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 collects 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 idea of what you can expect on a Kapama safari. Please note that this differs depending on where you stay.
05:00: Wake up to get your day started!
05:30: Coffee with your ranger and tracker before going on safari, most often on an open 4x4 vehicle.
09:30: Start heading back to the lodge for a scrumptious breakfast.
11:00: Depending on where you are staying at what time of the year, you can often embark on a bushwalk with an armed tracker. This gives you a chance to appreciate the smaller wonders of the bush.
13:00: Enjoy your lunch and unwind.
16:00: Meet for your afternoon game drive.
16:30: Your evening game drive promises different sightings than the morning, with nocturnal animals coming out to play.
18:00: Watch the incredible sunset while you drink a G&T.
18:30: Using a spotlight, take a peek into the lives of your nocturnal creatures.
19:30: Return and freshen up for dinner.
20:00: Feast on dinner while your ranger tells you stories around the campfire.
Unfortunately not. We are not doctors, so please note that you should always speak to your doctor about malaria prevention before travelling. However, on that note, it is entirely possible to have a safe, malaria-free holiday in Africa by using prophylactic drugs.
Tip 1: Repel the Mosquitoes
The female mosquito responsible for transmitting malaria is a silent mossy, so you will have to ensure you repel them. They can strike at any time of day but are most active at dusk as well as dawn. Always wear repellent as well as long-sleeved shirts and long trousers in the evenings and mornings. Please note that clothes alone won't protect you, as they can bite through the material. Most of our lodges will have screened windows and doors, air conditioning systems, and mosquito nets to further protect you.
Tip 2: ALWAYS Take Anti-Malaria Tablets
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself against malaria is taking Prophylactic tablets. Please note that you have to speak to your doctor before taking these tablets to ensure that you take the right one, as well as the correct dosage when entering the malaria area.
Tip 3: Keep an Eye Out for Symptoms and Finish Your Course of Meds
If you start to notice any flu-like symptoms, you must get a malaria test to be safe and catch it early because malaria reacts well to early treatment. Also, don't stop taking your meds until the course is complete!
The highlight of any safari in the Greater Kruger National Park is exploring the bush and the wildlife by enjoying a game drive or bush walk. It's 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 National Park.
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 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 they 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 – they are the experts! Don’t be afraid to ask them 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.