Memorable moments at Thornybush Game Lodge

After spotting a leopard (and the rest of the Big 5) on our first game drive at Thornybush, and then an incredible wild dog and hyena hunt on our second day, it’s hard to imagine that there were any other safari experiences left to enjoy, but that is the beauty of the bush! There’s always something new and exciting just around the corner. You just have to keep looking!

On our final morning at Thornybush Game Lodge we were particularly keen to find a few more elephants. We placed our “order” with Enock and Freddy, and yet again they didn’t disappoint. By the end of our visit our “checklist of incredible game sightings” was completed with an amazing sighting of swimming elephants.

Yes, not just an elephant slowly ambling along the road. Four huge elephants SWIMMING in a dam. They were rough housing and play fighting and just having a total ball with each other. It was mind-blowing to watch. Animals spending their morning just having fun – for the joy of it all! I couldn’t get enough. The whole experience just lifted my own mindset and I realised that we’ve all been created for a life full of joyful moments – we have to seek them out, and celebrate them! Just like the ellies!!

Let it be said that swimming elephants ranks right up there as one of my most memorable sightings. In fact almost all of my most memorable animal sightings have been in Thornybush Nature Reserve. Along with this one and our wild dogs vs hyena hunt, previous visits to this reserve have seen us enjoying lions on a hunt and a gorgeous lazy leopard in a tree.

And yet our morning wasn’t over yet. This last game drive at Thornybush delivered again, and again.

Our elephant encounter left us all on an ecstatic high, buzzing with energy we were just leaving the sighting when we almost rode over a lazy lion just lounging in the road! To be fair even the almost always alert impala hadn’t spotted him either!

We stopped to let him continue his rest and spent time observing this king of the savanna, only realising when he stood up and revealed his one blind eye did we realise this was more Scar than Mufasa!

After our morning tea break a safe distance away from prowling lions, we spent time observing beautiful birds, finding a few new babies and learning about giraffe’s necks – even watching how they swallow and regurgitate. Completely fascinating!

And then, just as we were heading back for breakfast, there was one more epic sighting to enjoy… in typical Thornybush fashion! A female leopard had been seen stalking through the bush and we were lucky enough to catch up with her as she made her way quickly through the grass, clearly on a mission.

The beauty of visiting a private game reserve is that you are able to enjoy these moments thanks to the frequent radio contact between rangers and the number of vehicles keeping their eyes peeled.

We were so grateful to be with this beauty when she decided to make her way up into a tree and then for our ranger who maneuvered the vehicle to allow me to take some epic photos – the ones wildlife photographers dream of for a lifetime!

I was truly blessed with some amazing shots of this encounter and it felt like a fitting end to our Thornybush stay, especially considering our first encounter had been with this green-eyed beauty’s son! A full circle moment.

Truly Thornybush Game Lodge served us up a soul experience like no other and it was with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to the incredible staff, beautiful lodge and unmatched animal sightings.


Read more about our stay at Thornybush Game Lodge in these posts…

Big 5 encounters at Thornybush Game Lodge

The call of the wild: Our family safari to Thornybush


P.S. There are currently some amazing special deals on offer to South African residents. Find out how you and your family can enjoy the magic of the bush at Thornybush!

Contact Thornybush Game Lodge

Thornybush Nature Reserve
Guernsey Road
Tel: +27 11 253 6500

Thornybush Nature Reserve Gate : -24.428404, 31.128351

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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