Sharing a border with Timbavati Private Game Reserve and immediately south of the town of Hoedspruit, Thornybush Private Game Reserve is a relatively small, fenced reserve of about 200 sq km of rolling lowveld savanna. Visitors to Thornybush are virtually guaranteed to see the ‘Big Five’ – lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos and buffaloes – within 48 hours of being in the reserve. Because the reserve is fenced and contains a full range of animals, wildlife viewing is good all year round.
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Top things to do in Thornybush Game Reserve
Guided Safari Walks
Guided safari walks, between one and two hours, usually take place after breakfast. You get a completely different experience exploring on foot and it is often possible to approach very close to the wildlife, a thrilling experience, especially without the protection of a car. They are a wonderful opportunity to connect with the African bush, interacting with all its inhabitants and to get an insight into the local Shangaan traditions. Engage all your senses as you discover a world where each sound, scent and bent blade of grass has a meaning. It is a chance to follow tracks in more detail and to learn about the varied uses of local flora.
As in most other reserves, the camps and lodges in Thornybush generally offer twice-daily wildlfe drives, led by professional guides, which provide the perfect opportunity to get up close to the animals. In addition to the ranger, a tracker usually joins, who is seated on the front of the car in a small seat and scans the environment for wildlife. The late afternoon and evening drives include sunset drinks and often offer glimpses of nocturnal creatures. The guides will ask you about your favourite wildlife and will do their best to ensure that your interests are met. They will also tell you about the vegetation of the region and will explain the behaviours of the animals that you come across. Sometimes the guides can identify individual animals and talk about their history and their habits. Unlike in the Kruger park itself, Thornybush permits off-road game viewing and night driving. This gives a more varied experience as you are not limited to driving just on tarmac roads. Where there is an opportunity, you may be invited out of the vehicle to see tracks, examine certain plants and follow spoor.
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