Thornhill Safari Lodge is located in the heart of the Guernsey Private Nature Reserve, which is a part of the Greater Kruger National Park. A 40 km drive from the Orpen Gate in Kruger, it is an ideal base to explore Kruger and the surrounding areas, as well as relax and enjoy the South African wilderness. I stayed at the lodge at the end of August in 2016, and was booked into this lodge through my trip with Intrepid on the Kruger Lodge 4 day Experience.
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After a long but easy journey from Johannesburg, I was greeted at Thornhill Safari Lodge by a small herd of buffalo, and a nice fresh orange juice. Already, I was sold. To see one of the Big Five literally within walking distance (ok so that was somewhat terrifying because buffalo are extremely dangerous animals), and to be greeted in such a wonderful manner, I knew I had made the right choice and was excited about the rest of my trip. I did not have to do anything else, other than settle in, and be ready for lunch. The staff were friendly and welcoming from the moment I arrived, and I felt quite at home.
Thornhill safari lodge Rooms
There are multiple different rooms available, ranging from a standard double room, family suite, to a luxury honeymoon suite. I stayed in one of their standard double rooms, and I loved it. It was very close to the lounge area, which also meant I could occasionally pick up the WIFI. But that wasn't why I loved the room. The room was romantic but distinctly African, and I loved the colors and ambiance. The mosquito nets covering the bed were not needed while I was there (in Winter) but will definitely be useful in the summer months. They were lovely though and added to the ambiance! The rooms all have hot water, coffee and tea stations, and a fan. My door didn't always lock properly, but I wasn't really concerned about safety here. The rooms were fantastic, and there is something to be said about being able to sleep in the middle of nowhere - I had the best nights sleep for my three nights that I had had in a long time. It was perfect!
Thornhill Safari Lodge has some great amenities considering you are literally out in the bush in the middle of nowhere. There is a manager on duty at the lodge from 7 AM until late into the evenings. There is a great lounge and reading area, as well as a pool with deck. You are obviously not advised to wonder through the bush away from the lodge, as they do have a leopard within in the reserve - one which was getting incredibly cheeky while I was there. While I never saw it, I did see it's tracks around the lodge in the morning. Thornhill has a bar, serving cool drinks (soda), beers, and wine, and is open all day. There is also complimentary coffee and tea. While there is not WI-FI access in your room, it can be accessed from the lounge area. You do need to ask management for assistance and pay for a voucher for your stay. Thornhill also has a laundry service and safety deposit box. Thornhill will also assist you in arranging transportation to and from Johannesburg.
Dining & Food
The food at Thornhill Safari Lodge is fantastic. Some of the meals are simple and not overly complicated, such as the packed breakfasts for our safari days; delicious small sandwiches, yoghurt, and fruit. Other meals are more complex, such as pork tenderloin and gourmet deserts - wow! The food is all prepared by a fabulous staff and you are alerted to meal times by the sounds of one of the staff members beating the African drums. You can't miss mealtime! The lodge offers three meals a day, and they are truly delicious, and will make sure you are full, fed, fat, and happy. Dinners are also served at the BOMA, around a nice fire, and under the stars.
One of the things that I loved about this lodge was how the staff treated its guests - it is as if we were life long friends from the get go. The staff made sure you were comfortable and happy from the moment you stepped of your transport, to the moment you left. Leanne, Charmaine and CJ took the time to speak with you every day, and ensured you were always comfortable. Special mention must be made to the fact that they knew I wanted to spend another day in Kruger, which is not typical of the tour that I was on (Intrepid Travels' Kruger Lodge Experience - 4 days), and they made it happen, and last minute I might add. They were truly exceptional in making me feel like I was back at home in South Africa, as comfortable and as happy as possible.
thornhill safari lodge Activities
Thornhill Safari Lodge has a host of fantastic activities on offer throughout your stay there. While I did not try all of them, as my focus was on being in the Kruger National Park as much as possible, I heard many great reviews from other guests. The following activities are on offer:
game drives in the Kruger National Park
game drives in private game reserves in the Greater Kruger National Park region
guided nature walks
Panorama Day Tour (including visits to Bourke's Luck Potholes, God's window, waterfalls and the Three Rondawels lookout point
Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Center
Hoedspruit Endangered Species Center
I did spend two full days in the Kruger, all of which was organized by Thornhill for me. They made sure someone woke me up in the morning, and prepared breakfast for me to take with. I also enjoyed a nature walk on the morning of my departure. I had never done a nature walk before this and was so excited. Nelly was my guide and he was incredibly knowledgeable, teaching me about various aspects of the wildlife and plant life in the reserve. I got to see giraffe and zebra on foot, and only on foot did I realize how truly insanely tall (and dangerous) giraffe are! I also came across ostrich eggs, and a male ostrich sitting on his nest! Nelly also made me spit giraffe poop, but that is for another story!
review of thornhill safari lodge
If you couldn't tell by the smile on my face in the pictures above, I was overly happy with my three night stay at Thornhill Safari Lodge. The staff were all fantastic, and I really enjoyed the comfortable and homely atmosphere they provided. The setting was lovely, restful and peaceful, exactly what I needed. I had some of the best sleep I've had in a long time here, and I was getting up at 5 am every morning feeling fantastic - if you know me, that's something! This was the first time I stayed in a safari lodge outside of the Kruger National Park and I was not disappointed.
My stay at Thornhill Safari Lodge was part of my packaged trip with Intrepid Travel's 4 day Kruger Lodge Experience. I was NOT sponsored for any of this!
Have you ever stayed at a lodge like this before? Or have you been to the Kruger National Park? What did you think? Tell me below!