“Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours!” goes the opening jingle of a famous Australian soap-opera that inflicted Kylie Minogue and Jason Donavan on the world. And as far as neighbours go, you can’t really go wrong with one of the world’s most famous game parks. The Thornybush Game reserve may not be as famous as its world-renowned neighbour, the Kruger National Park (KNP), but it’s every bit as special.
It consists of 10 000 hectares of Africa’s unspoilt bushveld and is Home to the “big five”, as well as a large range of other wildlife species; the game viewing here is considered to be on par with the best in the world. On top of great game viewing, the reserve is also a bird watchers heaven, with more than 280 bird species having been spotted.
Thornybush offers its clientele the unique chance to track animals and this is one adventure everyone should experience. World class guides will teach you how to decipher the spoor and pursue the animal you wish to follow. This is a unique and exciting opportunity, allowing you the chance to view some of the most magnificent and dangerous animals in the world. What makes it even better is that you yourself have found them.
The climate at Thornybush is sub-tropical and is therefore suitable for year round safaris. In summer the weather is hot and humid with high temperatures during the day and cooler temperatures at night. Afternoon thunderstorms are characteristic of the area and the parched bushveld becomes animated after a downpour. This means that game is more difficult to find because many of the waterholes fill up and the undergrowth becomes thicker. Winter is the dry season when water becomes scarce. This results in wildlife congregating around waterholes making it a prime spot for game viewing. Winter is a better time to come if you wish to spot a larger variety of animals.
Thornybush Game Reserve offers accommodation and lodges in Kruger Park to suit every traveller’s budget. From affordable to family to luxury lodges, the reserve has it all. For an affordable experience enjoy small intimate lodges that have a limit of ten guests per night thus ensuring maximum attention to each guest’s individual needs. You can choose between the colourful African thatched chalets or the luxury safari tents. Kwa-Mbili offers a memorable African experience ranging from traditional bush cuisine to guided walks around the reserve. Kwa-Mbili offers all kinds of activities to suit everyone’s needs. During the day, you can either explore this picturesque wilderness on foot or in an open safari vehicle, where your guide will point out everything from the lofty giraffe to the sweet dwarf Mongoose to the temperamental buffalo. You may be startled by the distant roar of a lion, but that only enhances the true African experience. Night game drives are also available where you can enjoy a sundowner while looking out for the Big Five. On return, an authentic African meal is served around a campfire where one can enjoy the starry night sky.
Kwa-Mbili is a great base as it is close to a lot of things in the area, such as the Kruger National Park, the Blyde River Canyon, Bourke’s Luck potholes and God’s Window. There are also many walks around some magnificent waterfalls.
If you come with your family then be sure to stay at Thornybush Game Lodge. This Lodge offers a variety of thrilling safari activities for the whole family. If you enjoying hiking, take a walk through the African bushveld and commune with nature up close. Otherwise, dawn and dusk game drives are also available for those who are less energetic, but no less adventurous. You can also unwind at the Amani Spa or sip on a cocktail while relaxing at the pool. If this isn’t enough to satisfy you, there is also the option of white water rafting on the Blyde River, or enjoying a game of golf at the Hans Merensky Golf Course. There are also hot air balloon flights where you can experience the African bushveld from the sky, as well as a cheetah breeding project, if you love big cats. There are also numerous children’s programs to keep the youngsters happy, so be sure to check these out at reception. Each suite has an amazing outdoor shower as well as a private deck to enjoy the magical sweeping scenery of the savannah, making your stay here even more exhilarating.
If you want luxury, then be sure to stay at the Shumbalala Game Lodge. Shumbalala has it all. Whether you’d prefer a romantic dinner in the formal dining room or you’d like to sit under the open sky next to a fire, Shumbalala makes each option a dining extravaganza. Shumbalala has a relaxing pool area and each guest has their own viewing deck, where you can sit back relax and possibly spot some game. Game drives are available in the early morning and afternoon where an experienced guide will keep you well informed and happy. Bush walks are also a great way to learn about the eco-system and the guide’s knowledge will astound even the most well-informed.