Your African Safari
The River Lodge offers unique exclusive Safari experiences in both open Land Rovers, and on foot. The private reserve is home to an abundance of species: 147 mammals including the "Big Five", 114 reptiles, 507 birds, 49 fish, 34 amphibians and 336 trees. The reserve is predominantly open savannah and with a near perfect year round climate, it is the ideal African safari holiday destination.
A typical day
The day starts as dawn breaks over the African bushveld. After your early morning wakeup call, coffee, tea rusks are served on the main deck overlooking the riverbed. Shortly after, you depart in your open Land Rover with your experienced Rangers and Trackers who will share their extensive knowledge of the bush with you. These drives are undertaken at times best suited for game viewing which vary depending on the season but typically start early morning. Where applicable you may be invited out of the vehicle to see tracks, examine certain plants and follow spoor.
After an exhilarating hunt for tracks to see what the animals have been up to during the night, and tracking down whatever you find, you will stop somewhere out in the bush for a break of coffee tea. Time to stretch your legs whilst having your sunglasses cleaned & indulge in cool towels in summer, and hot towels in winter. In winter, we keep our guests warm on the vehicle with hot water bottles & warm blankets.
After a sumptuous Breakfast is served either back at the camp or in the riverbed or bush, guests are offered walks to suit their interests and fitness levels and are accompanied by an armed ranger and tracker.
Walks allow guests a better chance to see some of the smaller creatures of the bush as well as an opportunity to learn more about the flora and fauna of the region to have a chance to follow tracks in more detail.
Our Shangaan trackers will enthral you with their explanations of the medicinal and other uses of the numerous plants and trees along with tales of traditional folklore.
The rest of the day is spent at the discretion of the guest for other activities that we offer, with a delicious lunch being served around 1.30pm.
The afternoon game drive is preceded by high tea and extends into the evening to view seldom seen nocturnal species by torchlight.
Upon returning for a gourmet 3 course dinner, either in the boma, bush or lodge - guests can socialise with a cognac, single malt or cigar around the campfire or lounge before returning to bed for another day's adventure.
Where possible, safaris will be tailored to suit individual preferences and interest.
Breakfast or brunch 08h30-09H00 to 10h30 Lunch 13H30 Dinner Winter 19h30-20h00 Dinner Summer 20H00 - 20H30 Meals: Buffet/a la carte/table d'hote/ continental/English breakfast
Morning times that the game drives depart
Summer 05H00 Wake up call/ Morning tea 05h30 Depart 05H45
Winter 05H30 Wake up call/ Morning tea 06H00 Depart 06H15
Times that the walks depart
Summer After breakfast
Winter After breakfast
Afternoon/Evening times that the game drives depart
Summer 16H00 Afternoon Tea - Depart 16H15
Winter 15H30 Afternoon Tea - Depart 15H45
Safari Conference and Incentive Groups
The perfect way to achieve a successful conference or board breakaway is to combine business and pleasure…Thornybush Conference Facilities:
- We can accommodate a maximum of 60 people `theatre style’
- Classroom style maximum of 40
- U shape maximum of 20
- Length of room= 9.4 m
- Width = 10.4 m
- Height= 3 m
- 106 metres squared
- 2 plug points – 4 sockets
- White board
- Flip charts
- Overhead projector
- Data projector available at a small additional charge.
Optional Incentive Options
4 X 4 Bundu Bashing/Obstacle Course:
The objective of this exercise is to get the whole team from the start to the finish as quickly and as safely as possible. The guests will be split up into their various vehicles and will drive the vehicles around a pre-set course. The ranger will sit in the passenger seat in order to give directions to the driver and for safety reasons.
Thornybush Treasure Hunt
Rules of the Game
We welcome you all to the Thornybush Treasure hunt where you will be tested on your bush knowledge, a twist of local language and physical abilities.
The aim of the game is to score as many points as possible by identifying the list of animals/ birds/ trees etc on your programme and MOST importantly win the treasure hunt by arriving at your final destination before your opposition teams.
The total points will be a combination of activities completed, sightings and samples delivered to the judges. A few bonus points are up for grabs if you use your imagination!
- Teams need to choose their own names prior to the start of the competition- judges will choose most original team name - 10 Points
- All teams will be presented with their 1 clue and the rules of the game in the reception area of the lodge.
- Your ranger will act merely as a driver - only assisting with the activities at each point and indicating which roads are not to be used ONCE a team arrives at a strategic point.
- Main / straight looking roads are "normally" not allowed to be used - so try and avoid them to ensure you don't loose time-
- All sighting on the game spotting list will be confirmed by a ranger
- BIG 5 sighting will need a picture to verify!
- Your ranger will inform you whether there is a big 5 sighting else where on the reserve, this allows you to gain points, but means you loose time - remember once a big 5 sighting is chosen the reserve rules apply and you might have to wait to enter AND then again find your way back to the next treasure.
- Your ranger will only answer a questionthat will assist a team to progress faster at a cost of 50 points ( bribe)
- Team will be able to use internet via cell phone or any telephonic communication needed at any time.
- Teams can radio the lodge on channel 1 and ask for assistance at a cost of 10 point (bribe)
- A bird book, tree book and camera will be essential
- Speed limit of 40km/h will be maintained throughout the Hunt
- Points will be rewarded in order of teams arrival at the finish line-
- 100 points winning team
- 50 points - second team
- Nadda points - third team
- any picture taken of a opposition team(smiling) - 10 Points - only valid after all teams have left the lodge area
- any water found by digging in a riverbed on the reserve - confirmation neededwith picture-20 points
- a blank piece of paper will be given to a team - a sketch of any animal or bird must be created by using natural materials - winning sketch
- he judge's discretion is final , although we are sure they can be open to persuasion if appropriate.
- Most original team name - 10 points
- Points will be deducted for:
- Ranger Bribes - 50 points per bribe
- Phone / radio a friend- 10 points
- Activities not completed successfully- 20 points
Thornybush Game Lodge has a fully equipped Amani Spa that offers a range of treatments such as Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Facials, Manicures and Pedicures. Massages are also offered within the privacy of the guest’s room deck.
An interactive drumming session led by rhythmic team, where each guests receives a musical instrument and participates in this wonderful Team building excursive.
An interactive drumming session led by rhythmic team, where each guests receives a musical instrument and participates in this wonderful Team building excursive.Traditional dancing with pace and great variety of moves. Attired in traditional cloth skirts, skins and shield they’re fast and furious.
Group Joint Bush Snacks Drinks
Imagine drifting soundlessly in the crisp morning air while below you herds of elephant and other game move across the landscape. Early morning balloon excursions are offered at all the Thornybush Game Reserve Lodges at an additional cost. They are subject to availability and weather conditions (Max 16 Guests).
Flight Of The Dragon:The magnificent Drakensburg escarpment (Dragons Mountain) rears 1900 metres from the bushveld to the west of your lodge. View this exquisite region from the comfort of a light aircraft or helicopter. The fixed wing aircraft departs from you lodges strip for an hours flight along the escarpment including aerial views of the mighty Blyde River Canyon and the aptly named Gods Window.
Helicopter trips depart directly from your lodge and include a stop at our private mountain stream for a swim in the cool waters and a lovely picnic lunch.
- Hoedspruit – Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp
- Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp – Simbambili Game Lodge
- KMIA – Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp
- Phalaborwa – Chapungu Luxury Tented Camp
Tour guide will collect guests from various lodges at around 09h00, but alternative pick up times can be arranged to suit clients needs. Route covered is usually Abel Erasmus Pass, Graskop (lunch excluded), God's Window, Bourke's Luck Potholes, Three Rondawels and other Panorama route attractions. Time is allowed to shop for curios at various excellent shops and local craft vendors along the way. This is one of the most scenic routes in the region. Return at approx. 17h00.
Balloon Experience (Private Launches also available)
Imagine drifting soundlessly in the crisp morning air while below you herds of elephant and other game move across the landscape. Early morning balloon excursions are offered at all the Thornybush Game Reserve Lodges at an additional cost. They are subject to availability and viewing experience is dependant on weather conditions and wind direction.
Cheetah Breeding Project
As one of the country's leading private research and breeding facilities, this unique project concerns itself with the breeding and protection of several endangered indigenous wildlife species in Southern Africa. Initially established as a breeding centre for cheetah, this centre soon expanded to include many other endangered species.
Flight Of The Dragon
The magnificent Drakensburg escarpment (Dragons mountain) rears 1900 meters from the Bushveld to the west of the lodge. View this exquisite region from the comfort of a light aircraft or helicopter. The fixed wing aircraft departs from Thornybush Airstrip for an hour’s flight along the escarpment including aerial views of the mighty Blyde River Canyon and the aptly named Gods Window. Rate includes a stop at our private mountain stream for a swim in the cool waters and a lovely picnic lunch.
Times for :- Breakfast / brunch 9h00 summer 9h30 winter
Lunch / late lunch 15h15 summer 15h00 winter
Dinner 20h00 summer 19h30 winter
Meal types Breakfast / brunch buffet
Lunch / late lunch buffet
Dinner Plated buffet
Boma dinners Yes, Depends on numbers
Game drive departures Summer 5h30 we play the times a lot during spring/autumn
Bush walk departures Summer 8h00, part of am safari
Winter After breakfast, 10h00
Additional activities none
Covered landies when it rains no