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.
- 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, 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
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- Also Known As:
- Kapama River Hotel Kapama Private Game Reserve
- Kapama River Lodge Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa