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“Amazing!!!!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kapama River Lodge

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Kapama River Lodge
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   R40, Kapama Private Game Reserve, | Kruger Park, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa   |  
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Hotel amenities
Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
61 hotel reviews
Reviews in 62 cities Reviews in 62 cities
89 helpful votes 89 helpful votes
“Amazing!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2011

I recently stayed at the River Lodge and had a fantastic experience! Everything was absolutely amazing! We were able to see the Big Five within 2 game drives. We even saw leopards 2 days in a row! The rangers and trackers are so good at their job - they found so many animals. I couldn't imagine doing my own self-drive thru Kruger...I wouldn't have seen anything! This is the way to go.....not to mention the staff at Kapama is top notch. The setting of this private reserve is literally across the street from the Hoedspruit airport. They pick you up at the airport in the Land Cruisers in a very organized and professional manner. Once you arrive you are shown to your rooms; time to settle in; enjoy lunch and then head out on your first game drive! The rooms are really nice and the spa suite which I stayed in had a great view from the balcony. We even saw giraffes wander by - amazing! I would love to come back here. I highly recommend Kapama River Lodge!! You will not be disappointed!

Room Tip: The standard suites are closer to the main lodge area, whereas the spa suites are a little bit of a...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled solo
    • 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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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 (75)
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Hoboken, New Jersey
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2011

Tucked away in Kruger National Park /Game Reserve is a luxurious lodge that offers some of the freshest local cuisine in South Africa in addition to dining with your local Safari Guide. This place is phenomenal, and offers a spa, pool, outdoor dining, beautiful buffets, snacks and mealtimes, and an incredible fireplace to warm up in front of after an evening game drive. Kapama employs expert guides and you will be guaranteed to see most of the "BIG 5" during your morning or evening drives. There is a serenity offered by the setting of this lodge, and it is a place that is truly worth the splurge. Oh, and the bathrooms are out of this world. ....wow....possibly my favorite part of the room other than the balcony views of a giraffe every now and then.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santa Cruz, Ecuador
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

Situated on a private game reserve, you’re almost guaranteed to see the big 5 (although the leopard is a bit elusive and we only saw it running by). There’s an early morning and late afternoon game drive daily and other options you can add on for an additional cost like a hot air balloon or elephant back safari. We stayed here for three nights and then drove through Kruger on our own on the way back to Johannesburg.

Both reserves have the same animals, but at Kapama we were able to get much closer, go off road, and do night drives. This was the first of 3 lodges that we stayed at during our safari adventure and the only place we saw rhinos.

ROOMS are lovely with views outside from the bed and bathroom. The open layout between the bedroom and bathroom makes the rooms seem very spacious and a huge recessed door affords privacy between the bed and bathroom if need be. From our room we were able to watch impala, zebra, and wart hogs grazing.

MEALS are delicious with a spectacular variety of options. Being able to try so many dishes and desserts was a highlight. Most dinners are served in the Boma (weather permitting) and it was a bit cool at night – wear a sweater or fleece if you’re cold natured. It’s open air and looks out over a small, lighted portion where we were able to see animals meandering around as we ate.

LODGE SCHEDULE
5:00 Wake-up call
5:30 Tea, coffee, and light snacks
6:00 Game Drive
8:00-10:00 Breakfast
1:00-3:00 Lunch
4:00 High Tea and light snacks
4:30 Game Drive
8:00-10:00 Dinner

Our GUIDE was a lovely chap, but he stayed on the blackberry a little too much. Huge efforts were made to tick off the big five during our first drives. He was very willing to answer any and all questions, but we would have liked a bit more info about the animals built in to the drives. Perhaps we’re high maintenance though…

GAME DRIVES were in an open top vehicle and as the sun disappeared, the chill set in. Blankets were provided and there was hot coffee or tea in the morning during the ‘stretch your leg’ break. A table was set up with buttermilk rusk. Don’t try to bite into one of those things without first dunking it into your drink of choice. Our sundowner stop was usually in the dark because we spent every bit of light we had hunting for animals. Afterwards, a spotlight was used to reveal nocturnal animals in route back to the lodge. *One nice thing about returning from the drives was that staff was waiting to greet you and tell you where dinner would be. This is something that we didn’t find anywhere else…a small, seemingly meaningless touch, but something we noticed.

NO DRINKS are included in the rate. You have to pay for water, coke, sundowners on safari - any beverage other than coffee and hot tea. I agree with the other reviewer – this is not very nice considering what you have to pay.

NO FREE WI-FI. It’s available to purchase but may or may not function in your room. The best service is in the main lobby. For a hotel that houses over 100 guests, they have a business center with only 2 computers.

FULL SAFARI VEHILCES. The safari vehicles are for 10 passengers plus the driver and tracker. Ours had 9 passengers for most of the game drivers. Yes the vehicle is capable of holding that many comfortably, but the poor person in the middle always has to look around someone. It would have been nicer to have 7 or less on each vehicle so everyone could have a ‘window’ seat.

GROUP DINNERS. Breakfast and lunch are at your leisure. Dinner is with your guide and safari vehicle companions. You have the same guide and tracker throughout your stay.

SIZE MATTERS. The River Lodge is big – it holds over 100 guests. In my opinion this detracts somewhat from the intimacy of an idyllic safari. However, it works to the advantage here. Despite seeing everyone clambering into the safari vehicles just before the drives (there were usually about 10 trucks waiting), we rarely saw other vehicles once we left the compound. This also enabled us to see things that would have otherwise been missed because the guides and trackers communicated with one another. We were able to see a lion and his 3 lionesses after someone else found them and let us know where to go.

ECO-NESS – The option to keep your towel is available to save on water. Their info book also mentions the preciousness of water in Africa and the need to conserve.

FINAL SAY – I’d definitely recommend Kapama for anyone looking to see the animals up close without giving up any of the comforts of home. This is a great first lodge if you just starting your safari adventure.

*If you stay here and spend a day or two going through Kruger, you’re going to see plenty.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 11, 2011

My husband and I spent 1 week at the River Lodge celebrating my 40th birthday. We stayed in one of the spa suites and it was just perfect. Our room had 2 balconies with an extra sitting area. Every day we could watch giraffes walk past our room. Our guide was Rob and he and his tracker Magnum did an amazing job finding the Big 5 and more. I'd say that in most 24 hour periods we found the Big 5 every time. We were a little concerned after reading reviews about having dinner with our group every night (as we typically like to keep to ourselves), but we found it to be an unforgettable experience meeting with and talking to people from around the world.

The staff was as friendly and helpful as we have ever seen. Our waiter Andrew couldn't have been more attentive or pleasant. We went on a couple of bush walks with Ryan and that was great as well - very interesting to learn about all the plants and smaller animals as well as their habitats. Kapama and their team did a great job of not only finding the animals, but teaching you about them as well.

Thank you Kapama, Rob, Magnum, Ryan and Andrew for making our first African safari so perfect!

Room Tip: We were in room 120. It was the furthest room away from the main lodge, upstairs. Very quiet and pri...
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  • Stayed September 2011, 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.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2011

This property is beautiful and rustic with a lodge feel. The game drives were outstanding as MAGGIE was our guide. She was informative and very fun to be with duirng both the morning and afternoon game drives. I have given this resort a 4 out of 5. There are a few things I think they could do to improve the place. Without sounding like a travel snob, here are my thoughts.

1. Enlarge the on premise curio shop. ( I heard they are going to do this) It needs to be bigger, offer more items like safari shirts, pants, hats, etc.
2. Offer larger sandal and robe sizes in the spa area. The spa area is beautiful, they just need a better selection of robes and sandals for "larger" American guests. A robe doesn't work well if you can't close it.
3. Offer a bar service, drinks, juices, lemonade, etc in the spa area. They have a great pool with giraffes within sight but they need to have a limited bar service available.

The staff was extremely helpful and these are things that would make the lodge more money and provide services guests want with a minimal amount of effort.

Thanks again MAGGIE for a great trip

Doug Eberhart
Bigdaddystraveladventures.blogspot.com

Room Tip: get one on the first floor as there is no elevator.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Utrecht
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2011

Kapama River Lodge is situated on the Kapama Private Game Reserve just outside Hoedspruit Airport. The reserve includes 13.000 hectares with a great variety of birds and animals and
four different lodging facilities. We stayed for four days in a Spa Suite in the River Lodge in January 2011. Although the lodge hosted may guests (20 spa suites, etc.) we enjoyed our
stay very much. The interior designer did a great job. The lodge is efficiently organized.
Many open air Toyata's with excellent rangers and trackers will show all those people around.
But when finally the leopards were found, there was only one car at the scene. We rarely encountered another vehicle. We saw so many different birds, small animals, the big five too, girafs, impala's, jackals, warthogs, zebra's, etc. at close range. Our tracker, Petrus, has great skills to find all those animals. We had a great time. We certainly had value for money.

Room Tip: I think the suites on the higher floors have a better view.
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  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with friends
    • 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
    • 4 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.
Salvador, BA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2011

Excellent room (standart).
Good food, specially dinner (lunch is average). Non-alcoholic drinks are not included, what I think is not polite, considering the rates.
Friendly staff.
Safaris are nice, but took a lot of time to find some animals and we havent seen leopards. Snacks and drinks during safari take too long and seems that they dont want you to see all animals in the same day to keep surprise factor for following safaris.

Room Tip: Try to get on the second or third floor.
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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Additional Information about Kapama River Lodge

Address: R40, Kapama Private Game Reserve, | Kruger Park, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
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 Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 hotels in Kapama Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Kapama River Lodge 5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kapama River Lodge is situated within Kapama Game Reserve, and presents the perfect blend between luxurious safari accommodation and a generous bed capacity of 64 bedrooms. Although large, it is so stylish and roomy and beautifully positioned along a dry riverbed, that guests fall in love with it.Each spacious room at Kapama River Lodge features a full en-suite bathroom and terrace with uninterrupted views into the leafy-green Big 5 game reserve. The central guest entertainment areas include a large rim-flow swimming pool with sun umbrellas and recliners for lazy afternoons. The long L-shaped relaxation lounge and bar under a double-volume thatch, curves around the pool and on either side is a huge double-sided fireplace creating a wondrous open-plan yet cosy atmosphere. The Rhino Boma dining area with tables arranged under a low thatch in a horseshoe curve, has a central open space where a roaring outdoor fire gives a glow to evening meals. Buffet-style meals introduce African flavours with Pan African dishes using fresh local ingredients and specialist dishes. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kapama River Hotel Kapama Private Game Reserve
Kapama River Lodge Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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