The River Lodge in Thornybush Game Reserve

Photo of Bedroom and Balcony Photo of Suite Exterior

The River Lodge in Thornybush

The Ultimate in African Luxury

  • Grading: 5 Star 

Address: Thornybush Private Game Reserve, Limpopo Province

Bed capacity:


Southern Africa, believed to be the origin of mankind, instills a longing in all of us. A longing for the quiet beauty, yet fierce survival instincts of Africa and the wild. We long to see the magnificent animals in their glorious habitat, the way we dream about Africa. We long to feel the cool breeze on our skin as we witness the breathtaking sunset over the pristine vista of Southern Africa.

The beautiful Thornybush Game Reserve measures 14 000 hectares of wild African bush and is situated adjacent to the world renowned Kruger National Park. The landscape is inhabited by a variety of African fauna and flora, including the magnificent big five. Thornybush is wild, while ensuring absolute serenity in luxurious surrounds. The unique characteristics of Thornybush makes it one of the most excellent safari holiday experiences in the world.

The Lodge

The 5-star lodge is heaven for all the senses. The smell of the fresh African earth, the touch of the luxurious linen, the taste of the gourmet food prepared by your personal chef, the sound of the serene African savannahs at night and the sight of the magnificent vistas. Great care has been taken to ensure guests' stays are exquisite and relaxing beyond measure.

With world-class stylish furnishings and unparalleled comfort, The River Lodge provides a perfect haven for your African safari holiday.

Pool Deck

The swimming pool overlooking the busy watering hole is a sparkling paradise on a hot African afternoon. lounge in the pool while refreshing your body and soul.

Health Spa

The lodge is relaxing in itself, but for extra pampering, such as massages, facials and other treatments, just a few minutes drive away is the Thornybush Game Lodge, where the Amani African Spa is available for guests to unwind and cleanse themselves of stress.


River Lodge has beautiful communal outdoor areas. Thatched lapas and bomas round off an exciting day with satisfaction. Enjoy cognac, or single malt with a cigar and listen to the sounds of the bush and the watering hole. Taste the exquisite food served here while enjoying the night sounds in the surrounding Thornybush Game Reserve.


Accommodation is offered in:

  • Three Luxury Suites
  • One Royal Suite

The lodge Suites

Our high-ceiling thatch Luxury Suites are decorated and furnished in the most pleasing way, with elegant accents for a touch of holiday glamour. The supremely comfortable linen, delicate touches and tranquil decor leaves guests feeling relaxed and peaceful in their suite. The en-suite bathroom has a separate bath and shower, floor-to-ceiling glass doors which open to bring the outside in, and an outdoor shower to truly feel comfortable with nature. The suites are fully air-conditioned and also contain fans. The elevated deck looks out over the seasonal Monwana River.

All the suites have a private pool and an outdoor shower. Suites are situated strategically to all have a magnificent view, but have privacy and seclusion.

The Royal Suite has a second bedroom with an en-suite bathroom and up to two children can stay here with their parents.

  • Suites serviced daily
  • Separate bath and shower with shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, etc.
  • Hairdryer
  • Voltage: 220 - 240
  • International adaptors as requested
  • Air-conditioned rooms, as well as overhead fans
  • Bar fridge and freezer
  • Coffee station
  • Private deck
  • Plunge pool
  • Telephone and safe
  • Umbrella, torches and candles/matches in suites

Game Safaris in Thornybush Game Reserve

As dawn is starting to warm the African earth, you will receive a wake-up call. You will get into the open-top Land Rover and your accompanying rangers and trackers will take you on an adventure. The times of departure are planned to suit the optimal time for wildlife viewing and this is normally in the early morning. In summertime you will be woken at 5:00, served tea at 5:30 and the excursion will begin at 5:45. In wintertime, you will be woken at 5:30, be served tea at 6:00 and the excursion will begin at 6:15. Everything that your rangers and trackers know about the landscape, the animals and the vegetation, will be shared with you. is home to 147 mammals including the "Big Five", 114 reptiles, 507 birds, 49 fish, 34 amphibians and 336 trees, which you can experience on the drive. After some time, the Land Rover will stop and break for coffee and tea. You can stretch your legs and breathe in the crisp, fresh air. You will be treated with a cold towel in summer and a hot towel in winter. You will also be kept warm and cosy with hot water-bottles and blankets on the vehicle in winter. The game drive will then continue. After the drive, a scrumptious breakfast will be served back at the lodge, the riverbed, or the bush. After breakfast your tracker and ranger will take you on a guided walk where you will be able to become more closely acquainted with the small animals and birds of the area. You will then be served a decadent lunch at 13:30.

After a day filled with walks, or relaxation and a lovely afternoon tea, you will be taken on an afternoon game drive into the bush to view rarely-seen nocturnal animals by torchlight. As the sun begins to set over the sweeping savannahs, you will get out at a remote, scenic spot and watch the enigmatic sunset over cocktails and snacks, allowing you to savour a truly magnificent sight. You will then return to the lodge to enjoy a 3 course gourmet dinner.

  • Walks depart daily by arrangement. Guests are accompanied by an armed ranger and tracker. The walks are tailored to the visitor's interests.
  • The River Lodge is teeming with life, including 507 species of birds which guests can watch from the game drives, walks, or from the pool deck.
  • Morning Hot Air Balloon excursions are available for guests who would like to see the sweeping savannahs and the wildlife from the sky, at an additional cost.
  • The Panorama Tour day excursion follows the most scenic route in the area. Places visited includes Bourke's Luck Potholes, Abel Erasmus Pass, Graskop, God's Window, Three Rondawels and other magnificent Panorama Route destinations. Time will be afforded to guests to stop at local vendors and curio shops. Excursions will depart at 9:00 and return at approximately 17:00.
  • The Cheetah Breeding Project is a successful operation, which has expanded to include other endangered species. Guests can gain hand on experience as to how these amazing animals are bred back into safety.
  • Flight of the Dragon is a remarkable experience where guests are taken up in a small aircraft and taken on an hour flight to view the ethereal escarpments of the Drakensberg Mountains. Sights include God's Window and the Blyde River Canyon. The trip includes a stop at Thornybush's private mountain pool for a relaxing swim and an enchanting picnic lunch. This is truly an amazing experience.


Please contact us for our latest rates and availability.

Lodges offer varied rates which change from time to time. Rates depend on service levels, the type of lodge or hotel, number and age of guests, the time of year, location and any specials which may apply at time of enquiry.

  • Rates are quoted in South African Rand (ZAR) and are inclusive of VAT
  • Rates are subject to change without prior notice


  • Children of all ages are welcome at request
  • Children of the age of 6 years and above are welcome on game drives

Rate Inclusions & Exclusions

  • Accommodation
  • All meals, teas, coffees and snacks
  • Dawn and dusk safaris in open Land Rovers and bushveld walks
  • Sundowner local drinks
  • Curio, laundry, babysitting and telephone expenses
  • Wireless Internet

Weddings and Honeymoons at River Lodge

Can you imagine your dream wedding? Does it include the fresh African terrain, traditional African dancers serenading you whilst you romantically exchange your vows at sunset? We offer this and have many other visions for your perfect wedding. Attention to the finest detail, the breath taking surroundings, luxurious accommodation and the divine cuisine will ensure that your wedding day will be absolutely thrilling and unforgettable. Your experience will be unique and beautiful at the Thornybush Game Lodge along the Manyeleti River and the natural African environment.

After your enchanted wedding, you and your partner can get swept away to the stylish and decadent 5 star lodge for a romantic getaway honeymoon. Lounge in your romantic bedroom with your partner, share the wonderful experience of the game drives and hold hands while strolling along the trails. Take a morning hot air balloon ride, or walk along God's Window in a day excursion. Make your honeymoon unforgettable.

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