Thornybush and Sabi Sand share a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park, allowing a steady stream of free-roaming Big 5 wildlife. The consistent sightings of Africa’s iconic animals are a key factor in the success of our lodges. Guests will see much more than just elephants and lions, because Thornybush is well known for the vast diversity of wildlife, indigenous to this area. All this is brought to life by our expert guide-and-tracker teams who have a deep understanding of the African bush with an inherent knack for finding the action.
Our guests go on game drives twice a day, at sunrise and sunset – enjoying exclusive access to wildlife sightings. There are never more than three vehicles on a sighting, which means no jostling for position. You’ll also get exceptionally close to that leopard in a tree or elephants in a riverbed as our vehicles can go off-road, so you’ll never miss a moment.
Few things are as thrilling as setting off on foot in the African bush, as you feel a closer connection to the landscape and wildlife. We love showing our guests the smaller things up close and in a different way, while also knowing that the chance of a Big 5 encounter is always there.
Big Five Safaris Experiences
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.
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.
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.
A wildlife wonderland
Incredible density of game
Through a combination of good rivers, vegetation and terrain, wildlife are drawn to the Thornybush and Sabi Sand reserves. The large numbers of plains game attract predators, which sets the scene for one of nature’s most fascinating battles. As our guides and trackers like to say, ‘There’s always something happening out there’.
World-class guides and trackers
Our guides and trackers are among the best in the business – their ability to read the signs of nature and predict where the animals will be always astounds our guests. They also understand that the more our guests know, the better it gets for them and love to explain how everything in the ecosystem is connected.
At Thornybush, you will approach every animal sighting with respect. There will never be more than two land rovers at any sighting. You will go for long periods of time without seeing any other signs of human life. It’s so beautiful, varied, and spectacular. Seven game drives and we saw different animals and behaviors each time. I thought a safari might be like a glorified zoo visit – but it’s nothing like that. We truly are just guests in their home. In a three hour drive, you’ll see virtually the entire cycle of life – mating, playing, eating, hunting. It’s truly life changing.
Looking for a different Safari Type?
Finding the Big Five on Safari
Finding the Big 5 on safari is the dream of many guests and at Thornybush the chances are very high – but do you know which animals form part of this group? Rea
Thornybush Joins the Greater Kruger National Park
Thornybush forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park, which allows the free movement of animals across 19,485 square kilometres (7,523 sq mi) of land.