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First time on safari? Here’s what to expect at Thornybush!

7 Nov 2022 | By Author Thornybush | Experiences & FAQs & Lodges

Thornybush has five superb luxury lodges located in the Thornybush Nature Reserve and the Sabi Sands. With expert guides, dedicated teams and world-class amenities, service, cuisine and activities, Thornybush is a premier international safari destination.

If this will be your first time on safari, then this post will give you a good idea of what to look forward to.

Activities on offer at Thornybush

At Thornybush we know that visiting a game reserve is very much about seeing animals and being immersed in the bush! Therefore game drives and bush walks feature prominently on our list of activities.

Our morning game drives let you meet the animals at dawn when the nocturnal animals are still awake and the other animals are just beginning to wake up and become active. You’ll enjoy a bush coffee break and then head back to your lodge for a delicious breakfast.

Our afternoon game drives start off with a delicious tea followed by a three-hour drive, a sundowner stop to enjoy the sunset, after which it’s back to your lodge for your delectable dinner.

Lodges to choose from

Creating luxurious havens where our guests can enjoy the wilderness in comfort and style is what we’re all about, so Thornybush offers its guests superb safari accommodation in these lodges.

  • Saseka Tented Camp offers visitors eight spacious tented suites on the banks of the seasonal Monwana River. Its creative design, luxurious touches and unsurpassed location have created a unique lodge.
  • Little Saseka carries a sole-use option offering you the privacy of your own lodge hidden away in the magnificent environs of Saseka Tented Camp.
  • Welcoming Simbambili Game Lodge in the famous Sabi Sands, offers unrivalled game viewing coupled with a deluxe bush experience.
  • Sophisticated Thornybush Game Lodge, with its superb views of a waterhole, is our original lodge that has just got better and better since 1961!
  • Jackalberry Lodge’s seven sumptuous thatched suites offer a splendid setting and magnificent views for visitors to enjoy.

Wildlife you can expect to see

With no fences between us and the Kruger, we are part of a massive ecosystem that ensures unrestricted wildlife viewing. We regularly see the Big 5 – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and African buffalos, as are spotted hyenas, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, hippos and a wide range of antelopes.

Endangered wild dogs have even chosen to den on our Reserve, and the elusive black rhino is spotted quite often. Porcupines, various owls, night jars, genet, civet, and caracal are often seen on night drives. We’ve even had a rare white lion visiting quite a few times!

Birders, you’ll love us! Blacksmith lapwing, lilac-breasted rollers, fork-tailed drongos, hornbills, groundscraper thrush, malachite and other kingfishers, martial eagle and a host of other birds thrive on our Reserve.

Your burning questions answered

Next up, here are some questions first-time visitors often ask.

Where is Thornybush situated?

Thornybush Private Nature Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger, an enormous unfenced wilderness area ensuring fantastic wildlife sightings.

When should we visit?

The Kruger is blessed with an all-year-round sunny climate, so you can visit any time! However, if you don’t like heat, our summer months, September to March, can be hot, so you would probably enjoy a visit during our mild winter when our average daily temperatures are a moderate 20°C. Our nights can be chilly though, so bundle up for those morning and evening game drives!

How do I get to the lodge?

There are daily air links between Johannesburg and Cape Town, and our local Hoedspruit Airport. We also have our own airstrip for charter and private flights. Our reservations department can help you with these arrangements. Driving down from Johannesburg takes about six hours.

How long should my stay be?

To get the most out of your safari experience, a minimum three-night stay will allow you to unwind and relax. A longer stay will allow you to soak up our Thornybush magic even better!

Will I see the Big 5 at Thornybush?

Yes, your chances of doing so are excellent. Our highly skilled rangers will also do their utmost to enable you to see the animals on your bucket list.

What should I pack for my safari?

‘Bushveld casual’ is the norm, and neutral colours are recommended. Light clothes are best, but you’ll need a warm jacket and long pants for winter and evening safaris. Comfortable walking shoes are crucial, as are a good sunhat, plenty of sunscreen and sunglasses. Bring along a bathing costume in summer to utilise our lovely swimming pools! Bring binoculars (particularly if you’re a keen birder), camera or video equipment in sturdy cases, or a cell phone with a good camera function. Our curio shops stock some safari clothing and supplies.

What about malaria prophylactics or vaccines?

Our lodges are in low-risk malaria areas, and we do take precautions to safeguard our lodges. However, a good anti-mosquito cream, stick or spray is always a good idea. You should talk to your medical practitioner or medical travel clinic about anti-malaria prophylactics and possible vaccines required.

Will I have access to a spa?

Yes! We have full-service luxury spas at both Thornybush and Simbambili Game Lodges. In fact, many of the lodges close to us use our Thornybush Game Lodge spa.

If you have any further questions about our lodges and what we can offer you, our friendly team will be delighted to assist and welcome you! Get in touch.