Thornybush Game Lodge

4.9 /5
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Based on over 1000 Verified Reviews.


Thornybush Game Lodge is situated in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park and overlooks the seasonal Monwana River. From honeymooners to families, Thornybush offers the perfect location for a classic South African luxury safari: soak up all the thrills of exploring Big 5 country before relaxing in style in the lodge's expansive living areas or on your private viewing deck. Daily game drives and guided bush walks give you the opportunity to spot the abundant wildlife found in the area - you will be heading out on morning and afternoon game drives with expert rangers and trackers.

Top of the must-see list are the big cats (lion and leopard); there are also plenty of antelope species as well as herds of elephant and buffalo, and the bird watching is excellent. Children are well catered for at Thornybush with specialised, tailored walks and activities, children's spa treatments and delicious meals are all part of the service. Experienced babysitters are available to look after the young ones if parents are after a bit of downtime.


Make a Positive Impact Through Travel

Thornybush Community is a non-profit organisation with the objective of nurturing and uplifting the surrounding local communities adjacent to its protected areas. Located on the western border of the Greater Kruger National Park and on the boundary of the Northern Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, Thornybush Community initially focused its work on two villages, Uthla and a smaller neighbouring community, Dixie. In 2019, a new geographical area was identified in Acornhoek, and this has allowed for some exciting new initiatives and partnerships. Over the years, the focus areas have expanded, and Thornybush Community has become a contributor to the NPO sector and supports various community initiatives.


  • Located in a private game reserve alongside the Kruger National Park
  • Excellent Big 5 game viewing
  • Relaxed and family-like atmosphere
  • Spacious, luxurious accommodation with great views of the surrounding landscape
  • Family-friendly and fun kids' activities like treasure hunts and baking
  • Fantastic spa facilities with treatments for the entire family


  • Animal tracking experience
  • Bird watching
  • Bush dining
  • Game drives
  • Picnics
  • Specialist guides
  • Guided walking safaris
  • Children's activities



Thornybush Game Lodge offers 18 luxurious suites overlooking the seasonal Monwana River. The suites have air conditioning, en suite bathroom facilities, and outdoor showers for those who want to shower under the starlit African sky.


The main lodge offers a shady refuge to relax and get in a bit of game viewing and bird watching from the elevated wooden viewing decks.

A well-stocked bar, safari shop, laundry service, Wi-Fi Internet connectivity throughout, and babysitting facilities are also available.

Thornybush is great for families: children receive a fun activity pack including a colouring book, crayons and an interactive safari toy on arrival while you can spend lazy afternoons in the pool, pamper yourself with spa treatments and enjoy fine dining while your children are entertained by the lodge's experienced and professional staff.


Thornybush Game Lodge offers excellent cuisine for all tastes.

Meals can be savoured al fresco and under the African stars, in the elegant main dining room, or next to a crackling fire in the more informal boma.

For the more romantic inclined, private, candle-lit dining for two is also offered.

General facilities

  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool
  • Laundry Service
  • Bar
  • Babysitting service available
  • Children's Club
  • Library
  • Air conditioning
  • Child friendly
  • Safe
  • Solar power
  • Wi-fi available
  • 24-hour Security
  • Boma
  • Restaurant


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Dates Board Price
2023-01-01 — 2023-12-31 Fully Inclusive Plus (All Meals, Selected Beverages, Selected Extras) $710
2024-01-01 — 2024-12-31 Fully Inclusive Plus (All Meals, Selected Beverages, Selected Extras) $845

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently. Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice.
  • Single supplements may apply.
  • Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.
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Traveller Reviews

Thornybush Game Lodge

Sibbi Edwards

"The experience at Thornybush was amazing, between the lodge itself, the staff, the food, and of course the safaris. We absolutely LOVED the trip!"

Darian Johnson

"First-class service!"

Claudia Dehmel

The safari lodges and game drives were utterly amazing, we had the best time and couldn’t have wished for more. Thornybush reserve was exceptionally beautiful and our game drives seemed one of a kind. Both the ranger and tracker at Thornybush were locals who have done this for 18 years, and their knowledge and wisdom was one of a kind. The lodge itself was beautiful and well done and in the middle of the bush and everything was stunning, one thing is sure - we’re completely hooked and will be going on safari again, as soon as we can!
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Jamie Greene

"Thornybush Game Lodge was amazing. We had a terrific guide - Werner - who made the experience fun and remarkable. The lodge was beautiful, the staff warm and caring, our room, fantastic."

Deborah Sykes

It was the highlight wow. Such personal service. The game drives made Pilanesberg look like a warm up. We saw the Big 5 and so much more, including cheetah, all up really close and personal. We had BOMA dinners on 2 of our 4 nights, and a spectac ular dinner in the sands on another night. Our last night was an a la carte dinner in the restaurant, and the wait staff sang a few songs and did some dancing for us, to celebrate National Heritage Day. Very moving.
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John Cote

Very, very impressive. Hard to believe this was considered a step or two down from the original plan, right? It had everything we wanted and more. Food was outstanding, and readily available 3 times a day. Guide and Tracker were fantastic and we really enjoyed interacting with other guests. We saw pretty much everything we could ask for the on the safari. Great service all the way through, always something to eat or drink and always someone tending to the guests.
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Katy Brownley

Overall, the trip went as planned with no hiccups so we appreciate all the reservations and confirmations you made on our behalf. Every place was expecting us and I never had to show a single voucher. Thornybush was just amazing. Everything about it exceeded expectations from the lodging, to the food to the service to the game drives and staff. Aside from the frigid temperatures, it was perfect. We'd definitely do a safari again.
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Justine Munsie

Our entire 3 days there, from the moment we were picked up at the airport by a fantastically knowledgable and passionate driver, until the moment we flew out (the plane almost had to divert take off because there were some warthogs on the runway) was absolutely magical. The food, our room and everyone who works at Thornybush were magnificent and provided a perfect stay for us. We were dying to stay longer and will definitely try to get back there.
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Tim Medforth

"We had an absolutely fabulous time. Thornybush was superb - excellent guides and we saw some amazing game every day - far more and up close much more than we had anticipated. The food there was excellent."

Cindy Niekamp

"All was perfect. Great location, staff, service, accommodations, etc"

Dan Cornell

"The only other comment I would make is that Thornybush is more 4 star than 5. Having said that, it still represents excellent value and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there."

Alessandra Barazza

The safari was incredible! Everybody had a fantastic experience and everything was just perfect (the place, the people, the atmosphere, the rangers, the drives, the animals,…). Thank you so much once again for your help organizing it. We'll defini tely go back.
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Lauren Reilly

The room was gorgeous, the staff was great. Our drives were amazing too. Our guide was Christoff and we loved him. We saw everything! Literally everything, including the Big 5, twice! He made the drives real fun w/ off roading, and gave great in fo. The food was really good also, and we loved just relaxing and doing nothing in between drives. Great idea for honeymoon!! We also had a surprise dinner in the bush one night after our drive. That was super cool, and some of the best food we had. They always had veggie options, which was great. I usually had some of that and some meat to go along :)
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Todd Carpenter

"Thornybush was fantastic, accommodations and food were great. Our driver, Ishmael, was very good. Saw the big 5 within one day, and lots of other great viewing. Great way to end the trip."

Andrew Parker

That was a brilliant experience. Thanks so much for your advice and arranging...and re-arranging...the plans. The safari experience couldn't have been better, the lodge was excellent, and all the travel went smoothly. I'll recommend you to anyone tra veling to Africa!
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Ilana Hersch

"Thornybush Main Lodge was also absolutely unbelievable – beautiful rooms with outdoor showers, lovely staff, game drives and pampering, food and being spoilt!"

Linda Regan

"The rangers and trackers were extremely knowledgeable and it was evident that this was more than just a job for them... it is a lifestyle. Thornybush Main Lodge was beautiful and comfortable with many lovely surprises."

Peter Miller

"The Thornybush Lodge was fantastic. The setting, accommodation, food and staff were first class."

Elizabeth Braunlin

"Thornybush was lovely as usual."

Lisa Manganiello

"We had a fantastic experience at Thornybush. We spent a lot of time considering different lodges throughout Sabi Sands and Thornybush and we wouldn't change our decision at all. Great service and great game drives"

Keith Foster

"The 2 safari lodges were both great. My son was in tears when driving away from Thornybush, the ranger & tracker were both very nice to him."

Paul Simpson

Thornybush was terrific - we had lovely rooms and the baboons lived in the tree right behind us and the Niyalas walked in front of our big deck windows every day. We had the best guide - Pierre - and the best tracker - Orlando. People should actual ly request them. They are a terrific team and work very well together. It is exciting to watch. They were so knowledgable they found the animals before everyone else and were thoughtful, respectful, hospitable, and welcoming. The staff at Thornybush makes you feel special and pampered - we especially liked Precious, Melanie, Masha and Jan at the bar. Drinks in the bush, cocktails when you return back, delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the Boma were all enjoyable.eadmills and bikes).
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Santosh Patel

"Thornybush was also excellent. Only two other couples were staying there so we had undivided attention. We had an excellent Ranger and saw all the big 5. The staff was very friendly and informative."

Peter Holmes

From the moment we landed at Hoedspruit Airport to when we left again, everything was wonderful. We had encounters with all the "Big Five" and some of their offspring, as well as seeing 3 kills!!! How lucky were we? The accommodation was 5 star and the meals top class. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend the lodge and your services to other visitors and we hope that we will be able to return again soon.
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Shetal Parekh

Thornybush Lodge was a dream. We had tears in our eyes leaving the lodge after spending 4 nights with them. Our guide and pilot were unbelievable as they made sure we saw the big 5 not once but twice in 4 days. The small breaks we took in between dri ves were awesome with such a wide array of drinks available. They were amazing with my kids and extremely informative. The bush walk was exciting and exhilarating. We even saw a cheetah kill and a very very rare leopard kill with two cubs. We were also very close to being confronted by an elephant bull and came close to petting a male lion as he brushed up against our jeep where I was sitting. Also the staff at Thornybush was unbelievably hospitable and accommodating to all the food restrictions we had. They made anything we pleased on a whim with absolutely smiling faces. My kids made thank u cards and had tears in their eyes while leaving. We look forward to coming back there again soon.
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Doreen Ferreira

They went out of their way to accommodate all of our personal needs and did a wonderful job dealing with our group. The accommodation as well as the spa was great and we found all the staff to be helpful and a very friendly. I would certainly recomme nd them.
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Darren Holmes

We enjoyed Thornybush the best, having to see the BIG 5 again but even more exciting was seeing the 3 lionesses hanging out few meters away from our room, it was scary but at the same time thrilling. The staffs were all very nice, our ranger and trac ker were awesome, they gave us the best rides of our lives, better than those rides in Disneyland. Darrianne didn't want to leave. She kept saying she will go back there someday.
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Jane Notman

Thornybush was great. We had 4 full days and did 7 game drives. (The kids were tired and wanted a long lie on the final day). By the end of day 1 we had seen all the big 5 plus much more. The staff at the lodge were lovely, and seemed to anticipate our needs before we realised what they were. Our guide and tracker, Ronnie and Aubrey were very knowledgeable and good company, and although we got very close to some toothy beasts felt perfectly safe with them. We were lucky enough to have the vehicle to ourselves for all but the last drive. We had quite a few mad off road adventures, crashing through the thorn bushes. Good fun. The food at the lodge was of a high standard and we really enjoyed it. Overall a fantastic experience.
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Sally Mady

"In Thornybush, again we had a fantastic time. It was a great time to relax and enjoy the nature."

Janie Nickel

Thornybush was amazing. Loved the lodge(we were the only guests). The driver and tracker were delightful and so knowledgeable. Food was great everywhere we ate in South Africa!!!!! I We saw the Big Five many times over...... We had eight games r ides.... We have some very amazing photos.
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Elizabeth Braunlin

"We loved Thornybush - what an upgrade!"

Neil Fletcher

was mind-blowing! Again, the quality of the service was outstanding and what a fantastic place. The out-and-out highlight was being surrounded by 8 hunting lions on a night drive. At the time I thought I was going to die but that experience will l ive with me for a very, very long time! That said, on the first evening drive we stopped for a drink at sundown and I just couldn't stop grinning at the thought of me standing in the African bush with a beer in hand. Sometimes the simple things are just as important.
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