– Safari Review by Klein Companions, Jonathan and Sophie Ellaby, Klein Collection Safaris
Thornybush Game Reserve is an 11,000 hectare fenced reserve close to Kruger National Park. A lot of people ask us whether you can get a ‘genuine’ safari experience in a reserve that is fenced on all sides and the truth is that most fenced reserves are small and quite artificial, and not recommended for serious safaris.
Thornybush Game Reserve is different. It is unusually large and particularly well managed and to all intents and purposes feels exactly like Sabi Sand Game Reserve or the Kruger National park, both wild and largely unfenced regions. Fenced reserves also have a number of advantages. In Sabi Sand / Kruger, animals can and do move over vast areas – the up side of this is you never know what you’re going to see, and could see anything; the downside is that you might, if you unlucky, see very little at all. In a fenced reserve, rangers have a pretty good idea where their Big 5 are most of the time, making them easier to find. It also affords protection for certain species, which can exist in larger numbers than might be found in vast areas such as Sabi Sand.
Thornybush has all of the Big 5 in decent quantities, and is especially good for leopard. It’s main draw cards though, apart from its superb lodges, are its cheetah and black rhino, which are very difficult to see almost anywhere else in Southern Africa. If it’s virtually guaranteed cheetah sightings you’re after, Thornybush is the place to come. Cheetah is one of my favourite mammals and we weren’t disappointed on our visit, with three excellent sightings in just two days.
It’s also home to some of the best 4 and 5 star lodges in the country and we visited most of them. The north is dominated by offerings from the Thornybush Collection including Thornybush Game Lodge, Shumbalala, Monwana, Chapungu, Serondella and N’Kaya Game Lodge, while the in the South, Royal Malawane is one of the most exclusive lodges in Africa.
As guests at Thornybush main lodge we also visited other lodges in the Thorny Bush Collection, each with a different feel and character. These lodges are smaller, with a more intimate feel and greater guest interaction. If you’d rather keep yourself to yourself or enjoy the extra facilities the main lodge has to offer on account of its size, then the main lodge may be better for you. If you like small and intimate, each other lodge has a charm and uniqueness that brings back the same guests again and again.
Read what we thought of each place – we’re sure you’ll be as impressed as we were.
We would love to help you plan your own African safari. Contact us today.
Email: info[at]kleincollection.com | South Africa Tel. +27 (0) 21 813 6961