Thornybush Game Reserve offers a standout safari experience for travellers choosing this natural gem in South Africa’s Lowveld. Its proximity to the famed Kruger National Park makes this destination even more appealing.
The 14,000-hectare reserve consists of a range of different vegetation types sustained by a handful of perennial rivers. These precious water sources attract an array of species, including all those belonging to the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo), as well as plains game like zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and impala. The reserve’s game density is unrivalled, ensuring a thrilling experience for visitors from all over the globe.
Thornybush Game Reserve can easily be reached as the Eastgate Airport, located just 30 minutes away, receives daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town. It will take self-drive guests approximately six hours when attempting the journey from Johannesburg.
Even though Thornybush Game Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, visitors cannot access the park from the reserve. Access can only be gained through an official entry gate, the closest being Orpen.
Thornybush Game Reserve is the ideal destination to spot species like wild dogs because of its size as these animals need vast areas to roam and traverse.
Visitors to the Game Reserve have the privilege of viewing free-roaming animals because of an unfenced border with the famed Kruger National Park. Most notable among the 150 mammal species are lions, leopards, cheetahs, and wild dogs. More than 500 different birds, 114 reptiles, 49 fish, and 34 amphibian species also call the reserve home.
The best time for optimum game viewing in Thornybush is in winter (May to August) as the bush thins out and animals make their way to available water sources. Daytime temperatures are mild while nights can be a bit on the cold side.
Thornybush offers a whole host of safari-activities with morning and afternoon game drives and guided walks at the top of the list. Avid birders and eager photographers will have a field day—whether a solo traveller or a family on a bush breakaway, there is something for everyone. There is also the opportunity to get to know residents of local communities during an outreach programme.
Travellers to Thornybush Game Reserve have a variety of overnight accommodations to choose from. There are a handful of luxury lodges and tented camps that will make this escape one to remember. All have fantastic settings with individual touches to satisfy even the most discerning safari-goer.