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Family safaris at Thornybush Game Lodge

Please only travel when it’s safe to do so.

Biscuit baking, bug walks and pool picnics on a safari in Africa?

Yes, when you take the kids to Thornybush Nature Reserve!

The 38,000-acre private game reserve in the northeastern Limpopo province of South Africa is one of the few in the country offering child-friendly lodges.

Family safaris at Thornybush Nature Reserve mean you don’t have to leave the kids behind when you go on safari.

Family safaris are offered at Thornybush Game Lodge
Kids enjoy a bush walk to track paw prints

Family safaris at Thornybush Game Lodge

The biggest player is the Thornybush Collection of four- and five-star game lodges.

It owns or operates 11 lodges in the Thornybush Reserve, as well as the lovely Simbambili Game Lodge (for adults) in neighboring Sabi Sands Game Reserve.

family safaris
View from the deck of Thornybush Game Lodge

Family safaris

Family safaris at Thornybush
Spotting giraffes on a family game drive from Thornybush

Children are actively welcomed at both Thornybush Game Lodge and Serondella.

Other lodges in the collection accept youngsters if the family books out the sole use of the camp.

family safaris
Cheetah sighting!

Children must be six and older to go out on game drives.

Your family is assigned a ranger-guide who enjoys interacting with young guests, and drives can be tailored to suit kids’ interests and attention spans.

Kids are unlikely to get bored on game drives – not when they see, almost within touching distance from their open Land Cruiser, a cheetah bloodily devouring an impala (gross!) or a hyena suckling her pups (cute!).

Family safaris at Thornybush
A hyena mother suckles her pup

The Thornybush experience

The welcoming reception area at Thornybush Game Lodge
The welcoming reception area at Thornybush Game Lodge

Accommodations are very comfy in the Thornybush Collection.

All lodges have electricity and air-conditioning.

A Thornybush Game Lodge suite
A Thornybush Game Lodge suite

Thornybush Game Lodge – the flagship camp in Thornybush Nature Reserve – has 20 suites, each with indoor and outdoor showers and giant sliding doors to private viewing decks.

Two suites can sleep families of five. With large living rooms and private plunge pools, they also double as honeymoon suites.

The lodge also has a main pool for the use of all guests.

There's a pool at Thornybush if you'd like to take a dip
There’s a pool at Thornybush if you’d like to take a dip

The dining area at Thornybush Game Lodge overlooks a waterhole, often visited by elephants and buffalo.

Lodge meals are buffet-style.

Table for two at Thornybush Game Lodge
Table for two at Thornybush Game Lodge

One evening, we ate in the lodge’s outdoor boma (African gathering place).

Seated at communal tables, we feasted by lantern light on barbecued impala and lamb – trying some fine South African Pinotage too.

A couple of wee ones were curled up on mattresses by the blazing fire pit. South African hospitality at its best, we thought.

Thornybush Game Lodge

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Explore more of South Africa!

Read our posts on:

Cape Town | Hiking up Table Mountain isn’t exactly a walk in the park. But it’s one of the best things to do in Cape Town!

Wine tasting in South Africa | There are more than 185 great wineries in Stellenbosch. We hit many of them!

Where to stay in Cape Town | For a luxury retreat, the 12 Apostles Hotel offers amazing ocean views, walking trails and divine dining.


Photo credits: 6 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | Remaining images Thornybush Game Lodge (except lead image)


About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the owners and founders of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, luxury hotel reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Mary

Thursday 8th of August 2013

An African safari is at the top of our family's travel wish list. What a great place to enjoy the animals. Glad to know there are family-friendly safaris out there. My kids would love this. Thanks for this!