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Thornybush

Thornybush (South Africa)

Practical information on Thornybush

  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Essential
5 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
45 minutes by car from Hoedspruit
When to go
From November to March
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Thornybush

Camille Griffoulieres Seasoned Traveller
111 written opinions

This is one of several private game reserves that lie adjacent to each other in the Kruger National Park. It is also both one of the most expensive in the world and one of the oldest in South Africa, and access to it is exclusively reserved for those staying in the luxury lodges (no external vehicles are permitted).

My suggestion:
Visit during the dry season when the grass is short and it's a lot easier to see the animals.
My review

Thornybush Game Reserve covers an area of 11,000 km². It is famous for its large population of leopards and the luxuriousness of its lodges. The safaris here are quite exceptional, with highly qualified rangers and trackers who sit on the bonnet to ensure no opportunity to spot any of the animals is missed.

The facilities and infrastructure are also of a very high standard, and the views of the Drakensberg mountains from the reserve are quite wonderful. A three-day safari here will almost guaranteed you (though you will still need a bit of luck on your side!) the opportunity see each of the Big Five, i.e. the animals considered the most difficult to hunt: the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the rhinoceros and the buffalo. If lady luck alone should prove insufficient, the 4x4s are equipped with onboard radios to keep them in contact with the rest of the fleet, so you'll quickly be hot on the trail of the hidden animals!

On safari at the Thornybush Game Reserve
Camille Griffoulieres Seasoned Traveller
111 written opinions

Thornybush is one of the private reserves which adjoins Kruger Park, one of the most expensive in the world and one of the oldest in South Africa, reserved for those staying in the luxury lodges (external vehicles aren't permitted).

My suggestion:
Head there during the dry season, because when the grass is short it's a lot easier to see the animals, and they tend to move more to head to rare watering holes.
My review

The Thornybush private reserve stretches over 11,000 km2, but there's no barrier at the part where it joins Kruger Park. The views from the Dakensberg mountains are breathtaking. It's well known for its above-average population of leopards, and for its luxurious lodges.

The safaris there are exceptional, with very qualified rangers, some of whom are French speakers, and trackers on the bonnet, so as not to miss any animal tracks. The accommodation is best in class: there are nothing but 5 star lodges here.

A two-day stay at Thornybush will practically guarantee you'll spot the Big Five, the animals the most difficult to find: lions, leopards, elephants, rhinoceros and buffalo (although you'll still need a bit of luck!). If you aren't striking lucky all by yourself, the on-board radio, linked to a fleet of 4x4s, will put you on the scent of those hidden animals!

In my experience, the level of the rangers' knowledge and the quality of the accommodation was absolutely first class. The only problem is the price! But there are some good offers available online, particularly outside of peak season.

Game driving at Thornybush
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