Have you always wanted to take a bath in the outdoors, with the chance of an elephant wandering by? Then Thornybush Game Lodge is the place for you.
First, though, you’ll start your day early — before sunrise — with a quick breakfast of homemade muffins and roiboos tea. Then you’re off to explore the 14 000 hectares of Thornybush Nature Reserve in an open Land Rover with your guide and tracker.
My first Thornybush safari was quite typical: we stopped by a watering hole and watched elephants drink and give themselves a shower, then they lumbered off to eat, passing within a few feet of our vehicle. We saw a mother white rhino with her months-old baby. We drove through a herd of Cape buffalo, passed a giraffe family, and then found three lions lolling in the sun.
Then you can return to your suite (there are only 18, plus two family suites) for your bath. All sorts of animals come down to the river bed near your tub — antelopes are the most common peeping Toms, but there was an elephant two days before my arrival. Don’t feel like getting naked outdoors? Head to the spa, the pool, or just relax on your private deck.
After lunch, and then high tea, you’re back out for another game drive (before you depart, your steward will confirm your choice of cocktail for your sundowner). At the end of this game drive you’ll head back to the lodge in the dark; but don’t worry — your tracker will keep his sharp eyes and flashlight moving through the trees to make sure a leopard doesn’t jump down into your Land Rover.
When you get back to the lodge, a three-course candlelight dinner will be served on the patio by the pool or you’ll be treated to a braai (barbeque) in the boma (a fenced-in enclosure).
After dinner you’ll return to your suite, where your steward has drawn the mosquito nets, turned down your bed, and, if you’re visiting in winter, tucked in a hot water bottle to keep your feet warm.