New Look: Thornybush Game Lodge

WORDS Michaela Stehr IMAGES Supplied

A beloved Kruger resort received a contemporary makeover that exudes classic safari charm with a modern edge.

Thornybush Game Lodge underwent a top-to-toe refurbishment that took a seven-week closure and a decor overhaul by Caline Williams-Wynn and the designers at Artichoke. Bringing the outside in, the team placed a large emphasis on textures and tones, from wood, steel and leather to rattan, all highlighted by neutral pops of colour like charcoal, saffron and green – the visual palate of a safari holiday.

“The new look for Thornybush Game Lodge is all about what the guests can see and touch. It’s all in the detail but at the same time not minimising all the comforts required for a 5-star Lodge. The colour palette has longevity and is classic” says Williams-Wynn. 

Another task for the team was to minimalise clutter and pare back the style of the lodge, creating a spacious feel, that places more emphasis on the experience and being in nature. Offering 16 luxury suites, the lodge aims to bring a 5-star quality to being in the bush. “Thornybush Game Lodge has been reimagined but yet still preserving its legendary charm and history. As a result, it will continue to make it a favourite South African Lodge because of the hospitality, staff and amazing game-viewing experiences” says Melanie Parker – Head of Operations at Thornybush. 

Thornybush Game Lodge

An introduction to a library to the lodge adds sophisticated flair to the communal spaces, where guests can relax and have private events in an area with a beautifully curated wall of artefacts and art pieces that tell the story and history of Game Lodge and the Kruger National Park. 

“We aim to nurture the guests’ curiosity about the flora and fauna of the area. The guests are encouraged to rifle through the library cupboards exploring specimens that have been collected in the Thornybush area and read the factual and fascinating information that the Thornybush head guides have written about each specimen on the tags provided” says curator Gina Waldman of Waldman Studios. “This experience is very different from viewing live animals in the wild. It’s rather exciting to pick up a giraffe bone and feel the weight of this or look at how thick a giraffe tail hair actually is up close enhancing the game viewing experience. The idea is that the collection will be a growing library and will evolve yearly as the guides find more exciting items and can be enjoyed by all for generations to come,” adds Waldman. 

The pool area has also been increased in size offering guests more opportunities to lounge and soak in the Kruger sunshine. The bar area has had a make-over, with the bar counter sporting a beautiful tiled front, the perfect spot to enjoy a post-game drive G & T or a nightcap. Guests will also notice new decks and flooring throughout. 

“Thornybush strives to continually improve the way we operate and to be aware of our impact on our surrounding areas and communities. A major focus of the refurbishment was to make Game Lodge more sustainable. This has been made possible by the implementation of our own solar plant at Game Lodge which distributes power to this lodge and Saseka Tented Camp and there are plans in place to get more of our lodges, including Simbambili in the Sabi Sands, onto solar to further reduce our carbon footprint across the Group” adds Parker. 

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