Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should we stay?

Three days is the ideal visit to a private game lodge, this gives one the time to ensure that you see the maximum amount of game in an unrushed manner.

What is the best mode of travel to the lodge?

SA Express flies twice daily from Johannesburg ORT International Airport (ORTIA) to Hoedspruit Eastgate Airport (HDS), at the time of the reservation we will then book a transfer from HDS to the lodge with our transfer company, this transfer takes approximately 30 minutes.

Private charters are available through a number of reputable charter companies, the airstrip at Thornybush is 1200m Tar and can accommodate aircraft up to a King Air 200, flying time is approx 60 minutes form Johannesburg and quotes can be obtained from reservations office.

Driving time from Johannesburg is 5 hours 30 minutes on good National roads, route maps is attached.

Flights into Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) will require either a road transfer or an air shuttle.

What time of the year should we travel?

Each season has its own beauty and in an ideal world one should try and experience the bushveld in the winter and in the summer to enjoy the two contrasts. Our summers are hot but tolerable as the air is very dry.
Spectacular thunderstorms occur during the months of November through to March. Winter is dry and generally easier to view game as the bush is not as dense. The winter days are fantastic as temperatures average a moderate 20 degrees Celsius. When traveling in the winter months it is recommended that you dress warmly for the game drives.

What is the dress code?

Bushveld casual, neutral colours are recommended. Most guests wear long trousers for dinner and always ensure you have a light sweater or windbreaker handy. During summer a swimming costume is essential.

Malaria prophylactics?

The lodges are locate in the malaria area. Precautions are taken annually to test staff and treat the lodge which minimizes the risk but advice should be requested form your medical practioner on the drug which is most effective at the time of travel.

Should I bring Binoculars?

The game drives do get quite close to the game but if you are an avid bird watcher we recommend a small lightweight pair of binoculars to enjoy your bird viewing. Most rangers have a pair on the vehicle but it is recommended that you travel with your personal pair which suits your eyesight.

Photography Questions?

Safaris are a photographers paradise; video or still equipment should be in sturdy photographic cases. Most of the lodges do have a limited stock of equipment and replacement batteries available in their curio shops.

If I have Dietary requirements?

Your specific dietary requirements should be communicated with the reservations consultant at the time of confirmation, this enables the lodge to ensure your preferred meals are available and supplies are ordered in time for your arrival.

Medical emergencies?

The group subscribes to a medical evacuation service but it is recommended that you include this on your travel insurance policy when travelling.

What should I pack for my Safari?

Dress completely informal. Neutral colours recommended. (A full range of safari clothing is available in our Curio Shops). Warm jacket for winter and night safaris. Comfortable walking shoes. Swimming costume - each of our luxury lodges has a pool.
Binoculars, camera and video camera. Sunhats and sunglasses. Sunscreen. Please note that all the lodges in the Thornybush Collection are situated within a malaria area. It is recommended that guests consult their physician/travel clinic regarding easily administered malaria prophylaxis before embarking on any safari travel to South Africa.

What is the Weather like?

South Africa: Daytime summer temperatures (September – April) are high and may soar above 36°C/97°F. Winters (May – August) have chilly nights and crisp early mornings (minimum 3°C/38°F), but the days are fine and warm. Rainfall occurs predominantly in the summer months from September to April in the form of magnificent late afternoon/evening thundershowers.

What is the difference between the National Parks and the Private Reserves?

The national parks are administered by South African National Parks which ensures a standardised level of accommodation and facilities and the rates are usually kept low. These parks are mainly self-drive destinations with selfcatering accommodation although the larger parks like Kruger Park have restaurant facilities.
The game watching in the private parks is of an equal standard to that of the national parks, but the accommodation is usually far more luxurious and the service very attentive. Private game parks offer game drives with trained guides, bush walks, bush dinners and various activities as part of their service. The luxury comes at a price, but the private lodges are a good choice if you would like to be spoiled.

What is an open safari vehicle?

A modified four wheel drive vehicle designed to carry between 6 and 10 guests is used to bring you to within close proximity of the game. The vehicle does not have a roof or sides and allows for maximum all-round visibility.
it should not alarm you getting close to big game as long as you observe the rules laid down by your ranger.

Is the water safe to drink?

The water in all the lodges is perfectly safe to drink. It has been purified but there is always bottled water available.

Is the fruit safe to eat?

The fruit supplied by the lodges is perfectly safe to eat, however DO NOT pick fruit from trees or the ground without consulting your ranger as these fruits can be poisonous.

What extra costs will I have at the lodge?

Your safari is inclusive of the accommodation, all meals, teas, coffees and snacks, Accommodation, Dawn and dusk safaris in open Land Rovers and daily Bushveld walks.
Thornybush Game Lodge, Shumbalala Game Lodge and Simbambili Game Lodge include local sundowner drinks on game drives. What is not included is items of a personal nature such as Bar and curio purchases, Telephone and laundry expenses, Airport transfers except where chartered flights land at Thornybush Game Lodge, TOMSA levy of R 5.70 per person per night for all Lodges, Thornybush and Simbambili Conservation Levy of R60.00 per person per booking, Simbambili Lodge / Sabi Sand Reserve gate entrance fee. N’kaya, Serondella, and Chapungu Lodges – no drinks are included.


Here are some testimonials sent by our customers.

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The Thornybush Collection is in the heart of the wilderness!

Africa is the heartbeat of our planet, haled as the orig in of mankind, its contrast of breathtaking beauty and brutal survival fascinates us, we are drawn to the bush almost in response to a primordial call...


A bit of History

Find out more about the history of a great place!

Thorny bush was fenced in 1955 and the Lodge was first built and operated in 1961. Proclaimed in April 1993. The size is 13816ha. 48 Mammal species, 112 Tree species, 230 Bird species and 54 reptile species...


The Spa

Massage, quiet relaxation, mud baths...

Amani African Spas is an authentically South African Spa brand, which ha s a distinctive 360º approach to health and wellness. This is indeed what places Amani Spas apart from other service providers in...


The Team

All these nice people are here to make have a nice stay...

Renamed the Thornybush Collection in 2007, our group has since grown in stature from five to ten lodges. Of these prestigious properties, all but one is located within the pristine 14-000ha Thornybush Nature Reserve.