​User Reviews – Thornybush GR

Sort By: Date Most Helpful Rating 1-10 of 16 Reviews
Don   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2010 Reviewed: May 27, 2012

Email Don  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

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.

Debbie JT   –  
United Kingdom UK
Visited: July 2016 Reviewed: Jul 26, 2016

Email Debbie JT  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

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.

Elizabeth   –  
Canada CA
Visited: April 2016 Reviewed: Apr 29, 2016

Email Elizabeth  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

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

galago1962   –  
Switzerland CH
Visited: December 2008 Reviewed: May 2, 2012

Email galago1962  |  35-50 years of age

Overall rating

Large variety of birds and animals, pretty scenery, high level of hospitality.

mbd   –  
France FR
Visited: April 2007 Reviewed: Apr 29, 2012

50-65 years of age

Overall rating

Maybe we were very unlucky to have a guide who was determined to show us yet more elephants and completely ignored the leopard I spotted because it was time to get back to camp. We don't like this attitude of rushing people from one big 5to the next as if they were the only worthwhile animals to see

Ulrik   –  
Netherlands NL
Visited: April 2022 Reviewed: May 8, 2022

Email Ulrik  |  50-65 years of age  |  Experience level: over 5 safaris

Perfect days with wonderful staff, superb food and great viewings
Overall rating

What a wonderful stay at Thornybush Game Lodge. We had very good game sightings (and superb food, not least the lunches) but what made the stay truly special was how kind and attentive the staff was. Daniel, our field guide, and John, our tracker, were as friendly as they were knowledgeable, not least to our nine year old daughter. Sannie, one of the cooks, came out to talk to us every morning (and when we arrived) to ask our daughter for her meal preferences for that day. And our personal waiter, Clinton, had a smile all the time that would lit up the room.

Jennifer, the Deputy Manager, went the extra mile for us, including finding a private game viewing vehicle for us (with super knowledgeable Tracy and Orlando) to do a photo shoot safari one afternoon.

We will definitely be coming back - we have in fact promised our daughter.

Haven H.   –  
United States US
Visited: August 2019 Reviewed: Sep 22, 2019

Email Haven H.  |  65+ years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

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.

Takubo   –  
Japan JP
Visited: October 2017 Reviewed: Nov 9, 2017

Email Takubo  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

Overall rating

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

Kanikoski   –  
United States US
Visited: April 2016 Reviewed: Aug 2, 2016

Email Kanikoski  |  35-50 years of age  |  Experience level: first safari

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.

Brydee   –  
Hong Kong HK
Visited: September 2015 Reviewed: Nov 3, 2015

Email Brydee  |  20-35 years of age  |  Experience level: 2-5 safaris

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

Average User Rating

  • 4.8/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 13
  • 4 star 2
  • 3 star 1
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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