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More than Decor: The inspiration behind Thornybush Game Lodge Refurb 

2 Feb 2023 | By Author Thornybush | Lodges

Having originally opened its doors back in 1961, the iconic Thornybush Game Lodge had set the scene as a trailblazer in the Greater Kruger National Park safari scene becoming a favourite amongst first-time and seasoned safari-goers… however, even legends need a new look to keep up with the growth and evolution of luxury safari hospitality.. After a seven-week closure, Game Lodge has reopened its doors with a fresh new look, and we don’t mean to be biased, but we think we’ve done a helluva job!

From the past, for a beautiful future. 

Caline Williams-Wynn of Artichoke and her team of designers inspired a brief that textures and tone were to play the role in the new look. From the moment you walk in you are reminded of a modern interpretation of iconic luxury. Wood, steel, leather and rattan combined with neutral pops of colours such as charcoal, saffron and splashes of greenery – this all aims to transport you to a bygone era, but still remind you that this is Game Lodge, a legend. As Caline says: “The colour palette has longevity and is classic.” It’s the inspiration that’s been drawn from the past to create a beautiful future for this lodge. 


The inspiration you can touch

“It’s all about what the guests can see and touch. It’s all in the details but at the same time not minimising all the luxury comforts required for a five-star lodge.” And it’s with this inspired direction that a new space at Game Lodge was born: The Library. 

Thornybush Game Lodge Library

The library was a space created to allow groups and families to enjoy private meals and celebrations. But the real highlight is a beautifully curated wall of artefacts and art pieces that tell the story and history of Game Lodge and the Kruger National Park.

 “Our aim is to nurture the guest’s curiosity about the flora and fauna of the area. The guests are encouraged to rifle through the library cupboards exploring specimens that have been collected in the Thornybush area and read the factual and fascinating information that the Thornybush head guides have written about each specimen on the tags provided” says curator Gina Waldman of Waldman Studios.  

 “This experience is very different from viewing live animals in the wild.  It’s rather exciting to pick up a giraffe bone and feel the weight of it or look at how thick a giraffe tail hair actually is – it’s all about getting up close by enhancing the game viewing experience. The idea is that the collection will be a growing library and will evolve yearly as the guides find more exciting items and can be enjoyed by all for generations to come,” adds Waldman.  

Being able to add that element of education to the history of Thornybush Game Lodge, and intertwine it with the new luxury we’ve designed, for you, our guests keep Game Lodge as the much-talked-about safari experience. 

Explore the new look at every corner

We’ve left (hardly any) table unturned in this refurb, from our beautiful new decking, and a new fire pit off the main area to the pool, we’ve maximized on space to help you rediscover your safari senses. You as our guests will be able to explore the lodge in your own way, with nooks for relaxation we know you’ll find intimacy to unwind. 

We cannot wait to welcome you at our beautiful new bar and hear your thoughts on our magnificent, reimagined Game Lodge while we sip on after-drive GnTs. 

Take a peek at our full lodge gallery here

If you have been inspired to book your safari stay email: or chat with a friendly reservations consultant call: +27 11 253 6500