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“Excellent experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kapama Karula

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Kapama Karula
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5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   R40, Kapama Private Game Reserve | Kruger Park, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
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Guildford, United Kingdom
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Excellent experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

We spent 3 nights at Kapama Karula two in a tent and one in room. The complex is very easy to get to if you are in a hire car. The welcome was very friendly and our tent was luxurious with a bath as well as an outside shower, which was great. The tent was set away from the main rooms and had a nice balcony from which one could view the local waterbuck and a mongoose family. Although not camping in the boy scout sense of the word it did make you feel nearer to the animals. In contrast the room was really large and luxurious with a huge balcony overlooking the river. All the staff were extremely friendly and did their best to make you feel welcome. The lounge and dining areas were like those in a top notch hotel and the food was very good and included some unusual dishes like crocodile carpaccio. There were other excellent facilities like and decent sized pool but as we had lots of exciting game drives we really needed an extra day or two to make use of these. The only problem was that because we stayed out late on several of the evening drives we had very little time to have a drink in the bar before dinner and to compare our day's experiences with other guests.
The game drives were the highlight of our stay, our ranger Ryan and tracker Vusi were both among the best we've had. Their respect for the animals and their ability to spot them was exceptional, especially after dark. Ryan really encouraged us to take an interest not just in the big five but also in smaller animals, reptiles and insects. One of the most memorable moments being to see a column of Matabele ants off on a foraging expedition, but best of all was the rare sighting of a pangolin, we really were lucky.
Even when animals were being elusive it was a pleasure to see how the ranger/tracker team set about trying to find game, and even though on one drive we were not having much success just the fact that stopped for our coffee along with some impala, warthogs and zebra surrounding us was a pleasure and gave us the chance to observe them close to.

Overall the experience was fantastic and we had an unforgetable experience.

Di and Pete

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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252 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
Date | Rating
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English first
Singapore, null, Singapore
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2012

There are simply no words to describe the Kapama experience. Setting - picture perfect. Rooms - exquisite. Food - great swlection, with brilliant ambience. Hospitality - pleasurable. Game drives - some of the best rangers you will ever get and the closest experiece one will ever have with African game. From the amarula on camp to pointing a black mamaba from 3 metres away - this was the most complete experience I could ever ask for. Strongly recommend 2-3 nights here.

Room Tip: We were in room 5
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2012

The last stop on our South Africa Honeymoon could not have been better than a stay at Kapama Karula! It is a smaller and more intimate property with as much luxury and service a vacationer would want. More impressive is the smaller footprint Karula offers leaves the guests feeling they are much farther in the bush than you really are! The staff warmly greets each guest and sends them off in the same intimate style. Wait and bar staff are very friendly and work long hours to ensure each guest has a fantastic experience.

We flew into Eastgate Airport (HDS) from Cape Town (CPT) via Johannesburg (a non-stop is seasonally offered CPT-HDS but does not operate daily--this is highly recommended if you do not have travel plans that involve time in Gauteng Province). The Kapama Private Reserve is located directly south of the airport property and would leave most people wondering how private or intrusive having such proximity to the airport would make this experience? It was a non-factor in seeing the big 5 plus more in native environments while never hearing any aircraft in operation and it couldn't have made the journey to Kapama any easier. Save on vehicle rentals and fly in/out of Eastgate...you won't need a vehicle while at Karula.

Game drives were twice daily and our guides Moses and Petro were absolute pros. Kapama offers open top vehicles and get quite close to many species without interfering in their native habitat. This allows for easy photo opportunities without complications. This also isn't some gimmicky park where nature is over-engineered for marketing. We really required knowledgeable trackers to find the larger predators and would even go off-road to find them (sounds more dangerous than it actually is...far more exciting too). Game drives were also when housekeeping would provide excellent service without interruption to your experiences.

Meal times were positioned around game drives so you never had to choose one or the other which is very helpful. Food was always well presented and with care. You could tell the emphasis on upscale service was a point of pride for the property. A range of international guests would feel very comfortable with the level or service and care as well as dietary considerations.

Rooms were recently renovated from damaging floods so everything had a new feel. With that, we were patient with an ant intrusion that manifested over the 4 days but the staff assisted us as best they could. We were never immersed with an insect problem but if stray ants or spiders would affect you adversely, stay in the cities because no building in the bush is 100% safe. Fully stocked amenities and open floor plan makes for a pleasant accommodation while the
territorial views from the outside deck (or from inside through the floor to ceiling sliding doors/windows) offer random glimpses of game traveling in native fashion. Security is provided to the property through high walls and electric fencing so there should be no fear or predators on property. Smaller creatures, like velvet monkeys, are able to cross through the property without danger to themselves or guests making the area feel less sterile and more wild.

I would agree that visiting different reserves would offer visitors more diversity in landscape and game density (we never saw the big 5 during any same days drives but did see each at separate times) and 3 nights on property certainly was enough time, Karula is worthy of long-range planning to make bookings for this property as part of your game reserve experiences.

We visited 5 properties during this South Africa vacation and were truly impressed with the level of service and quality of experiences. Although this was ranked #2 of 5 for our trip (behind Ellerman House and above Grande Roche, The Marine Hermanus and Hilton Cape Town) the memories from here will resonate our lifetime. We would stay at this property again and would go out of our way to do so.

Room Tip: Stayed in #6 which is the suite closest to the main area and never felt that we didn't have the...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012

We had a wonderful experience! Everyone really rolled out the red carpet for us to make it one of the best experiences ever. Our guides Decklin and Herbert always went out of their way for us and would let us start game drives a little earlier and later than normal. Both of them helped to make this a great trip with both their knowledge and genuinely caring about showing us as much as possible.

The food was always excellent and the rooms were perfect. The facilities are the equivalent to a five star hotel. Everyone at Karula was so nice to us. I don’t think it could have been possible to have a better safari experience than the one that we had!

Room Tip: We stayed two nights is a suite and two nights in a tent. The suite was obviously nicer but the ten...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

My wife and I spent three spectacular nights at Kapama Karula in mid-October '12. We also spent a night in Sabi Sands at Savanna Private Game Reserve. We loved both - I would recommend experiencing two different reserves to get a feel for the subtle difference in landscape and game density.

Our knowledgeable and personable Ranger, Andreas, and Tracker, Petro, were fantastic. We saw more animals than we ever expected to see (e.g., lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, buffalo, zebra, etc.). The vehicle was always positioned to allow guests to have a great view and was turned off as needed to reduce vehicle shake when taking pictures. Andreas knows the territory and the animals exceptionally well and was great about providing some education and background info along the way. One of the great things about staying at a private game reserve is that you're able to go off-roading, which allows you to get much closer to the animals and to have excellent, minimally obstructed vantage points - as an avid photographer, this was a major plus. We never felt like we were in a touristy environment - we rarely saw another vehicle on our game drives (Kapama is about 13,000 hectares large).

The game vehicles were outfitted with camera support pads (clamp mounts), which was great for balancing my telephoto lenses (70-200mm / 100-400mm on a 5DMII and 7D; more than enough reach given proximity to animals). The Karula team was also kind enough to fill my bean bag (SkimmerSack) with rice upon arrival (it's too heavy to travel with when it's full). It rained one evening and was partly cloudy / cloudy all other days (about 60-70 degrees most days and great light for photography). Rain ponchos and blankets are provided.

We stayed in a Suite and loved it. The room was well-appointed and included a rain shower, A/C, fan, fireplace, spacious patio area, his and her arrangements, couch, and a few stunning coffee table books - I wouldn't change anything about it. The meals and wine / beverage selection were terrific. I felt there was something for everyone. The dining team was aware of our preferences and went above and beyond to accommodate special requests.

As someone who appreciates top notch service and attention to detail, I was impressed with Karula - all aspects of our experience were looked after from start to finish. This is a highly professional team that is committed to providing a first rate experience. It's abundantly clear that they care deeply about customer service and the environment in which they operate. I would highly recommend Karula and hope that many of you will have an opportunity to experience this special game reserve.

Room Tip: We loved the Suites
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Zurich
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
54 helpful votes 54 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

We stayed 4 day at Kapama Karula Hotel. The experience for me and my family was amazing! The location and infra is perfect! My family room suite was great, big space, swimming pool, tub.. Some fresh fruits and candys available for us! I am using to travel a lot but I am sure that is the best experience ever!

Room Tip: Bring money with you for tips! All staff in South Africa work for this!
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
84 helpful votes 84 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

It's my first safari experience and it was amazing right from the moment I stepped into the airport. Received a warm welcome by the ranger with a nice cold towel & a bottle of water, we r on my way to the paradise.
Airport to Kapama is a short drive that takes around 20 mins and along the way we spotted giraffes, impala, kudu & warthogs. Reached Kapama around 1pm got a welcome drink by the staff & was told that we can either have lunch right away or to rest in our suite. After a long flight we choose to rest in our room, had tea& snacks at 3.30pm before 4pm game drive.
We were never hungry during our 3 days stay. Pre morning game drive, there's a selection of breads/ pastries / cold cuts/ fruit juice. During the game drive, there's a coffee break (selection of coffee/tea/ hot chocolate) and biscuit. returned from the morning game drives with sightings of animals plus breakfast waiting to be served. Hot breakfast is cook upon order with choice of eggs. Lunch will be serve from 12-2 and tea is at 3.30. Dinner around 7pm.
Service is great and the room is beautiful. Overall an amazing experience.
One point to note: it's not part of Kruger national park. And I didn't see any leopard. Saw 4 out of the big 5.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Kapama Karula

Address: R40, Kapama Private Game Reserve | Kruger Park, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Kapama Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Kapama Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Kapama Karula 5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kapama KarulaSet on the banks of the perennial Klaserie River is one of Kapama’s most secluded and prestigious safari camps named Karula. Karula means "place of peace" in the native tongue, and soon after your arrival you will know exactly why this name is just so perfect for this magnificent luxury safari camp. Peace is but one of the many emotions that will encompass your soul as you look at the serene waterway meandering gently past your doorstep and the age old saying "water is life" will begin to have a whole new meaning for you.Karula Lounge and BarThe open plan lounge and bar area, with floor to ceiling glass doors illustrates the perfect balance with elegant light colors. This modern building with its whitewashed wooden structure, skylights and open air bar, creates a cozy feel to the lounge and makes it a day time favorite to enjoy a drink or just sit back and enjoy the sights Karula has to offer. The contemporary yet African feel to the camp will satisfy and exceed the expectations of even the most discerning connoisseurs. The outside wooden deck overlooking the Klaserie river gives you the opportunity to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and magnificent vistas the camp has to offer.Karula Library & Media RoomA brilliant new addition and multi-purpose room that was built after the floods in January 2012. The library and media room boasts some of the best audio visual equipment but doubles as a library where you can read a good book in a breathtaking environment, or just take in nature’s views through the massive sliding windows. Keep in touch with family and loved ones at one of the two dedicated guest internet stations with WiFi on tap and free of charge. A private, romantic fireplace dinner can also be arranged with the camp personnel, and in a modern romantic setting like this, the answer can only be "Yes". ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kapama Karula Hotel Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama Karula Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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