Offerings

Game Lodge

Monwana Game Lodge is located in the middle of approximately 12,000 hectares of nature reserve. The lodges views and vistas are a photographer's paradise. This, coupled with the comfort of the lodge's socialising hub will help create memories that will last a lifetime.

During the day, guests can enjoy the deck at one of the two central living areas which overlooks the banks of the dry Monwana River bed, the ecological backbone of the Thornybush Nature Reserve.

Experiencing magic is easy at Monwana Game Lodge. The Boma offers a three course table d'hote dinner or braai accompanied by a choice of superb Cape wines to be enjoyed under the African night sky. Hospitality is world class with undivided attention to personal service and cuisine, while the surroundings and African bush night life are unforgettable.

For high tea and ultimate relaxing The Gazebo, an open air thatched lounge, is a prime spot overlooking the watering hole. This focal point of Monwana Game Lodge provides the perfect environment for guests to socialise or simply enjoy viewing the assortment of animals visiting the waterhole. The Gazebo oozes attention to detail, from colonial wooden bookshelves and restful couches to animal prints and weathered carpets.

In winter, the Gazebo provides the perfect comfort to keep you warm and snug. With an open fire place and a selection of drinks and snacks on offer you will be made to feel at home.

Game Viewing

Millions of visitors from around the globe flock to South Africa to experience the legendary wildlife that South African game parks offer, and Thornybush Nature Reserve definitely won't disappoint.

Located near the Kruger National Park, the nature reserve provides approximately 12 000 hectares of game and bird viewing, exclusively for your pleasure.

At Monwana Game Lodge experience the regal 'Big five' of South African wildlife, which includes one of the most impressive land animals on earth, the Elephant as well as the Leopard, Rhino, Lion and Buffalo. Find peace in the sound of crickets under a star studded sky or, study the resident bird life particularly the "Big Six" which includes the Saddle-billed Stork, Kori Bustard, Martial Eagle, Lappet-faced Vulture, Pel's Fishing owl and Ground Hornbill. Game drives are experienced in custom-made, open topped Land Rovers, along with a tracker and a highly experienced guide. The game drives offer exhilarating adventures, from experiencing the thundering roar of lions across an endless savannah, to catching a glimpse of a camouflaged cheetah or a hippopotamus guarding its young. Walking safaris are no less thrilling, letting oneself get in tune with nature while walking through vast landscapes.

With our trained guides and trackers and extensive knowledge of South African wildlife, guests leave Monwana Game Lodge with a not only unforgettable memories but stories that they will pass on.

Both morning and afternoon game drives are relaxed and informative. The afternoon game drive begins at the lodge with High Tea and goes on until after the sun has gone down, allowing visitors to view seldom seen nocturnal species by spotlight as they wonder out of sheltered hideouts to drink, forage and stalk.

The concept of a 'safari' paints an adventurous picture, filled with hazy sunsets and untamed wildlife, we can't wait to be part of your South African Safari experience.

Mammal List

Home to 57 mammals, Monwana Game Lodge is most well-known for its "Big Five" encounters, including both Black and White Rhino. Populations of both species, especially the Black Rhino have been decimated by poaching in the past, and remain endangered today. Thornybush Nature Reserve provides a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures.

Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Kudu, Eland, Impala, Steenbok, Waterbuck and Warthog are frequently sighted by guests, while Lion, Cheetah, and the reclusive Leopard are also occasionally seen.

Below is a list of mammals found in Thornybush Nature Reserve:

Bovidae

  • Blue Wildebeest
  • Buffalo
  • Bushbuck
  • Duiker (Grey)
  • Eland
  • Impala
  • Kudu
  • Nyala
  • Steenbok
  • Waterbuck

Sanidae

  • Black-backed Jackal
  • Side-striped Jackal

Cercopithecidae

  • Chacma Baboon
  • Vervet Monkey

Elephantidae

  • Elephat

Equidae

  • Burchell's Zebra

Felidae

  • African Wild Cat
  • Caracal
  • Cheetah
  • Leopard
  • Lion
  • Serval

Giraffidae

  • Giraffe

Hippopotamidae

  • Hippopotamus

Hyaenaidae

  • Spotted Hyena

Hystricidae

  • Porcupine

Leporidae

  • Scrub Hare

Lorisdae

  • Lesser Bushbaby

Manidae

  • Pangolin

Mustelidae

  • Cape Clawless Otter
  • Honey Badger

Thyronomydae

  • Greater Cane Rat

Viverridae

  • Banded mongoose
  • Civet
  • Dwarf Mongoose
  • Large spotted Genet
  • Slender mongoose
  • Small spotted Genet
  • Water Mongoose
  • White-tailed Mongoose

Reptiles


Crocodile

  • Nile

Geckos

  • Bibron's
  • Cape Dwarf, Day
  • Tropical House

Chameleons

  • Flap-neck

Tortoise

  • Bell's Hinged
  • Leopard

Terrapin

  • Marsh or Helmeted
  • Serrated Hinged

Snakes

  • African Rock Python
  • Bird / Twig snake
  • Black Mamba
  • Boom slang
  • Brown House snake
  • Common Egg Eater
  • Common Night Adder
  • Herald Snake
  • Marbled Tree snake
  • Mozambique Spitting Cobra
  • Olive Grass snake
  • Puff Adder
  • Shield nose snake
  • Snouted Cobra
  • Snouted Night Adder
  • Spotted bush snake
  • Stripe-bellied Sand snake

Proelidae

  • Aardwolf

Rhinocerotidae

  • Black Rhino
  • White Rhino

Scuirdae

  • Tree Squirrel

Suidae

  • Bushpig
  • Warthog

Bird List

Due to Thornybush Nature Reserve’s diverse vegetation and landscape, the private reserve is home to over 300 bird species, making it a birding enthusiast’s paradise.

The following species have been sighted in the reserve.

Apalis

  • Yellowbreasted

Babbler

  • Arrowmarked

Barbet

  • Blackcollared
  • Crested
  • Pied

Batis

  • Chinspot

Bee-Eater

  • Southern Carmine
  • Eurasian (European)
  • Little
  • Whitefronted

Bishop

  • Yellowcrowned
  • Southern Red

Boubou

  • Southern

Bittern

  • Dwarf
  • Little

Brubru

  • Brubru

Bulbul

  • Dark-capped

Greenbul

  • Sombre

Brownbul

  • Terrestrial

Bunting

  • Goldenbreasted
  • Cinnamon-breasted

Bustard

  • Kori

Buttonquail

  • Kurrichane

Honey-Buzzard

  • European

Buzzard

  • Lizard
  • Steppe

Seedeater

  • Streakyheaded

Canary

  • Yelloweyed

Cisticola

  • Croaking
  • Zitting
  • Rattling
  • Redfaced
  • Reed
  • Tinkling
  • Wailing

Crake

  • Corn
  • Black
  • African

Eagle

  • Lesser Spotted
  • Longcrested
  • Martial
  • Steppe
  • Tawny
  • Whalberg's

Egret

  • Cattle
  • Great
  • Little

Eremomela

  • Burntnecked
  • Yellowbellied
Hobby
  • African

Falcon

  • Lanner
  • Peregrine

Finch

  • Cutthroat
  • Melba

Finchlark

  • Chestnutbacked

Firefinch

  • Bluebilled
  • Jameson's
  • Red-billed

Flycatcher

  • Black
  • Blue grey
  • Dusky
  • Fantailed
  • Pallid
  • Paradise
  • Spotted

Francolin

  • Coqui
  • Crested
  • Natal
  • Swainson's

Goose

  • Egyption
  • Spurwinged

Goshawk

  • African
  • Dark Chanting
  • Gabar
  • Little Banded

Kite

  • Blackshouldered
  • Black
  • Yellowbilled

Korhaan

  • Blackbellied
  • Redcrested

Lark

  • Ducky
  • Flappet
  • Monotonous
  • Rufousnaped
  • Sabota

Loerie

  • Grey
  • Purplecrested

Longclaw

  • Yellowthroated

Mannikin

  • Bronze

Moorhen

  • Lesser

Mousebird

  • Redfaced
  • Speckled

Neddicky


Nightjar

  • Eurasion (European)
  • Fierynecked
  • Freckled
  • Mozambique
  • Pennantwinged

Oriole

  • African Golden
  • Blackhead
  • Eurasion Goldem

Owl

  • Barn
  • Barred
  • Giant Eagle
  • Grass
  • Marsh
  • Pearlspotted
  • Scops
  • Spotted Eagle
  • Whitefaced

Oxpecker

  • Redbilled

Parrot

  • Brownheaded

Pigeon

  • Green

Pipit

  • Bushveld
  • Grassveld

Starling

  • Burchell's
  • Cape Glossy
  • Greater Blue-Eared
  • Plumcoloured
  • Wattled

Stilt

  • Blackwinged

Stonechat


Stork

  • Abdim's
  • Black
  • Marabou
  • Saddlebilled
  • White
  • Woolleynecked
  • Yellowbilled

Sunbird

  • Black
  • Collared
  • Marico
  • Purplebanded
  • Scarletchested
  • Whitebellied

Swallow

  • Black Sawwing
  • Eurasion (European)
  • Greater Striped
  • Lesser Striped
  • Mosque
  • Redbreasted
  • Whitetailed

Swift

  • Alpine
  • Black
  • Horus
  • Little
  • Palm
  • White Rumped

Tcharga

  • Blackcrowned
  • Threestreaked

Teal

  • Redbilled

Thrush

  • Kurrichane

Coucal

  • Burchell's + Whitebrowed

Courser

  • Bronzewinged
  • Temminck's

Crombec


  • Longbilled

Cuckoo

  • African
  • Black
  • Diderick
  • African Emerald
  • Common
  • Green Spotted
  • Jacobin
  • Klaas's
  • Redchested
  • Levaillant's
  • Thickbilled

Cuckoo-Shrike

  • Black
  • White Breasted

Grebe

  • Little

Thick-knee

  • Spotted
  • Water

Turtle-Dove

  • Cape

Wood-Dove

  • Emeraldspotted

Dove

  • Laughing
  • Namaqua
  • Redeyed

Drongo

  • Forktailed

Duck

  • African Black
  • Comb
  • Whitefaced

Hawk-Eagle

  • African

Bateleur


Snake-Eagle

  • Blackbreasted
  • Brown

Fish-Eagle

  • African

Greenshank


Guinea Fowl

  • Helmeted

Gymnogene


Hamerkop


Harrier

  • Montagu's
  • Pallid

Hawk

  • Cuckoo

Heron

  • Blackcrowned Night
  • Blackheaded
  • Goliath
  • Greenbacked
  • Grey
  • Purple
  • Squacco

Honeyguide

  • Greater
  • Lesser
  • Scaley Throated
  • Sharpbilled

Hoopoe

  • Redbilled Wood
  • Scimitarbilled Wood

Hornbill

  • Southern Ground
  • Grey
  • Redbilled
  • Southen Yellowbilled

Ibis

  • Hadeda
  • Sacred

Jacana

  • African

Kestrel

  • Eastern Redfooted

Kingfisher

  • Brownhooded
  • Giant
  • Greyhooded
  • Halfcollared
  • Malachite
  • Pied
  • Pygmy
  • Striped
  • Woodland

Plover

  • Blacksmith
  • Crowned
  • Lesser Blackwinged
  • Threebanded
  • Wattled

Pochard

  • Southern

Prinia

  • Tawnyflanked

Puffback


Quail

  • Common
  • Harlequin

Robin

  • Bearded
  • Natal
  • Whitebrowed Scrub
  • Whitethroated

Roller

  • Eurasion (European)
  • Lilacbreasted
  • Purple

Sandgrouse

  • Doublebanded

Sandpiper

  • Common
  • Marsh
  • Wood

Secretary Bird


Shrike

  • Fiscal
  • Gorgeous Bush
  • Greyheaded Bush
  • Lesser Grey
  • Longtailed
  • Orangebreasted Bush
  • Redbacked
  • Redbilled Helmet
  • White Helmet
  • Whitecrowned

Snipe

  • Painted

Sparrow

  • Greyheaded

Sparrowhawk

  • Black
  • Little
  • Ovrambo

Spoonbill

  • African

Tinkerbarbet

  • Yellowfronted

Tit

  • Grey Penduline
  • Southern Black

Vulture

  • Cape
  • Hooded
  • Lappetfaced
  • Whitebacked
  • Whiteheaded

Wagtail

  • African Pied
  • Cape

Warbler

  • African Marsh
  • Bleating
  • Eurasion Marsh
  • Stierling's Barred
  • Willow

Waxbill

  • Blue
  • Common
  • Orangebreasted
  • Violeteared

Weaver

  • Redbilled Buffalo
  • Lesser Masked
  • Masked
  • Redheaded
  • Spottedbaced
  • Thick Billed

White-eye

  • Cape

Widow

  • Redshouldered
  • White winged

Widowfinch

  • Black
  • Purple
  • Steelblue

Whydah

  • Paradise
  • Pintailed
  • Shafttailed

Woodpecker

  • Bearded
  • Bennet's
  • Cardinal
  • Goldentailed

Travel Tips

Superb accommodation and highly personalized service make for a memorable stay but preparing for your trip can ensure even greater comfort. We’ve put together a few travel trips to ensure our guests have an enjoyable stay.

Malaria:
Although Thornybush Nature Reserve is only situated in a low risk malaria area, we still advise all travellers to take prophylactics prescribed by your medical doctor. Mosquito repellent spray and nets are provided in each suite to ensure our guests have a good night sleep.

Time to travel:
Each season offers guests a unique wildlife experience. Our summers (September – April) are hot but tolerable. Spectacular afternoon thunderstorms occur during the months of November through to March. Daytime summer temperatures (September – April) are high and may soar above 36°C/97°F.

Winter (May – August) is dry and generally easier to view game as the bush is not as dense. Due to the scarcity of water for animals during these months, waterholes are prime game viewing spots. Winters have chilly nights and crisp early mornings (minimum 3°C/38°F), but the days are fine and warm.

It is recommended that you dress warmly for the game drives during the winter months.

ATM’s and money:
There are ATM’s available on route in Nelspruit, White River and Hazyview for you added convenience.

Surrounding Accommodation:
There are a myriad of guesthouses and hotels on route to Thonrybush Nature Reserve, the following places are highly recommended.
The Coach House – Tazaneen
Forest view Guest House – Sabi
Buhala Lodge – Malelane
Otter’s Den – Hoedspruit
African Moon guest house – Johannesburg
Whistletree Lodge – Pretoria

Car hire:
Car hire can be booked online. Both Avis and Budget car hire deliver and collect vehicles at Thornybush main lodge on request, for a small fee.

For car rental bookings please email:

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An international driver’s license is required for all international drivers.

Additional activities:


Golf enthusiasts can enjoy 2 spectacular golf courses in the area.
Leopard Creek- Malelane and
Hans Merensky - Phalaborwa
Please feel free to contact us should you require a quotation or wish to book either of the above prior to your arrival. We suggest that for Leopard Creek to book at least 6 months in advance.

Gearing up for your stay:


Summer months (September to April) is considered rainy season therefore a comfortable and warm rain jackets are recommended. In the winter months (May to August) a warm jacket is necessary.

Monwana provides hairdryers, commonly used international adaptors and torches in all suites. It is advisable to bring an international adaptor with you as not all other accommodation places provide this. Binoculars and camera are a necessity in order for you not to miss out on those special moments!

Should you require any assistance or further information, please feel free to contact our offices +27 (0) 15 793 2251 +27 (0) 15 793 2251 or e-mail us on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We hope that you have a safe travel and look forward to hosting you at Monwana Game Lodge.