

The next day Lucky took my daughter on a bug walk. She had been given a "Ranger in training" backpack complete with magnifying glass and animal book as a welcome gift - just another lovely touch that they offer for children. Lucky's bug walk turned out to be just as amazing as his game drives and we left with loads of knowledge.

What really made this experience was the people. Thornybush have really got their recruitment right because we loved every one of them and it was clear they loved their jobs as well.

This is also a great place to bring a child. It is difficult to find lodges who accept children but Thornybush not only accepts them but accommodates them and embraces them.

I would reccommend this place to everyone. It is a MUST to visit. I have never stayed anywhere so seamlessly perfect in every way.

Thank you to each and every one of the staff for making our stay so special. I am already rebooking for next year.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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3 Thank globalgirlLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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236 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (42)
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istanbul
Level Contributor
42 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 November 2013 via mobile

After 3 wonderful days at Thornybush, I would go back tomorrow. You arrive around lunch time and are greeted warmly at the huge front door by the friendly staff. You are escorted to your thatched dwelling to freshen up and then your lunch is served around the pretty thatched outdoor dining area. 4pm you are off on your 1st safari until 7pm. Ryno was our young enthusiastic ranger for our stay. Very knowledgable and friendly. The rest you need to experience yourselves!! Couldn't rate Thornybush waterfront enough, it was so pretty. Look out for deer outside your front door at 5am in the morning. Food fab. Safari exciting. Staff committed to making your stay memorable. Would love to go back soon.

  • Stayed October 2013
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Helpful?
1 Thank ajbate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
51 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 October 2013

We stayed 3 nights during September, at Waterside Lodge in Thornybush Game Park. From the moment we arrived until we left, the team at Waterside made sure that we had a memorable experience. It started with a welcome drink & refresher towel, in the beautiful reception area. The room was spacious, well decorated in natural local timber finishes, it had a true "African feel". Malcolm our ranger and Herbert our tracker, did a superb job of make the safari drives a great experience. We saw the Big5 during our first 2 drives and had multiple sightings after that, as well as many other animals. They were both very knowledgeable and they went the "extra mile" to find the animals. They shared their extensive knowledge about the animals, plants and the African Bush Environment with us. The guys also took us on a foot safari. The meals were a very high standard and the staff took great pride in what they did. Tammyn, the front office manager and the entire team are to be complemented for a great job. We would definitely recommend Waterside, to anyone considering a true African Safari Experience.

Room Tip: We stayed in room 19, it was large and very quite.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank ray c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Trieste, Italy
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2013

From the first moment to the last everything was perfect and exceeded our expectations.
The accommodations were stunning, service superb and safaris just out of the world. Jamie our ranger and Abraham our tracker showed us more than we could have imagined on our 5 safaris. They were very knowledgeable and gave us an amazing glimpse into a world that was completely new to us.
The meals were of high quality and well prepared. It was beautiful to sit outside for dinner and we also loved the bbq on our last evening.
We were on our honeymoon and the staff went the extra mile to make it even more special. The front manager was fabulous and I'm sorry to say I forgot her name (it was a year ago already!) But something like Tammy perhaps?
Would recommend this experience to anyone and hope to return one day.

  • Stayed November 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Rudynocri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 September 2013

We have just returned from our stay here and had an awesome time. Everything about the place was fantastic, from the accommodation, to the bar and meals area, to the food and the location itself was outstanding, with lots of deer wandering around and overlooking a lake with resident hippos! The game drives were excellent and the guides very knowledgeable and did their best to give us the best possible experience. Would definitely recommend - just wish we had stayed for longer!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 10 right at the very end - it was the best as it was the furthest away from the ba...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Melane T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Parabiago, Italy
Level Contributor
38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 September 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, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank valentinag302
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 September 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, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Anja42
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

Property: Thornybush Waterside Lodge
Address: Off Guernsey Road | Thornybush Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Region: 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 #4 of 12 Speciality Lodging in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
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 Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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