It’s a vast, wild place where the lions roam at Thornybush Shumbalala Game Lodge, deep in the Thornybush Game Reserve, one of the country’s great tracts of untamed game-viewing. Set as it is in a dry, singeing savannah of mopane, acacias and umbrella thorns, quartered by easterly-flowing rivers densely shrouded in giant figs, fever trees and phoenix palms, the land is an ancient tapestry of natural wonder.
Over-head, loeries call their sharp warning while horn-bills swoop in an ungainly ballet between trees and vultures elevate on thermals portending an electric storm. As you push on through the bush, it is the serendipity of nature that amazes most, as your vehicle skirts art deco zebra, dozy giraffe, bright eyed bush babies, wildebeest (made, it is said, by the committee of left-over parts) and the rest Africa has to offer.
It is even more of an adventure when you stumble upon a leopard lazing in the V of a jackalberry tree or; a hyena giving you a lazy yellow eye in the gathering dusk; a majestic bull elephant crashing its way through the riverine thicket in search of sweet reeds or; a surprise sunrise encounter with a lion pride on the prowl.