Located in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, Thornybush Game Reserve offers visitors the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitat, from the majestic African elephant to the elusive leopard. With its breathtaking scenery, luxurious lodges, and world-class game drives, Thornybush Game Reserve is the perfect place to reconnect with your wild side and escape the hustle and bustle of normal everyday life.
Embark on an unforgettable adventure with a Thornybush Game Reserve Safari and experience a chance to see Africa’s iconic wildlife in their natural habitat, while staying in luxurious lodges and taking part in exciting game drives and bush walks. Book your safari now and make memories!
We have a comprehensive guide to planning your Thornybush Safari trip. From booking a safari tour to choosing the right accommodation, we’ll help you maximize your time in the reserve. We will also offer tips on preparing for your safari and what to expect during your game drives. Whether you’re a seasoned safari-adventurer or a first-time visitor, Thornybush Game Reserve is a safari experience that will satisfy your thirst for adventure.
Planning The Thornybush Safari Trip
Thornybush Game Reserve is located about 450km northeast of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city.
The easiest way to get to the reserve is to fly to Hoedspruit Airport, which is just a 20-minute drive from the reserve. Alternatively, you can fly to Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or Phalaborwa Airport, which are both about 2 hours drive from Thornybush Game Reserve.
Many tour operators offer customized safari packages to Thornybush Game Reserve. These packages typically include accommodation, meals, game drives, and other activities.
When choosing a safari tour operator, be sure to check their reputation and reviews to ensure you are getting the best value for your money.
If you’re a foreign visitor, you must obtain a visa to enter South Africa. Additionally, you may need to obtain permits for certain activities, such as hiking or fishing. Check the South African government’s website or with your tour operator for up-to-date information on visa and permit requirements.
The Thornybush Safari Experience
The game drives are the main attraction of Thornybush Game Reserve. Led by experienced and knowledgeable guides, the game drives offer visitors the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.
You’ll likely spot the “big five” (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and buffalo), as well as giraffes, zebras, antelope, and many other species. The game drives typically occur early morning and late afternoon, when the animals are most likely to be active.
In addition to game drives, Thornybush Game Reserve offers guided walks, allowing visitors to experience the reserve on foot. Led by armed rangers, the walks offer a more intimate and immersive safari experience, as you’ll have the occasion to get up close and interactive with the flora and fauna of the reserve.
One of the highlights of the Thornybush Safari experience is the sundowner drinks. Typically served during the late afternoon game drive, sundowner drinks offer visitors the chance to relax and enjoy the stunning African sunset while sipping on a refreshing beverage.
Thornybush Game Reserve also offers night drives, which give visitors the opportunity to see nocturnal animals that are rarely seen during the day. Led by spotlights, the night drives can be a thrilling and unforgettable experience.
The Thornybush Safari experience is one that you won’t soon forget. Whether you’re an avid wildlife enthusiast or simply looking to reconnect with nature, Thornybush Game Reserve is the perfect destination for an unforgettable South African safari.
Tips for a Successful Thornybush Safari
We have compiled some tips to better prepare for your Thornybush safari. Taking note of these aspects will increase your enjoyment of the entire experience.
- Prepare for early mornings and late nights. Game drives mostly take place early in the morning and late in the afternoon, when the animals are most active. Be prepared to wake up early and stay up late in order to make the most of your safari experience.
- Dress appropriately. When packing for your Thornybush Safari trip, be sure to bring appropriate clothing for the season, including comfortable shoes for walking and game drives. Layers are also a good idea, as temperatures can vary throughout the day.
- Bring binoculars. Binoculars can be a game-changer on a safari, allowing you to get a closer view of the wildlife that may be far away. Be sure to bring a pair of high-quality binoculars with you on your Thornybush Safari trip.
- Respect the animals and their habitat. While on safari, it’s important to remember that you’re a guest in the animals’ habitat. Respect their space and never approach them too closely. Additionally, be sure to follow your guide’s instructions at all times.
- Don’t forget the little things. In addition to the essentials like sunscreen and insect repellent, be sure to pack items like a reusable water bottle, hat, and sunglasses. These little things can make a big difference in your comfort and enjoyment on safari.
- Listen to your guide. Your guide is a wealth of knowledge about the reserve and its wildlife. Be sure to listen to their stories and insights, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They can also help you get the best possible sightings of the animals.
- Embrace the experience. A safari is a unique and unforgettable experience, and it’s important to embrace it fully. Take it slow and appreciate the beauty of the African wilderness and the incredible animals that call it home. Don’t forget to capture it all with as many pictures as you can on your camera!
Beyond The Safari
While the Thornybush Safari experience is undoubtedly the main attraction of the game reserve, there are plenty of other activities and experiences to enjoy in the surrounding area.
- Cultural tours. Thornybush Game Reserve is located in the Limpopo province of South Africa, which is home to many different cultures and communities. Consider taking a cultural tour to learn about the local way of life and connect with the people who call this region home.
- Hot air balloon rides. For a truly unforgettable safari experience, consider taking a hot air balloon trip over the stunning African landscape. From high above, you’ll have a unique perspective on the bush and the wildlife that inhabit it.
- Golfing. If you’re a golf enthusiast, consider visiting one of the many top notch golf courses in the area. Many of these courses offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape and wildlife.
- Spa treatments. After a long day of safari adventures, consider treating yourself to a relaxing spa treatment. Many lodges and hotels in the reserve and surrounding area offer a range of relaxing spa treatments, including massages, facials, and more.
- Wine tours. South Africa is known for its excellent wine, so consider taking in some of the local wines stocked in the bar of the local lodges.
- Outdoor activities. If you’re looking for some adventure activities outside of the game reserve, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in the surrounding area. These include hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and more.
Thornybush Game Reserve offers a wide range of experiences beyond the safari. Whether you’re looking for culture, relaxation, wildlife, or adventure, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful part of South Africa.
Accommodation Options In Thornybush Game Reserve
Thornybush Game Reserve offers a range of exquisite accommodation choices to suit various budgets and preferences, from luxury lodges to more affordable options.
- Thornybush Game Lodge. Thornybush Game Lodge is a luxurious lodge that offers a range of room options, from standard rooms to suites. The lodge features a spa, pool, and restaurant and offers both morning and afternoon game drives.
- Jackalberry Lodge. Jackalberry Lodge is a smaller, more intimate lodge that offers a range of room options, including treehouse suites. The lodge features a pool, restaurant, and outdoor boma and offers both morning and afternoon game drives.
- Shumbalala Game Lodge. Shumbalala Game Lodge is a five-star lodge that offers luxurious accommodation in a stunning location. The lodge features a spa, pool, and restaurant and offers both morning and afternoon game drives.
- Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp. Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp offers a more rustic, yet still luxurious, experience in the heart of the game reserve. The camp features tented suites with private decks and a pool and restaurant. Game drives are undertaken both in the morning and afternoon.
- Waterbuck Lodge. Waterbuck Lodge offers more affordable accommodation options, with rooms ranging from standard to family suites. The lodge features a pool and restaurant and offers both morning and afternoon game drives.
This is only a few of the 12 lodge options offered in the reserve. Thornybush does not allow day visitors or access to the reserve to anyone who is not booked into a lodge on the reserve.
Best Time To Visit Thornybush Game Reserve
The best season to visit Thornybush Game Reserve depends on your safari priorities and what you hope to see and experience during your safari. Here are a few things to consider.
Best Time For Wildlife Viewing In Thornybush
If wildlife viewing is your top priority, the best time to visit Thornybush Game Reserve is during the dry winter season, which runs from May to September.
During this time, the vegetation is less dense, making it easier to spot wildlife, and animals tend to congregate around water sources.
Best Time For Bird Watching In Thornybush Game Reserve
If you’re interested in bird watching, the best time to visit Thornybush Game Reserve is during the wet season, which runs from October to April.
During this season, many migratory bird species visit the region, and the bush is lush and green.
Climate In Thornbush Game Reserve
Thornybush Game Reserve experiences a subtropical climate, with hot and humid summers and mild winters. The best time to visit Thornybush in terms of weather is during the winter months, from May to September, when temperatures are more moderate, and rainfall is lower.
Crowds And Pricing At Thornybush
Peak season at Thornybush Game Reserve runs from July to September, when crowds are at their highest and prices are at their most expensive.
If you want to avoid the busy times and save money, consider visiting during the shoulder season, which runs from April to June and September to October.
The best time to visit Thornybush depends on your priorities and what you hope to see and experience during your safari. Consider these factors when planning your trip to ensure the best possible experience.
Travel Precautions For A Thornybush Safari
While Thornybush Game Reserve is a safe and popular destination for safari-goers, taking certain precautions to ensure your safety and well-being during your trip is important.
- Health precautions. Before traveling to Thornybush Game Reserve, make sure you are up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations and medications, including those for malaria and yellow fever. It’s also important to bring along any necessary medications or treatments for existing medical conditions.
- Wildlife safety. While on safari, it’s important to respect the wildlife and maintain a safe distance at all times. Stay inside the vehicle unless otherwise instructed by your guide, and never approach or attempt to feed the animals. Also, keep in mind that some animals, such as hippos and crocodiles, are particularly dangerous and should be avoided.
- Sun protection. Thornybush Game Reserve is located in a sunny and hot region, so it’s important to take precautions to protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Safety in vehicles. During game drives, always wear your seatbelt and follow the instructions of your guide. Never stand or lean out of the vehicle, and always be aware of your surroundings.
What To Pack For A Thornybush Safari
Packing for a safari in Thornybush Game Reserve requires careful consideration to ensure you have everything you need for an enjoyable and comfortable trip.
- Clothing. Pack light, comfortable clothing that is suitable for the warm weather. Avoid bright colors that might scare off the animals, and opt for neutral colors such as khaki, beige, or olive green. Consider packing long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from the sun and insect bites, and bring a warm jacket or sweater for chilly mornings and evenings.
- Footwear. Pack sturdy, closed-toe shoes that are comfortable for walking and hiking. Sneakers or hiking shoes are ideal for game drives and bush walks, and sandals or flip-flops are good for around the lodge.
- Accessories. Bring sunglasses, a hat or cap, and a high SPF sunscreen to ward off the harsh African sun. A scarf or bandana can also be useful for dust and sun protection.
- Camera equipment. Don’t forget your camera! Bring extra memory cards and batteries, and consider packing a tripod for stable shots.
- Personal items. Pack any necessary medications, toiletries, and personal items, such as insect repellent, hand sanitizer, and wet wipes. Bringing a small first-aid kit for minor injuries and illnesses is also a good idea.
- Other items. Consider packing a small backpack or daypack for carrying your essentials during game drives and bush walks. A water bottle or hydration pack is also useful for staying hydrated during the day.
Packing these essential items ensures a comfortable and enjoyable safari experience in Thornybush Game Reserve.
Distance From Main Centers in South Africa
Thornybush Game Reserve is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, approximately 500 km (310 miles) northeast of Johannesburg. The reserve is adjacent to the Greater Kruger National Park and easily accessible by road or air.
If traveling by car, the drive from Johannesburg to Thornybush Game Reserve takes approximately 5-6 hours. The route is well-maintained, but it is recommended to travel during daylight hours and to exercise caution on rural roads.
Alternatively, travelers can take a flight from Johannesburg to Hoedspruit Airport, just 15 km (9 miles) from Thornybush Game Reserve. The flight takes approximately 1 hour, and several airlines offer regular flights to Hoedspruit.
Other nearby airports include Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport in Nelspruit (approximately 180 km/112 miles from Thornybush Game Reserve) and Phalaborwa Airport (approximately 60 km/37 miles from Thornybush Game Reserve).
Thornybush Game Reserve is easily accessible from major centers in South Africa, and several transportation options are available for travelers.
Start Planning Your Thornybush Safari
A safari in Thornybush Game Reserve is an unforgettable experience that offers a chance to see some of Africa’s most iconic wildlife in their natural habitat. With careful planning and preparation, travelers can make the most of their safari and enjoy a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
When planning a Thornybush safari, it’s important to consider factors such as the best time to visit, accommodation options, and travel precautions. By following the tips and guidelines we have outlined, travelers can prepare for a successful and rewarding safari experience.
From thrilling game drives and bush walks to relaxing at luxury lodges, Thornybush Game Reserve offers a wide range of experiences for travelers to enjoy. With its stunning natural scenery, diverse wildlife, and welcoming hospitality, Thornybush Game Reserve is truly a must-visit destination for anyone seeking an authentic wild African safari experience.