Your home in the African wilderness
Our purpose at Thornybush is to create out-of-the-ordinary safari experiences for our guests, while also enriching the lives of our staff and the well-being of the surrounding communities. We understand that while our guests enjoy the comfort and luxury of our lodges, what they’ll remember most are the people they meet, the experiences in the wilderness and how both combine to give them that special Thornybush feeling.
We can’t wait to welcome you to your home in the African wilderness!
Thornybush is one of the original nature reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park, with the first lodge opening its doors in 1961. Since then, Thornybush has added more lodges to its collection and now operates in both the Thornybush and Sabi Sand Private Nature Reserves.
Along the way, we’ve been involved in a range of wildlife projects such as the first translocation of an entire elephant herd from Kruger, one of the first leopard introductions onto a private reserve, extensive studies of pangolins and the first release of a black rhino onto a private nature reserve in the lowveld.
In 2017, Thornybush dropped its fences adjoining the world-famous Kruger National Park, allowing for new herds of wildlife to roam freely across the 14,000-hectare reserve and realise our full potential as a private nature reserve.
In our eyes, the Thornybush Community includes all our dedicated staff, the people in the surrounding communities and each of our guests. We also have a non-profit arm of Thornybush which aims to nurture and uplift the surrounding local communities and businesses that many of our staff members come from. Currently we support a primary school, high school and local NGO that focuses on medical care for farm workers and child support for their children.
The greatest successes, however, have come from two small farms, run by the local enterprises, that supply luxury lodges with their fresh produce.
Food at Thornybush
From home-style South African classics to contemporary dishes with international flair, all of our meals at Thornybush are grand events where the chef’s individual creativity shines through.
The range of dishes, often with a local flavour, will be one of the highlights of your safari at Thornybush. And, whether it’s a romantic dinner on your private deck, in a lantern-lit boma or the magical setting of a dry riverbed – the locations of the dinners are often as impressive as the meal themselves.
Add another element of relaxation to your stay with our incredibly popular spa treatments. Let your mind drift off, with the sounds of the African bush calling from outside, as you treat yourself to a treatment or massage. Thornybush lodges use a distinctive 360-degree approach to health and wellness.
The spa treatments are just one aspect of the wellness, relaxation and transformation that we seek to provide, with the bush air and revitalising nature of the wild landscape also playing an important part.
At Thornybush, we strive to make our experiences more meaningful, immersive and sustainable. We’ve seen first-hand how this can have a positive impact on not only our guests, but the community and environment our guests encounter too.
Our goal is to help you reconnect with nature and, in turn, reconnect with yourself and the friends and family you’re traveling with.
As you explore outwardly, you also enrich your inner life, creating a positive personal impact that continues beyond the trip and stays with you for the rest of your life.
We’ve come to understand that every guest is different at Thornybush, each with their own dream of what they’d like from their safari with us. By customising experiences specific to each guest – whether it’s on a game drive, a mid-morning bushwalk or a private dinner – we’re able to create unforgettable, lasting memories.
Being somewhat flexible in how we do things, we’re able to cater for different dietary requirements, offer a romantic bush dinner in a secluded spot or special event to celebrate something significant or meaningful.
More than the aesthetics of the lodges or even the wildlife experiences, it’s the people who are the soul of Thornybush and the reason people love coming back to us. Knowing this, we always aim to keep our teams engaged and passionate through setting goals, creating opportunities and developing skills.
Helping every member of our Thornybush family reach their full potential is incredibly enriching and creates an environment that is easy to work in, bringing out the very best of what each and every one of us has to offer.
Thornybush Game Lodge is fabulous, and the staff amazing, food absolutely delicious and all made from scratch, our ranger and Tracker were the best: absolute experts in the field, fountains of knowledge and so much fun to be with.
A Fond Farewell to Nic Griffin
After 12 years at the helm of Thornybush, Nic Griffin has reached a well earned retirement. We reflect on Nic’s incredible achievements and bid him a happy reti
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