With the recent removal of the fence between Kruger National Park and Thornybush Nature Reserve, the presence of the vast amount of wildlife is palpable. Open-plan suites look out on foliage where nyala graze, and stories of elephants drinking water from the royal pool and leopards hanging out the in the trees by the suite’s outdoor showers, are relayed by the friendly staff.
Dawn and dusk game drives give you only a glimpse of the extensive landscape and its inhabitants. Stanley Chiyasa, our knowledgeable game ranger, speaks of the land with the fondness of home, and can identify a bird in a tree just by its call and spots animals as small as scrub hares at a brief glance. His expertise allowed us to witness most of the iconic Big Five, including a pride of 11 lions feasting on a wildebeest under a tree.
The River Lodge itself is perfect for the discerning luxury traveller. The décor shows a keen attention to detail, from the blissful, body-hugging bed, to the paintings on the walls depicting the happenings in the lodge’s wild surroundings. All spaces are open plan, with fully opening doors that allow you to completely surrender yourself to the majesty of the Lowveld. Even a self-proclaimed city girl will leave Thornybush convinced that there is no place better than the bush.