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“Highlight of our honeymoon!” 5 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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11 reviews 11 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
“Highlight of our honeymoon!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 24, 2012

We were on our 3 week African honeymoon and spent 4 nights at the Kapama River Lodge. Upon our arrival at Hoedspruit airport we were greet by Harry who was to be our guide for the entirety of our stay. Although his English was at times a little difficult to follow, there was no doubting his extensive knowledge and understanding of the surrounds and his determination throughout our stay to make sure we saw everything we came to see.
We were greeted at Kapama with a cool towel and welcome drink. A detailed orientation in the large beautifully decorated lounge area followed. We had booked a double room but were upgraded to room 115 which was a large spa suite as we were on our honeymoon. We were absolutely floored when we walked in. It was the size of a small unit! The front balcony overlooked part of the lodge while the back balcony looked straight into the game reserve.
The bathroom was a room in itself. We had a large double sink, a shower big enough for a family of 4 and a bath tub that allowed you to watch giraffe wander around in the scrub while you wallowed in bubbles. The king bed had a refrigerated air conditioner on the opposite wall along with a desk on the right hand side. There were 2 large lounges, 2 cupboard suitable to hold enough clothes for several weeks and a mini bar fridge. We spent 3 nights at the Palace of the Lost City in Sun City and we couldn’t decide which room was better.
The game drives are 6:30 – 9:30am and 4:00 – 7:00pm. During our stay we saw all the big 5 five (although they only have the white rhino, not black) and more. We came home from each game drive having seen something of interest. There was a female lioness with 3 cubs during our stay and our tracker Eric and guide Harry were determined we would get the opportunity to see them. They succeeded, twice! Unlike Kruger, the guides can go off road to find the game. Some guests found the off-roading a bit scary, but our best game driving memories are from Kapama.
During morning game drives you stop for a hot drink and biscotti’s. During evening game drives you stop for ‘sundowners’ which consists of soft drink, beer or wine (which are invoiced to you room) while watching the sun go down.
Breakfast starts at 8:00am, lunch starts at 1:00pm and dinner starts at 7:30pm. Andrew introduced himself as our waiter at our first meal and informed us that he would be looking after us for the duration of our stay. From the moment we entered the dining area, he had usually spotted us and had our ‘usual’ on the way before we had a chance to see what meals were on offer.
All meals are buffet style and consist of 2 long tables containing a good variety of meals and one table for deserts. I was also approached by management and told that if there was not enough vegetarian dishes to let them know and the chief would prepare something specifically for me. I have no doubt that anyone with any dietary issues would be treated the same way.
Upon return from your game drive you are personally greeted and informed where dinner will be held, the riverbed, the boma or the main restaurant. Our favourite was without a doubt the riverbed. The whole area is lit up purely by lanterns and bonfires while you dine under the stars. The tables are set up so you dine with your game viewing group along with you guide. A fun way to regale the day’s activities. However there are plenty of other tables available should you wish to dine with another group or on your own.
The Kapama Wellness Centre is a spa that would rival day spas around the world. It’s an absolute must to spend some time here. We had a massage in the couple’s room. It was so good we returned the following day for a second round.
Assistant managers Mandy and Johan were ever present ensuring guests had every need catered for. Reception was opened 5:300am – 10:00pm and you always received excellent service.
Housekeeping was fantastic. I had hand rinsed some clothes and left them to dry on the deck throughout the day. We returned home to find they had been brought in and folded for us. We were so impressed we sought out housekeeper to tip her personally.
There is only one computer for guest to access the internet however there are multiple Wii fi hot spots marked around the lodge. One night I stayed up late emailing friends back home. Harry (our guide) was at reception. I remember thinking to myself it’s a bit rough making him work late when he has to start early with game drives. But once I’d finished online he insisted on walking me to my room. I assured him I would be fine but he insisted. During our chat to the room I leant that each guide is responsible for their guest’s safety not only on game drives but for their entire stay. I felt terrible that he had to stay back because I had chosen to stay up late.
There is a curio shop within the lodge and it has some wonderful unique items. We probably did a third of our gift shopping here. After spending over R2000 we were entitled to a free Kapama book so we choose the Safari Guide allowing us to tick off the animals we saw each game drive.
On our fourth day Harry drove us to the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre which is situated within Kampama and run by the same family. It is an amazing facility and in our opinion managed to outshine, Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in terms of layout and enclosure sizes and it shines alongside the Ann Van Dyk De Wildt Cheetah Centre.
Upon returning from our last evening game drive, we were delighted to discover a bottle of African wine and a hard cover publishing of ‘Kapama’ had been left in our room for us to congratulate us on our wedding.
In conclusion, we thoroughly enjoyed our time at Kapama. Since arriving back in Sydney, we keep saying 'We want to go back to Kapama!' We will defiantly return and don't hesitate in recommending it to everyone.

Room Tip: Splurge and get one of the larger spa suites, you wont regret it!
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  • Stayed May 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.
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  • 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
Durbanville, South Africa
20 reviews 20 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

I don't even know where to begin...

Kapama River Lodge is hands down the best trip myself and my boyfriend have ever been on.

When arriving in our vehicle we were greeted with refresher towels and they offered to park the vehicle for us. Our luggage was taken to our room by staff members. Before we checked in they offered us to have lunch as the buffet just started. After we enjoyed the amazing lunch and desserts we checked in and got a briefing from reception aswell as a refreshing juice.

We were escorted to our room (room 102 - spa suites) which was very big and comfortable as well as stylish. The bed is huge and sleeps very comfortably. The bathroom has a twin basin, shower and bath, and obviously a toilet. The balcony is amazing as you can listen to nature and enjoy a cup of coffee.

Room service is very efficient. All the staff members are extremely friendly and helpful.

Our game drives were great, we saw the big 5 within 2 drives. Very informative and relaxing, it's nice to stop for a cup of coffee in the morning and some sundowners on the evening drive.

We went for a Kapama Wellness Massage on one of the days and it was absolutely amazing, the spa is very beautiful and you get to chill next to the pool in your robe before they escort you to the room, we went for a couples massage and it was great being next to one another. After the massage you are welcome to stay as long as you wish.

The lodge offers an array of activities like elephant back safari's and hot air balloon rides.

I have noticed a couple of people mentioning that this is not a good place to go if you are looking for a romantic escape, I have to disagree as our room was private, and you also have a breakfast and lunch to yourself, and besides if you do not want to have dinner with your ranger they organize a seperate table for you.

The food was great every day, an amazing selection of dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The soup and bread was definitely a must have.

We met some interesting and wonderful people from around the world.

Another nice thing about the game drives is that the rangers are allowed to go off road for certain species, we had the best viewing experiences when we went off road.

Definitely a trip we would like to make again soon and will recommend to all.

Room Tip: We were in the spa suites, very spacious and quiet.
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  • Stayed May 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2012

My husband and I stayed here for a weekend to celebrate his birthday. Because Kapama is adjacent to the Eastgate airport it is a great location. Quick flight from Johannesburg and quick transfer to the lodge. Our room was spacious and comfortable and overlooked some grasslands. Despite being a hotel like lodge it was pleasingly quiet.
There is a spa walking distance away. the spa is breathtaking and really outstanding.
The food is buffet style with many local and venison dishes. There is a comprehensive wine list available. The food and waiter service is very good and Charles looked after us excellently. On my last day I missed breakfast due to a spa appointment and Charles rustled up some toast and coffee/ muffins and pastries for me..like it was no problem. Now that is service with a smile!

The drives were also exciting and informative with the rangers and trackers hunting out the big 5. Not a great birding reserve though. We saw at extremely close proximity lion, cheetah and elephant. We saw white rhino twice and there are numerous buffalo. We couldn't find the elusive leopard ...but there is always next time. I would recommend this lodge to any couples for a romantic breakaway, anyone in need of destressing (spa is bliss) and anyone who needs a weekend of freshair!
Very well priced considering that all meals and game drives are included. Rooms are comfortable but not exclusive. Because it is a hotel like lodge there are a lot of people at meal times, but i really did not feel like the lodge was ever crowded.
The game drivers cater for the international crowd and look more for the bigger animals...I personally prefer to look at everything in a reserve including the smaller mammals, the tracking and the birds, even the spiders...but the drives were still incredible and the Brazil guests with us in the vehicle were very pleased.
It was surprisingly cold on the game drives and I would strongly recommend anyone going to Kapama to take a beanie as well as a scarf and a windproof jacket. there are blankets on the vehicle as well.

Room Tip: Ask for a room on the upper floor as they are quieter (no furniture scraping above you) and they wil...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Sao Paulo, SP
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2012

Very confotable and large room, nice shower, and bath. The hotel is awesome, and the staff very attenptious and friendly, trying to talk in portuguese when we said that we were from Brazil....The game safaris was wonderfull.... I recommend. You could think that is expensive, but is an all inclusive hotel, with safaris included....

  • Stayed April 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
    • 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.
Hopewell, NJ
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
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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
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
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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