Thornybush Nature Reserve

Shumbalala Game Lodge


Sustainable bushveld escape

Nestled within the rugged and untamed wilderness of Thornybush Nature Reserve, along the banks of the seasonal Monwana river lies the exquisite Shumbalala Game Lodge.

A luxurious retreat that offers guests the ultimate safari experience, this intimate lodge boasts five exclusive suites, four superior and one presidential. Each suite has an overhead fan, air conditioning, open fireplaces and glass front with a private viewing deck to look out into the magical African bush. Bathrooms (all with in- and outside showers) have their own glass picture windows to watch the wild world go by. The presidential suite even has its own plunge pool, providing a secluded and tranquil retreat.

The lodge's prime position overlooking a watering hole allows guests to witness an array of wildlife in their natural habitat, from majestic elephants to elusive leopards. Shumbalala’s main area blends seamlessly with the surrounding landscape, featuring a refined lounge, a well-stocked bar, and a dining area that serves up gastronomic delights using locally-sourced ingredients. After dinner, guests can take in the mesmerising constellations above from their private decks or through the lodge's state-of-the-art telescope.


At a glance

  • Five suites

  • Outdoor showers

  • Private decks

  • Restaurant and bar

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  • Shumbalala Game Lodge SA gaem drive

    Game drives

    Led by experienced guides, these exhilarating game drives take you deep into the Thornybush Nature Reserve, where you can spot the Big Five and other wildlife up close.

  • Shumbalala Game Lodge SA walk

    Bush walks

    Discover the reserve's diverse flora and fauna on foot, as knowledgeable guides take you on a walking safari, offering a unique perspective on the African bush.

  • Shumbalala Game Lodge SA bird

    Bird watching

    The Thornybush Nature Reserve is a bird lover's paradise, with over 500 bird species to spot, including eagles, vultures, and kingfishers.

Community & culture

Shumbalala Game Lodge is committed to giving back to the local community and has initiated various community projects over the years. One of their key initiatives is the Shumbalala Preschool Project, which provides early childhood education and care to children in the neighbouring rural communities. As guests of the lodge, you are invited to contribute to these projects through donations or by participating in fundraising events organized by the lodge, making a positive impact on the local community and the environment.


As a responsible safari lodge, Shumbalala Game Lodge is committed to protecting and conserving the environment and wildlife in the Thornybush Nature Reserve. The lodge is involved in a number of conservation projects, including anti-poaching initiatives, monitoring of endangered species, and wildlife rehabilitation programs. Shumbalala Game Lodge is actively involved in research and data collection on the reserve's biodiversity, contributing to the scientific understanding and protection of the area. Through their conservation efforts, the lodge aims to preserve the natural beauty and wildlife of the Thornybush Nature Reserve for future generations to enjoy.


Shumbalala Game Lodge is committed to promoting sustainable tourism practices and minimizing their environmental impact. The lodge uses renewable energy sources, including solar power, to reduce their carbon footprint. They also have implemented water-saving measures, such as rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling, to reduce their water usage. Additionally, the lodge uses locally-sourced, organic produce for their meals, supporting the local economy and reducing food miles. They also minimize waste by composting and recycling. Through these sustainability practices, Shumbalala Game Lodge aims to protect the environment and promote responsible tourism.

What makes us different

Why Niarra

Niarra Travel is a forward-thinking travel company headquartered in London born out of a passion to do things differently.

In Swahili, a Bantu language spoken by millions in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, the name Niara means "with utmost purpose" and our team are united by a passion for exploration and a belief that the right kind of travel can make the world a better place.

Our Travel Researchers are here to create incredible trips with a positive impact for you.

  • Unforgettable experiences

    Creating your trip is entirely collaborative and our Travel Researchers are here for every step.

  • Positive impact

    Curated sustainable experiences and accommodation that maximize the benefits to local people and place.

  • Fairness and transparency

    An open, competitive pricing structure that ensures more money goes to where it's needed in the destination.

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