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“Five-stars, Without Question”

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Thornybush Waterside Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Greensboro, North Carolina
Level Contributor
98 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Five-stars, Without Question”
Reviewed 15 January 2014

My wife and I spent three nights at this remarkable lodge. Upon arrival we were welcomed by Tammin, the manager, and her team with welcome drink. Our chalet was large with a king size bed with the customary mosquito net. It had plenty of windows to let in natural light. In addition, there was a deck to relax and take in the beautiful scenery. Chalets overlooking the lake are the better choice.

The property is well maintained. The reserve includes a nice sized lake that animals would visit which could be seen from public areas. The facility has a nice library with fireplace, an outdoor bar and pool, Wi-Fi works in all public areas not just in a single reception area.

Initially, we had meals inside due to rain. When the rain finally stopped we got to enjoy our meals outside which was marvelous. Food was nicely prepared and flavorful. Garth was our personal butler; he did an outstanding job taking care of us at meals.

The most exciting experience at Waterside was going on game drives with ranger, Jordan and tracker, Richard. What an incredible duo. We got to see the Big 5 through their amazing efforts. Jordan very knowledgeable; he stopped often to tell us stories about animals and plants. Richard truly has fantastic eyes; he spotted small chameleons at night waving a spot light into the buses as Jordan drove along the bumpy roads.

Room Tip: Get a chalet with a lake view
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Kcdavid100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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241 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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English first
Tricesimo, Italy
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 January 2014

Malcom and Herbert (our Ranger and Tracker) were fantastic !!
We enjoyed so much our safaris ; they found the "big five" and other animals.
We had lots of fun, they were friendly and very professional, the best we could have !!!!
Marisa Ruggero from Italy

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Marisa G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Maputo Province, Mozambique
Level Contributor
68 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 January 2014

We have been travelling around Kruger off and on for the last 7 years and Thornybush was by far the most amazing experience. From the moment we stepped out of our car my family and I were treated like royalty. We stayed for 4 nights, one being my youngest son's 3rd birthday for which they made a cake and sang to him, and also for Christmas eve. We came back to our beautiful room to find little gifts on our beds from management ! Very sweet, thankyou. The rooms were perfectly decorated with surrounding bush and resident animals wondering around. The food was delicious, dinner was served in a different location every night and our waiter, Surprise, was always helpful and curtious. Every need was catered for. The whole feel of the lodge was so peaceful we even managed to take naps some afternoons! We were assigned Ranger Ross to take us on game drives, who was just lovely and very enthusiastic about the wildlife. He even took our boys on a little wildlife 'bumble walk' which they were thrilled about. I absolutely recommend Thornybush waterside lodge, although a little pricey, it was worth every $. The boys were even given little snack bags as we checked out. Thankyou for such a fantastic experience.

Room Tip: All the rooms are pretty much the same, although there are a few that overlook a waterhole.
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank kimbaj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 January 2014

My children (ages 19, 14 & 10) and I stayed at Thornybush Waterside in December 2013 and all I can say is “wow!” or maybe “unbelievable!” or maybe “fantastic!”. We arrived in afternoon to a warm welcome with refreshing drinks and treats. From there we went onto a great lunch, one of the many great meals me had during our stay. If you visit expect to eat! When I say eat, I don’t just mean quantity but lots of great tasting food as well! We were attended to with great personal care by our butler, Thiembonkosi, on each of the three days we were there. The rooms were spacious, clean and charming (we could see animals from our patio). Our ranger, Jack and tracker Abraham went were very knowledgeable and attentive. They went out of their way to ensure that we not only saw the animals but learned about them as well. Neither of us is great photographers but the pictures we took with camera phones and point-and-shoots look like something out a magazine. So so happy we stayed at Thornybush Waterside!

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Mark D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Durban, South Africa
Level Contributor
68 reviews
37 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 December 2013

My wife and I spent three nights at Waterside Lodge part of the Thornybush Lodge collection. We have been fortunate to have visited a number of various reserves in Southern Africa and our time here provided good game viewing with good close sightings. The ranger and tracker went to trouble to ensure a sightings. We stayed in unit one which in terms of position appeared to be the best. If it's privacy that you are looking for then this particular lodge would not be for you. The rooms are comfortable and well appointed. The food was good. Early morning drives and late afternoon drives complete an enjoyable day. The reserve is in good condition and the animals appear to be relaxed. It is also a child friendly lodge. There is pool and lounge area as well.

Room Tip: The room we stayed on was the only one with a view of the water, and many of the others did not have...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Dean S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
Level Contributor
73 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
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
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank globalgirlLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ajbate
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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