Thutlwa Safari Lodge

Thutlwa Safari Lodge, located just 2.5 hours from Johannesburg, is a place for you to enjoy with a group of friends, family, and loved ones, on your own time and at your own pace.

The authentically inspired lodge is a luxury, self-catering escape for guests looking to experience the solitude of the Pilanesberg National Park’s Black Rhino Game Reserve. With access to the greater Pilanesberg area, you can expect the privacy and bespoke offerings associated with an exclusive-use lodge, while also enjoying traversing rights to the national park’s 57 000 hectares of wild safari space.

If you’re travelling with young children or babies, the Black Rhino Game Reserve (as well as the surrounding Pilanesberg area) is a safe bet because it’s one of the few Big 5 bushland areas that has been declared malaria-free.

The Black Rhino Game Reserve is a private game reserve that borders the Pilanesberg National Park. It is located on the north western edge of the greater Pilanesberg area, with its own secure, private entrance. While the ecological conditions at Black Rhino Game Reserve are very similar to those of Pilanesberg, one notable difference is the presence of sweet veld vegetation, which contrasts with Pilanesberg’s predominantly mixed sour veld.

The reserve is home to lions, leopards, buffalo, elephants, rhinos (both black and white), and the endangered African wild dog. Eland, sable, impala, gemsbok, tsessebe, and springbok are among the antelope species. If you’re looking for a challenge, look for the ‘Small 5’, which include the elephant shrew, antlion, buffalo weaver, leopard tortoise, and rhino beetle. The name Thutlwa Safari Lodge is derived from the Tswana word for giraffe. Giraffes are also plentiful on the reserve, and there are over 354 bird species to be spotted and identified by bird enthusiasts.

Thutlwa Safari Lodge is the ideal getaway for friends and family looking to relax and unwind in the heart of the bush. Thutlwa Safari Lodge is only accessible to exclusive-use guests, but you can explore the greater Pilanesberg area, enjoy Sun City offerings, and visit the convenience store located just outside the park.

Thutlwa strives to provide you with as much flexibility as possible during your stay, with no set itineraries or time limits. Unlike most lodges that cater to the general public, you can also bring young children and toddlers on game drives.

The lodge was designed to accommodate large families and groups. The open-plan design creates a ‘home-away-from-home’ atmosphere, with all the creature comforts one would expect from a luxurious, exclusive-use lodge.

The freedom that comes with booking an exclusive-use lodge allows you to enjoy the entire space without worrying about other guests and how your vacation might affect them. By choosing Thutlwa Safari Lodge, you get to choose your safari times and durations, as well as who joins you on your drive, with small children welcome to join at the discretion of their parents. If you prefer to stay at the lodge with your toddler or young child while others go out, you can request the following items: a highchair, baby monitor, plastic dishes and cutlery, and a sleeping cot are all available.

Thutlwa Safari Lodge is fully equipped to accommodate groups and families looking for a safari-style getaway. While the Lodge is fully serviced daily, you are welcome to use the facilities on a self-catering basis. Shop ahead of time or go to a nearby convenience store for last-minute supplies.


Four luxurious and spacious thatched-chalets with an open-plan living and entertainment area are available at the lodge. Each can accommodate two adults and has the option of fold-up mattresses for younger children, for a total of ten guests.

The luxury thatched chalets have been meticulously designed and placed to maximise the spectacular views of the Pilanesberg mountains and surrounding wildlife.

With his and hers sinks, a double shower, and a beautiful stone bath, the luxurious en-suite bathrooms leave little to be desired. In addition, for those who want to fully immerse themselves in nature, there is an outdoor shower to enjoy alongside the sights and sounds of the wild. In addition, each chalet has a tea and coffee station, a bar fridge, and a lockable safe.

Each of the 4 luxury 80sqm standalone chalets all has the following:

  • King size / twin beds
  • Air conditioning
  • En-suite bathroom (bath and shower)
  • Complimentary bathroom amenities
  • Outside shower
  • Luxurious cotton linen
  • Bath & Swimming towels
  • Outside patio with seating facilities
  • Bar fridge
  • Tea/Coffee making facility with a Nespresso machine
  • Complimentary Tea/Coffee
  • Electronic safe
  • Hairdryer


The main entertainment area is large and includes a fully equipped modern kitchen with a fridge and freezer. With an automatic coffee machine, microwave, and ice machine in the kitchen area, you can enjoy all of the comforts of home without having to compete with other guests for their use.

The large kitchen area is fully serviced and equipped with:

  • Cutlery, crockery and glassware
  • Large fridge/freezer
  • Dishwasher
  • Washing machine
  • 4-plate electric stove and oven
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Microwave
  • Ice machine

The casual lounge lends itself to kicking back and channel flicking, while an eight-seater dining room forms the heart of the dining area – so now you can go on safari and get the score in the same weekend.

The formal lounge is a place to relax and ready or go to the bar for a few drinks. There are self-service wine and beverage refrigerators available for your use.

The lounge area is equipped with:

  • Causal lounge area
  • Flat screen LCD TV
  • Satellite TV
  • DVD Player
  • Formal lounge area
  • Bar area
  • Wine and beverage fridges
  • Guest toilet
  • Wi-Fi in main area
  • Air conditioning

The braai and boma area connects to a large thatched lapa with casual seating and a large dining table for alfresco dining. If you don’t feel like going on an afternoon game drive, relax by the pool with a good book or take a short walk to the nearby thatched viewing hide. To keep you safe from the Big 5 animals that are frequently spotted in the area, the lodge is surrounded by an electrified fence.

Outdoor Facilities include:

  • Plunge pool
  • Sun loungers
  • Firepit
  • Braai/barbeque facilities
  • Thatched lapa
  • Formal and casual seating
  • Thatched-bird hide

While Thutlwa Safari Lodge is exclusively available, guests can rest assured that a member of staff is on-site 24 hours a day. our guests’ convenience, the lodge is serviced daily.

The lodge has cell phone coverage as well as free Wi-Fi in the main area.

A wildlife hide is only a short walk from the main lodge and is ideal for taking photographs and relaxing while keeping an eye out for animals coming to quench their thirst. 

It’s also a treat for birders, as many of the 300 bird species found in the area stop by.


The lodges in Pilanesberg National Park offer a range of activities ranging from game viewing to cultural experiences and beauty treatments. If you are looking for additional activities and tours, have a look at our range of Pilanesberg Safaris.

Game drives in open safari vehicles allow close encounters with lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. The Big 5 are joined by abundance of game including rare species such as wild dog or cheetah.

Experiencing the Pilanesberg National Park in a hot air balloon is an incredibly tranquil experience. Experience no turbulences and the only noise will hear is the occasional firing of the burner.

Walking Safari

Exploring the bush on foot will give you a more intense experience in many ways. With your knowledgeable guide you will learn the details that make the unique environment of the Pilanesberg work. On foot you will discover things that are easily overlooked on game drives.

Other Activities include:

  • Spa treatments
  • Interactive Drumming
  • Quad Bikes
  • Archery
  • Birding Safaris
  • Photographic Safaris
  • Tribal Dancing
  • Children’s Activities
  • Tennis


Lodge Rates differ for midweek and weekends. The lodge can be rented for exclusive use by 8 guests (persons that are 10 years and older) for a minimum stay of 2 nights.

Children 9 years and younger do not count as guests and will be accommodated in the safari chalets with adults on fold up mattresses. Baby cots available on request

Children of any age permitted on game drives and are required to sit on a seat, not on laps.

Rates include

  • Exclusive-use safari lodge
  • Flexible morning and evening game drives with a qualified guide
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Tea and coffee stations
  • 2 x 20kg bags of Firewood (additional firewood is available for purchase at the lodge)
  • Park entry fees
  • Emergency medical evacuation

Peak season rates apply on all RSA Public Holidays

Additional children may stay on request, but terms apply.

A maximum of 10 Guests are allowed on a game drive vehicle which includes children of any change.


  • Is game drives included in the rate for Thutlwa Safari Lodge?

Yes, game drives are included in the rate for Thutlwa Safari Lodge.

  • Is Thutlwa Safari Lodge easily accessible?

Yes, Thutlwa Safari Lodge is located just 2.5 hours from Johannesburg.

  • What is the minimum stay policy at Thutlwa Safari Lodge?

The minimum stay policy requires a two night stay.

  • Is Thutlwa Safari Lodge child-friendly

Yes Children 9 years and younger do not count as guests and will be accommodated in the safari chalets with adults on fold up mattresses. Baby cots available on request and children of any age are permitted on game drives.