Thornybush Shumbalala

Kruger and surrounds, South Africa

The hotel

The dictionary definition of a luxury safari, Shumbalala Game Lodge rests in Thornybush Reserve, where they’ve removed the fences to merge with Greater Kruger National Park. This incredible setting means game-drives, bush walks, and other excursions can reveal sightings of the 'Big Five', as well as zebra, giraffe, warthogs, and baboon. Returning from days of adventure, this luxurious lodge welcomes you back to its sumptuous Superior Suites. They line the seasonal Monwana River and feature private decks with views over the wildlife-attracting waterhole, which is also the outlook for the High Tea deck and the Shumbalala’s wine cellar, where you can enjoy romantic dinners.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Swimming Pool
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Restaurant

Where is it

Located along the banks of the Monwana river in the Thornybush Reserve.

Hotel information

4 Superior Suites are located along the Monwana River and offer one bedroom and en-suite open-plan bathroom including an in- and outside shower. Suites also have a fireplace and a private deck that overlooks the riverbed and/or the local waterhole.

Full Board includes: all meals and selected beverages. Twice daily game-drives.

The Presidential Suite has two en-suite bedrooms, sleeping maximum 2 adults and 2 children, or 4 adults. Thw Suite also have a private dining and sitting area with a fireplace, viewing deck, splash pool and braai area.

Dining room, lounge and fireplace. Meal times are rotated between patio, swimming pool, river bed, viewing deck and boma area. High tea is available on the viewing deck. Wine cellar for private dining. Swimming pool. Two daily game-drives. Informative game walks after brunch. Other excursions including a boat cruise* and a trip to the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre* can also be arranged.

* 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 (324)
  • Very good (7)
  • Average (7)
  • Poor (1)
  • Terrible (1)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Unbelievable Experience

Mar 15, 2020 678gaylef

My husband and I have been all over the world. Our stay at Shumbalala has moved into 1st place! Suzette is a wonderful hostess, always making sure we were well taken care of. Tim was a well-informed, fun guide. Sam (the spotter) and Tim went above and beyond to make sure we saw all there is to see in the bush in South Africa. One day we sat… Read more
My husband and I have been all over the world. Our stay at Shumbalala has moved into 1st place! Suzette is a wonderful hostess, always making sure we were well taken care of. Tim was a well-informed, fun guide. Sam (the spotter) and Tim went above and beyond to make sure we saw all there is to see in the bush in South Africa. One day we sat and watched 150 Cape Buffalo for well over an hour as they played in the mud. What an experience. And the food? Well - there was plenty of it! It was well prepared and served as though we were in a 5-star restaurant. The staff were lovely people and we enjoyed talking with them. I would highly recommend this for your safari experience! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Superb!

Mar 11, 2020 ValGal2118

Some friends of mine and I recently returned from a trip to South Africa that included three nights at the Shumbalala. All I can say is WOW! If you are looking for a premier, first-class location with the BEST service ever, choose the Shumbalala! It is worth every dime you spend. The accommodations were lush and beautiful. The pictures… Read more
Some friends of mine and I recently returned from a trip to South Africa that included three nights at the Shumbalala. All I can say is WOW! If you are looking for a premier, first-class location with the BEST service ever, choose the Shumbalala! It is worth every dime you spend. The accommodations were lush and beautiful. The pictures posted here are amazing but don’t do it justice—it’s absolutely gorgeous! Our guide, Tim, and spotter, Sam showed amazing knowledge on each of our game drives. It was beyond thrilling to be in the Bush with all the animals. Suzette, our Host, along with Sheila, Marco, Oneika and Francois were attentive and saw to our every need and desire for food, drink, comfort and housekeeping. I can’t speak highly enough of them ALL! Thank you for making our trip of a lifetime the best ever! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating South Africa over the top

Mar 1, 2020 SvenGravendeel The Netherlands

On our first ever trip to South Africa we stayed at the Shumbalala Lodge for three nights. After our short trip from Dullstroom to the lodge we arrive at the welcome centre of the reserve where we unloaded our suitcases into the lodges 4 by 4. Arriving at the lodge we were overwhelmed with the views from the main deck, the room. From your own… Read more
On our first ever trip to South Africa we stayed at the Shumbalala Lodge for three nights. After our short trip from Dullstroom to the lodge we arrive at the welcome centre of the reserve where we unloaded our suitcases into the lodges 4 by 4. Arriving at the lodge we were overwhelmed with the views from the main deck, the room. From your own deck you can see the rive and small waterhole were animals pass by during the day as if the guests are not there. The food whether breakfast lunch or dinner was extraordinary and no chance was left unused to surprise us. When one night the weather outside was a bit too windy we were invited to a romantic dinner inside our own room while the rain was pooring outside. The game drives were outstanding as well, simply because in these private reserves they do not allow too many vehicles so once something is spotted the rangers will inform each other and make sure that sightings stay exclusive as well. For now, a once in a lifetime experience but we have no intention to leave it this way. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Where the lion sleeps

Feb 14, 2020 simoncJ296LF

Shumbalala means where the lion sleeps in the local language. And on our first morning game drive we saw a pride of lions asleep in the morning sun about 5m from the side of our land cruiser. It was to be an experience to be repeated many times over the course of our three night stay in February as we saw all of the big five on many occasions. … Read more
Shumbalala means where the lion sleeps in the local language. And on our first morning game drive we saw a pride of lions asleep in the morning sun about 5m from the side of our land cruiser. It was to be an experience to be repeated many times over the course of our three night stay in February as we saw all of the big five on many occasions. As Safari novices we were not sure exactly what to expect but our guide Francois and tracker Randzani expertly guided us through the vast array of mammals and birds, insects and reptiles, shrubs and trees until we were pointing out orange billed hornbills and estimating the age of young elephants from their tusks. Randzani even took us down from the jeep one morning and patiently took us through the clues to be read in a pair of hoof prints until we were able to identify a female wildebeest walking slowly in a south easterly direction towards a water hole. Francois was dedicated in ensuring we ticked off our goals to see the big five including the rhinos which are sadly threatened by poaching to the edge of extinction. The game reserves have now resorted to removing the horns that make them so valuable to poachers (they grow back slowly like toenails!) but this makes them more suspicious of humans . The highlights of our game drives included two leopards in a tree with their kill, giraffes “necking” in a gentle test of supremacy, and a young lion stalking a buffalo at the edge of the water hole. But all of this was surpassed by an encounter with a herd of elephants on our final morning. Francois pulled over at the edge of the track as the herd approached and proceeded gently passed the vehicle. Around 25 of these magnificent creatures walked by, completely unconcerned by our presence and quite literally close enough to touch. If this had been our first day we would have been concerned but having observed them earlier it was clear that if we kept still and quiet, we presented no threat to them. There were several calves with their mothers and several large bulls, but they continued to graze and drink as if we were not there. It was a true privilege to experience a little of their lives in this way and I can only hope that through the work of the reserves across Africa, such an experience can still be there for generations to follow. The rest of the staff in the lodge were also outstanding from Sheila and Busi who looked after us and Sarah who kept our room clean and tidy. Eating delicious food under the stars while elephants drank at the water hole nearby is a very special memory. Shumbalala deliberately limits the number of guests so there is a fantastic level of personal service. You feel pampered and welcomed and well cared for in every aspect. This was our first safari and so we do not have a benchmark against which to compare. But I think it will be very hard to top this in terms of the access to the animals, the knowledge of the guide and tracker , the wonderful food and the comfort in which we stayed. Thanks to all of the staff for a wonderful stay and we hope to visit again in the future. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Running out of superlatives!

Feb 12, 2020 croquetmike Surrey, United Kingdom

This was our fifth visit to Shumbalala, and I'm rapidly running out of superlatives. As ever, our stay of four nights was simply magic. The wonderful staff leave no stone unturned in their mission to give guests a faultless and memorable experience. From the accommodation to the food to the game drives to the general ambience, everything was… Read more
This was our fifth visit to Shumbalala, and I'm rapidly running out of superlatives. As ever, our stay of four nights was simply magic. The wonderful staff leave no stone unturned in their mission to give guests a faultless and memorable experience. From the accommodation to the food to the game drives to the general ambience, everything was right on the button. A huge thank-you to everybody at Shumbalala. You are a truly great team and it shows in every little detail. Each visit we make there seems to outstrip all the previous visits. We'll be back! Soon! Read less