Accommodation, Experiences

Travel Diary – More Family Collection’s Monwana Game Lodge, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa

Ker & Downey Africa > Journal > Travel Diary – More Family Collection’s Monwana Game Lodge, Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa


2 of our valued staff members were lucky enough to visit the fantastic 5-star Monwana Game Lodge and both have given amazing feedback on this 5-star boutique luxury lodge. The lodge was rebuilt at the beginning of 2023 with high quality finishes. Having visited the lodge for the first time, neither knew what to expect and both advised it was a great property. They are very happy to share their personal insights into this area which is well known for its conservation and a personal unhurried safari.

How to get there and location

There are a number of direct scheduled flights into the town of Hoedspruit with the local airport being Eastgate Airport. A local Ker & Downey® Africa representative will meet you and transfer you for a 45-minute drive to the lodge located inside Thornybush Game Reserve. Alternatively we can also arrange a private light aircraft flight (charter) into the local Thornybush airstrip. You can leave all the logistic arrangements in the capable hands of our travel experts.

The lodge is situated in the Greater Kruger ecosystem in a Big-Five private 14,000 hectare reserve in the game-rich Thornybush Game Reserve. The region is known for its phenomenal game viewing.

Main lodge area

Upon arrival you will be treated to double volume massive windows and doors that open out for a feeling of space. There is also a lounge, welcoming bar area, wraparound wooden deck, pool area and a safari boutique for some retail therapy.

There is a welcoming bar area

Lounge and bar area in the main public areas at Monwana Game Lodge with Ker & Downey Africa

Enjoy a sociable meal or have a refreshing cocktail in the bar


The lodge consists of spacious luxury suites, family suites and a separate villa.  In total there are 7 suites and one villa.  The suites feature a private lounge and heated plunge pool and all rates are inclusive of all meals, teas/coffees, maxibar in room, a selection of alcoholic beverages (including cellar wines) and laundry.  All the interiors are superbly designed and furnished.

Interior of one of the suites at Monwana Game Lodge with Ker & Downey Africa

The 90m2 suites feature a walk-in dressing room, lounge area and en-suite bathroom with heated towel rails
All the interiors are superbly designed and furnished

The two-bedroom family suites can accommodate up to a maximum of five persons as the second bedroom can take triples (the second bedroom is for children). There is complete privacy for the family who can relax on their well shaded deck after swimming in the heated private plunge pool.  This means you can even use the pool in winter time.

Bathroom at Monwana Game Lodge with Ker & Downey Africa

Large walk in shower and double vanity in the Monwana Game Lodge en-suite bathrooms

There is a Monwana Residence (villa) which is a two-bedroom but can take up to 4-adults and 2 children. This is also highlighted as recommended for families or a group of friends wanting that exclusive and private game safari. The difference between the family suites and the villa/residence is that there is a dedicated housekeeper, butler and chef at the residence and has a spacious lounge with a fireplace for those chilly winter nights. This also has a heated private plunge pool.

Has a spacious lounge with a fireplace for those chilly winter nights

Mowana Game Lodge residence with Ker & Downey Africa

The Monwana Residence is 320m2 with a private entrance, separate dining area and a firepit

One of the staff highlighted that her favorite suite was room number 2, which was very private and perfect for honeymooners.

A sure place to read a good book or have an ‘armchair safari’ was the swing chair on the deck – the ultimate place to relax.

Mowana Game Lodge heated private plunge pool with Ker & Downey Africa

The spacious wooden deck leads out from the lounge and outdoor seating area
This also has a heated private plunge pool

Are children allowed?

Children can be accommodated in the family suites ages 10-15 and with the private safari vehicle.

Property activities

Game drive in Thornybush Game Reserve at Monwana Game Lodge with Ker & Downey Africa

For insider and close up information on a guided bush walk within this private reserve
Activities and experiences are plentiful

Activities and experiences are plentiful and range from daily game drives, bush walks, star gazing, bush breakfasts, picnic lunches and outdoor dinner in the boma. A private personal picnic can be arranged or a private wine tasting the cellar.

Game drive in Thornybush Game Reserve at Monwana Game Lodge with Ker & Downey Africa

Guests enjoying a game drive seeing a herd of buffalo (one of the big five)

One of the staff was lucky enough to stay out a few extra minutes as the guide had predicted that a lioness may climb a tree to take a leopard kill. The guide patiently waited while others went back to their lodges which resulted in an incredible sighting which lasted almost 20 minutes with just their game drive vehicle. The leopard kill was dropped out of the tree, although by mistake, but into a full pride of lions.

The family suite and Monwana Residence includes two private game drives daily with professional and experienced field guides and a knowledgeable tracker who is extremely informative.

There is also a fully-equipped gym and world-class in-house spa. Pre-book revitalizing body and beauty treatments with professional therapists.

Who is it suitable for?

Monwana Game Lodge is great for honeymoons with the private decks and boutique nature of the lodge and then also good for families and friends with the family suites and the Monwana Residence.

Highlights of the property

The staff are incredible and the guiding team are at a very high standard. Even though there were incredible game sightings there is a very active waterhole in front of the property and a variety of animals can be seen drinking water all day – so even when not on a game drive you can have an ‘armchair’ safari.  The guides were the best at navigating and showcasing the reserve and definitely allows you to be immersed in nature and your surroundings.

The food is extremely delicious and each dish served had the best presentation with great service.

There was a high attention to detail and it was very impressive. Every detail was thought of and was personalized. The lodge manager Drenie is so personalized in her approach. One of our staff mentioned that she loved some earrings and after returning from a game drive that evening, the earrings were left in her room as a gift.


Recommendation to combine with Cape Town, Victoria Falls or another incredible lodge for a luxury safari experience in the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve.

Are you ready for a safari in a unique space – Monwana Game Reserve?