We recently spent 2 nights at Kapama Karula. It was our first safari (to be followed by two others) so we did not know what to expect. All in all it was a wonderful experience.
We booked two Superior Suites, one for us and one for our two teenage sons. They were simply stunning. We have stayed in many high end hotels but I can say without a doubt, this was the nicest accommodation that we have ever had. The suites are massive and the photo's don't do them justice. As mentioned in other people's posts, they are not the traditional colonial style. Rather they are in soothing neutral colours, with endless windows and light and look as if they should be on the cover of Architectural Digest. I can not praise them enough. The decks and private pools were lovely and the furnishing was tasteful and elegant. There are coffee stations, snacks and port provided. The fireplace was a lovely touch after a particularly rainy safari. I was very sad to leave the accommodation when it was time to go. All of the common areas are done in the same style and very elegant and understated. Of the three safaris that we eventually did (Kapama Karula, Kings Camp and Londolozi Varty), Kapama Karula was the absolute winner for accomodation.
There was a spacious library with two computers for public use. The Internet access worked relatively well. Then there was another huge common area where there were refreshments and seating. Both were lovely, with big fireplaces, very spacious and welcoming. There was also the dining area, which had canvas walls to allow views to the water. It was a bit chilly one evening but most of the time was very comfortable. There is also a very pleasant gift store with a tasteful selection of items to purchase.
The food was good at Kapama Karula, but not outstanding. Of the 3 safari's they definitely fed us the most. There would be beverages and ample snacks at 5 am, followed by a buffet breakfast with full menu at breakfast. Then there would be a big lunch with a menu to select from, followed by lovely beverages and a full compliment of snacks at 4:00 pm prior to the afternoon safari. You would have sundowners on the safari, followed by a large dinner. I found the other safaris had much smaller food offerings prior to the both the morning and afternoon safari. Karula definitely excelled there. The Chef was kind and prepared kid friendly food for our younger son. We had a rather standoffish waiter, but everyone else's seemed really lovely. I would give the food a solid 8/10. There were some excellent things and some average.
My least favorite thing about Kapama Karula was our Guide. While doing research on safaris, I had read how the guides would give you lots of information and were very interactive. Ours was not. Infact, the little information he shared with us, turned out to be largely incorrect, as we later found out. Nonetheless, we saw all the Big Five within the first two game drives, so there was nothing wrong with the safaris, just a general feeling that our guide was mediocre. Kapama Karula is entirely fenced in, a concept that didn't really sink in until we went to other safari's which are open to Kruger. As such, you have a very good chance of seeing the animals, as they will be guaranteed to be somewhere on the grounds. We maybe glimpsed the fence once or twice over the two days, but it was not at all obvious. The only other thing that marred the beauty was that is some areas there are massive power towers for miles and miles. But on the upside, there were baboons sitting on them. There was some stunning scenery in Kapama and I especially liked their open planes with herds of zebra, etc.
The animals were fantastic and we saw giraffe and warthogs as we left the airport, before we'd even gotten to Kapama. We appreciated the convenience of the Airport, it is only 20 or 30 minutes to the Lodge. As mentioned we saw all the Big Five and cheetah, hyenas, giraffes, all the grazers, lots of birds, etc. It was an excellent introduction to safari life. We did have 1 safari with torrential rain but we set out as we wanted to make the best of it. I would recommend if it is extremely heavy rain to not go. All the animals are taking refuge and it was a really long two hours until we eventually gave up. But to commend Kapama Karula, they did not cancel the safari and still went out. I just found it really wasn't worthwhile.
Finally, things that might help you if you haven't done a safari. The jeeps are extremely comfortable. I was very pleasantly surprised. They supply you with rain capes so you don't need to lug along extra clothes for the rain. The rooms were all equipped with bug spray - so you can leave that at home too. There are a LOT of bugs on safari, especially during their summer and if it has been raining. SO be prepared to get used to them. They were constantly in my hair, especially in the evening.
I summary, we really enjoyed Kapama Karula and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to friends. The only reason that I am not giving it an "excellent" rating is I was disappointed with our Guide and our Waiter. If you are a seasoned safari goer, you might not enjoy the fact that Kapama is enclosed.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Set on the banks of the perennial Klaserie River is one of Kapama's most secluded and prestigious safari camps named Karula. Karula means "place of peace" in the native tongue, and soon after your arrival you will know exactly why this name is just so perfect for this magnificent luxury safari camp. Peace is but one of the many emotions that will encompass your soul as you look at the serene waterway meandering gently past your doorstep and the age old saying "water is life" will begin to have a whole new meaning for you. The open plan lounge and bar area, with floor to ceiling glass doors illustrates the perfect balance with elegant light colors. This modern building with its whitewashed wooden structure, skylights and open air bar, creates a cozy feel to the lounge and makes it a day time favorite to enjoy a drink or just sit back and enjoy the sights Karula has to offer. The contemporary yet African feel to the camp will satisfy and exceed the expectations of even the most discerning connoisseurs. The outside wooden deck overlooking the Klaserie river gives you the opportunity to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and magnificent vistas the camp has to offer. Karula Library & Media Room boasts some of the best audio visual equipment but doubles as a library where you can read a good book in a breathtaking environment, or just take in nature's views through the massive sliding windows. Keep in touch with family and loved ones at one of the two dedicated guest internet stations with WiFi on tap and free of charge. A private, romantic fireplace dinner can also be arranged with the camp personnel, and in a modern romantic setting like this, the answer can only be "Yes". Kapama Karula has twelve superior suites, each exquisitely decorated and with generous private space. Two of the superior suites are purpose-built for families. Each suite also has a private outside deck and a large swimming pool, which is heated in the chillier months for year-round swimming. The luxury Karula spa offers a range of health and beauty treatments in four deluxe treatment rooms. For a body workout, the fitness centre is equipped with state-of-the-art cardio and weight-lifting equipment, or you can run or walk on the treadmill or cycle on the Wattbike. After working up a sweat, visit the steam room, or relax in the pool. You can also browse through the curio shop for those special gifts to take home. Then head out on an exciting game drive. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Kapama Karula Hotel Kapama Private Game Reserve
- Kapama Karula Kapama Private Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa