What Is Thornybush Game Reserve?

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  • Written By: Anna Harrison
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 07 September 2019
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The Thornybush Game Reserve is a private reserve located in the Mpumalanga and Limpopo regions of South Africa. It consists of over 27,181 acres (11,000 hectares) of land that serves as the home to many different birds and animals. There are six lodges on the reserve that range from rustic to luxurious. Services that are provided there include ranger-guided safaris in land rover vehicles and lengthy bush walks with experienced trackers. Careful consideration must be taken before traveling here, however, since malaria is prevalent in this region.

Most of the guests at the Thornybush Game Reserve are there to see the animals. Those in residence at this animal sanctuary include lions, leopards, and buffalo, as well as white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, and African elephants. There are also more than 250 bird species, several types of amphibians, and fish, in addition to many species of trees and plants. These animals can be observed at close range on the guided safaris at both dusk and dawn.

Children under six are not permitted on these excursions due to obvious safety issues, and the attendance of those under twelve is discouraged. The bush walks can be quite dangerous as well, since they are conducted on foot. Children are not allowed on any of these extended hikes.


In addition to the exotic, rare animals, there is much more to see at the natural preserve. Large wooded and open savannahs with several rivers and streams running through them provide stunning scenery. The game reserve sits in the shadow of the imposing Drakensberg Mountains. Watering holes are also near the lodges where the animals can be observed while they drink.

There are five lodges at the Thornybush Game Reserve, three of which are quite sumptuous. The well-appointed Main Lodge is alongside the Monwana River. Like all of the lodges, it has a swimming pool, as well as a well-stocked library. The N’Kaya Lodge is at the edge of the woods and the Serondella Lodge is near two waterholes, and has walkways that are suspended among the trees.

There are two lodges that are more rustic than the others. The Jackelberry Lodge is smaller than the others at the Thornybush Game Reserve and has a view of the mountains. Many different types of birds can be seen near this lodge. Chapungu Lodge is different from all of the other lodges. Not only is it decorated in colonial style, but it consists of five tent suites.

Though the Thornybush Game Reserve is luxurious, it is in an area where malaria is endemic. Preventive measures should be taken before visiting this area to keep from contracting this deadly disease. It is recommended that all visitors to this area see a physician for any necessary immunizations before traveling to African game reserves.


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