User Reviews – Thornybush GR

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Overall rating

Thornybush has a rich array of wildlife and an apparently healthy ecosystem to support it.
Our camp was fully solar powered, small and intimate, which added to our enjoyment.

Overall rating

We could see many kinds of animals off course big five, a pride of lion, cheetah,etc.
Accomodation was also great

Overall rating

N'Kaya Lodge on the Thornybush Game Reserve gave us an informative, up-close game experience that we could not have matched on a self-drive safari. Our wildlife sightings were magnificent, encompassing every animal that we hoped to see. We couldn't have asked for more.

Overall rating

Thornybush is a relatively small private reserve in the Greater Kruger. Although currently fenced, plans are in place to remove the fencing adjacent to the Timbavati reserve, which in turn is open to the Kruger National Park.
The wildlife viewing was excellent. We stayed for a week, and saw six individual leopards (two of whom were busy producing the next generation!) and lions with young cubs. Being 15ft from a male lion when he started to roar was an experience not to be forgotten! All the usual suspects are present: giraffe, elephants, buffalo, rhino (we saw both black and white on our trip), kudu, impala. They limit the number of vehicles at a sighting to two, giving a very private experience. Safari vehicles use both a ranger and an experienced tracker, whose skills must be seen to be believed.
We stayed at N'Kaya, a small lodge with only four rooms, each of which is an individual cottage with bedroom, living room and two bathrooms. The food was superb, and the hospitality second to none. The lodge overlooks its own waterhole, so time between game drives can be spent watching what visits the lodge.

This experience was beyond all expectations. We would recommend Waterside without hesitation.
Overall rating

Wildlife- we saw every animal imaginable in a few short days.
Accommodation- luxury class and wonderful service from all

Amazing! cannot recommend enough
Overall rating

These guys were amazing! Absolutely loved the tent we stayed in, had plenty or wild animals roam around our tent but felt safe. Amazing service, delicious food and they also surprised us by setting up a private table for my husband and I with full view of the wild animals coming in at night, was so cool! The safaris themselves was the best I've done, we saw a leopard within the first 5mins and nearly had a black rhino charge the car... great experience & the safari cars were comfy and had great animal viewing!

Thanks guys, would definitely love to visit again

Overall rating

The lodge is simply outstanding with the room overlooking a water hole. The sightings of smaller game coming to the waterhole while having a shower is, I suppose "exclusive"....
Got the big five, including the sight of a leopard jumping from one tree to another as well as a baby elephant rubbing its forehead on the side of the open land rover, right where I was sitting!!!!
The meals were great and the price was extremely reasonable. The tracker was exceptional....
The lodge also organizes walks and that is where the tracker explains the differences between the pug marks of a lion and a leopard.

Overall rating

Plenty of animals in a quite small space

This isn't the Bronx Zoo!
Overall rating

When my wife and I visited Thornybush, we felt like we were part of a small family on an adventure. We were in a lodge with 3 other couples, and the staff made us all feel like visitors in their home. The guide was terrific and we had a blast riding in the jeep looking for and finding many different animals in our short stay. The guide and tracker were very patient, resulting in many great sightings in two days, including lionesses and their kill, and some very young cheetah cubs, as well as the rest of the Big 5. The meals and the food were home made and all excellent. We would return to Thornybush in a heartbeat! It was the trip of a lifetime.

Excellent mix of pamper and excitement
Overall rating

The team made me feel very welcome and did a great job of encouraging guests to greet one another without being cruise ship pushy. This helped me relax from the beginning.

The "tents" were awesome! I would pick this over the top of the ANA hotel in Tokyo any day of the week. Bed was good, bathroom was crazy nice and the tub was one of these baths that overlooked the scenery. Just like in the movies.

Our guides did a great job of tracking and finding animals in their native environment. During the day, we found the lions sleeping peacefully on the hillside. They looked so cool and you could hear them breathing, you just wanted to rest your head on their bellies and give them a great scratch......and then in the night tour! We caught them in the act of feeding. It was stunning, natural, scary, ALIVE! I caught an awesome video of it all and posted it on YouTube, just search for Thornybush lion kill.

FOOD was good and there was a great variety.

We drove through the forests to Phalaborwa, spent the night and played golf at the Hans Merenski where I was able to play around the giraffes, literally.

But I promise you, take the time to get to Thorneybush. It's a totally different experience.

I would have brought a better coat. It was warm in the day and chilly at night.

I would also have added another day to spend at the lodge.

If I was to improve the experience, I would suggest everyone gets a keepsake, something native and simple to remind them of their visit. Our guide showed me how to weave a rope with the native grass, which was cool, but I forgot to bring it home. The Americans would probably have confiscated it anyway.

Don't try to bring home biltong, they will ask at the airport in the US.

DO try some, it's fabulous.

Average User Rating

  • 4.7/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 12
  • 4 star 2
  • 3 star 1
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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