The River Lodge

OVERVIEW

Considered to be one of the best-kept secrets in the Thornybush Nature Reserve, The River Lodge offers an intimate safari experience that’s ideal for special occasions. This is made possible by Bongs the butler, Anna and Nomsa who go out of their way to ensure a homely yet sophisticated stay.

Previously a private residence, The River Lodge was converted into a luxury lodge with five freestanding villa-style suites, and is now a firm favorite with guests for it’s unpretentious style, intimate connection with wildlife and peaceful setting.

Overlooking the Timbavati River, this area is frequented by herds of elephants, antelope, leopards and colourful birdlife. There’s a relaxed and personal ambience that creates a sense of being in a private home in the heart of the African bush.

Meals are prepared in an open-plan kitchen and served alfresco-style on the terrace under the biggest jackalberry tree in the area. This often coincides with the elephants wandering up to drink from the infinity pool, cooling themselves down in the midday heat.

The River Lodge Accommodation Options

Each of the five suites at The River Lodge are separated to ensure extra privacy and are extremely spacious. The honeymoon suite is slightly larger than the others, while the Royal Suite combines two suites with a central area to accommodate a large family or four adults.

Lodge Facilities & Services


Babysitting
Boma
Bush Breakfast
Bush Dinner
Deck
Dining Room
Game Drives
Inside Dining
Library
Lounge
Mobile Coverage
Pool
Spa
Wake Up Calls
WiFi
VIEW RATES

These elegant suites have double beds, lounges, fireplaces and open-plan bathrooms. The expansive outside decks were purposefully built below tall trees to ensure shade and have a private swimming pool and an outdoor shower for added luxury.

The bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors which open to allow the outdoors in, for ultimate relaxation overlooking spectacular views while you soak in the bathtub.


Air-conditioning
Bath Tub
Coffee Maker
Disabled Suitable
Fan
Fireplace
Gratuity Information
Hairdryer
International Adaptor
Kettle
Laundry Service
Mini Bar
Mobile Coverage
Mosquito Net
Outdoor Shower
Phone
Pool
Safety Box
Shower
Slippers
Toiletries
WiFi

This elegant suite is slightly larger than the Luxury Suites and has a double bed, lunge, fireplace and open-plan bathroom. The expansive outside decks were purposefully built below tall trees to ensure shade and have a private swimming pool and an outdoor shower.

The bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors which open all the way, for the perfect indoor-outdoor feeling while you soak in the bathtub.


Air-conditioning
Bath Tub
Coffee Maker
Disabled Suitable
Fan
Fireplace
Gratuity Information
Hairdryer
International Adaptor
Kettle
Laundry Service
Mini Bar
Mobile Coverage
Mosquito Net
Outdoor Shower
Phone
Pool
Safety Box
Shower
Slippers
Toiletries
WiFi

The Royal Suite is setup to cater for small groups or families as it combines two suites and has even more space to enjoy private dinners in different areas.

As with the other suites, the expansive outside decks were purposefully built below tall trees to ensure shade and have a private swimming pool and outdoor shower.

The bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors bringing the senses to life, while you soak in the bathtub. The Royal Suite also comes with lounge areas and fireplaces.


Air-conditioning
Bath Tub
Coffee Maker
Disabled Suitable
Fan
Gratuity Information
Hairdryer
International Adaptor
Kettle
Laundry Service
Mini Bar
Mobile Coverage
Mosquito Net
Outdoor Shower
Phone
Pool
Safety Box
Shower
Slippers
Toiletries
WiFi

Lodge Experiences

Morning Game Drives

A pink dawn, birds stirring and a chance to see the wildlife begin their day – welcome to a morning drive at Thornybush. You’ll need to be up before the sun and in the vehicle after a quick snack to see the best sightings. This is when the land is cool and the animals are most active, when anything is possible and sightings come quickly. After a couple hours of roaming the reserve you’ll stop at a special spot for a coffee break before heading back for a delicious late breakfast.

Bush Breakfast

Following a morning game drive, our guests can be treated to breakfast in a beautiful bush setting. While the savannah stirs to life, we serve a wide variety of breakfast dishes that our guests enjoy surrounded by the untouched Afican wilderness.

Walking Safaris

A walking safari offers something quite different to a game drive: the thrill of being on foot in a Big 5 reserve and a chance to engage with the smaller things. You learn about tracking, insects and flowers. It’s a chance to have an immersive experience where you get down and touch and smell what’s out there while at the same time you never quite know what you’ll encounter around the next corner, and there’s little that compares to the experience when you do.

Community Interaction

Thornybush runs a non-profit organisation that aims to uplift the surrounding local communities that many of our staff members come from. Exciting initiatives such as community owned agricultural businesses, food security, youth focused conservation awareness, sustainable procurement and infrastructure upgrades are all major focus area’s of ours.

Afternoon Drives

Following a lazy afternoon, most likely spent by the pool or on your deck, we’ll meet for afternoon tea before climbing into the game vehicle for a three-hour drive that leads into the evening. The sundowner stop at one of our favourite viewpoints will take in one of the iconic sights – a sunset casting golden light across an African savanna. As night sets in, new animals stir adding another level of excitement to the end of the drive.

Private Dining

Dinners at Thornybush are roaming affairs – locations can range from lantern-lit bomas to starry riverbeds, but the most memorable meals are often enjoyed in the privacy of your own balcony. While the night sounds of the African bush ring through the air and mysterious eyes watch you from afar, you get to enjoy superbly prepared meals accompanied by South Africa’s finest wines.

lizziesherrington01 · Follow
3rd Sep 2019

My husband, son and I spent two nights in the Royal Suite at Thornybush River Lodge. In the 13 years we have lived in South Africa we have stayed in some stunning lodges both in SA and further afield but Thornybush surpassed them all on every level. Hospitality, food, accommodation and unbelievable wildlife sightings all added up to a truly memorable stay.



Location

Inside the Thornybush Nature Reserve

Thornybush is a 14,000-hectare private nature reserve that shares a fenceless border with the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. Big 5 encounters are the standout experiences for our guests, with visitors particularly impressed with the lion and leopard sightings. It’s the vast diversity of wildlife, however, that has seen Thornybush emerge as a leading safari destination. With our passionate and expert guide-and-tracker teams leading the way, our guests leave with a genuine understanding of our entire ecosystem and the enthralling cast of animals.

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Stories/Blog

Lemon Posset à la River Lodge

Try this delicious, refreshing Lemon Posset recipe from our chefs at the Thornybush River Lodge. You will not be disappointed!

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Meet Nomsa Mathebula – Pastry Chef at River Lodge

Meet Nomsa Mathebula, the Pastry Chef at Thornybush River Lodge responsible for delighting your tasatebuds with all sorts of treats while on safari.

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