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.
5:00 Wake-up call
5:30 Tea, coffee, and light snacks
6:00 Game Drive
4:00 High Tea and light snacks
4:30 Game Drive
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.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.