The 14,000-hectare Thornybush Nature Reserve was one of the original private nature reserves in the greater Kruger area with the first commercial lodge, Thornybush Game Lodge, opening its doors in 1961.

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A committed conservation ethos protecting the flora and fauna of the South African lowveld.

From those early days, the Thornybush Nature Reserve and its members have been involved in a range of conservation and community projects including the first ever translocation of a mixed group of adult and juvenile elephants that were relocated from other areas in South Africa to Thornybush.

As this group of elephants was made up of partially tame “cull orphans” they were eventually felt to be unsuitable for an authentic tourism reserve and were later relocated to another reserve.

In 1992, Thornybush became the recipient of a family group of elephants from Kruger, known in those early days as the Shingwedzi herd due to the area of the Kruger in which they originated. They were a particularly relaxed family group that provided hours of viewing pleasure for guests. They later became known as the Madala herd and have continued to make Thornybush Nature Reserve part of their home range even after the eastern fence bordering the Greater Kruger and Timbavati Nature Reserve was dropped in 2017.

The removal of this fence means that Thornybush Nature Reserve is open to the world-famous Kruger National Park and allows wildlife to roam freely across the reserve.

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