Thornybush Waterside Lodge is tucked away in the pristine 14,000 hectare Thornybush Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, boasting a well-deserved reputation for prolific game viewing, including all the Big 5. This serene game lodge with its incredible lake view (which often includes the resident hippo pod!) is affordable luxury at its adventurous finest, and perfect for families, groups of friends and couples alike.
Within the unfenced camp, the spacious thatched suites are interconnected by quaint winding paths through tree-shaded gardens, where nyala and warthogs wander freely, and perhaps you’ll even meet a visiting giraffe or elephant. Each air-conditioned suite has a private deck and expansive glass windows, inviting you to ensconce yourself in the Hemingway-esque four-poster bed to watch the (wild!) world go by. The roomy en-suite bathrooms have a separate shower and bathtub. The decor is calm and elegant, with wonderful wood finishes and comfortable cane chairs hinting of bygone colonial safari days.
Families with children can choose the 2 inter-leading suites for the comfort of closeness – and convenience. Children of all ages are made to feel extra-special at Thornybush Waterside Lodge, with little ones under the age of 12 receiving a designed-for-adventure backpack on arrival, and invited to join in the many fun activities like bush walks and learning how to track different animals.
You’ll be allocated your own skilled ranger and tracker team for the duration of your stay, who will tailor each dawn and dusk game drive to quench your curiosities and answer your own specific interests! They can also take you on daily bush walks, which is a phenomenal way to experience nature much more intimately, where you hear every little sound and can see the tiniest details that are often missed from a vehicle. The expert Shangaan trackers will enthrall you with their fascinating explanations of the area’s medicinal plants and intriguing traditional folklore!
Besides being able to find all of the iconic Big 5, there is a superabundant variety of wildlife and exceptional birding. One of the most treasured sightings in this reserve is the rare pangolin! *(Because it is a private reserve, game drive vehicles are able to venture off-road – which makes for very exciting tracking and animal sightings.)
Deliciously wholesome and freshly prepared meals are served in the outdoor dining area, or in the boma, African-style — or in surprise venues! Of course, the safari tradition of sundowners and sumptuous snacks is a highlight of every evening game drive.
Thornybush Waterside Lodge is just a 40-minute drive from Hoedspruit airport: all-inclusive luxury safari that is still excellent value for money.