Kapama Private Game Reserve occupies a vast tract of land nestled between the northern Drakensberg mountains and the Greater Kruger region, a celebrated wildlife haven. It is the largest single-owner game reserve in the region and is loved for its Big 5 population, hot air balloon rides, and countless photographic opportunities.
Game drives, bush walks and hot air balloon rides are just a 45-minute drive away from Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit. Kapama Game Reserve's vast savannah grasslands are flanked by the imposing northern Drakensberg Mountains and the iconic Kruger National Park, while the Big 5 (among numerous other animals) roam across the riverine forest surrounding the banks of the Kapama River within its borders. This prolific safari destination is sprawled across 13,000ha of land and forms part of the Greater Kruger area.
Photography enthusiasts will be eager to enjoy a photographic safari while other pastimes include romantic sleep-outs under the stars, hot-air balloons offering terrific views of the Kruger area and the Drakensberg, and rejuvenating treatments at the reserve’s wellness centre. Kapama Private Game Reserve offers complimentary transfers for guests between Eastgate Airport in Hoedspruit and the lodges in the reserve.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting Kapama Game Reserve
There are several ways of getting to Kapama Game reserve adjacent to Kruger National Park, each of which has a slightly different cost implication and convenience to take into consideration. Daily flights operate between Johannesburg and Cape Town Airports to Hoedspruit, which is a short 15 min drive from Kapama. Kapama collect guests direct;y from Hoedspruit Airport. This is the easiest and most convenient way to travel to the Kapama. The flights take about 60 minutes from Joburg and just over 2 hours from Cape Town.
For those with more time, self-driving to Kapama is a very feasible and enjoyable option. Kapama is about 5 hours drive from Johannesburg. The road is tarred and well maintained for the most part, with clean service stations along the way. Fuel is never a problem in South Africa, and you won't get lost with google maps or Waze. Roads are surprisingly well signposted & traffic density is generally low.
Based on your lodge of choice, time and cost, our Travel Experts will gladly advise you on the best way to get to your lodge of choice in Kapama Game Reserve.
The Kruger National Park boasts many ultra-luxurious private game reserves, including the Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Manyeleti and Thornybush Game Reserves, which are home to a wide variety of secluded lodges, each with their own brand of style, level of luxury and opportunities for up-close game viewing. Not all lodges, however, are made equally - the ability to off-road, do night drives, and game walks together with the exclusivity of traversing (The area a lodge can drive) are the nuances that set both price and experience apart. They are the nuances why two lodges that are seeming close together are so differently priced. We at Rhino Africa are Kruger Experts. We visit and stay at all these lodges regularly, and hence we have all the knowledge and know-how to ensure you make the best choice, making your Kruger National Park Safari, the best it can possibly be.
Like Kruger, Kapama Game Reserve is a Year-round destination, but it remains seasonal - Here is what you can expect to experience through the months of the year.
November through to December: The summer months are hot and humid with either continual rains or very typically afternoon thundershowers which generally clear before the game drives depart. Lots of young animals are born during this time notably the impala lambs, which are beautiful but vulnerable to predators.
January to March: These are normally drier months with very hot days. There are lots of beautiful migratory birds during the summer periods. Early morning drives with early returns to escape the heat are typical.
April: The vegetation starts changing from thick lush green bush to a slightly sparser browning bush during this Autumn period. The temperatures start cooling down at night but daytime is still warm. Potential scattered thundershowers can be experienced in the afternoons.
May to June: Cold temperatures are experienced at night and at dawn during the winter months. Warm clothing is recommended such as gloves, scarves, beanies and insulated jackets. Large herds of elephant are very mobile. The vegetation becomes totally brown and trees start losing leaves. Visibility during drives is enhanced due to sparser vegetation.
July to September: This period is very dry in the bush with very cold night temperatures and therefore chilly during the early morning and late afternoon game drives. Game viewing is generally fantastic and the visibility is good and the game is concentrated around any water source.
September to October: Spring is the height of the dry season boasting hot dry winds and colourless, sparse vegetation. Because the rivers and dams are low high concentrations of game can be viewed at these areas and game viewing, in general, is very good. The first rains may start towards the end of October and the signs of spring and a new wet season are evident.
Whichever season you chose, our Rhino Africa Travel Experts will ensure you are in the best area to maximise your Safari experience.
Here is a rough guide to what to expect on your Kapama Safari - Times vary based on lodge and time of year, but you are always in for a treat!
05h00: Wake Up! Wake Up! … it’s an early start.
05h30: Meet your ranger and tracker for early morning tea and coffee before heading out on safari, typically on open 4X4 safari vehicles. The best game viewing is to be found first thing in the morning and the anticipation is half the excitement! You could meet a herd of elephants at a drinking hole, observe a herd of shy impala or get up close with a pack of Lion’s…it’s all up to chance!
09h30: Safari vehicles start returning from the game drives and you can enjoy a sumptuous and well -earned breakfast!
11:00: Depending on the season and the rules of the reserve, many lodge’s offer a Safari Walk with an armed tracker. This gives you a chance to concentrate on the smaller wonders of the Kruger National Park such as insects and birds. The tracker will tell you fascinating stories of the bushveld as well as the traditional cultural and medicinal properties of trees and plants.
After your walk, you will have a chance to relax and unwind or enjoy a swim to cool down from the relentless African sunshine.
13h00: A delicious lunch is served. After lunch, there is more time to relax and soak up the splendour of your surrounds.
16h00: As the African sun begins to ease away and shadows start to form across the bushveld, guests and rangers meet for afternoon tea before the evening Game Drive.
16:30: Safari Time! You will head out on your second Game Drive for the day with a majestic African sunset as the backdrop. The animals start to become more active again and the nocturnal animals get ready for their hunting. Your ranger will be driving the vehicle and the tracker is upfront looking out for tracks and spotting the animals.
18h00: As the sun sets the ranger will pick a good spot for a sundowner where you will pause to watch the sunset and enjoy some cocktails and refreshments. A real safari tradition!
18h30: As it starts to get dark, the tracker and guide use a powerful spotlight to catch sight of the animals. The animals' eyes reflect in the spotlight and the ranger and tracker will concentrate on finding the nocturnal animals such as Leopards and sunset hunters such as Lions.
19h30: The timing of dinner is determined by the activities on safari! If there are things happening and lions hunting – your dinner will wait.
A chance to freshen up before dinner.
20h00: Dinner Time. At most lodge’s, there are a number of places to enjoy dinner at the lodge and weather dependant the camp manager will select the perfect venue. Your ranger usually joins you for dinner and the campfire stories have been known to continue into the early hours! The more luxurious lodge’s offer you the choice of having dinner in your room. And finally, you get to retire to your suite for some peaceful sleep before the next exciting day!
Depending on how you customise your safari experience - hire of a private vehicle as an example - you can change up the experience. Our Travel Experts are trained to match the right safari lodge with your expectations, requirement and budget.
No. Kapama Game Reserve is located in a malaria area. The most important thing we should stress is that we are not doctors and it is therefore vital that you speak to your doctor about Malaria prevention before travelling to a malaria area. The following information is not intended to replace that issued by your doctor. Lots of travellers travel to Africa every year and with careful use of prophylactic drugs are able to enjoy a great holiday. The information below is written to provide you with information rather than to put you off!
Rule One: Avoid Getting Bitten
Rule number one of Malaria prevention is that if you don’t get bitten you won’t get malaria. Unfortunately, the female Anopheles Mosquito that transmits malaria is a silent little mossy and doesn’t buzz to warn you of its presence. Mosquitoes can bite at any time of day but are usually their most active at dawn and dusk. Use repellent sprays and wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the mornings and evenings. The mosquitoes can bite through thin clothing and it is therefore important to spray Insect Repellant on covered skin as well as non covered skin.
Most of the lodges have screened windows and doors, mosquito nets, air conditioning and fans. These all help you to prevent you from getting bitten, but should not be used on their own.
Rule Two: Taking Anti Malaria Tablets
It should be noted that no Malaria Prophylactic is 100% effective as the Malaria parasites become resistant to the various drugs. It is therefore vital that you speak to your doctor or travel clinic to advise you on the best prophylactic for you. Travellers should remember to take the tablets regularly and continue to take the prescribed dosage of tablets even after they have left the Malaria Area.
Chloroquine, Proguanil and Maloprim: Malaria in certain parts of Africa ( north of South Africa ) have become Chloroquine-resistant and therefore these drugs are decreasing in their popularity and less and less people are taking them.
Mefloquine ( Larium): For many years Larium has taken a bit of beating. It is a very effective Malaria Prophylactic but it needs to be carefully dispensed as patients with a history of psychiatric disturbances can get unpleasant side effects.
Malarone: This prophylactic has virtually no side effects and with a simple daily dose it is becoming an increasingly more popular choice for travellers. In addition, Malarone has now been launched in the UK in a children's formulation and is the first-ever malaria tablet designed just for kids. It is also licensed in the USA, Denmark and is becoming increasingly available in Europe. The children’s version is chewable once-daily dosage that only needs to be started one day before travel commences.
This is the Prophylactic that we recommend – but would urge you to check your personal suitability with your doctor prior to travel.
Doxycycline: This is an antibiotic and for many people, it provides a perfectly good alternative to taking the traditional anti-malaria tablets. However, Doxycycline can make you particularly sensitive to the sun, and the effects of antibiotics on contraception tablets are well documented. Be warned … travellers may return from their holiday with more than a suntan!
Garlic, Vitamin B, Chilli: These are all old wives tails and should definitely not be used as a prevention for Malaria!
Rule 3: Look out for symptoms and complete your course of prophylactics!
If on your return or during the remainder of your trip, you experience any flu-like symptoms (nausea & vomiting, chills, fever, sweating, headache or muscle pain) you should have a malaria test just to be safe. Malaria responds well to early treatment. Remember to complete your prophylactic course - even after leaving a malaria area.
The highlight of any safari in the Kruger National Park is exploring the bush and the wildlife by enjoying a game drive or bush walk. It is an incredible experience to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitat but we do urge you to take note of the guidelines below that will assist in ensuring the long-term survival of South Africa’s beloved Kruger Park.
Some Safari Etiquette Guidelines
Please respect your surroundings and the wildlife by following these guidelines:
• Take back photographs and memories only! Do not remove natural objects (rocks, flowers, plants, etc) from the Kruger Park or any of the reserves. It disrupts the ecology of the area.
• Do not try to attract the animals’ attention by imitating their sounds, clapping, throwing objects or any other means.
• Never tease or corner wild animals, this may cause an unpredictable response and a potentially dangerous reaction.
• The vegetation in the Kruger Park is very sensitive and off-road driving causes erosion. Only go off-road with a ranger and never on your own.
• Remember that you are a visitor to the animals natural habitat so observe the animals silently and with a minimum of disturbance to their natural activities. Loud talking on game drives will frighten the animals away.
• Don’t litter! Besides being distasteful, litter thrown on the ground can choke or poison animals and birds.
• The African bush is very dry, ignites easily and fires can kill many animals. So PLEASE abstain from smoking on game drives.
• Respect your driver/guide's judgment about your proximity to certain wild animals. Don't insist that he take the vehicle closer so you can get a better photograph. A vehicle driven too close can hinder a hunt, or cause animals to abandon a well-deserved meal.
• Always follow your guide’s advice – he is the expert! Don’t be afraid to ask him questions if you are unsure of anything.
• Never attempt to approach a wild animal on foot, especially near your lodge or campsite where the animals have become accustomed to humans.
Kapama's history is one of passion for endangered species and ecotourism. In 1986 Johann Roode bought the farm formerly called Moria to be used as grazing for his Bonsmara cattle. As Johan began to shift his focus to ecotourism, he acquired a second portion of land, called Drakensig, and so Kapama Game Reserve was born. Johann began to develop Kapama into an ecotourism destination dedicated to the celebration and preservation of this breath-taking region with construction starting in 1989. Buffalo Camp was the first of Kapama's camps to open amd now stands on the land that used to be called Moria.
Today, Kapama is still owner-managed by Johann Roode’s son, Bernard Roode, making it the largest family-owned reserve in the area. Following Johann’s tragic passing in 2002, Kapama really started to take shape with the development of Kapama River Lodge in 2006.
Kapama has since further expanded through the acquisition of additional land, the most significant being Gwala Gwala and Hongonyi. These two portions of land are now the sites of the modern Southern Camp and the luxurious flag-ship Kapama Karula.