Group Size: Based on Minimum 2 passengers
Nestled in the heart of the Thornybush Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park lies Shumbalala Game Lodge. Situated on the banks of the seasonal Monwana river the camp is an unexpected oasis of luxury and comfort in the heat of the African bushveld.
The exclusive Shumbalala Game Lodge is managed by a team with a friendly yet professional approach to their guests, also overseen by the family themselves.
After having the privilege to acquire Shumbalala Game Lodge as a close knit family some years ago the owners rebuilt the original lodge to cater for discerning travelers in true luxury whilst keeping in line with timeless Africa. Since then continuous renovations and improvements ensures that guests needs and expectations of high quality are catered for at all times.
Thornybush Game Reserve offers reliable wildlife viewing all year round.
Day 1 - Thornybush Reserve
On arrival at Hoedspruit Airport you will be met and transferred to your lodge. (D)
Nestled in the heart of the Thornybush Reserve bordering the Kruger National Park lies Shumbalala Game Lodge. Situated on the banks of the seasonal Monwana River the camp is an unexpected oasis of luxury and comfort in the unforgiving heat of the African bushveld. Set under shady African trees lining the seasonal Monwana River, Shumbalala Game Lodge comprise of a select number of superior suites with privacy and luxurious comfort in mind. To ensure absolute exclusivity and privacy, the lodge prides itself in giving personalized attention to a select number of guests at a time.
Day 2 - Thornybush Reserve
Enjoy morning and afternoon game viewing activities. (BLD)
Day 3 - End of Shumbalala Game Lodge Stay
Today you will be transferred from Shumbalala Game Lodge to Hoedspruit Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Dates and Pricing
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included.
Words can't give Bench justice!!
Bench is the only way to travel Africa!
From the beginning, right up to when we returned home, everything was perfect and the small personal touches were everywhere!
I asked a thousand questions & my consultant had a answer for everything! I got a very special pack for my documentation approx. 2 weeks before I departed on our tour. Bench put together a day by day personalised itinerary to take on the trip with me.
We were in Africa for about 10 days staying in the most spectacular properties. Our first stay was Camp Jabulani. This was beyond amazing! A great start to our trip! The personal touches & the food was something the lodge took great pride in. If you are going to South Africa, this property is a must!!
After this we traveled to Makutsi for three nights. This is a beautiful, family-feel lodge! There was no Wi-Fi or TV's in the rooms, which was my favorite part! We would wake up and there would be Impala's at our front door, it was amazing! The staff were incredible & extremely helpful! It is in the perfect location & would be amazing for groups or families!
After this we traveled to Thornybush Game Reserve and stayed at Shambulala & Thornybush Game Lodge. Both are spectacular!
Shambulala was my favorite during the trip. Their attention to detail, and again the personal touches were everywhere! We first walked in the door and they already knew our names & never forgot them during our stay. We had a host for the time we were there. She was incredible and made our stay all the more special. The food, again, was absolutely amazing! They made a simple pear salad into the nicest meal I have ever eaten! It is the greatest place to relax as their pool faces out to the Game Park, you can just watch the animals walk by you! I cannot speak highly enough of this lodge or the staff, it was incredible!
After this we headed out to Thornybush Game Lodge, this is another beautiful 5 star property in the reserve. We had a South African braai for dinner one night and it was beautiful! The staff couldn't be more helpful and the rooms were beautiful. When we first arrived, we were told there was a Leopard, that morning, sleeping on one of the decks! One thing you must know about South Africa is that you will forever be eating! All the food & fruit is just too good!
Our final stop was The Palace in Sun City. This was a fantastic end to a once in a lifetime trip! There is so much to do & see here! It is quite literally like a small city! There is the 'Gary Player' gold course, which is one of the best, a man-made beach, maze, zipline - The list goes on! Again, another must do experience while you are in South Africa! It is only a 2.5hr drive! Well worth it!
All in all, Bench is an incredible way to travel Africa! You can travel so many different ways to so many different places & do it however you would like! The reservation department were absolutely incredible, & honestly that was where the 5 star service began. They are the Africa experts!! They know every corner in Africa, so many of their experts have lived there.
I cannot put it into words how incredible the whole experience was with Bench! I urge everyone who travels anywhere in Africa to speak to Bench about their trip! It is sure to be amazing!
Exceptional Tour Provider
I very recently travelled with Bench to South Africa for the very first time. From the moment the booking was made until returning home, Bench took care of everything and customer service was second to none. Upon returning home I even received a Welcome Home email.
Any questions that were asked prior to travel were answered within a timely manner and addressed accordingly. Their travel documentation is so personalised and themed accordingly for the destination. It was truly exciting to receive the docs and you could smell Africa in the document wallet.
Throughout travel in Africa everything ran smoothly. As we moved from place to place, all transfers were well organised and we effortlessly moved from one accommodation to another. Everything that was outlined in our itinerary, we did.
Our first resting place was Camp Jabulani. Exceptional elegance & luxury. Have never been accommodated with such personal, intimate details. The chef even personally introduces himself to you and outlines the menu. Rooms and facilities were amazing. Guides very interesting.
Makutsi Safari Springs is a perfect 3.5 star property well designed for all ages and very affordable. Their food was delicious and created daily. They provide plenty of tour and game drive options for a week long stay.
Shumbalala, located in Thornybush Private Reserve was completely out of this world. Luxury, elegance, sophistication, 5 star +++, completely surrounded by the African bush. First impressions were flawless. Upon arrival receive a meet & greet by the manager with welcome drinks and warm refreshing towels. Little touches are perfected here. From the infinity pool to the paved sitting area, lounge area, indoor sitting area and fire place...there isn't a thing they haven't thought about. The food is first class and so is their service. And then there are the rooms...speechless!!! Their guides are superb. They asked what we wanted to see and they delivered. We were lucky, but they did their best to ensure we saw what we wanted. Very approachable and personality plus.
Thornybush Game Lodge is a 5 star property that excels in luxury, bush living. The rooms and food here were also exquisite. Guides & trackers here are also fantastic. Highly recommend.
The Palace at Sun City is incredible. Old World charm and elegance. Very family friendly and well catered. Very spacious rooms. Service second to none.
Bench Africa certainly do go the extra mile to ensure they are delivering an exceptional product to their customers. And that they did!!! They know their product more than anybody else in the marketplace and this ensures if customers travel with Bench, they will experience a once in a lifetime holiday like I did.
Thank-you Bench. This African experience has moved me forever.
Having never been to Africa before i was definitely nervous. Turns out I didn't need to be nervous at all considering I was in the care of Bench. From start to finish Bench were so easy to get into contact with, always were able to preempt the questions I wanted to ask, and I always felt connected to them throughout the entire process from the flights to the itinerary, even to where we would all meet up together in the airport before our international flight!
The trip truly was seamless. We stayed in multiple accommodations and as an agent it was so fantastic to be able to see the difference in star quality and what each place had to offer.
Camp Jabulani: What a perfect beginning to this trip. Everything was so meticulously personal and luxurious and I could not have asked for a better way to kick off Africa.
Nungu Camp: Lovely homey shared feel to this camp. Very basic accommodation, shared bathroom/showers and eating/cooking spaces but everything was kept so incredibly clean. Due to the nature of the camp definitely be aware of bugs and insects and creepy crawlies and have the Rid handy! Ruan and Tina who run the program are so passionate about what they do that you can't help being passionate about it as well, the atmosphere they created was warm and inviting and the food they made for us while we were there was delicious!
Makutsi Safari Springs: A good 3 star property for families that want to have the experience of Africa on a controlled budget. Family rooms were lovely and clean and spacious, with traditional south African cuisine being cooked and served up in a relaxed atmosphere in the combined dining area. Absolutely gorgeous outdoor bar and viewing area. Just be aware that if you are expecting a lot of amenities and wifi in the rooms that this is potentially not the place for you, and this is not what Makutsi are trying to market themselves as either. They want everyone who comes to their lodge to swim in the incredible springs, to play some outdoor tennis, and to spend their days socialising off their phones.
Shumbalala: Probably my favourite place that we stayed. The villas were perfectly appointed, the staff were so welcoming and remembered your name and drink order. They were a 5-star with such a laid back feel, lounging by the infinity pool after the morning game drive was an experience I will never forget that's for sure! The food was incredible and so generous in the portions, and the beverages and beautiful souvenirs were incredible well priced.
Main Lodge at Thornybush: Rooms are newly renovated and absolutely beautiful. Food is buffet style and so very tasty and well prepared. the grounds are gorgeous and the room I was in had an amazing deck with a lovely view.
The Palace Sun City: Rooms are lovely however this property is definitely about what to do on the property rather than spending time in your room. From the man-made beach, adults only pool area, children’s pools and waterslides, day spa, two golf courses and a labyrinth that leads in to a bar - you will never get bored! So many choices of restaurants and the breakfast buffet was phenomenal!
I honestly don't think it would have been the experience that it was without Bench. Travelling with Lara our host was like travelling with a bestie, and Bench had us organised with tips and meals and what to do and what to pack from the very beginning and it was a totally stress free trip - one that I would repeat in a heartbeat so long as I could go with the same people and have Lara as our host again. Loved it!Rebecca Forster Destination: South Africa
Bench South Africa March 2017
Going to South Africa for the first time was an exciting time for me and Bench helped validate that excitement. The booking process was easy and the documents came in a lovely little Travel Wallet (you just don't see service like this anymore)!
The trip all flowed so well. There was always someone waiting exactly when and where they said they would be and all ran without a hiccup.
We spent most of our trip in Hoedspruit. Highlights for me were Camp Jubulani, this is 5 star luxury! The attention to detail at this place makes for such a wonderful stay. The Rangers, the Chef and all staff to be commended.
The Thonybush reserve and collection is another I would highly recommend. The difference between having a tracker and a guide at the reserve was definitely something that made the experience just that little bit more special. The passion of the tracker and guide shone through seeing all the big 5 within 24 hours. We stayed at Shambalala and the Main Lodge here and would recommend without hesitation.
Cannot speak highly enough of service levels from start to finish and the quality of the accommodation and transfers. I will be using Bench for any future trips to Africa.
Bench South Africa
I visited South Africa with Bench from 1-10 March 2017.
The trip was fantastic planned to perfection. The accommodation and experiences booked were perfect. They no South Africa.
Cannot speak highly enough of service levels, quality of the accommodation.
The knowledge of the guides and trackers were first class, can thoroughly recommend this trip.
Bench your the best!!!
South Africa March 2017
Bench Africa was absolutely amazing. Travelled to South Africa in early March. I would recommend any type of traveller to Bench. Very professional and nothing was ever an issue. All guides and trackers were very experienced and professional and made the game drives an experience i'll never forget. Lodges were all very professional and could not fault anything about it. Thank you for making my Africa trip the holiday i have ever been on. I will be back!Stuart McAlpine Destination: South Africa
Amazing, from start to finish!!
Going to Africa for the first time can be a little daunting. Though Bench were so easy to deal with and happy to answer all of the silly little questions. We were always kept well informed throughout the whole process - the flights that would work out best for us, when to expect documents etc etc.
The whole trip came together magically.. We stayed in a great range of accommodation and loved how we were able to see what the different star ratings had to offer.
Camp Jabulani: such a great start to the trip! the food, rangers, accommodation, can not fault a thing! All staff were so welcoming and attentive, such an amazing experience.
Nungu Camp: Really good feel to the camp, loved how we were able to sit around the fire every night and socialise. Ruan and Tina were such an asset to the camp, the food they cooked was amazing! The accommodation was very basic, rondavels were roomy and beds were comfortable though lots of insects around. Showers had good pressure, though once again lots of insects.
Makutsi Safari Springs: The rondavels were very comfortable and lots of space. Love how they were able to do our washing at such a good price. Great areas for socialising and viewing. Food was perfect! Loved how they cooked traditional South African food. Most staff were friendly.
Shumbalala: Amazing!! Such a personal experience. Love how the décor had a ‘safari’ feel to it. Love how they can prepare an amazing meal at the drop of a hat. Dinner experience was so special and one to never forget.
Game Lodge: Rooms were just gorgeous, the best décor yet. It had a massive balcony and a great bath with a view. Food was incredible and the staff were very accommodation.
The Palace Sun City: Huge variety of things to do here to keep the family entertained, also lots for those who want to get away from it all and have couple time. Love the man-made beach, adults only pool area, children’s pools, spa’s and wide variety of activities. Lots of choices of restaurants. Rooms had lots of space, very clean and comfortable and had amazing beds!
Bench made the experience what it was, Lara was the perfect host and I felt like I was travelling with a friend! This makes a trip go from amazing to absolutely perfect!!