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Caitlin Brown

13 May 2021 | By Author Thornybush | Guest Review

From a weekend wedding at ThornyBush Game Lodge to a honeymoon just down the road at Saseka Tented Camp and to top it off, an Easter weekend at Simbambili. Simply put, every lodge beautiful in its own way! 

A weekend bush wedding

My husband and I were due to get married in June 2020 until Covid 19 came along. After postponing our wedding date multiple times, still not knowing if or when gatherings would be allowed, we sat down and made the decision that a bush wedding, away from all the city chaos, would be the way to go. This is when we came across Thornybush Game Lodge. 

Planning a wedding can, at times, be a bit stressful as one always wants everything to be just perfect. The team planning our wedding (coordinator, photographer, chefs, guides and trackers as well as the waiters and waitresses) did everything to the tee, stress-free and professionally. We trusted Thornybush to take the reigns in planning our special day, to the point that my husband and I didn’t even know where our ceremony was taking place or what our table settings would look like. Only because of the precision with which every function in the lodge is performed on a day-to-day basis, did we have not a single doubt that we could arrive at their own wedding without having to plan a thing. 

Standing at reception seeing our guests arrive, excitement levels grew as each car pulled up to the main reception area. It was heartwarming to watch the giggles and laughs, the dancing and the pure enjoyment of being out in nature, showing off its very best! Not to mention that we all ate our way into a dietitian’s office from indulging in the decadent desserts and the juicy game meat. 

Thornybush has breathtaking and relaxing views from all 20 magnificently decorated rooms, welcoming people, glorious food and is a home away from home. 

No better way to spend your honeymoon than at Saseka Tented Camp. 

Saseka calls itself a ‘tented’ camp. Let’s rather call it what it is – the definition of glamping. If a tented camp is supposed to include a king sized bed, lounge, dressing room and full bathroom, along with a patio, loungers and private pool, then I have been lied to in the past!!! Situated roughly 2km from Game Lodge, we spent five nights for our honeymoon in room 9 at Saseka. I was in complete awe of the bold statement and impression that it made walking into the grand reception area. The couches, chandeliers, the seating area and the bar area were situated in the perfect spot overlooking a dry riverbed. The perfect spot for a romantic honeymoon. We were delighted to see staff members that were part of our wedding and once again we felt at home. Everything about Saseka – from the food, the décor, the ‘tent’ and the people – is everything you would want to experience and more. For the five days that we spent there we were treated with the utmost kindness, professionalism and momentous thoughts. We had complete privacy throughout, while having every whim catered for and every luxury provided, spending most evening after game drives at the bar with the guides and trackers and management staff. We couldn’t have enjoyed ourselves more. Of course, indulging in each meal or snack we were offered (sweet and savoury) didn’t disappoint either. We proudly gained at least 5kg each. Saseka is one of the most amazing places that I have stepped foot in – a place which, even if you have visited before, leaves you awestruck everytime. You are sure to be amazed! 

Simbambili, the best of both worlds. 

Simply put, the luxurious homely feel of Thornybush Game Lodge mixed with the luxury and privacy of Saseka gives you Simbambili. This beautiful yet simple place is nothing but extraordinary. Sipping cocktails on the lounged deck or sunbathing on your room deck can be summarized with two words – complete relaxation. 

From gourmet breakfasts to delicious boma dinners with flowing glasses of wine, Simbambili never ceased to disappoint. From the minute go, you are showered with welcoming smiles and happy faces from every single staff member, nothing ever seemed too much for them and they would go out of their way to make your stay the best yet. Not to mention yet again, how wonderfully delicious all ten meals were – if only we could take the chef home with us!

These are only a few reasons why Thornybush has us coming back for more. Each lodge has captured our hearts in different ways and knowing that we will visit again, fills me with excitement. Besides the luxury of the 3 Thornybush lodges, what will keep me coming back and Thornybush at the top of my list is the people. Every request is fulfilled, nothing is ever a problem and it’s as if a smile is permanently fixed on all staffs’ faces. They truly make it a special place.

The wildlife 

Oh yes, there’s also game viewing to do if you can get away from your room! If you are looking at finding lodges to see the Big Five, here you have it! Our wildlife experiences at all three lodges is one of the many reasons why we will keep coming back for more. I have always been passionate about wildlife photography, but the first time we stepped into a game vehicle at Thornybush my passion went into overdrive. Is it the close encounters you get with these magical animals? Is it the passion and knowledge that your guide and tracker show? I cannot say for sure, but all I know is that at one point we thought we were in a zoo with how many animals we were seeing. 

One thing that we noticed about Thornybush is how passionate the trackers and guides are about their jobs. Trackers rely on their guides, but the guides rely on their trackers just as much. Everyone greets you by name with a smile no matter how many times you walk by. All three guides and trackers that we have gone on wild adventures with have an abundance of stories to tell and make sure to share their knowledge of the bush with you. It makes it hard not to want to come every month and build one’s wildlife photography passion with the abundance of game viewing available and phenomenal experiences I have had.


I will definitely be back soon!


All images by: Caitlin Brown (Instagram: @cdc_wildlife_photography)