Thornybush History

A Brief History of the Reserve & Surrounds

The reserve was a consortium of various landowners utilizing the area as a “Big Five” hunting area as well as leisure operations. A true character in his own right, Colonel Dyanson opened one of the very first “safari” lodges in the Thornybush area all the way back in 1961. The area adjoining the reserve was always mixed game and cattle ranching, although Thornybush was always pure game. Through the decades, farms were incorporated, sold, fences were put up, taken down and in 1991, Trevor Jordan and partners went into partnership with the Dyanson family and the reserve was divided in half – the northern section and the southern section.

The ultimate aim, was, of course, to incorporate Thornybush into the wild Timbavati Game reserve, and as an eventuality, to remove the fence between the two reserves. The mid-1990s saw huge interest in Anton Rupert and Robbie Robertson’s move to incorporate the “western” reserves adjoining the Kruger to be incorporated into the greater Kruger National Park. Together with Trevor’s (and other investor’s) persistence, the fences were eventually dropped between Timbavati and Kruger in 1993, and then in March 2017, between Thornybush and the Timbavati. This has been a significant development, animals’ natural migration paths have increased tremendously, huge herds of African buffalo now move through the reserve at times, and the general improvement in ecology has been marked. The Greater Kruger Biosphere Reserve now incorporates huge swathes of wildlife areas in Mozambique, Zimbabwe (as part of the “transfrontier” park initiative) as well as most private game reserves on the border of this incredible park. It is estimated that the Greater Kruger now protects 50 000 square kilometres. This represents ecosystems that are larger than Switzerland or Slovakia. It is one of the most important biological systems on our planet.