What an experience this trip was from the arrival at the tiny Hoedspruit airport. The little airport only appears to service the local safari lodges, so you are greeted upon arrival by drivers, and then you head to the parking lot where the luggage is brought out by a tracker and you claim it right by the side of the road. Then you drive about 35 minutes on mostly dirt roads to the Thornybush game reserve, and arrive at the Thornybush main lodge, where you and your luggage is transferred to a Land Rover that will take you to the more remote Monwana Lodge. At Monwana we were greeted by the staff and drums upon arrival and shown our lovely accommodations. The lodge we stayed in had a wrap around porch that face the watering hole. There were two separate "wings", one for my husband and I complete with full bath, and another for the kids, also with full bath.
The food and facilities were wonderful. We were not given locks to the rooms--apparently the lodge is so remote there is little fear of theft. Except from monkeys--we had one slip into our room and steal some sugar and cookies from the kids' room.
The game drives were amazing, and our ranger, Neill, and tracker Celebrate were great about finding us new, interesting things to see each day. Some of the highlights were the rare black rhino, the wild dog pack and their pups, cheetah cubs, and the lions feeding. We spotted all of the big five in our 3-day stay plus lots of birds, reptiles, and other mammals.
Our hostess Christie was amazingly helpful and friendly.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Monwana Game Lodge is nestled deep in the African bush, at the Thornybush Private Nature Reserve - adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Monwana is a small, intimate lodge offering all the comforts you'd expect from a 4-star luxury safari lodge, while still being down-to-earth and comfortable. 2 Family suites at this lodge make it ideal for anyone traveling with children. Morning and evening game drives through the reserve are hosted by professional trackers and game rangers. They will do their best to make sure you see as much as you can on your stay, offering interesting information about the fauna and flora you encounter, to enhance your experience. There are no fences between the Thornybush Reserve and the Kruger National Park, so animals have free range around the whole region, making it perfect for the Big 5 and a whole range of other animals. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Monwana Game Lodge Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa