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“A Wow Experience!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kapama Karula

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Kapama Karula
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   R40, Kapama Private Game Reserve | Kruger Park, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
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Singapore
Level Contributor
27 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“A Wow Experience!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2013

From the time we pulled up at the lodge, we were extremely well looked after. Guests are apparently assigned a single ranger and tracker-spotter for the duration of their stay, and they were just so friendly and knowledgable.
We stayed in one of the luxury tents. It lived up to the name and was very private, though only a minute's walk from the public area of the lodge, though not accessible for those with disability, the standard rooms are evidently. (There is a sort of "mounting block" for persons who can't climb into the safari vehicle on their own.)
This private park has a full assortment of game, big and small. It is continuous with another private park which further shares a common, unfenced border with Kruger National Park. This allows highly mobile species access to Kapama. Due to this feature, we were able to see a pack of Painted Wolves (African Wild Dogs), which was a very special and rare sighting. We saw 4 out of the big 5 during our 2 night stay, we tracked a leopard for a while, but alas, it eluded us.
Our ranger recommends the winter months (July/ August) when the the bush is not so dense with the grass flat and the leaves fallen as the time with the best visibility, but be warned: it's COLD at dawn even in the autumn month of April. One would need to be really bundled up to keep warm in the back of an open-air vehicle, even at low speeds.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Helpful?
Thank DugongKechil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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333 reviews from our community

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Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
34 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

The Kapama Karula hotel is fantastic. Everything about our stay from the moment we landed to the time we left was just perfect. Staff, food, rooms, safari - all was 5 star. We saw the big five in our first day! I would highly recommend this hotel.

Room Tip: It is worth paying a little extra to get a suite with a view of the river.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2013, 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
Helpful?
1 Thank Mandy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Level Contributor
14 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

We stayed at Kapama for 3 days and had the best experience ever. Our Rangers were really amazing while tracking animals and very knowledgeable. They explained everything we saw in detail, found the most difficult to find species and gave us insight on how each animal lives and coexists in this corner of the earth.
The hotel is really amazing, beautifully decorated and so comfortable. The staff is really friendly and helpful. We would of loved to stay here forever.

  • Stayed April 2013, 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
Helpful?
Thank Fatima C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

Kapama Karula was truly one of the most amazing experiences. We were first greeted by one of the rangers at Hoedspruit aiprort, then taken by jeep to the lodge. We were taken back by the true luxury and serene environment from the second we drove into the grounds. We were welcomed by many of the rangers and staff with refreshing drinks and then shown to our room. Our suite was absolutely stunning and had an expansive balcony that overlooked the river below and opposite reserve. The room was open plan with a large lounge area, fireplace, amazing bed and bedroom area and an extraordinary bathroom and outdoor shower. There were Nespresso, tea and snack facilities, with the fruit bowl and water replenished with daily housekeeping and turndown services.

We were fortunate to see all of the big five on our first full day of game drives, plus the cheetah and hyena. Collin was our ranger who was very skilled and knowledgeable and went above and beyond to track all the animals we wanted to see. Solly, our tracker, was brilliant at finding tracks and led us to some pretty amazing finds. Some of our most exciting experiences were going "off road", knocking down trees to trail the big cats, seeing lions and a rare albino elephants calf with her family, going off-road looking for a male leopard and zooming down the dirt roads at dusk to catch the big cats some other jeep had found. Collin and Solly were truly lucky as we would be the first on many occasions to find certain animals especially the female cheetah, hyena and the male dominant lion and lioness who had been tracked by other rangers for hours. We also did the daytime bush walk with ranger Omega, which was great a great way to experience the Savannah.

Johan was our designated waiter for our stay who offered great service, and attending to our every dining need. On two nights we were lucky enough to have dinner in the outside boma which included a braai (BBQ) on one occasion where we ate game including Wilderbeast, Impala and Kudu. You were constantly being fed at Kapama. When you woke up before the morning drive you had tea and coffee with pastries and yoghurt, while on the game drive we stopped and had tea and coffee with pastries, then after the game drive it was breakfast, then lunch, then high tea before the afternoon game drive, while on the game drive we stop and enjoyed sundowners which included an alcoholic drink and snacks, then dinner. You will never go hungry in this place however be prepared to bring a pants in a bigger size. All food was amazing and the high tea and dinner options changed every night.

  • Stayed January 2013, 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
Helpful?
4 Thank jrosslin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Kapama Karula in February for 3 nights. We had an amazing experience and would highly recommend Kapama! Our suite was amazing, the food was 5 star and the game viewing was spectacular! We only had 6 in our car so it was nice to have a small group with the same ranger and tracker the entire trip. We saw the Big 5 in the 1st Day. I cant think of one animal we did not see. The highlight was a pride of 13 lions and witnessing a hippo attack a rhino! We also saw a leopard which was another rare find and tons of baby animals!
Only suggestion I would make to the camp is NOT to charge for bottled water at meals. It seems so petty to charge $1 for a bottle of water when you are given it for free on the game drives and in your room. You can have any fruit juice or tea for free, but not water which is weird. The food was 5 star and very good, but is a little gamey. Some of the menus did not change on a daily basis and did get a little old. Those are my only complaints about the camp.
Overall, an amazing experience and I was sad to leave!

  • Stayed February 2013, 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
Helpful?
Thank tmagoulas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 28, 2013

One of the best, if not the best hotel we've stayed, ever.
Everything was perfect, from the moment we were picked up at the Hoedspruit airport to the moment we left.
The rooms were amazing, state of the art-trendy decor, very comfortable beds.
Our ranger (Don) and tracker (Tulli) were very knowledgeable, we saw not only elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, lions, monkeys, zebras, hippos, rhinos, crocodiles, impala, buffalo... but we also learned a lot about smaller animals (birds, frogs, spiders, snakes).
Food was very good and plenty
Recommend spending at least 2 nights, ideally 3.
Safaris are best in the evening, and worth going early in the morning.
I would definitely recommend this hotel.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank TereBA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san francisco
Level Contributor
11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

pro's --
amazing rooms
friendly staff
amazing trackers
great game viewing
beautiful location

con's--
Feels very sterile and austere for a lodge. This is of course my opinion, but all the meals are very formal (how many forks does one person need?), and there is very little interaction between guests due to the set up of the meals.....White table cloth, separate waiters, etc. Its obviously my preference, but it just feels like a very old school set up in terms of service.

Nickel & Diming -- If you are paying $900+ per night for an experience which includes meals and game drives, DON'T charge for bottles of water a la carte. Nothing leaves as bad a taste in your mouth as getting a bill for water after you've paid 900 bucks for a room. Its not even about the money, its the message. If you feel it necessary to charge for beverages, you have two options 1) increase your all- in price or 2) give the guests the total beverage bill at their departure, not after each meal. It makes you feel like you are staying at a hotel, which is not the case. People would rather spend an extra 50 bucks a night and not see a bill for a glass of wine than pay slightly less and have to pay for their wine on top.

Food- We felt the food was wildly hit or miss. SIMPLIFY the menu. My wife had amazing fish and I had a really bad burger. Instead of trying to be so fancy, just make sure everything tastes good.

All that said, we had an amazing time and found everyone to be wonderful.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank adammendelson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Prices are for 1 room, 2 adults
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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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 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):
Set 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. The 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 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". Kapama Karula has twelve superior suites, each exquisitely decorated and with generous private space. Two of the superior suites are purpose-built for families. Each suite also has a private outside deck and a large swimming pool, which is heated in the chillier months for year-round swimming. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kapama Karula Hotel Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama Karula Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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