The 140km2 (54 square mile) Thornybush Game Reserve is located near the town of Hoedspruit on the western border of the Kruger. The famous Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and buffalo – roam freely in the reserve while great numbers of plains game like giraffes, kudu, zebra, and waterbuck can also be seen.
Highlights of Thornybush
- Daily game drives in open 4×4 vehicles with experienced trackers greatly enhance your game viewing experience. Unlike in the public areas of the Kruger, guides are allowed to track animals off-road or at night.
- Photographic opportunities are excellent at Thornybush. Your safari experience, including game drives and walks, can be tailored specifically to meet your photographic needs.
- Guided nature walks allow you to experience the African bush firsthand, and the rangers are keen to share local knowledge.
- With over 300 species in the reserve, birding safaris are excellent. Tailored game drives with an experienced guide will have you tick rare and unique species off your list of bird sightings in no time.
- Extensive conservation studies have been done at Thornybush on the ultra-rare Pangolin. This elusive anteater is the most trafficked animal globally and is critically endangered. While never a guarantee, your chances are good to spot one on a night drive at Thornybush.
Practical Information for Thornybush
- Thornybush is about 5 hour’s drive from Johannesburg. Several daily domestic and international flights depart from OR Tambo International airport. From OR Tambo, you can fly to a local airport (Hoedspruit, Nelspruit, Skukuza, or Phalaborwa) close to the reserve. From here, a short transfer will get you to Thornybush.
- Bring warm clothing as it gets cold at night and a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect against the heat in the day. Light long-sleeved clothing serves as good protection from the sun too.
- Thornybush is situated within a malaria region. Speak to your doctor before you travel for advice on anti-malaria medication.