Shumbalala Game Lodge

Shumbalala Game Lodge

Thornybush Game Reserve Greater Kruger, Kruger National Park 1380 South Africa
Traveller (416)
Shumbalala sunset with sundowners
Room & Suite (72)
Dining (23)
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About

5.0
#2 of 7 lodges in Thornybush Private Game Reserve
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Value
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
It’s a vast, wild place where the lions roam at Shumbalala Game Lodge, deep in the Thornybush GameReserve, one of the country’s great tracts of untamed game-viewing.Set as it is in a dry, singeing savanna of Mopane, Acacias and Umbrella thorns, quartered by easterly-flowing rivers densely shrouded in giant figs, fever trees and phoenix palms, the land is an ancient tapestry of natural wonder.Over-head the Loeries call their sharp warning while horn-bills swoop in an ungainly ballet between trees whilst vultures elevate on thermals portending an electric storm.As you push on through the bush it is the serendipity of nature that amazes most as your vehicle skirts art deco zebra, dozy giraffe, bright eyed bush babies, wildebeest (made, it is said, by the committee of left-over parts) and the rest Africa has to offer.It is even more of an adventure when you stumble upon a leopard lazing in the V of a Jackalberry tree or; a hyena giving you a lazy yellow eye in the gathering dusk; a majestic bull elephant crashing its way through the riverine thicket in search of sweet reeds or; a surprise sunrise encounter with a lion pride on the prowl.This is the world of Shumbalala.
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Property amenities
Free parking
Free internet
Pool
Free breakfast
Babysitting
Airport transportation
Gift shop
Mosquito net
Wifi
Paid wifi
Pool / beach towels
Pool with view
Outdoor pool
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Breakfast buffet
Special diet menus
Shuttle bus service
Non-smoking hotel
Outdoor fireplace
Shared lounge / TV area
Shops
Sun terrace
24-hour front desk
Private check-in / check-out
Laundry service
Ironing service
Room features
Bathrobes
Air conditioning
Fireplace
Housekeeping
Room service
Coffee / tea maker
Minibar
Bath / shower
Safe
Seating area
Telephone
VIP room facilities
Wake-up service / alarm clock
Complimentary toiletries
Hair dryer
Room types
Bridal suite
Non-smoking rooms
Suites
Family rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to TGCSA - Tourism Grading Council of South Africa.
5.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Luxury
Charming
Languages Spoken
Afrikaans

Location

Thornybush Game Reserve Greater Kruger, Kruger National Park 1380 South Africa
Getting there
Hoedspruit Airport
15.4 km
See all flights
Ngala Airfield
17.3 km
See all flights
1 Attraction
within 10 kilometers
406Reviews2Q+A100Room tips
Traveller rating
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Detailed Reviews
PhillipN741 wrote a review Feb 2020
Chedworth
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This beautiful oasis in the Thornbury Private Game Reserve is a very special place to enjoy a top Safari in The Kruga National Park. Just a small number of lodges offering every comfort occupy this perfect setting in the bush.
Nothing is left to chance and Suzette and her team work tirelessly to ensure your stay is a memorable one. With large lodges and a expansive deck overlooking the river, you will be sure to experience animals right from the comfort and safety of your lodge.
The library, lounge, restaurant, bar and general areas are equipped luxuriously with every comfort and service provided. Marco the chef is top notch, passionate about his food and will see you each day with his dinner suggestions. The food is outstanding whether breakfast, tea before going on the sundown game drive or dinner set in such a delightful location which can vary to suit the mood!
The Safaris are undertaken to provide a truly personal experience with Ranger Tim and Tracker Sam who looked after us the week we were there. Knowledge is king and they have it in abundance. We saw over twenty different animals and goodness how many birds and insects. And we saw lots of them and so close up within touching distance, touching not recommended!!! We felt completely safe in such capable hands. We saw the big five pretty much every day.
In between the morning and evening safaris you can enjoy the comforts of the pool area, relax elsewhere, take a walk in the bush with the ranger and so much more.
Thank you Suzette, you are a brilliant host, thank you Marco for the great food, thank you Francois and Sheila for looking after us so well and Sarah for keeping our lodge spotless. Finally Tim and Sam for imparting their great knowledge to us on some wonderful bush trips.
Highly recommended.
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Simon C wrote a review Feb 2020
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Shumbalala means where the lion sleeps in the local language. And on our first morning game drive we saw a pride of lions asleep in the morning sun about 5m from the side of our land cruiser.
It was to be an experience to be repeated many times over the course of our three night stay in February as we saw all of the big five on many occasions. As Safari novices we were not sure exactly what to expect but our guide Francois and tracker Randzani expertly guided us through the vast array of mammals and birds, insects and reptiles, shrubs and trees until we were pointing out orange billed hornbills and estimating the age of young elephants from their tusks.
Randzani even took us down from the jeep one morning and patiently took us through the clues to be read in a pair of hoof prints until we were able to identify a female wildebeest walking slowly in a south easterly direction towards a water hole.
Francois was dedicated in ensuring we ticked off our goals to see the big five including the rhinos which are sadly threatened by poaching to the edge of extinction. The game reserves have now resorted to removing the horns that make them so valuable to poachers (they grow back slowly like toenails!) but this makes them more suspicious of humans .
The highlights of our game drives included two leopards in a tree with their kill, giraffes “necking” in a gentle test of supremacy, and a young lion stalking a buffalo at the edge of the water hole. But all of this was surpassed by an encounter with a herd of elephants on our final morning.
Francois pulled over at the edge of the track as the herd approached and proceeded gently passed the vehicle. Around 25 of these magnificent creatures walked by, completely unconcerned by our presence and quite literally close enough to touch. If this had been our first day we would have been concerned but having observed them earlier it was clear that if we kept still and quiet, we presented no threat to them. There were several calves with their mothers and several large bulls, but they continued to graze and drink as if we were not there.
It was a true privilege to experience a little of their lives in this way and I can only hope that through the work of the reserves across Africa, such an experience can still be there for generations to follow.

The rest of the staff in the lodge were also outstanding from Sheila and Busi who looked after us and Sarah who kept our room clean and tidy. Eating delicious food under the stars while elephants drank at the water hole nearby is a very special memory.

Shumbalala deliberately limits the number of guests so there is a fantastic level of personal service. You feel pampered and welcomed and well cared for in every aspect.

This was our first safari and so we do not have a benchmark against which to compare. But I think it will be very hard to top this in terms of the access to the animals, the knowledge of the guide and tracker , the wonderful food and the comfort in which we stayed. Thanks to all of the staff for a wonderful stay and we hope to visit again in the future.
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Date of stay: February 2020Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
SvenGravendeel wrote a review Mar 2020
The Netherlands
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
On our first ever trip to South Africa we stayed at the Shumbalala Lodge for three nights. After our short trip from Dullstroom to the lodge we arrive at the welcome centre of the reserve where we unloaded our suitcases into the lodges 4 by 4. Arriving at the lodge we were overwhelmed with the views from the main deck, the room. From your own deck you can see the rive and small waterhole were animals pass by during the day as if the guests are not there.

The food whether breakfast lunch or dinner was extraordinary and no chance was left unused to surprise us. When one night the weather outside was a bit too windy we were invited to a romantic dinner inside our own room while the rain was pooring outside.

The game drives were outstanding as well, simply because in these private reserves they do not allow too many vehicles so once something is spotted the rangers will inform each other and make sure that sightings stay exclusive as well.

For now, a once in a lifetime experience but we have no intention to leave it this way.
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Date of stay: February 2020
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Room Tip: All rooms in my opinion are superb and deliver a very unique experience with a view to die for
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Valerie Ledterman wrote a review Mar 2020
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Some friends of mine and I recently returned from a trip to South Africa that included three nights at the Shumbalala. All I can say is WOW!

If you are looking for a premier, first-class location with the BEST service ever, choose the Shumbalala! It is worth every dime you spend. The accommodations were lush and beautiful. The pictures posted here are amazing but don’t do it justice—it’s absolutely gorgeous!

Our guide, Tim, and spotter, Sam showed amazing knowledge on each of our game drives. It was beyond thrilling to be in the Bush with all the animals.

Suzette, our Host, along with Sheila, Marco, Oneika and Francois were attentive and saw to our every need and desire for food, drink, comfort and housekeeping. I can’t speak highly enough of them ALL! Thank you for making our trip of a lifetime the best ever!
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Date of stay: January 2020Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Adele G wrote a review Aug 2021
Columbia Falls, Montana
5.0 of 5 bubbles
I had been in Kenya and Tanzania with my sister, using a regular high end tour group. Then met up with a Photography Guide with whom I went to Botswana and then Shumbalala in South Africa. Although each place I stayed was great, Shumbalala surpassed my expectations. I have food allergies that were handled by the chef in gourmet style so I did not feel I was missing out on anything. The room accommodations were spacious and well appointed. The people who cared for me really did care for me. Game drives were flexible and accommodating to my interests, especially the sightings of Leopards with their kills in the trees and Lion with lion cubs, which filled the gaps from my earlier stays in Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. The guide and tracker were interesting and informative. Most importantly, I felt quite safe which is important for a woman traveling solo.
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Date of stay: August 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Mike V wrote a review Jul 2023
Gilroy, California
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Stayed 2 nights - exceptional sightings on every drive. Lodge location and setting on the Monwana river bed is awesome - makes for very memorable breakfast/lunch/dinner experiences. Lodge staff are very friendly, courteous and professional. Our ranger and tracker were excellent and made every effort to locate animals which we wanted to see. Highly recommended establishment for those wanting a great safari experience with a touch of class.
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Date of stay: June 2023
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Jeandra Swan, General Manager at Shumbalala Game Lodge
Responded 11 Jul 2023
Hi Mike Thank you very much for your review. We hope to welcome you back again soon!
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Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Michelle Schoeman wrote a review May 2021
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Shumbalala is an oasis in the bush - an absolutely stunning lodge, with amazing people and mouth-watering food. The game viewing was just wonderful, and both Sam (the tracker) and Edward (the ranger) were extremely knowledgeable and informative (also very patient with all my questions). The rooms were impeccably clean, and beyond beautiful (the rooms overlook a waterhole which was regularly visited by elephants). Shumbalala is exceptional, not only for its location, and its game, but also for the people behind the scenes, who should be lauded. Thank you Danielle, Edward, Sam, Gail and everyone else for making my stay so memorable.
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Date of stay: April 2021
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Room Tip: You can't go wrong with any of the rooms, they are all beautiful
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DCinDC wrote a review Oct 2023
Washington DC, District of Columbia
5.0 of 5 bubbles
My recent stay at Shumbalala Lodge was defined by the warm staff and spacious accommodations. We tried to manage our hopes of seeing the Big Five, but Kings (our knowledgeable field guide) and Peter (our tracker with 18 years of experience in the bush!), far exceeded our expectations. We saw two lion kills, two leopard kills, the famed Maphoza lion up close, rhinos, elephants, and so much more both on land and in the sky thanks to them and they kept us laughing and entertained throughout it all, including dinner which we invited them to join us on our last night. After each game drive/bush walk, we were greeted by a smiling Lani (along with a welcome drink.)

The dining experience was equally as enjoyable due to Irene, our waitress, who took such good care of us (adapting to our needs, joking with us and more), while serving the delicious food prepared by the chefs.

The accommodations at Shumbalala Lodge were comfy and spacious. We were lucky to witness elephants coming to drink from the pool and baboons visiting us on our deck. One minor suggestion would be to allow guests close to the main lodge (like us) to be able to walk to our rooms without an escort (though I understand the need to be cautious for rooms farther away.) Overall, it was a lovely, unique experience at Shumbalala and I hope to be back one day.
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Date of stay: October 2023Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Jeandra Swan, General Manager at Shumbalala Game Lodge
Responded 24 Jan 2024
Thank you very much for the wonderful feedback The gameviewing on the Thornybush Reserve is indeed of extremely high quality! With regards to walking you to your rooms - we are required to do so for safety reasons - the camp is only fenced for elephant but all predators can still enter the camp - we value your safety! :)
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Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Danielle T wrote a review Feb 2022
Gosport, United Kingdom
5.0 of 5 bubbles
If you are considering a safari this small game lodge is perfect. All the staff were so knowledgeable, helpful and friendly. The location was amazing and we were fortunate to have the elephants drink from the pool, see a lion, buffalo and elephant at watering hole which is visible from the pool / dining and drink area.

The two Danielles and Gale looked after us so well in between our game drives and we’re always available.

We had amazing game drives with Bryce and Sam being the perfect pair tracking and spotting the endless animals.

First class accommodation and food…. We couldn’t fault anything with our stay.

We will be returning and highly recommend this accommodation.
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Date of stay: February 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
AES999 wrote a review Jun 2022
Pretoria, South Africa
5.0 of 5 bubbles
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! We had a fantastic stay at Shumbalala Game Lodge. The Lodge is truly 5-star with great rooms that have wood fireplaces for the cold winter evenings, Danielle and Gale are the perfect hostesses and the food is fantastic. Bryce and Peter are brilliant and very knowledgeable guides and we saw lions, leopards and buffaloes thanks to their tracking and bush skills. Thanks to everyone for a wonderful stay. We will be back!
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Review collected in partnership with this hotel
Date of stay: June 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
michellemilash asked a question Sept 2017
michelleb_0427 contributions34 helpful votes
Hi do does the lodge provide transport to and from Hoedspruit airport? Thank you
Answer from Joanne D
Sydney, Australia38 contributions4 helpful votes
You would have to contact the Lodge. We booked with a specialist African Travel company and they organised transfers.
Mike J asked a question Jan 2017
Kouklia, Cyprus1 contribution
Do you daily rates include game drives?
Answer from SnrMngmnt
South Africa
Rates include all meals, two game drives per day, a game walk in the middle of the day, all meals and drinks during game drive. Extras for your account will be drinks at the lodge and other extras such as laundry, etc
Julius N wrote a tip Mar 2024
Sliema, Malta35 contributions47 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Shumbalal thinks of it alll!"
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GarethJoanne wrote a tip Dec 2023
Surrey, United Kingdom31 contributions4 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you are considering booking here - stop thinking and reserve!"
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bugsdewar wrote a tip Oct 2023
Melbourne, Australia8 contributions15 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Couldnt be any better game lodge experience in South Africa "
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lolipop177 wrote a tip Apr 2023
Liverpool, United Kingdom356 contributions20 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Take a power bank for your phone for piccies as load shedding is a big thing in Africa"
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Camilla M wrote a tip Mar 2023
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Blyde canyon river is nearby if you want to do a day excursion. "
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Thornybush Private Game Reserve area.
PRICE RANGE
R 27,840 - R 33,318 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
ALSO KNOWN AS
shumbalala game hotel thornybush private game reserve
LOCATION
South AfricaKruger National ParkThornybush Private Game Reserve
NUMBER OF ROOMS
5
Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect average nightly room rates, including taxes and fees that are fixed, known to our partners, and due at time of booking. Please see our partners for more details.
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SHUMBALALA GAME LODGE - Reviews & Price Comparison (Thornybush Private Game Reserve, South Africa)

Frequently Asked Questions about Shumbalala Game Lodge
What are some of the property amenities at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, a pool, and an on-site restaurant.
Which room amenities are available at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Top room amenities include a minibar, air conditioning, and a fireplace.
What food & drink options are available at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Are there opportunities to exercise at Shumbalala Game Lodge?
Yes, guests have access to a pool during their stay.
Does Shumbalala Game Lodge have airport transportation?
Yes, Shumbalala Game Lodge offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Is Shumbalala Game Lodge accessible?
Yes, it offers wheelchair access. For specific enquiries, we recommend calling ahead to confirm.
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