A stay at the Thornybush starts off well with a hearty welcome from the pleasant staff and a glass of homemade lemonade to give you a kick after your long journey. After passing the round table adorned with plants that stands at the lodge's entrance, it is nice to be able to settle straight into the lounge area where the formalities are taken care of. This latter features a seating area with wingback chairs and sofas arranged in a square around a coffee table with orchids and books. Just by it is the lodge's curio shop which sells a variety of jewellery, clothing and arts and crafts from local communities. A little further down the path is the heart of the camp a larger, cosier lounge space with smart seating and a deck looking out into the bushveld. Decorated with an array of pottery, glassware and other forms of art, the thatched room is an ideal place to spend your post-game drive afternoons relaxing with a drink or good book. Another place you could do the same is around the infinity pool which, while well exposed to the sun, doesn't have the best of views with think shrubbery blocking the unfolding wilderness beyond. Surrounded by terracotta coloured paving and neatly constructed low walls, the pool has sun loungers and is totally tranquil.
The Amani spa is perhaps one of the main reasons to consider the Thornybush. Small but perfectly formed, it offers a wide range of treatments in its well equipped, beautifully furnished rooms which also have relaxation gardens with hydrotherapy tubs, outdoor steam showers, rock pools and sun loungers. Treatments on offer include holistic body rituals, massages (aromatherapy, hot stone, reflexology, scalp, foot), facials (anti-ageing, hydrating) and manicures and pedicures. There are also several treatments for men only as well as packages for couples and brides. A novel addition to the spa menu is treatments for kids! A foot massage to improve sleep, a chest massage to alleviate cold symptoms and even manicures and pedicures are available for children between the ages of 2 and 12.
Children of all ages are welcome at Thornybush and as such there are a number of activities available to them. As well as having special snacks during their game drives they can also enjoy picnics by the pool, educational walks with specially assigned rangers and treasure hunts around the lodge. Each child will also receive a backpack with colouring book, crayons and toy. For adults there are also 'extra curricular' activities including an eight-hour panoramic drive to see some of the region's most scenic areas, a visit to a leopard breeding centre, a balloon safari and a flight in a light aircraft or helicopter for some stunning aerial views of the bush and its surroundings.
The lodge as a whole is well maintained and is clean and orderly throughout. The abundance of light and the open spaces give it a special atmosphere which is perfect for families (not that couples wouldn't enjoy it too). The staff is extremely agreable and will certainly lake your stay a memorable one. There is no wifi at the lodge although there is a PC for guests to use to surf the internet.