The Kruger

Thornybush Nature Reserve

A private reserve with a range of lodges

Expert guiding and incredible wildlife

Thornybush Nature Reserve encompasses some 14,000 hectares of pristine wilderness adjacent to the Kruger and is home to a collection of lodges that suit a range of budgets and travel styles.

The reserve itself is home a rich collection of wildlife, including 48 mammal, 230 bird and 54 reptile species. This includes all the Big Five – rhinos are a particular attraction here – and its range of habitats presents varied game views from river beds to mopane woodland, savannah and swamps.

Accommodation in Thornybush ranges from luxurious lodges to intimate family friendly retreats and more adventurous tented options. Expect expert guiding on game drives and walking safaris, excellent food and even the occasional spa. Within a easy reach of Hoedspruit, attractions such as the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, hot air ballooning, the Drakensberg Mountains and adventure activities in the Blyde River Canyon make for easy day trips. To find out which Thornybush lodge is for you, get in contact with our travel designers.


Luxurious lodges and intimate family friendly retreats

Expert guides for game drives and walking safaris

Rich collection of wildlife

Plan your trip to South Africa

Whatever you want from your adventure in South Africa, our team of expert travel designers are ready to help.

Places to combine Thornybush Nature Reserve with

The Winelands

Leeu House
Leeu House is situated in an enviable position on the main street of Franschhoek, a country guesthouse in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this vibrant village, surrounded by award-winning restaurants, wine farms and boutique shops. Stylish interiors are a 21st century take on the traditional Cape Dutch heritage of Franschhoek. The twelve individually styled rooms feature goose-down duvets and fine linens, air-conditioning, flat-screen smart televisions, unlimited Wi-Fi access, Nespresso machines and private bars. The en-suite bathrooms have marble floors, showers and vanity tops, freestanding baths, vast showers and underfloor heating. Three of the suites open onto their own private gardens, while others boast small intimate terrace courtyards. Dine inside in The Conservatory or al fresco on the terrace, enjoying Leeu Collection wines and spirits from the complimentary bar. Innovative cuisine is prepared by the talented culinary team headed by Oliver Cattermole. Committed to sourcing organic and ethically farmed ingredients, his globally influenced menu features the freshest local produce. All Leeu House guests have full access to the facilities and spectacular grounds at nearby sister property Leeu Estates, such as the on-site spa, inspired cuisine, or make use of the gym facilities and heated infinity swimming pool. Leeu Estates also features an extensive network of walking, jogging and cycling trails, and a world-class wine cellar. In addition to this, Leeu House is recognised for its fantastic work in the local community, where they do everything from providing tasty snacks to local schools and also sponsor a learning centre for disadvantaged children.

Sabi Sands

Singita Ebony Lodge
Sitting alongside the meandering Sands River, set amidst wild bush and enormous trees in the middle of South Africa’s ‘big cat country’, is Singita’s original Ebony Lodge. Unrivalled hospitality is blended with the heritage of an English county home to create a timeless and most welcoming safari experience. The 12 suites, two which have two bedrooms and are perfect for families, all feature en-suite bathrooms and indoor-outdoor showers, private heated plunge pools and spacious game viewing decks. Your suite has been decorated according to a black and white colour scheme in homage to the big ebony trees that surround the lodge and interiors are furnished with vintage campaign furniture from Luke Bailes’ (the founder of Singita) family collection, sepia photography, tribal print murals and imitation leopard and zebra-print fabrics. Interior walls have been replaced by canvas or glass to create a light and airy atmosphere and to capitalise on the amazing views outside, to beautiful effect in the bedroom where you’ll enjoy an uninterrupted view out onto the terrace. The food here is exquisite yet unpretentious, fitting of the lodge’s homely feel, and is paired with an extensive range of handpicked South African wines. Free time at the lodge can be spent indulging in the Bush Spa, relaxing in the library, using the well-equipped gym or cooling down in the pool. Of course the highlight here is the rich array of wildlife. Species such as leopard, lion, rhino, large herds of buffalo, elephant, reedbuck, hyena, hippopotamus, nyala, cheetah, wild dogs and many types of birds can be spotted on expertly guided day and night game drives, and thrilling walking safaris. Other activities such as stargazing will get Africa even further under your skin.