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“Not a true african safari”
Review of Kapama River Lodge

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Kapama River Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 30 January 2012

We stayed three nights at Kapama River Lodge in January 2012. Wonderful facilities, but if you are looking for a true african adventure, there are better options. The rangers are reluctant to take the vehicles off road, so most of the viewing is from existing dirt roads. Lots of animals to see, but felt more like being in a rather large zoo than actually in the African bush. The lodge accommodations are wonderful, clean and large but the dinner buffet becomes a little repetitious after a while. Spa is excellent and reasonably priced. I was a little put off that they charged for drinks when on safari at our stop for sundowners. For the price paid, it wouldn't hurt to provide a couple of small comps along the way. This is a great place and experience for the less adventurous, but if you want to see real Africa look for something a little less commercialized

Room Tip: Kapama River lodge has accommodation for some 100 guests. Try one of the smaller lodges
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Robert C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 January 2012

We spent 2 nights at the Kapama Lodge and loved every moment. We brought our three kids, ages 7, 9 and 12. We were greeted with refreshing tropical drinks and shown to our rooms. They really make kids feel welcome here. They created a special room with three twin beds, each with a treat bag. Our room had a very comfortable bed and a patio that was frequented by beautiful birds each afternoon.

All the staff were 10/10 from room service to the dining room! Food quality was fantastic, especially breakfast with made-to-order omelettes, fresh juices and fruit and homemade baking.

Our kids jumped up of bed at 5am, excited for the day ahead. We saw all the Big 5 in those two days. Our guide and tracker (John and Give) were very knowledgable, as well as outgoing and fun. We learned amazing facts about each animal, as well as learning which plants are poisionous or could even be used as a toothbrush. We also saw giraffes, zebras, warthogs, impala and all sorts of birds and lizards.

We'll never forget when a lion approached our vehicle and actually smelled our tracker. Looking into those firey orange eyes was unforgettable. It's now been two weeks and we're still waking up to dreams of elephants emerging from the brush and encountering water buffalo.

We have heard from many other travellers that they travelled to Kruger National Park and only saw 2 of the Big 5. Travelling all the way from Canada we were thrilled by this authentic experience and that our kids got to see so much wildlife is a very natural setting. You'll never want to go to a zoo again.

Also lovely swimming pool for cooling off in the afternoons. Highly recommend the Kapama!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank j5mackie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2012

Stayed here for a couple of nights in January 2012 . Lodge is very well equipped and a very short distance from the airport , where we were met by the rangers in there Landcruisers.
The food here was excellent , drinks were good also , the rooms were of a good size and standard and the Spa area looked great , but never got the chance to try it out.

Day starts around 5.00 with an early morning call , tea served around 5.30 and off on morning drive around 6.00 ish . Great time of the day to see the wildlife , got real up close and personal and took some great shots . Normally back at the lodge for around 9 , rest of day spent chilling , having lunch , high tea served mid afternoon then back out again around 4.00 for another 3 hours .

Managed to see 4 out of the big 5 , the Leopard eluded the best efforts of our ranger . Also saw loads of giraffe , large deer , hippo ,warthog etc. Had a really relaxing couple of days in decent surroundings with staff who seemed very willing to help and answer any queries .

Room Tip: Remember to keep reapplying your suncream as when you are driving the breeze keeps you cool , but be...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Smithy121
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2012

This lodge is perfect for families, couples and friends looking for comfort, good food and game. The spa was really the highlight for our group, it was beautiful and just what we needed after adventures in Zambia. The breakfast was fabulous. The other meals were sufficient. The biggest flaw is the fact the drinks are not included in the 'all inclusive price'. Other reviewers have mentioned this too. If this were alcoholic beverages only it would be slightly understandable but for a resort of this calibre to not offer water for free is ridiculous. You can get the drinks and tea that were on offer with breakfast for free but otherwise youre out of luck. On the game drives if you want water it's 10r a pop. Additionally we were there over the new year and there was an african band which was fabulous but there wasnt even a small iPod doc speaker for the guests to keep the energy up while the band was on break. This was mentioned to the manager on duty who explained it was a game lodge, sorry but it's also new years eve, a small section should have been cordoned off for people to enjoy themselves. All that was needed was a small speaker. People took to playing music on iPhones. I believe the hotel is ranked 5 stars, the drink issue needs to be addressed, just raise the overall price if you must. I would recommend this hotel though even just for the spa and the game drives, but with a strong warning about the drinks and that there may be better all around options.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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1  Thank WITravellingDiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2012

Our stay was a study in contrasts. The rooms are nice but noisy when others were around. The click of shoes and clack of cleaning carts penetrated the room making sleep impossible.

The food was top, top, quality but had a samey taste. On day one, I thought the food was fantastic and worried about fitting into my clothes, by week's end. However, by day three, I was skipping meals and dreaming of busting out for some excellent SA curry dishes.

The hotel staff was nice but, didn't welcome requests. The cleaning staff did their job wonderfully but seemed hostile and I'm not sure why. The restaurant staff was wonderful and a credit to quality dining.

As to game drives our guide, Maggie and tracker, Caswell were outstanding. As mentioned in other reviews the preserve is 13,000 hectares or 32,000 acres. Kapama has procedures in place that give the illusion of a much larger space. Only the fact that there are few animals of each type ruins the illusion.

For me the biggest problem with Kapama's procedures is they don't take into account the guest's length of stay. On day 3 we were saddled with people who were only there for one day. So we had to stop for every bird and turtle for their experience when we just wanted to focus on certain animals.

I recommend the River Lodge. All in all a very nice place. If not getting a bargain bothers you then pass otherwise enjoy.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Mikeh53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2012

This hotel was outstanding, I would rate as one of the best stays anywhere. We were picked up from the airport by one of the rangers in the same sort of vechicles that the drives take place in and quickly taken to the lodge, it was quite funny to arrive at the main park gates, literally 1 minute drive from the airport. It took around ten or so minutes to get to the lodge from the gate.

The service was fantastic from the moment we arrived, friendly introduction to some staff members and then room check in. The room was excellent, king size bed, great shower and bath.

There were a few surprises each night, lizards, scorpions etc that must of come under the door, its a good idea to switch room lights off if you dont like that kind of thing, but hey you are in the middle of the bush.

The days were very well organised, from the 5am wake up, coffee / snack, 3 hour game drive, breakfast, lunch, coffee / snack, 3 hour game drive, meal in the Boma, bed...

The food was very good, great variety and excellent waiter service from Rodney :-)

Now to the game drives, we managed to see 4 of the big 5, which as it was December we were very pleased with. The Leopard was just too illusive in all the thick bush, might just have to come back in SA winter :-)

All in all, very highly recommended and memorable 30th birthday!

Room Tip: Spa suites are fantastic, a bit more expensive but theres only 20 or so of them and they are away fr...
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank katie_rick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2012

My family of 7 had the pleasure of staying at River Lodge, Buffalo Camp and Karula while staying at Kapama over the holidays. At all three facilities, we stayed in incredible accommodations, ate fantastic food and were attended to by the most incredible team. Each of the guides and trackers did an AMAZING job, providing incredible animal interactions. There were lions, elephants, rhinos and many others within 5 feet of me at multiple times throughout the trip! We even saw the elusive leopard!
As stated previously, this is a private, fenced game reserve. I had the pleasure of enjoying a safari in Kenya a few years ago and, while you won’t see the same number of animals in the Great Migrations here as you would in Kenya or Tanzania, I still preferred this experience. Given the current geo-political risk of Kenya /Tanzania as well as the amazing tourist infrastructure of South Africa, this is a great place to safari within a great country.
Overall, it was an experience for the memory books and I would
highly recommend Kapama in general, and River Lodge specifically. We could
not have been more pleased!

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank dkbsmiles
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 | Kruger Park, Kruger National Park 1380, South Africa
Phone Number:
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Kapama Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Kapama Private Game Reserve
Price Range: £526 - £1,662 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Kapama River Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 64
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, Kruger National Park, South Africa

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