Kapama Private Game Reserve
Nestled between the Blyde River Valley and Kruger National Park, The Kapama Private Game Reserve offers four individually appointed and luxurious camps offer an escape for nature lovers from across the globe. This untouched part of Africa is home to some of our most endangered, beautiful and fascinating wild life.
Kapama Private Accommodation Guide
A general overview of Kapama Game Reserve
Kapama Private Game Reserve is located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, between the Blyde River Valley and the world renowned Kruger National Park.
Kapama Private Game Reserve has four luxurious and individually appointed lodges or camps that each offers an unforgettable escape for nature lovers from all over the globe. This is one of the most untouched parts of southern Africa and is home to many of the most endangered wildlife species, although in general also just known for its pristine, beautiful and fascinating fauna and flora.
Kapama Private Game Reserve spans a total of about 13 000 hectares of pristine African bush, which offers a perfect sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife, including more than 40 different species of mammals (amongst which are the Big 5, which are elephant, lion, leopard, African buffalo, and rhinoceros) as well as more than 350 bird species.
Visitors to this area can get the opportunity to observe many of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, since most of the accommodation establishments offer at least two guided game drives per day, while some also offer guided nature walks and others even once-in-a-lifetime elephant encounters to guests.
Kapama Private Game Reserve’s four luxury lodges cater for guests with different needs, with each having a special charm of their own.
The Buffalo Camp has a delightful old-world feel to it, while the Southern Camp is known for offering warmth and hospitality. The River Lodge breathes a festive atmosphere year-round, and the Karula is known for breath taking elegance. There also are a few sleep-out options which can be attempted by the more adventurous who choose to spend a romantic night out in one of them.
Kapama Private Game Reserve now makes use of a private aeroplane and private airstrip to receive guests that prefer to travel directly from Johannesburg or Cape Town to the reserve, as well as using it for a courtesy transfer service to and from the Eastgate Airport at Hoedspruit. This service considerably enhances the visitor experience for many guests, especially those that may not have much time to spend in the bush while travelling South Africa.
The history of Kapama Private Reserve
Kapama Private Game Reserve was founded in 1993 and is a 13 000 hectare privately owned nature reserve in the Limpopo province of South Africa.
The reserve was founded by Johann Roode, who originally bought the land for cattle farming and grazing and no intentions of starting a game reserve. Johann bought the farm Moria in the Hoedspruit area in 1986 to use the veld as grazing for his Bonsmara cattle.
The name Kapama comes from a small railway station across the road from the reserve and it is said that Kapama was the name of a chief from one of the local tribes that used to live in the area of Thulumahashe.
As Johann realised that he required more land for his increasing herd of cattle, he bought another nearby portion of land known as Drakensig.
Cattle farming however proved to be unviable in the area, as the environment was very harsh with predators and natural diseases taking their toll on his cattle. He also realised the importance of the local ecosystem being maintained and in 1987 decided to shift his focus to ecotourism as a way to sustain this large property.
He started developing the area as an ecotourism destination in the region and so Kapama as game reserve was born with dedicated efforts to preserve this breath taking area since 1989.
Kapama Lodge was constructed in that year to mark the beginning of what would eventually become one of the leading eco-tourism destinations in the whole of Africa. With time more land was acquired until Kapama Private Game Reserve has grown to now be the biggest single owned private game reserve in the lowveld safari region of South Africa.
Johan Roode tragically passed away in 2002 and his wife and mother of their two children Bernard and Adine, then took over the management of the business. She also completed the building of the luxurious Camp Jabulani on the reserve in 2003.
Since then the Roode family decided to re-allocate responsibilities and the Kapama business was divided into two sections. Lente Roode and her daughter Adine continued to operate and manage Camp Jabulani as well as the world renowned Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species that was established on the reserve.
Johann’s son Bernard took over management of the other Kapama lodges and followed in his father’s footsteps by acquiring more land. Kapama River Lodge was developed in 2006 on the Kapama River, a truly magical setting. The latest noteworthy additions to Kapama were the Gwala Gwala and Hongonyi farms which now host the beautiful Karula Lodge towards the east and the modern Southern Camp in the south of the game reserve.
In 2007, a unique Sleepout Platform was constructed in a secluded location to capture the imagination of honeymooners and romantics. Property acquisitions along the Klaserie River, which is ideal leopard territory, added a new dimension to the reserve and Kapama Karula Lodge became part of the Kapama family in 2008. The fences between the adjoining properties were removed to further enhance the existing eco-system and shared environment.
With these lodges – Kapama River Lodge, Kapama Karula, Kapama Buffalo Camp and Kapama Southern Camp – the game reserve’s portfolio of exclusive safari lodges was now completed, and do they offer of the best among luxury safari accommodation in South Africa.
Where is the Kapama Private Game Reserve located?
Kapama Private Game Reserve is located in the north eastern part of South Africa, in the Limpopo Province near the town of Hoedspruit. It is situated between the Blyde River Valley and the northern Drakensberg mountain range in the west and the world renowned Kruger National Park in the east. The reserve is surrounded by the Balule Game Reserve, Klaserie Nature Reserve, Thornybush Game Reserve and Moditlo Game Reserve, which all form part of the Greater Kruger conservation area.
The GPS co-ordinates for the main entrance gate to Kapama Private Game Reserve are the following: Latitude24° 25’45.5″ S; Longitude31° 00’50.1 E and entrance is gained from the R40 national road.
The northern boundary of Kapama Private Game Reserve is only a few kilometres away from the Eastgate Airport (also locally known as the Hoedspruit Airport), which allows for easy transfers of guests to the lodges in Kapama by means of game viewing vehicles.
How do you get to the Kapama Game Reserve?
Kapama Private Game Reserve occupies a vast area of 13 000 hectares between the northern Drakensberg mountain range and the Greater Kruger National Park, in the north-east of South Africa.
Located in the magnificent South African bushveld teeming with wildlife, it is also ideally situated to receive guests that fly in with scheduled flights to one of the three nearby airports.
The Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport near Mbombela (previously known as Nelspruit) is less than 150 kilometres from Kapama, and the Kruger Park Gateway Airport at Phalaborwa is less than 100 kilometres away, but Eastgate Airport (also known as Hoedspruit Airport), although probably the smallest of them, will be the most convenient.
Should a travel itinerary include Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or Kruger Park Gateway Airport, guests will need to arrange a private transfer in order to get to Kapama Private Game Reserve.
With Eastgate Airport a mere 10 minutes’ drive away from the entrance gate to the reserve, Kapama offers complimentary transfers in its open game viewing vehicles directly between any of the four luxury game lodges on the reserve: River Lodge, Buffalo Camp, Kapama Karula and Southern Camp and the Eastgate Airport.
Airlines such as SA Airlink operates daily flights from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and regular flights from Cape Town International Airport to all three these airports.
Kapama Private Game Reserve also offers the discerning traveller the luxury of a direct fly-in option on its own branded PC12 aircraft. Guests can fly out from O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg or from Cape Town International Airport directly to land at the 1,5 km tarred runway at Kapama.
Guests that will make use of this service will have access to the exclusive Fireblade facilities at O R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg that includes a gym, day rooms, boardrooms, and more. Similarly, guests that will fly in from Cape Town will have access to Signature Flight Services’ facilities.
The flight from Johannesburg to Kapama only takes 50 minutes, and the flight from Cape Town takes around 2 hours 45 minutes.
Many visitors, if they have enough time on hand, however, prefer to travel by road through the scenic Highveld of Gauteng and Mpumalanga and down the escarpment to the game reserve.
If you prefer the self-drive option from Johannesburg, you will take the N12 and N4 motorways past the towns eMalahleni (previously known as Witbank) and eMakhazeni (previously known as Belfast), where you turn left on the R540 to Emnotweni (previously known as Dullstroom).
Emnotweni is set on the Highveld and is a village with a quaint atmosphere and is famous for its trout fishing. It is an ideal point for exploring the region and the perfect halfway or lunch stop on the way to Kapama Private Game Reserve.
From there you drive to Mashishing (previously known as Lydenburg) and then you join the R36 to Ohrigstad.
This scenic drive through Mpumalanga takes you through magnificent mountain landscapes and offers panoramic views as you drive up the mountain passes onto the high escarpment. From there you can enjoy the sweeping vistas of the Lowveld down below.
You will drive through the scenic J G Strydom Tunnel, where roadside stalls sell ethnic curios from the area, and take the R527 towards Hoedspruit. From Hoedspruit you drive south on the R40 to Klaserie, until you reach the entrance gate to Kapama on your left.
If you travel to Kapama from Mbombela (Nelspruit), you proceed in the direction of White River on the R537. After White River you take the R40 to Hazyview and follow
this road through Bosbokrand (Bushbuck Ridge) and Acornhoek northwards towards Hoedspruit.
Approximately 1 km before Klaserie, where the R40 branches off to the right (it is clearly marked), you turn right to stay on the R40 and continue until you reach the Kapama main gate on your right hand side.
Why would you want to visit the Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama Private Game Reserve offers you a passport into the wild.
This game reserve has a variety of options for you to explore its beautiful landscapes and wildlife. Twice-daily game drives and educational bush walks are an essential and entertaining part of a true Kapama experience.
Photographers can shoot their hearts out while there is even an opportunity for budding photographers to enrol in a two-day photography workshop to learn to snap that perfect shot of lion, elephant or rhino – even the elusive leopard or cheetah.
Two game drives a day are offered to all guests as norm. On these game drives you will be accompanied by a skilled ranger and tracker, therefore you can expect to encounter a wide range of animal and bird species in their natural circumstances.
Since this is a Big 5 reserve, encountering lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo is usually possible over a two-day safari.
While spotting big game, especially the Big 5, is always an exhilarating experience, there are so many other smaller species that are also as captivating, that you will never be disappointed. Among the species you can expect to see throughout the day, you may count some of the less common such as nyala antelope, Vervet monkeys, leopard and others.
True birding enthusiasts will be equally delighted at the prospect to record a vast number of the approximately 350 species of birds that have been recorded on the reserve.
Wildlife and game are however not the only attractions in the Kapama. For those guests that broke away from the stress of city life, amenities like the River Lodge Spa, which is considered as one of the finest safari spas in Africa, would be a firm favourite. For that many previous visitors can vouch.
At the lodge you can lounge around a generous central lap pool before you hand yourself over to the highly trained and experienced beauty therapists for some distinctly African treatments across five sumptuous treatment rooms. In this setting, surrounded by the stillness and sweeping African bushveld, you are basically guaranteed to let go of all worries and scars of the rat race back home.
If a whole night under the African stars is on your bucket list, the time to fulfil this wish is now. Such a romantic fairy-tale experience awaits you and your partner in the form of the Kapama Romantic Sleepout experience, where you can sleep on a private platform high above the ground in the open air.
You have the choice of first enjoying dinner at the lodge and arrive at your romantic sleep-out venue afterwards, or you will arrive before sunset to sip a sundowner while watching the colours of the evening change. You can then indulge in a five-course dinner served to you by a personal chef at an intimate table for two on the platform.
Both the platform and a luxury bathroom underneath are animal-proof, but for additional peace of mind both a two-way radio and cellular phone are supplied to you. The bathroom caters for all comforts with a flush toilet, shower and his and hers basins.
What activities can you expect while staying at the Kapama Game Reserve?
Life in the bush revolves around plants and animals hence safaris in the wild revolve around nature walks and game drives. It is no different at Kapama Private Game Reserve and the two game drives a day offered to all guests are usually the highlights of a stay.
You are accompanied by a skilled ranger and tracker on such a drive and can expect to encounter a diverse range of bird and animal species, including lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo, since this is a Big 5 reserve.
While seeing the big game species is always a bonus, there are many other smaller species that are just as interesting, and even if you are not a dedicated birding enthusiast, you will still be delighted by many of the approximately 350 species of birds found on the reserve.
Included in the tariffs you pay for your stay are also bush walks, a truly memorable, authentic and intimate encounter with nature.
Guests – even if you don’t necessarily have that more adventurous streak, can experience the African bush on foot under the guidance of a skilled ranger. The guide, with a knowledge and experience of the veld, will point out insects and birdlife as well as interesting or medicinal plants along the way, all the while sharing traditional tracking skills like using animal footprints and scat to identify animals.
If you are interested in a photographic safari, you can easily combine that with your stay at Kapama. Bringing like-minded people who enjoy both nature and photography together, such a world-class photographic workshop by a leading South African wildlife photographer is aimed at beginner and intermediate photographers and covers everything from operating a camera to how to compose and spot evocative images.
Whether you pick up a camera for the first time or want to learn to use the one you have better, the emphasis during the workshop will be on learning both the technical and artistic sides of photography in a relaxing, natural environment.
Six people can attend such a workshop together and while the appropriate genres of photography will be discussed and the theoretical aspects taught during the sessions hosted in the lodge conference room, game drives accompanied by the trainer will allow you to put your knowledge into practice.
Images taken during the sessions will be critiqued by the professional photographers and even if you don’t have all the equipment, the latest camera models and lenses are available for hire at Kapama. If you are interested in this option, you should contact the reserve for further information regarding your requirements, hire costs and availability.
River Lodge Spa
The River Lodge Spa in Kapama is considered one of the finest safari spas in Africa, making it a firm favourite with all guests.
If you are booked into tis lodge, this is the place where you can lounge around a generous central lap pool before you put yourself in the capable hands of the highly trained and experienced beauty therapists. Enjoy some distinctly African treatments, across five lavish treatment rooms in a tranquil setting surrounded by the sweeping bushveld.
River Lodge Fitness Centre
If you’d rather prefer to work up a sweat in between game drives, River Lodge has a state-of-the-art mini-gym that is well-appointed with the latest equipment and technology. There is a treadmill, recumbent and upright bike for cardio and an extensive range of weight-lifting equipment for you to use for toning or to build muscle.
Guided yoga and meditation sessions can also be arranged as an additional option to compliment your wellness experience.
Karula Spa and Wellness Centre
After a day out in the wild, few things are more welcome than a pampering spa treatment. If you decided to stay at Kapama Karula Lodge, you can look forward to a session in this stunning spa, which is a haven of relaxation and calm.
Surrounded by glass, the award-winning luxurious Karula Spa offers an intimate connection with the bushveld scenery with four deluxe treatment rooms and a range of revitalising health and beauty treatments. In the spa only the finest quality products are used too.
Apart from the treatments, there’s also a spa pool with built-in loungers and underwater jets, as well as a hydrotherapy room with a steam room and ice plunge.
A session or two at the ultra-luxurious Kapama Karula Spa and Wellness Centre is a splendid way to find peace in paradise since this African oasis provides a sanctuary for travellers and adds another dimension to a luxury safari adventure.
Whether you are looking for a holistic shift in wellness, a fitness-focused fusion or a deluxe pampering indulgence, one of the unique custom-made 3-day Karula experiences will whisk you off to a place away from time.
Kapama recently announced that Kapama Karula and Karula Spa & Wellness Centre were selected as winners across numerous categories in the 2020 Haute Grandeur Global Awards Hotel and Spa Awards. The awards covered regional as well as global categories, one of which was Best Safari Spa on a Global level.
Karula Fitness Centre
Kapama Karula Lodge also boasts a fitness centre that is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and weight-lifting equipment for an ultimate body workout. You can enjoy a morning run or walk on a stylish treadmill, or cycle on a bike for a real-feel ride to increase performance and endurance.
As an additional complementary option to your wellness experience, you can also ask for guided yoga and meditation sessions to be arranged.
A Night under the Stars
A fairy tale experience of another kind awaits you and your partner with the Kapama Romantic Sleepout.
This grants you the opportunity to sleep in the open air on a private platform high above the ground, by only the light of a lantern. The fun begin with your arrival at sunset to watch the changing colours of evening and sip a sundowner while waiting for dinner in the air – specially prepared by your private chef.
The five-course dinner is served to you at an intimate table for two on the platform by the chef. Alternatively you can enjoy dinner at the lodge before arriving at your romantic sleep-out venue.
After that you will fall asleep while a million stars keep watch over you. The sleeping platform and luxurious bathroom underneath are both animal-proof, but for additional peace of mind both a two-way radio and cellular phone are supplied to you.
The bathroom has all comforts like a flush toilet, shower and his and hers basins.
Elephant interaction at Kapama offers guests the chance to observe these animals in their natural environment as they peacefully go about their daily routine and learn more about African elephants, both wild and habituated, as they interact and feed these gentle giants.
Hot Air Ballooning
From Kapama you can arrange to go up is a hot air balloon to savour the fresh air and amazing sensation of gliding over the magnificent scenery of the African bushveld. These balloons usually depart at first light, riding the wind and skimming the treetops while guests spot game below for about an hour. At the end of the journey the experience can be celebrated with glass of champagne.
Endangered Species Centre
While staying nearby, guests should spend a morning visiting the Hoedspruit Centre for Endangered Species to see cheetah and other rehabilitated animals at close range. The centre runs several projects which can be seen on educational videos, and a guided tour takes visitors to view the animals.
With advance booking guests can depart early morning for a challenging round at either the Hans Merenski Country Club championship golf course in Phalaborwa, or at the Drakensig Golf Club in Hoedspruit. Wildlife often roam the fairways and make golfing a unique experience, complementing your safari in the area. The return transfer will be back at Kapama in time for an evening game drive.
Kapama Private Reserve is the ideal venue for special events
The staff at Kapama know how to create unforgettable memories for guests, therefore it has become the ideal venue for many kinds of special events.
Here you can have utter peace of mind knowing that Kapama will take care of all your needs and relevant arrangements to create the perfect setting for your event, with lots of new memories to accompany you on the road further.
What better way to begin your new chapter of life than in the company of mother nature herself? A wedding on the African landscape is an experience like no other and tying the knot at Kapama will ensure that your wildest dreams for a fairy tale wedding come true.
Whether you prefer it small and intimate or on a large scale, Kapama offers spectacular views and the venues that will deliver. Kapama will give you peace of mind by arranging entertainment, décor, a wedding cake and floral arrangements for the ceremony, as well as hairdressers and makeup artists for the bridal party.
You can even give the ceremony an African flavour by adding the sounds of an African choir to your celebrations and your guests can enjoy the wild on a game drive while your bridal party have an intimate photo session.
Kapama will even help you take care of the legal requirements for your wedding and in the event that any specialist attention would be required for the administration of your union, Kapama will help to ensure a flawless process.
Kapama is famous for its honeymoon special, which includes a complimentary bottle of fine South African wine for a safari honeymoon.
Whether you choose to have your wedding ceremony at Kapama or elsewhere, you can step into a fairy-tale here and spend your honeymoon in wild Africa. The Romantic Sleep-out is of course the perfect honeymoon safari experience to add as an option with its raised platform with a giant four-poster bed swathed in billowing mosquito netting.
The Sleep-out platform is located deep in the reserve, where it is completely private and incredibly romantic. The platform is safe and completely animal proof and equipped with a full luxury bathroom. After dawn, a ranger will be waiting for your call to return you safely to the lodge.
A team building experience in a safari setting as offered by Kapama, may just be the way to breathe the much needed enthusiasm into your team.
The reserve offers different exciting adventures to choose from, called the Kapama Amazing Race, game capture participation, clay pigeon shooting and elephant interaction encounters.
The Kapama Amazing Race comprises teams with handheld GPS devices to navigate their way through the African bush on a game viewing vehicle and reach as many checkpoints as possible in three hours. This experience can be tailored to incorporate company-related questions and activities.
Game capture participation, such as capturing, treating wounds, attaching anti-poaching tracking devices, or relocating animals is sometimes necessary at Kapama and you can have staff participate in the entire process, although these delicate events have limited availability.
Kapama River Lodge offers a world-class conference facility in vibrant African style with seating for up to 130 delegates in classroom style, or 200 delegates in cinema style.
With the African bushveld directly outside, the venue itself is fully equipped to compete with the best on the continent.
Kapama offers various options for exclusive dining, as well as group dining. You can indulge in royal treatment with exclusive private dinners for couples and groups with tables being hosted in a secluded area at the lodge, with dedicated waiters and a splendid safari menu.
Private bush breakfasts or dinners under the stars around a roaring fire can also be arranged. Dinner is usually shared at a group table with your game driver and fellow guests, but you can request a private table at no additional cost should you prefer to dine on your own.
What should you watch out for while staying at the Kapama Private Game Reserve?
Kapama Private Game Reserve is an enclosed, private game reserve well stocked with large animals, including all of the Big 5.
Lion are found easily, and elephant are abundant, with some of them fairly tame, as a good-sized herd are used for elephant-interaction experiences.
Kapama is the place to visit if you want to get really close to elephants. Getting so near these gentle giants offers a real highlight and an opportunity to watch the youngsters drinking, playing and bathing in the dam on a hot afternoon just adds to the novelty.
Apart from elephant being common to the area, other animals commonly encountered are kudu, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, lion, hyena, and giraffe. Even white rhino are common to the reserve but there are no black rhino.
Hippo will be spotted occasionally, and leopard and cheetah are scarce. There are no wild dogs in the reserve.
Kapama Private Game Reserve is located in the lowveld of South Africa with multiple eco-zones that results in a significant variety its fauna and flora.
With regards to the flora in the area, hundreds of tree species have been documented in the region. Of the better known predominant species in this wooded savannah are baobab trees, fever trees, knob thorns, marula and mopane trees.
The diverse flora of the region in turn accommodates an array of fauna. More than 350 different kinds of birds inhabit the area. These include several raptor species and impressive larger birds such as the kori bustard, ground hornbill and saddle-billed stork. At Kapama all the animals are free to roam according to their feeding needs.
Kapama ’s bushveld is synonymous with the African continent, and although the occurrence of each species fluctuates according to a specific area, the long grass combined with striking woodland trees such as the fever, mopane and thorn trees, are easily recognisable as far as you go.
Conservation efforts in Kapama Private Game Reserve and the surrounding area are not limited to the wildlife only. With some plant species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, conservation policies include the clearing of any alien vegetation, controlling and curbing erosion and planting of indigenous trees and plants to ensure their prevalence.
Due to the more pristine nature of Kapama, as compared to the busier Kruger National Park itself, there is a better chance to spot rare animals here.
Due to the lush vegetation the ideal time for game viewing in Kapama is probably the drier winter season, especially during the last dry months before annual rainfall starts, as animals may then gather around watering sources in larger numbers. This is also a comfortable time to spend in the veld, since winter temperatures are fairly mild.
What type of accommodation does the Kapama Private Game Reserve offer
Nestled between the Blyde River Valley and Kruger National Park, Kapama’s individually appointed and luxurious lodges and camps offer an escape to nature lovers from across the globe.
In this untouched part of Africa, which is home to some of the most endangered, beautiful and fascinating wildlife, the accommodation itself is hand-selected and guaranteed to tick all the right boxes, even for the most discerned guest.
If you have decided to spend your southern African safari at Kapama Private Game Reserve, you have made a good decision which you will neither regret nor forget. The offers a fine mix of luxury Kapama safari lodges and camps from where you can venture off to find the Big 5 and other game.
The lodges in the Kapama Private Game Reserve are:
If you think beyond luxury, you can get a grasp on what Kapama Karula offers its guests.
Karula is the pride and flagship lodge of Kapama Private Game Reserve and with its light, airy, open spaces and views, elegance and style, Karula easily steals the breath of even the most seasoned traveller.
This luxury safari lodge near the Kruger National Park is every discerning traveller’s perfect choice for a real escape into the wilderness.
Accommodation is provided in the following:
10 superior villas (size: 90 square metres) that feature wrap-around glass sliding doors that open onto an outside deck area which provide stunning views over the Klaserie River.
In such a villa guests can enjoy refreshing drinks from the personal minibar while relaxing on the patio or lazing around in their own heated pool or, if it is a bit cold, cuddle up inside the villa while sipping champagne or any of the available selection of fine wines. Air conditioning in the suite will ensure that you always are comfortable and a Nespresso coffee machine in each villa means that you can wake up to the smell of your favourite aromatic roast.
After a day of exploring the veld on game drives or bush walks, you can get back home and take a refreshing shower under the stars in your outdoor shower.
A lock-up safe is provided for your valuables so that you can get around with peace of mind, and the suites are equipped with every possible technological comfort like wi-fi, an iPod docking station and international power adapters.
Superior family villas
There are two superior family villas (size: 170 square metres) that boast large open-plan living rooms and two bedrooms.
Each villa has floor-to-ceiling doors that can be opened to a private deck where you can take a dip in a heated swimming pool or relax in a lounger. A minibar is stocked with popular drinks, or you can choose something more indulgent from a selection of fine wines and champagne.
Each en-suite bedroom is spacious enough to offer privacy and if your children are accompanying you, you will appreciate the fact that the second bedroom is equipped with a flat-screen TV, a selection of movies and a Wii game console.
The suites are air-conditioned to ensure that you will be comfortable at all times and a personal Nespresso coffee machine allow you to wake up to the smell of your favourite warm and aromatic roast.
More peace of mind is offered with the provision of a lock-up safe for any valuables, and all the suites are equipped with technological comforts including wi-fi, an iPod docking station and international adapters.
The camp further has an attractive lounge, well stocked bar, library and dining facilities. You can sip a refreshing cocktail while you look for game between the trees, get lost in a book from the library or connect with the family back home via the media centre.
You can always arrange for a romantic firelit dinner for two and, Kapama Karula can also provide kosher meals on request.
After a day out in the wild, you can look forward to a pampering treatment in the luxurious award-winning spa and those guests that still have a lot of energy left and feel in need of something more energetic, a state-of-the-art fitness centre are waiting for them.
Apart from the above, there are also the option of a steam room or spa pool – and even a curio shop where you can browse around for that perfect gift for a loved one back home.
Kapama recently announced that Kapama Karula and Karula Spa & Wellness Centre were selected as winners across numerous categories in the 2020 Haute Grandeur Global Awards Hotel and Spa Awards. The awards covered regional as well as global categories, one of which was Best Safari Spa on a Global level.
Kapama Buffalo Camp are your exclusive home in the trees. Built high in the treetops, it is only accessible by means of elevated wooden walkways, which makes the old-world luxury tents of the camp the closest you can get to living alongside wildlife.
The luxury tented camp is a quiet and intimate lodge where you can unwind in the shade of the trees and just enjoy a perfect luxury South African Safari escape.
There are ten ultra-luxurious tented suites (size: 35 square metres) that are all set among tall, shady trees near a seasonal river. Each luxury tent is air conditioned and features en-suite bathrooms. Heated blankets will provide comfort during cooler weather and dark wood and leather finishes add nostalgy to the interior, while a wonderfully romantic ambience is created at night when oil lanterns illuminate the walkways.
Tea and Nespresso coffee facilities, a fully stocked minibar, a lock-up safe for your valuables, and international plugs for the convenience of guests from abroad are standard fittings.
The intimate Buffalo Camp lounge, which is cosily located under a thatched, vaulted roof, provides the ideal spot to lounge on a comfortable sofa for some birdwatching or to enjoy a refreshing drink while exchanging experiences with other guests. Sun loungers around an elevated rim-flow pool offer more and better views of the fauna and flora surrounding the camp.
Breakfast and lunch are served under traditional thatch surrounded by the natural beauty of the area and from an la carte menu, while guests usually gather around an open fire in an African boma for a traditional dinner to the sounds of the African night.
Kapama Buffalo Camp can offer kosher meals on request and arranged with the reservations team who will gladly assist.
At Kapama’s Southern Camp you can get really lost in the African safari dream.
The hospitality and charm of Kapama Southern Camp creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for families that are looking for a worthwhile safari experience in the Greater Kruger National Park area.
Although offering luxury five-star accommodation, it oozes a relaxed atmosphere where even the smallest children gets their share of attention and memories can be made that will last with you and your family forever.
Accommodation is provided in the following:
There are 15 light, airy en-suite bedrooms of 45 square metres each, extended by private patios from which guests can spot the surrounding wildlife. Large windows in every room enhances the experience of being in one of the most beautiful places in Africa.
Each suite is perfectly equipped for the African heat and is fitted with air conditioning as well as an own bar stocked with refreshments. Tea facilities and coffee machines, an electronic safe for valuables and international plugs for the convenience of guests from abroad are available.
Seven luxury villas (size: 95 square metres) offer loads of room to stretch out, and during the summertime the airy spaces allow a cool breeze circulating while you can also splash about in a private lap pool or getting rid of the dust of a game drive under the stars in a private outdoor shower.
Each room has an en-suite bathroom, air conditioning as well as an own bar stocked with refreshments. Tea facilities and coffee machines, an electronic safe for valuables and international plugs for the convenience of guests from abroad are available.
Family luxury villas
Families can make use of three luxury family villas (size: 130 square metres), each with its own big swimming pool with comfortable recliners and private patio with enough space for a whole family to relax and unwind in style. You have your own tea facilities and a coffee machine available, as well as your own personal bar for refreshments.
Each suite features en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning for comfort, an electronic safe for your valuables and international plugs for guests from abroad.
The main part of the lodge has a lounge that offers the perfect spot to relax, sip on a refreshing beverage, play games or watch visiting wildlife.
There is a pool and contemporary, open-sided dining area where breakfast and lunch are served, with a wine selection as a focal point.
Dinner may be served under the stars in a traditional outdoor boma where the chefs create dazzling food right in front of you. Kapama Southern Camp can offer kosher meals on request, which should be arranged with the reservations team beforehand.
Kapama River Lodge
River Lodge is the largest of the Kapama Private Game Reserve camps and represents the true spirit of Africa with its wide open spaces and airy design.
Despite the luxury five-star accommodation, River Lodge is more social with a more festive atmosphere than the smaller and quieter camps, making it the place sought out by young couples and groups of friends.
Here they can still escape to a place away from time and indulge in what one of the finest safari lodges near the Kruger National Park offers. Accommodation is provided in the following:
The lodge has 40 suites (room size: 35 square metres) in which you can make yourself believe to be in Hemingway’s Africa and take in the beauty of the reserve from the privacy of your own patio.
Alternatively you can stay in one of 16 spa suites (size: 50 square metres) which are tucked away in the privacy of some russet bush willow trees surrounding the African spa.
With their floor-to-ceiling glass doors and frameless windows, the suites offer expansive views of the reserve, even from your bathroom.
These magnificent suites are highly recommended and is equipped with en-suite bathrooms, air conditioning, coffee and tea-making facilities, a minibar, as well as a lock-up safe and international plugs.
The lodge cater for families with four family suites (size: 70 square metres).
With their triple balconies, they offer more than enough space and opportunity to recline in the quiet of the bush while providing the perfect venue for big family getaways or holidays.
The rooms are spacious, allowing for loads of extra space or to comfortably add extra beds for little ones. En-suite bathrooms offer privacy, and each suite is fitted with air conditioning. Tea and coffee facilities and a minibar are available, as well as a lock-up safe for valuables and international plugs for guests from abroad.
For those seeking an extra luxurious experience, two royal suites (size: 40 square metres) will suffice.
Here you can relax and unwind in the total luxury of an opulent bedroom, a private lounge and spacious patio with recliner couch. You can revel in your beautiful surroundings with a view through giant windows (even in the en-suite bathroom with dual showers) or enjoy refreshments from a fully stocked minibar.
Air conditioning, international plugs and a lock-up safe will further ensure comfort.
The communal facilities of the lodge include a lounge, pool and cocktail bar. You can relax beside a roaring fire in the African themed lounge or sip a cocktail from the bar next to the sparkling rim flow pool. This while keeping an eye out for thirsty animals coming for a drink from the nearby watering hole.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are culinary experiences to savour, especially since the authentic African cuisine can be enjoyed around a roaring fire in the open-sided thatch Rhino Boma where all dietary requirements are easily catered for.
Dining can even be more romantic under a star-studded African night sky with wine from an illustrious wine cellar which is kept stocked with more than 600 of the finest South African wines.
On request, Kapama River Lodge can offer kosher meals, provided that it is arranged beforehand with the reservations team.
The River Lodge Spa is considered one of the finest safari spas in Africa and has become a firm favourite with all guests. You can lounge at the spa pool or get a quick workout in before you put yourself in the hands of the highly trained and experienced beauty therapists for a distinctly African treatment.
Kapama Game Reserve and the community
Kapama Private Game Reserve’s owners have a passion for wildlife conservation as well as helping previously disadvantaged communities living in the vicinity of the reserve.
Community development, cherishing and caring for the environment, as well as supporting and investing in sustainable economic growth is seen as important issues.
They believe that by assisting these communities to build economically sustainable livelihoods, they can also empower future generations. They put great emphasis on the development of the youth and over the past few years has focused on children in need of basic requirements like care, support, education, developmental skills, as well as just a helping hand.
Kapama Private Game Reserve’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) projects are committed to helping communities in meaningful ways and is seen in two prominent initiatives, the Thulamahashe Children’s Home and the Makwetse School in Acornhoek.
The Kapama Thulamahashe Children’s Home Trust
Thulamahashe is a small town about 40 km south of Kapama and the place where the Thulamahashe Children’s Home provides a safe haven for orphaned and abandoned children from the area.
Although the home was originally designed to accommodate only 12 children, no child in need is ever turned away and resident children range from kindergarten age to teenagers, all of whom have either been abandoned or whose families are not able to support them.
The Kapama Thulamahashe Children’s Home Trust was therefore formed at Kapama as a way of helping. The trust is overseen by four trustees and with fully audited financials open for public scrutiny, the trust is in place to empower the kids through education and ongoing support.
Support is given in material terms, as well as with education – from primary school all the way through to tertiary education.
Makwetse School – Acornhoek
Kapama Private Game Reserve assists the community in and around the reserve through employment of local staff, but also in the education of the children of the community.
The reserve has partnered with an NGO called Eco Children, a non-profit organisation initiated by the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, which focuses on hands-on environmental education and whole school development. One of the schools that benefits from this partnership is Makwetse School in Acornhoek, which is situated about 30 km from Kapama itself.
Eco Children’s mantra is “Sowing seeds of Change” and they empower children by increasing their awareness of conservation, stimulating their desire to learn, improving the environment for learning and quality of education. They also provide opportunities for talented learners.
By improving learning environments and stimulating an interest in nature, Kapama believes to exercise a positive impact on environmental awareness and education amongst children in the area around our reserve.
They have developed a relationship with Makwetse through the creating of an Eco Village comprising a large vegetable garden that demonstrates the principles of food production and sustainability to learners and contributes to the school feeding scheme. Surplus products can be made available to the local community. Once a school has shown they value their Eco village, Eco Children work with the school to improve essential infrastructure such as libraries, kitchens, toilets and school halls.
Things to remember when visiting Kapama Private Game Reserve
When coming on safari to South Africa, what to pack and what to leave behind will depend on the season and the purpose of your visit.
During the summer months which extend from August to April, the hottest period will be between October and February, the time of year when rain is also possible. Rainfall generally is in the form of thunderstorms, lasting for an hour or so, after which the weather clears up again.
Kapama provides rain ponchos for guest use on game drive vehicles, and umbrellas for use are available at all four lodges, so it will not be necessary to pack that.
Even in summer it may still be cool in the early mornings and evenings, so it is advised to pack a light jacket and warm cap, especially for game drives.
By noon, summer temperatures are often very hot and cool, short-sleeve shirts and shorts or bermudas made of a light cotton fabric may be best suited to wear. Don’t forget to pack a bathing suit so that you can take a dip in a pool to cool off from the heat. Swimming towels are available for your use at all Kapama’s lodges.
Meals are informal, so smart attire is not required.
Since the African heat can be intense and the sun very harsh, it is advised to pack and always wear a high quality high protection factor sunblock along with lip balm and sunglasses.
Your own insect repellent will be handy, although game drive vehicles carry repellent on board as standard in case you should forget yours.
Winter in the Lowveld area of South Africa where Kapama is located, is from May to August, with the coldest period being during June and July. During this period, fleece blankets are provided on game drive vehicles for your use but since early mornings and evenings may be very cold, it is recommended to pack a thick jacket, scarf and cap along with closed shoes and socks.
Even a pair of warm gloves will come in handy, especially if you want to be able to use your fingers to handle a camera on occasion.
Generally speaking, it is advisable to wear clothing in colours as neutral and as light as possible, in order to blend in better with the surrounding environment. Khaki, beige, brown and green are best, since darker and brighter colours may also attract unwanted mosquitoes and insects.
A pair of comfortable walking shoes for bush walks or when off the game drive vehicle, and a pair of slip-on shoes or sandals to wear around the lodge or to meals, are advised.
Should you wear prescription spectacles or contact lenses, bring along a spare pair in the event that yours are mislaid or broken. Also ensure that you have sufficient contact lens cleaning lotion, as the dusty outdoor environment may require more frequent lens cleaning.
Don’t forget to consult your physician beforehand to arrange for malaria prophylaxis medication, as Kapama is situated in a malaria area.
Electricity at Kapama Private Game Reserve is a 220-volt alternating current system. Wall plug units take a round two-prong European plug, but international adaptors are provided. It is still advisable to bring the necessary converters or adapters from your home country, especially for charging cameras or laptops. International adaptors may be available for purchase at the lodges but cannot be guaranteed.
A pair of binoculars may be useful. It may sound stupid to remind, but don’t forget your chargers and memory cards!
There are wi-fi spots at the lodges if you wish to bring and use your personal laptop, but each lodge has a dedicated computer for guest use, and to send emails and use the internet.
Cell phone reception is available in most areas of South Africa and also within the reserve, but it is not advised to take cell phones on game drive vehicles as to not unnecessarily disturbing wildlife and other guests.
Guests may use their cell phones’ cameras, but the phone must preferably be set on airplane mode.
All Kapama lodges’ rooms provide amenities such as soap, shampoo and body lotion, so there is no need to bring your own toiletries with you.
The lodges all offer a reasonably priced 24-hour laundry service to guests and the curio shops at all the lodges stock basic travel accessories too.
When is the best time to visit the Kapama Private Game Reserve?
Kapama Private Game Reserve is situated approximately 500 metres above sea level and enjoys relatively comfortable temperatures throughout the year.
Summer lasts from October to March when daytime temperatures can reach up to 42°C. Summer is also rainy season, with about 550 mm of rain that may fall annually. The colder winter months of May, June and July experience daytime highs of around 26°C and night-time lows of about 8°C.
Spring and autumn see less variance between day and night temperatures, which may range between 12°C and 28°C.
Game viewing at Kapama is however excellent throughout the year, but summers in the northern part of South Africa can get extremely hot and the rainy summer season also brings an influx of mosquitoes with the risk of malaria at its highest then.
The sparser vegetation during the dry winter season brings animals to waterholes and make for easier game viewing, so it is best to visit in the winter between May and September. Day temperatures will be very comfortable while only morning and evening game drives may be a bit frosty.
On the other hand, summer months from October to April usually provide excellent birding opportunities and the lush greenery then also makes for fantastic photography.
Conservation and anti-poaching measures in the Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama believes that understanding the relationships between the reserve and its ecosystem help to ensure that the natural functioning of the reserve is not disturbed, therefor they see the establishment and maintenance of basic standards to protect the environment and community as very important to life at the reserve.
Kapama Private Game Reserve protects biodiversity on the reserve through an established Anti-Poaching Unit with a dedicated team patrolling the high-risk areas of the reserve daily and foot patrols are conducted in search of wildlife traps and poachers.
To combat poaching, the Kapama APU has been using tracking dogs that have been trained to criss-cross the Kapama Reserve and surrounding areas to track poachers. Kapama works closely with law enforcement and supports anti-poaching units on surrounding reserves.
Kapama believes in sustainability and responsible tourism which minimises negative social, economic and environmental impacts. Management aims to increase the positive impact of tourism on the Greater Kruger area and create truly ethical, memorable and exceptional travel experiences for guests so that they leave Kapama with a changed outlook.
Kapama strives to use local suppliers wherever they can to bring as much income to the local area as possible and uses small, owner-managed companies based in and around the Hoedspruit and surrounding area as far as possible.
The reserve strive for minimum impact on the environment through their stance against single-use plastic and constantly tries to find ways to eliminate plastics in its day-to-day-operations.
This includes removing the use of plastic straws, single-use amenities in all the rooms and using refill containers. They buy fresh produce directly from local farmers to reduce the amount of pre-packaging and an on-site water recycling plant allows each lodge to reduce the number of plastic water bottles consumed.
Even lunch packs are served in bio-degradable and environmentally friendly containers and they recycle as many materials as possible including paper, glass, cardboard, cans, plastic.
They use energy-saving light bulbs and private pools are heated via solar panels.
They further strive to educate guests on the importance of not only National Parks and Game reserves but of the environment and human existence in it.
Kapama have strict rules and regulations when it comes to nature and promotes the importance of being ethical and not place human interests above those of nature.
Where is the Kapama Private Game Reserve located?
Kapama Private Game Reserve is located near Hoedspruit in the Limpopo Province of South Africa between the Blyde River Valley and the northern Drakensberg mountain range in the west and the world renowned Kruger National Park in the east. The reserve is surrounded by other private reserves which all form part of the Greater Kruger conservation area.
When is the best time to visit the Kapama Private Game Reserve?
You can visit The Kapama Game reserve all year round, but summers in the Lowveld can get quite hot. The rainy summer season also brings an influx of mosquitoes and the risk of malaria is at its highest then. The winter months between March and October may be the time for the most enjoyable stay.
Is Kapama Private Game Reserve in the Kruger National Park?
No, it is located on private property adjacent to the Greater Kruger conservation area.
Will I see the Big 5?
Since Kapama Private Game Reserve is a Big 5 reserve, encountering lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo is usually possible over a two-day safari.
Is the reserve child-friendly?
Yes, some of the camps in the Kapama Private Game Reserve provide family units and caters for families with smaller children.
What about malaria?
Kapama Private Game Reserve is located within a malaria area. It is best to contact your physician for information on anti-malarial prophylactics prior to your departure. While staying at one of the lodges in Kapama, also keep your arms and legs covered after dark, sleep under mosquito nets and use repellents where possible.th