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On our doorstep: Activities to enjoy during your stay at Thornybush

7 Nov 2022 | By Author Thornybush | Experiences

With our outstanding amenities, activities, food and service, your stay at Thornybush will be unforgettable in itself.

However, there’s a wealth of interesting activities and attractions in the Greater Kruger around us that will make your stay at Thornybush even more memorable and exciting.

Here are eight that we thought we’d highlight for you!

1. Marvel at Bourke’s Luck Potholes

Located about 35km north of Graskop in scenic Mpumalanga, the Potholes are named after a gold prospector, Tom Bourke, who first found signs of alluvial gold here in the late 1880s.

Sadly, Bourke never struck gold, though many others did just south of his claim. Ironically, some visitors treat the Potholes like wishing wells these days and drop coins into them!

This amazing natural water feature forms the beginning of the magnificent Blyde River Canyon. Through the millennia, churning whirlpools caused waterborne grit and pebbles to carve out the massive cylindrical potholes in the bedrock of the Blyde River.

2. 4×4 Adventures

If you have your own 4×4 vehicle, you can enjoy a special adventure exploring one of these Kruger Park 4×4 trails. These self-drive safaris are specially geared to the off-road enthusiast, and are ideal for a group of friends or family.

So stock up on food and water, and head off on an exploration of the African wilderness! But please adhere closely to all the safety measures listed. Also note that these 4×4 adventure trails can only be booked on an ad-hoc basis at the stipulated rest camps, and they do depend on the weather and trail conditions.

3. Visit Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

Moholoholo is a wildlife sanctuary and rehabilitation centre here in the Lowveld. It’s passionately dedicated to saving any injured, orphaned or poisoned wildlife, and literally treats all indigenous species, ranging from a hornbill to a hippo!

All animals that can be released are returned to the wild if at all possible. Those that can’t are cared for at the sanctuary where visitors can interact with them.

They serve as ‘animal ambassadors’ to promote conservation and a love of wildlife. It’s truly a must-do experience!

4. Try some wine and gin tasting

The charming little country town of Hoedspruit, nestling in the foothills of the northern Drakensberg, is not without its sophisticated side!

It features The Tasting Room, an elegant, cosy space, where you can embark on a unique taste adventure as you’re introduced to Hoedspruit’s very own Primos gin varieties and the botanicals they’re flavoured with.

You’ll also get to taste some boutique wines from South Africa’s world-renowned Cape Winelands, and learn about the best foods to serve them with.

5. See the Thulamela Ruins

The late Iron Age Thulamela Ruins date back between 450 – 500 years, and lie in the Pafuri area of the northern Kruger National Park. They are believed to belong to the Zimbabwe culture of Mapungubwe.

The ruins consist of a stone walled citadel with many smaller buildings around it. Burial sites of a king and queen featured many gold artifacts, so it’s believed that the settlement housed goldsmiths and merchants trading in ivory, gold and iron. You can explore on your own or arrange a guided tour.

6. Visit Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center

The HESC was established in 1990 as the Hoedspruit Cheetah Project. It has played a vital role for more than 30 years in the research and conservation of cheetahs and rhinos, listed as ‘vulnerable’ and ‘critically endangered’ respectively.

The Centre focuses particularly on the maintenance of diverse bloodlines in cheetahs, and the rehabilitation of rhinos that fell victim to poaching. They also work hard to create public awareness worldwide about wildlife conservation. Definitely a must-see!

7. Make some scaly new friends at Hoedspruit Reptile Centre

For something rather different, why not ‘snake’ your way to the Hoedspruit Reptile Centre? Previously known as the Swadini Reptile Park, Khamai Reptile Centre and Kinyonga Reptile Centre, HRC has been in operation since 1984 making it one of the oldest reptile centres in Africa.

Having ‘shed its old skin’ as it were, its new team under the leadership of experienced reptile curator Chris Cooke passionately believes in the conservation of African reptiles and amphibians through reptile-related research and public education.

8. Enjoy an elephant encounter

‘Elephant Moments’ at Hoedspruit Elephant Rehabilitation and Development Trust, or HERD, offers you a unique and inspiring 90-minute elephant experience. You meet some of the elephants in person, and then spend time with the Jabulani herd of elephants as they forage, swim and interact in the beautiful Kapama Private Reserve.

The Jabulani herd is a close-knit elephant family that started with Jabulani, who was orphaned and rescued in 1997. He was adopted by a rescued herd of elephants from Zimbabwe in 2002. The herd was then and still is led by the matriarch Tokwe and her herd-sister Lundi. The herd continues to adopt and integrate orphaned calves to this day. You can choose to ‘foster’ one of the elephants, or one of the two ewes, Lammie and Nungu, who act as nannies to new elephant calves brought into the elephant orphanage!

If you’re keen on any of these activities, just let us know and our dedicated team at Thornybush will help you make it happen!