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
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Traveller rating

  • Excellent (306)
  • Very good (7)
  • Average (7)
  • Poor (1)
  • Terrible (1)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Five stars aren’t enough

Aug 18, 2019 TraveL1ght Washington DC, District of Columbia

All expectations were exceeded at Shumbalala. Best travel experience ever and worth saving up for the splurge. Staff was all so helpful and minded every detail to make us comfortable. Daniella, Francois and Nikita attended to everything we could want and Onacah kept everything perfectly tidy. Food was outstanding. Game drives were just… Read more
All expectations were exceeded at Shumbalala. Best travel experience ever and worth saving up for the splurge. Staff was all so helpful and minded every detail to make us comfortable. Daniella, Francois and Nikita attended to everything we could want and Onacah kept everything perfectly tidy. Food was outstanding. Game drives were just mind-blowing watching the animals in their own habitats. Hats off to Edward and Sam for their informative rides and tracking skills. August was apparently a great time to go and we had fantastic views of the animals and pleasant weather (though chilly in the early mornings so pack warm layers). 3 nights was sufficient, but it was the trip of a lifetime. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating First class luxury safari experience

Aug 1, 2019 DeirdreTravel153816

I was a solo traveller with a group of friends, staying at Shambalala Lodge. What a delight it was to be part of the Shambalala family! The meals were first class, and, unlike many other lodges, they went out of their way to cook me special meals and desserts to cater for my dietary requirements. One highlight of my stay was the delicious and… Read more
I was a solo traveller with a group of friends, staying at Shambalala Lodge. What a delight it was to be part of the Shambalala family! The meals were first class, and, unlike many other lodges, they went out of their way to cook me special meals and desserts to cater for my dietary requirements. One highlight of my stay was the delicious and elegant brunch set up by the staff in the middle of the African bush – quite unexpected and delightful. The trackers and guide were professional and knowledgeable and all the staff worked together to provide us with a first class luxury safari experience. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Superb

Jul 22, 2019 ChuckElton Montreal, Canada

My friends and I stayed at Shumbalala for two days. We were coming from a conference at Skukuza and planned to finish our trip with a short safari. Each of us had done several previous safaris in South Africa and Kenya. I would rank the accommodations here to be equal to Basecamp Masai Mara (Kenya) as the best I have experienced. The staff at… Read more
My friends and I stayed at Shumbalala for two days. We were coming from a conference at Skukuza and planned to finish our trip with a short safari. Each of us had done several previous safaris in South Africa and Kenya. I would rank the accommodations here to be equal to Basecamp Masai Mara (Kenya) as the best I have experienced. The staff at Shumbalala are second to none. Nikita was an excellent hostess, and her team was friendly and efficient. The meals were excellent. The game drives were also memorable. Our drivers (Edward & Francois, on different days) and tracker (Sam) were professional, very skilled, and dedicated to getting us the best viewing experiences. I have been fortunate to have had good tracker/driver teams before, but these fellows were about as good as any I have been with. Game experiences vary with location and timing. Two days is a short time, but we had superb encounters with several lions and a leopard, rhino, and cape buffalo, and got to witness the slow demolition of an elephant carcass by a gang of vultures, hyenas and a jackal. I've seen more game in the Masai Mara of course, and had a few more memorable sightings in Timbavati and Sabi Sands - which is not surprising when you add up opportunities over several safaris. But I cannot complain about what we saw here in only two days. In particular, I will remember one close encounter with a young male lion which approached the vehicle and stared at me as if to acknowledge my presence. In six safaris featuring two dozen lions, this experience had never happened to me until then. I won't forget it. A bonus is going to sleep listening to a lion's roar every night. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Like Being Part of the Family at a 5 Star Experience

Jul 10, 2019 FredJ957 Las Vegas, Nevada

My wife & I spent 3 nights at Shumbalala Game Lodge back in April. I can't believe there is a better game lodge in South Africa. The lodging was 5 Star! The meals were 5 Star! The staff & service were definitely 5 Star!! The lodge only accommodates 12-14 guests per day making the entire experience very personal. Edward & Danielle were… Read more
My wife & I spent 3 nights at Shumbalala Game Lodge back in April. I can't believe there is a better game lodge in South Africa. The lodging was 5 Star! The meals were 5 Star! The staff & service were definitely 5 Star!! The lodge only accommodates 12-14 guests per day making the entire experience very personal. Edward & Danielle were fantastic hosts! With 2 game drives a day we saw everything we hoped to see in Africa. Thorny Bush is a private game reserve, which allowed Edward took us off road through the bush to see the hard to see animals, like the rhinoceros & leopards. My wife & I were thrilled with all the pictures we took. I can't recommend Shumbalala enough! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Blown away by the experience!

Jun 3, 2019 Bigfish314 Sydney, Australia

We just completed a 2 week vacation in South Africa, staying at some of the top hotels in the country. The Shumbalala was by far the highlight of the trip. The premises are exactly what you need them to be, luxurious but still true to the spirit of safari. The staff were all amazing and despite being young in age, were outstanding in knowledge… Read more
We just completed a 2 week vacation in South Africa, staying at some of the top hotels in the country. The Shumbalala was by far the highlight of the trip. The premises are exactly what you need them to be, luxurious but still true to the spirit of safari. The staff were all amazing and despite being young in age, were outstanding in knowledge and customer service. Even though our expectations were high, due to the previous hotels, Shumbalala still managed to surprise us every day by constantly changing the menu and eating locations. Every day felt like the first. For the safari, our guide checked in with us every day as to what we wanted to see. He was then in contact with the other Rangers to ensure he used the intel to meet our goal. Even the mid safari 'drink breaks' where done with a touch of class. The entire experience was an absolute dream for my wife and I. Read less