a guide to an african safari at
thorny bush south africa
After going on roughly six safaris, I think I can confidently say I know what to expect on a safari. However, Thorny Bush took my experience to a different level. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say it’s the best safari I’ve been on.
We spent 3 nights total within the reserve, our first was at Saseka, and the rest was at Throny lodges. Both grounds are extremely beautiful, but offer a slightly different experience.
Saskea Tented Lodges
Saseka as it was my favourite of the two grounds. Saseka meaning ‘beautiful’ in the local Tsonga language is the ultimate glamping experience, each kitted out with a private pool, roll top bath, indoor and outdoor shower. The tents have so many beautiful details, and feel extremely luxurious. One of my favourite design features was the ceiling of the tent. The designer collected different plants from the ground and documented them to create a beautiful and completely unique design.
There are a total of 9 tents all overlooking the riverbed, despite being in close proximity, you do have complete privacy. I couldn't hear or see anyone in the other tents.
For both breakfast and Lunch the chef prepared a beautiful spread, and we could order additional extras like eggs or pancakes. But for dinner we had a 3 course menu. The food at Saseka for me felt more high end, with a beautiful presentation. I’d compare the quality to some of the Michelin star meals I've had.
Saseka is around £1700 per night depending of course on time of year this can vary.which includes accommodation, food, drinks, and daily safaris. Things that are not included are air and ground transportation to Thorny bush, spa treatments, souvenirs, excursions, Tips and Premium spirits.
Thorny lodge has a larger grounds overall , with 16 luxury suites all of which have recently received a facelift and the main communal area includes a bar, lounge, restaurant, and pool. I also really liked that the lodges had solid walls, this might sound strange. However when you are out in the wilderness having solid walls does feel like a layer of extra security.
At thorny Lodges I'd say the food was a bit more relaxed, but was of course all very delicious, and we got to try a range of dishes. From ostrich pie to braised springbox.
Breakfast and lunch were buffet style, while dinner most nights was a 3 course menu with choices. On our final night we had a south african bbq with our guides and it was an amazing way to experience south african culture, trying foods like pap and Chakalaka.
Thorny lodges are around £1000-£1200 per night, which includes accommodation, food, drinks, and daily safaris.
Things that are not included are air and ground transportation to Thorny bush, spa treatments, souvenirs, excursions, Tips and Premium spirits.
The aim on an African safari is always to see the Big 5. The Big 5 are basically the animals that can kill you, Buffalo, rhino, lion, elephant, leopard, they got this name from poachers.
Hippos are not on this list however they actually kill the most people as they are extremely aggressive. You will normally see a lot of other animals who are a lot less dangerous such as zebras, giraffes, emplala, wildebeest, and ALOT of birds. Thorny bush offers two safaris per day, the first heading out at 5:30am and the second at 3:30pm, both lasting roughly 3-4 hours. This is quite standard practice.
The truck could take up to 9 guests at a time, however we never had more than another 4 people at a time with us at a time.
Two major differences about this safari from any other I’ve been on, was the truck was completely open, so we had no roof at all. Which did feel a bit exposed at first, but it gave us great 360 views and after about 15 minutes you get used to it. The second was that we had two guides, Anthony who sat basically on the truck's bonnet was our tracker, and Tyron who was our driver/host. I think it made a big difference having two people guiding us and making sure they found every animal. Within the first day on safari we had seen 4 of the big 5!
Tips for safari
Bring a jumper, temperatures tend to drop in the evenings/early morning. So make sure you have a jumper to keep you warm. I’d recommend opting for light trousers like compats also.
Bring a refillable water bottle.
Bring a hat and wear spf! Once the sun comes it can be quite intense.
Never get off the truck if you haven't been instructed to do so.
On our last day at Thorny Bush we went on a day trip to visit the Norish community, an organisation funded by Thorny Bush that helps the local community. We went on a village tour with a local named Martin, and he showed us how some of the locals live. We were met with warm welcomes and asked to join many in there homes. I even had my future told by a lovely witch doctor.
If i can recommend doing any additional activities it would be this.
Which accommodation you choose really balls down to budget, imo, they are both beautifully designed, comfortable and very luxurious. I think the tents were my favourite as I loved the design, they did feel extremely luxurious which we all know is a bit of me!