We’ll take care of your every need and desire while you’re here with us at the lodge and exploring our wild neighbourhood on game drive or a bush walk.
You’ll find everything you need to ease into comfort and encounter Africa’s most alluring wildlife during your safari, but we want you to know there’s more…
We are closely connected with the best operators in the area who specialise in exploration and conservation in our reserve and beyond our borders. Our positioning in the Greater Kruger puts us within one of the most biodiverse regions of South Africa, and there are a variety of ways you can see so much more of what makes this area special and the different ways it is protected and conserved.
Take to the skies in a helicopter flip with renowned conservation pilot, Jana Meyer.
Our belief in giving back to the environment we call home has led us to a collaborative partnership with one of the area’s most celebrated and skilled helicopter pilots. As our guests, you have the opportunity to soar above the bush with Jana and experience the rush of flying over the Greater Kruger Park and into the waterfalls, woodlands, and exposed cliff faces of the Blyde River Canyon – the largest green canyon in the world.
You will begin the ride of your life right at our doorstep as Jana lands her helicopter alongside the lodge in the bush, and you’ll cruise upward and overhead, leaving us behind and ready to welcome you on your return.
This is an exhilarating, eye-opening, and scenically spectacular excursion that can either be a short one-hour trip, or you can linger longer and have a glass of champagne with the best view in the world, or land for lunch at a famous eatery along the mountain pass. We will arrange for Jana to fetch you after your morning game drive and breakfast, so you don’t have to miss out on a thing.
Take it all in and learn from Jana’s expertise and life working with threatened and rescued wildlife, anti-poaching operations, and a host of critical conservation operations that contribute to the wellbeing of our environment.
- Morning game drive
- Breakfast at Serondella
- Pick up in helicopter at the lodge
- One hour scenic flight to Blyde River Canyon
- Option to land for a glass of bubbles before returning to the lodge
(or plan to have lunch at the Chubby Pig eatery before flying back to the lodge)
- Land at Serondella
Hot air balloon trip
Float through the skies at sunrise and soak in the view of Drakensberg mountains and the bush beyond.
Unlike the high speed thrill and dynamic flight of a helicopter flip through the canyon, a hot-air balloon flight is a slower paced open-air cruise anywhere between tree-top height and 2,000 feet up. The early morning air and 360-degree views of this unique landscape at the foot of the Drakensberg Escarpment is exhilarating and revitalising.
This is an opportunity to gaze in wonder at the complex ecosystem beneath you – a view that encompasses the sloping blue facade of the mountain, the patchwork of citrus orchards and agricultural land, and the protected wilderness reserves of the Greater Kruger alongside it. Human settlements along the border of wildlife territory is a very real picture of modern Africa, and it carries a unique beauty, especially when backed by the great “Dragon’s Mountain”.
Flights start as early as 05h30 in mid-summer, and 06h30 in mid-winter. Getting to the launch site just outside the town of Hoedspruit takes about an hour from Serondella, so it will be an early start at the lodge, but we’ll make sure you have your coffee and homemade treats to keep you company on the road. Part of the excitement is watching the hot-air balloon inflate into an 8-storey-tall colourful chariot before you board and take off as the sun rises and ignites the Earth with its amber light.
- Early wake-up call at Serondella (time TBD depending on season)
- Road transfer to hot-air balloon launch site (±1 hour)
- Arrive at launch site to welcoming coffee and watch balloon being inflated
- Lift off (05h10 in summer, 06h10 in winter)
- 1 hour flight along the Drakensberg Escarpment
- Land and enjoy bubbles back on solid ground
- Road transfer back to Serondella for breakfast
k9 unit demonstration
Gain a deeper understanding of how highly trained dogs and Field Rangers are keeping our wildlife safe.
The boundaries of the Thornybush Nature Reserve, which we call home, are protected by a combination of anti-poaching strategies and approaches, all working together to foster a safe and sustainable future for both wildlife and people. One of the most impactful teams doing daily work in the reserve is the Tango K9 Unit – a highly trained squad of multipurpose canines that are capable of complex scent detection and human tracking.
Alongside their human handlers, the eight dogs currently trained members of Tango K9, are able to detect various types of contraband, whether that be illegal ammunition or animal products, like rhino horn. Highly motivated and driven Dutch shepherds and Belgian malinois anticipate every search task with eager excitement, and exceptional trailing hound breeds offer the extraordinary ability to track human scent (cold or hot, backwards, or forwards) through the complex terrain of the bush.
As our guests, you’ll have the opportunity to meet this team of dogs and handlers and to watch them at work in a simulated tracking and detection exercise which will demonstrate (much to the delight of the dogs) exactly what they are capable of. We’ll drive you to the training base where you’ll learn more about the risks and rewards of this work in anti-poaching, and see first-hand how effective this dynamic duo is in conservation.
- Morning game drive with a coffee stop at the K9 base
- Spend an hour meeting the team and watching a demonstration with the
dogs and handlers
- Continue game drive and arrive back at Serondella
- Breakfast at the lodge