The Game Lodge was the first of its kind in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, opening its doors back in 1961. As the original establishment, it put Thornybush on the map and established our reputation for world-class game-viewing.
Now, with a note of sophistication in the design and layout, our thatched main area overlooks a waterhole and riverbed frequently visited by elephants, buffalo and other large game at the Thornybush Lodge. The classic lower deck flows between the open dining area and a beautiful bar.
Sunbirds, attracted to the many aloes which surround the main deck, are just some of the many small delights you can expect on your stay at Thornybush Game Lodge.
The warm-hearted staff, riverbed setting and legacy of excellence are standout features. Meals, when taken at the lodge, are Ottolenghi-style buffets prepared by Solly, the legendary master bush chef! Bush dinners are a firm favorite with our guests, where you get to enjoy a hearty meal, surrounded by lanterns, candles and the sound of the African wilderness.
Thornybush is a 14,000-hectare private nature reserve that shares a fenceless border with the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. Big 5 encounters are the standout experiences for our guests, with visitors particularly impressed with the lion and leopard sightings. It’s the vast diversity of wildlife, however, that has seen Thornybush emerge as a leading safari destination. With our passionate and expert guide-and-tracker teams leading the way, our guests leave with a genuine understanding of our entire ecosystem and the enthralling cast of animals.
The 20 luxurious suites fan out from the main area, with 18 of them enjoying splendid river-facing views. Two of the 20 are Family Suites.
Private and stylishly decorated, the Luxury Suites are a joy to spend a night in and difficult to leave.
The large windows above the bath and giant sliding doors to the deck offer incredible views of the riverbed and any animals that may be wallowing there.
Each of the 18 Luxury Suites have an en-suite bathroom, indoor and outdoor shower and have been carefully designed and spaced to provide privacy. The elegant finishes and extremely comfortable beds complete the impressive rooms.
Each of the two Family Suites are larger than the Luxury Suites, with a lounge area and day beds to accommodate children. As with the Luxury Suites, they have an elegant design that offers the perfect oasis of calm and rest after a game drive. These suites have a large private deck with its own plunge pool.
Awaken to a pink dawn, the sounds of the morning chorus as the birds begin to stir and look forward to a new day and an exciting chance to see the african wildlife begin their day – this is the ultimate welcome to a morning drive at Thornybush. You’ll need to be up before the sun, starting with a morning coffee and a snack before you hop into our game vehicles and set off to see the best big 5 animal sightings. Morning game drives are a perfect opportunity to seek out wildlife as this is when the land is cool and the animals are most active. Anything is possible and sightings come quickly, so prepare those cameras and have your bush eyes peeled! After a couple hours of roaming the reserve you’ll stop at a special spot for our famous bush coffee break before heading back for a delicious late breakfast.
With two game drives a day, you’re bound to spot your bucket-list big 5 animal sightings. Following a lazy afternoon, most likely spent by the pool or on your deck, we’ll meet for a deliciously prepared afternoon tea with sweet treats before you climb into your game vehicle for a three-hour drive that leads into the evening. The sundowner stop at one of our favourite viewpoints will no doubt show off one of Africa’s iconic sights – a sunset casting golden light across an African savanna. As night sets in, you’ll start to see new animals stir on your safari at night experience, adding another level of excitement to the end of the drive.
A walking safari offers something quite different to a game drive: the thrill of being on foot in a Big 5 reserve and a chance to engage with the smaller things. You learn about tracking, insects, flowers and most of all the power of the african landscape. It’s a chance to have an immersive experience where you get down and touch and smell what’s out there while at the same time you never quite know what you’ll encounter around the next corner. There is little that compares to a walking safari or going on a safari hiking experience in a true big 5 safari reserve.
Following a morning game drive, our guests can be treated to breakfast in a beautiful bush setting. While the savannah stirs to life, we serve a wide variety of breakfast dishes that our guests enjoy surrounded by the untouched African wilderness. No matter what your dietary requirements may be, we’ve got a dish for you.