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“First time visit...” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Kapama River Lodge

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Kapama River Lodge
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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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Hopewell, NJ
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“First time visit...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2012

Just returned from our stay at the Kapama River Lodge. There were 3 of us that went and we all enjoyed our time there very much. Our guide, Nelson, and tracker, Mateo, were wonderful!!!! The only animals we weren't fortunate to come across were the leopard and cheetah. On our last day we saw a group of female lions and one male all going in for a bite to eat...a wart hog. This was a adrenaline pumping experience!

Our rooms were wonderful. There were no tv's but who needs them when you're on vacation!? Each day there was either wart hogs or kudo's outside of our balcony. Each of us had the pleasure of enjoying the spa as well. I personally had the BEST massage ever!!! It was a little too chilly to jump in the pool but it was still beautiful to look at.

In the evening we ate dinner with our guide and those that went on the safari with us. This was nice the first evening but would like to have had the option to eat by ourselves maybe one or two of the nights. Food wasn't too bad.

Visited the souvenir shop one day and picked up a couple of goodies. Wish the shop were a little bigger but I had visited Cape Town prior to arriving and my bags were pretty full as it was.

I can't wait to plan a return trip in the near future!

  • Stayed April 2012, 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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648 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (81)
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English first
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2012

It seems like the safari experience basically comes down to: game drives and quality viewing, good eating, and thoughtful views all around. With this as a starting point, I offer the following:

If you want to feel like you are in a large hotel while on safari, this is a good option. The large size (over 100 guests during our mid-April visit) seems to cause difficulties, however: pre-prepared pancakes and French toast during breakfast were both always cold before you had a chance to eat them. Sometimes even the coffee was cold. The desserts were sub-par and the food was generally disappointing.

On safaris, there were often several trucks around the same viewing. Viewings were good, but our ranger did not add to the experience whatsoever, and seemed unable to position the vehicle to allow everyone views.

The rooms are well-appointed and have the feel of a luxury hotel. The outlets are thoughtfully thorough and can accommodate travellers from all continents. I would personally prefer to feel more connected to the surroundings, and while you likely won't do anything but sleep in your hotel room, it did not give me the sense that I was on a safari in one of the most special places in South Africa.

Thoughtful and unique interior design in the lobby, and the infinity-edge pool was a nice touch. This hotel is a good option if you don't mind crowds and are not looking to connect directly with the environs.

Room Tip: The spa suites are not particularly nicer than the regular suites, and they are about 800 meters awa...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Woking
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

We were looking forward to our stay at Kapama having booked it about 8 months ago. We were planning to stay at Kapama Karula but our luxury tent was washed away in the storms in January, so we were moved to the River Lodge. we were initially a little disappointed as we were looking forward to the intimacy of Karula but once at the River Lodge, all was well! It is beautifully styled, friendly and helpful staff everywhere and our room (spa suite) was to a very high standard. We discovered the spa on our first afternoon and swiftly booked ourselves in for massages the next day. This was great as it meant that we could use the spa pool both days we were there. It is stunning. The rungu and sports massage were superb too - my partner and i have had quite a few massages on holiday before and this was up there with the best. The game drives are brilliant - the drivers are very knowledgable (Maggie was our driver and Caswell our tracker) and we saw all we wanted and more. The only animal that evaded us was the leopard. The highlight was the baby elephant born the day before. The food is very good indeed and there is a lot of it! We stayed two nights and were pretty tired as there is so much to cram in - with two game drives a day and the meals there is not a lot of relaxing time. Shame with that beautiful spa - would have been nice to spend an extra day just enjoying the lodge - benefit of hindsight. We also think it is actually good value for money when you bear in mind the standard of the lodge, rooms, the food and game drives. Our only criticism would be that you have to have dinner with the driver and your fellow passengers. It would be nice to have the option for a dinner on your own, especially if you are there are more than one night. We had interesting conversation but a little more alone time would be nice - i guess that is what we would have had at Karula. but this is not to detract from the River Lodge - it was superb. We are lucky to have stayed in some wonderful places around the world and this is definitely near the top.

  • Stayed March 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 4
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SANTOS
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2012

Upscale experience with destination that gives the regular and experienced traveller the feeling that still exists right people doing the right thing. Proper decoration in every single place around the property, excellent rooms,friendly and corteous staff and the food couldn't be better.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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South Australia
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
27 hotel reviews
Reviews in 24 cities Reviews in 24 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2012

Being our first visit to South Africa and our first game resort experience, Tripadvisor reviews, near location in relation to airport, and price were the main deciders for us to choose the River Lodge. We could easily have paid much more for other game park accommodation and experiences; however, our choice did not want for anything. Without exception everything during our stay was nothing short of superb. I fully agee with all of the reviews in the Excellent category and it is one of only a few places we have visited in our travels that we look forward to happily returning to in the future.

  • Stayed March 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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Somerset, New Jersey
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2012

I read reviews about Kapama River Lodge before I visited and from my observation, the reviews were pretty accurate. However, the photos online did not do justice to the actual setting. Kapama River Lodge is a beautiful hotel, located in the bush and offered the perfect balance of luxury & nature. The rooms were spacious, clean and warmly decorated, yet rustic (there was no TV in the room, but I didn't notice it until we were leaving!!). The game drives were exciting and informative (we saw the Big 5 in only 3 days)!! The entire staff was very attentive and the food was delicious!! I did not mind that most of the drinks were not complimentary or that the meals were buffet - it was nice having 3 meals included in the price! I especially enjoyed the serenity of the spa after the invigorating game drives.

This was my first safari, so was happy that Kapama private game reserve was not too large. We saw the elusive leopard, a few lions, lots of giraffes, lots of water buffalo, a couple of rhinos, a few elephants (young & old), lots of antelope, zebras and whart hogs. And while I'm happy I did not get attacked by any of the animals, they did seem unusually tame for wild animals. But, I guess that's good for a first timer! I didn't use the pool chaises, so cannot comment but I did use the spa and it was heavenly!! Saw a few water bucks around the watering hole near the spa - amazing! This is the perfect safari for those looking for a touch of nature in the lap of luxury! We had a corner suite with lots of sunlight and privacy - magnificent!!! The only drawback was the over abundance of yellow & black garden spiders in the trees around the lodge. My husband and most of the other guests did not seem to notice the spiders, even though a few of them were quite large. And although I did not like the spiders - I really loved the lodge, so I would return!

Highly recommend for the person looking for a bush experience, but still prefers a few of the comforts of home! The lodge is comprised of a series of open, airy, nicely furnished buildings - connected by natural canopy covered walkways.

  • Stayed March 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.
Stockholm, Sweden
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2012

In short, this is a five star lodge that misses some things in order to merit a fifth star:
- The food is good, but not excellent, and buffee dinner was interesting but I expect more from a top class lodge.
- a few more complimentary things, perhaps fruit or drinks at some point.
- more comfortable chairs by pool.

Some details are not perfect but I want to underline that the overall experience was very good. Some things that shine especially:

- Well planned days with both relaxation and good safaris
- good rangers (Nelson!) and a nice environment
- a beautiful lodge
- great breakfast and lunch
- comfortable rooms

We had a great time and would recommend it.

  • Stayed March 2012, 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
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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 ( Wi-Fi ) 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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