Thornybush River Lodge Kruger

Thornybush River Lodge, Kruger National Park, South Africa.
A sublime safari experience awaits you in the south-western section of the Thornybush Private Nature Reserve

Embark on an exclusive journey into the beating heart of Africa within the greater Kruger National Park! Wrapped in luxury amidst the untamed African bush, you will experience unsurpassed game viewing opportunities in the Thornybush Private Nature Reserve, open to the greater Kruger National Park. ​Big Five experiences blend seamlessly with 5-star service and amenities.

  • Situated in the wildlife-rich Thornybush Private Nature Reserve.
  • The Thornybush Game Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park.
  • The Greater Kruger National Park is 22,000 square kilometers in size making it South Africa’s largest reserve.
  • It is located in the Limpopo Province and the closest town is Hoedspruit.
  • A total of 147 mammal species occur in the area, including the famous Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, and Buffalo)
  • A whopping 517 bird species can be found in the park.
  • The Thornybush Game Reserve is an eco-tourism reserve.​
  • The habitat is made up of open savannah woodland with areas of tangled thickets and thorny scrub, hence the name.
  • Game viewing at Thornybush Game Reserve ranks as some of the best in Southern Africa.

With just six rooms, including the superb two- bedroom Royal Suite, the luxurious accommodation is limited to 12 guests ensuring a personalized wilderness experience, where the opportunity to reserve the entire camp for exclusive use is possible.

​The public areas are elegantly furnished and comfortable, with a relaxing lounge and dining area.  To complement the wonderful weather, a sparkling rim-flow swimming pool overlooking a covert water hole, is on hand for a refreshing dip, an amenity often shared by thirsty groups of Elephants.

The River Lodge Suites
Each one of the three individual 80 square meter River Lodge suites radiate elegance and unrestrained luxury! Stackable doors welcome the African bushveld in, affording a magical wildlife experience from the comfort of an extra length king-size bed or the indoor lounge area. With infinite views of the perennial Timbavati River; game viewing can also be enjoyed from the luxury of an exclusive decked terrace, skinny dipping in a private sparkling pool whilst sipping on a gin-tail!

Bask in a newfound romance at bath time! The stacking doors enclosing a foam-filled Victorian bath-tub can be opened, allowing your imagination to run wild, captivated by the glorious vista of an African star-lit night-sky. Alternatively enjoy an indoor or exterior shower; absorbing the sights and sounds of untamed Africa.

The Honeymoon Suite
Tactfully situated alongside a busy elephant trail and nestled amongst the Combretum trees on the elevated banks of the Timbavati River, the new and spacious 100 square meter Honeymoon Suite at The River Lodge surpasses all expectations! Natural light filters through the shadows cast by the Magic Guarris trees rooted within the teak deck; home to an infinity swimming pool that can be heated for use on cold winter nights. An indoor fireplace adds to the romantic ambiance of the suite, which offers all the luxuries of the others; just more-so!

The Royal Suite
The epitome of a luxury safari experience; your own private villa on the banks of the Timbavati River in the Greater Kruger National Park! At 220 square meters, this well-appointed bush villa exceeds even your wildest expectations; luxurious, spacious and secluded. The villa extends via boardwalk under the riverine trees adjoining two en-suite 85 square meter bedrooms, separated by a large living and dining area. The heated rim-flow pool adorning the deck has become a popular stopover for many Kruger elephants seeking an alternative freshwater source on their foraging festivals along the Timbavati river! The Royal Suite presents an ideal option for friends or family travelling together who wish to enjoy their own private safari experience.

The River Lodge Safaris
Twice daily game drives at The River Lodge present an opportunity to watch gripping tales unfold via unrivaled game-viewing experiences. Traditionally most safaris leave in the early mornings and late afternoons however, our knowledgeable field guides and master-trackers do not work to a clock; they are flexible and will tailor-make your safari experience to accommodate your every need. Whether it’s the Big-5; Little-5; or the countless number of bird species that call Thornybush home, our men in khaki will make every effort to satisfy your safari requirement. Sundowner and coffee stops add to the enjoyment of the drives, whilst enjoying a collection of exciting bush-tales from the field guides.

Bush Walks
There is little that matches the excitement of trekking through the wilderness in Big 5 country. Competently armed field guides lead the bush walks, pointing out interesting tracks and signs that tell and ever-changing bush story. Discovery the traditional and medicinal uses of many indigenous plants and flowers.

Culinary Delights
All dietary requirements are respected and catered for and our team of chefs offer tempting spreads of a rich variety of culinary delights. Feast on a diverse assortment at the breakfast buffet, whilst awaiting a cooked breakfast order of your choice. Slip into the afternoon with a delectable lunch served on the deck, overlooking the semi-circular rim-flow pool that is often frequented by elephants in search of a freshwater source. Enjoy stylishly plated romantic dinners served on a lantern-lit deck beneath the stars listening to the varied sounds of the African night. Adding to the culinary pleasures at River Lodge, bush breakfast and boma dinners are offered, both of which present an authentic African experience. Alternatively; arrangements can be made with the lodge manager for those wishing to dine in the privacy of their suite.

Nearby Activities
Include scenic helicopter flights, day trips into the Kruger National park, hot air ballooning, the panorama route, blyde dam boat cruises, community visits.

Coupled with the romance of the African bush; luxury amenities, gourmet cuisine as well as a tolerant climate, The River Lodge offers an exclusive and perfect wedding destination for your most important day. Whether it’s a private, intimate occasion, simple bush wedding or the “party of the year” requiring further accommodation options for multiple guests; we will make it happen!

Thornybush Nature Reserve
No part of Africa is without mystery; it has captured the imagination of the world and thrills us with its untold secrets! Thornybush Nature Reserve is no exception. Situated in the lush bushveld of the Lowveld, the private reserve has a fascinating history dating back to 1955, when the original Thornybush farm measured just 1640 hectares.

Today the Thornybush Game Reserve forms part of the Greater Kruger National Park after the north- eastern boundary fence was removed in 2017. This has allowed for natural wildlife migration patterns to resume, which has resulted in a supreme game-viewing experience. It’s not unusual to witness some of the great Kruger tuskers exploring new Thornybush territories, as well as the rare white lions of the Timbavati.

Both the critically endangered black and white rhino call Thornybush home, whilst the iconic leopard and cheetah are regular sightings. Painted Wild dogs; also listed as threatened, make regular trips to Thornybush adding to the excitement of a safari at Thornybush.

The Reserve is constantly undergoing various research projects focused on the many wildlife species found in the area. Nature conservation is prioritized on the Reserve.

Thornybush was the first recipient ever of an entire elephant herd from the Kruger National Park.

It fiercely defends its rhino population with a strong counter-poaching presence on the ground. Thornybush also captured the first recording of a white wildebeest born in the wild and is the home of many wildlife documentaries that have aired on international television stations.

15th October 2020 – 30th June 2021  
River Lodge Suites 1, 2 + 3  R            6 135,00
Single  R            6 514,00
Honeymoon Suite  R            6 797,00
Single  R            7 222,00
The Royal Suite (4 Sleeper Luxury Villa)  R            6 797,00
Single  R            7 222,00
The Royal Suite Exclusive – (4 Sleeper Luxury Villa)  R         29 902,00
The Royal Suite exclusive use rate includes a private vehicle, chef and butler.  
Exclusive Use Entire Lodge (12 guests)  R         69 762,00
Includes luxury accommodation, 3 meals, two game drives, optional bush walk. Excludes: drinks, spa treatments, conservation fee  
Book within 2 weeks of travel date 15% OFF  
Book within 1 week of travel date 20% OFF  
Midweek Stay 4 nights & only pay for 3  

Subject to Availability. Terms & Conditions Apply. E&OE