- 10 contemporary chalets
- Opened in May 2017
- Pool, gym & spa
- Close to Victoria Falls
Located just a short distance from the world-renowned Victoria Falls, Zambia’s Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park is the home of the luxurious Thorntree River Lodge which opened its doors in May 2017. Set on the banks of the Zambezi River and open from June to October every year, Thorntree has a pristine, contemporary feel and is made up of ten spacious stone and thatch chalets, eight of which are double suites, along with two family units. The lodge also features a small library with Wi-Fi, a gym, a swimming pool, and a lovely spa overlooking the Zambezi River. While staying at Thorntree, guests can enjoy river cruises, fishing excursions, and visits to Victoria Falls. The area around the lodge is teeming with wildlife, and guests can usually spot zebras, antelope, giraffes and warthogs among the animals that roam the area.
Inspired by local customs and culture, Thorntree River Lodge is environmentally designed with tented roof structures to give it an authentic African feel. The eye-catching communal deck sits right at the river’s edge, and houses a sunken ‘boma’ and an enticing infinity pool. The main communal area features a small library, a large lounge with a bar area, and a striking open dining area. In warmer months, guests dine outdoors, serenaded by the gentle sounds of the river. Each of the lodge’s double suites boasts its own indoor and outdoor bathroom and private plunge pool.
For anyone wishing to take a closer look at the local wildlife, we recommend game drives around Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, and walking safaris with lions at the adjacent Lion Encounter Centre, where the money earned from the walking tours is used to support an excellent programme which nurtures the young cubs of captive-bred African lions before releasing them into the wild. Of course, there’s no need to go far at all to spot animals; elephants often wander near the lodge, and hippos can sometimes be seen cooling off in the river.
Other activities from Thorntree include sunset cruises, and of course a visit to the breath taking Victoria Falls where it’s possible to simply relax and enjoy the fabulous views, go shopping, or participate in a multitude of water and adrenalin sports (subject to additional cost). The Livingstone Museum is also worth a visit, and strolls into the nearby village to learn more about local customs, observe day to day life within the community, and perhaps purchase a souvenir from the African craft markets are highly recommended.
Families are more than welcome at Thorntree, and many of the activities are suitable for small children. Each of the two family suites comprises four beds, with inter-leading walkways between parent and child bedrooms, both of which have en-suite bathrooms. Parents should note that the lodge is unfenced, and while the likelihood of wildlife approaching the lodge is low, children must be supervised at all times.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing Value KZN Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019