Thornybush Private Game Reserve

Kruger and surrounds, South Africa

Virgin rating

The hotel

Romantic riverside cabins; a tented camp in the African bush; family hideaways with child-friendly game-drives – each of the small and intimate lodges in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve collection brings you a unique and unforgettable safari experience. Set in 14,000 hectares of wilderness in the game-rich Timbavati region, which fringes Kruger National Park, the camp has recently dropped its fences to allow wildlife to roam freely and give you optimal game spotting opportunities. From the crest of a hill overlooking the Drakensburg mountains to the banks of a lake, this collection lets you pick your lodge location and safari style – but whichever setting you choose, you can relax with Thornybush’s service and enjoy incredible game-drives in search of some of the 48 mammal species that call the reserve home, including that photogenic 'Big Five'.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Spa
  • Swimming Pool

Where is it

On 14,000-hectares of private land, bordering Kruger's Timbavati Game Reserve, home to the 'Big Five'. Transfer time from Hoedspruit Airport: 30 minutes.

Hotel information

The 4V Monwana Game Lodge - offers 4 elegant suites each with private deck or patio overlooking the bushveld or the Monwana watering hole, en-suite bathrooms with bath and shower facilities. Luxury King Suite has a lounge area with open fireplace, private deck and 1 king-size bed, sleeping maximum 2 adults. Family Suites can sleep 2 adults and 2 children.

Full Board includes: all meals (drinks are not included) and two activities.

The 5V Waterside Lodge - set on the banks of a tranquil lake, adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park, offers 20 en-suite thatched suites. Each suite has an en-suite bathroom, indoor shower and private deck area, sleeping maximum 2 adults.

The 5V Thornybush Game Lodge - offers 20 stylish air-conditioned suites, including 2 family suites. Luxury Suites overlook the Monwana River, each with en-suite facilities, outdoor shower and private decks. Family Suites are larger with a lounge area and sleeper sofa, suitable for children, these suites also have a private plunge pool.

The 5V River Lodge offers only 4 luxurious and spacious suites that overlook the Monwana River, each African styled with a private pool on an elevated deck, floor-to-ceiling glass doors in the bathroom and an outdoor shower.

A choice of 4V and 5V lodges and camps of differing sizes, each offering a BOMA area, swimming pool, curio shop, bar and viewing deck. Spa* (Thornybush Game Lodge only). Game-drives and bush walks.

* Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Value Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (519)
  • Very good (36)
  • Average (5)
  • Poor (0)
  • Terrible (0)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing lodges and safari

May 10, 2022 Neil F

What an amazing place and a must do if you want a truly unforgettable safari experience. Within the first two days we had seen all of the big five. Freedom our guide and frank our tracker were amazing and frank made the best coffee and gin and tonic I’ve tasted in a while. Staff are friendly and always ask if you’ve had a good day. Food was out of… Read more
What an amazing place and a must do if you want a truly unforgettable safari experience. Within the first two days we had seen all of the big five. Freedom our guide and frank our tracker were amazing and frank made the best coffee and gin and tonic I’ve tasted in a while. Staff are friendly and always ask if you’ve had a good day. Food was out of this world with unlimited choice . Lodges pure luxury and the bed was so comfortable . I would highly recommend this as a luxury place to have a safari thank you to all for making our holiday so memorable Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Wonderful stay with impeccable service

May 8, 2022 UW_SH The Hague, The Netherlands

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… Read more
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. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Could not have been better.

May 2, 2022 Steven B Dublin, Ireland

This place is incredible in every way. The staff are amazing, the rooms are perfectly kitted out and have lovely additional extras. Plenty of still and sparkling water in the room. Nice cosmetics. Food simply out of this world. Vegan diets comfortably catered for and not just as an afterthought - quite the opposite - the vegan food got a lot of… Read more
This place is incredible in every way. The staff are amazing, the rooms are perfectly kitted out and have lovely additional extras. Plenty of still and sparkling water in the room. Nice cosmetics. Food simply out of this world. Vegan diets comfortably catered for and not just as an afterthought - quite the opposite - the vegan food got a lot of envious looks from other guests. The safari drives were superb. Expert guides and trackers. Be prepared to eat yourself senseless though as it keeps coming! I wish i could return regularly, but that would spoil the great treat that this was. Loved every second. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Bucket list experience!

Apr 5, 2022 MaddieMannakee81 Harrogate, United Kingdom

We were a bit sceptical about whether Thornybush could really live up to the rave reviews but WOW, this place is incredible. From the minute we arrived, we were treated like family. Precious greeted us with her huge smile and set the scene for our four night break at Thornybush. Every member of staff we came across was friendly, welcoming and keen… Read more
We were a bit sceptical about whether Thornybush could really live up to the rave reviews but WOW, this place is incredible. From the minute we arrived, we were treated like family. Precious greeted us with her huge smile and set the scene for our four night break at Thornybush. Every member of staff we came across was friendly, welcoming and keen to make sure we had the best stay possible. Our ranger, Daniel, and tracker, John, were a great team…making sure we saw pretty much everything the reserve has to offer. We never expected to see so much or be able to get so close to the animals. Despite the 5am start, our boys (8 & 10) wanted to go on every game ride!! The food and wine choice was exceptional. We honestly couldn’t have had a better time and none of us wanted to leave. Oh and it also has a brilliant little spa on site in case you need further relaxation! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Best safari of my life ( and yes I have been doing them yearly since a child)!

Apr 1, 2022 googlypanda Gold Coast, Australia

Imagine that your family owned the most wonderful Safari lodge and you spent 6 days there. That is how we felt when we were at Thornybush. This lodge is just special, if you have been following me on trip advisor you will know that I have done many many safaris ( yup addicted ) but this one felt like I was home. Friendly staff, engaging, perfect… Read more
Imagine that your family owned the most wonderful Safari lodge and you spent 6 days there. That is how we felt when we were at Thornybush. This lodge is just special, if you have been following me on trip advisor you will know that I have done many many safaris ( yup addicted ) but this one felt like I was home. Friendly staff, engaging, perfect service. Amazing food, they grow their own fresh veggies and you can tell. I would describe the food as a fusion of really healthy and just delicious. We had dietary requirements that were met so easily and so tastefully. When I met the chef I asked are you the chef, he said “no I am the legend” he did not lie . From Precious the manager to Lorraine the guest hostess, to our own butler Vero. Just amazing team. The room, ok let me confess I hated leaving it. From my super comfy bed I saw elephant, giraffe, buffalo and very very funny baboons, to name a few. Ran out of body parts to be pampered in the spa ! Wonderful. And what was the best ? The game viewing. This is an unfenced, carefully eco controlled game viewing experience. The knowledge of our guide Sarah Barrett was astounding. Having grown up in Africa I learnt so much. I like the way she and our wonderful tracker Kenneth work as a team to show us their world. On other game reserves I have found the guides often frightened us to show that they can protect us. Not so with Sarah and Kenny. Instead we learnt about natural animal behaviours, how to read it and so we do them no harm and likewise they do us no harm. Relaxed and totally safe interactions with wildlife, with astounding knowledge and insight into conservation. If you want to experience a wonderful caring attitude to conservation, devotion to preservation of both animals and habitat. This is the place. Astounding service and food, smallest request quickly attended to ( daughter needed electrical tape for computer charger, done delivered with smile) staff I will never forget, I think I will return here even though my policy is to try new experiences every time. Why ? Not sure anything can top this. Thank you to Thornybush for this wonderful experience. Have racked my brain to find anything to suggest an improvement or anything negative. Nothing, absolutely nothing. A first for me Read less