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"A phenomenal, five star luxury lodge in South Africa, Kapama Game Reserve"

Need to know

    • Rooms: 12 superior villas
    • Vibe/setting: Traversing 13,000 hectares, nestled between the Blyde River Valley and Kruger National Park, Kapama is a prestigious wildlife destination for safari enthusiasts and home to the big five
    • Check in/check out time: Check-in time 2 pm and check-out time is at 11am

We love

  • The property has a subtle, almost invisible electrical fence so guests can move safely and unguarded through the property without losing the Bush experience.
  • The Kapama Karula Lodge is one of South Africa’s finest lodges, with elegant and stylish interiors as well as a large outdoor space with heated pool.
  • All the suites are discreetly hidden in the surrounding indigenous forest allowing for optimal privacy

Top Secret

According to local legend, Shagaan chiefs who demonstrated acts of extreme bravery were honoured by being reborn as lions. Kapama was the name of the last chief of this revered bloodline. It is said that if you look deep enough into the eyes of the lions of Kapama, you can see past the beast and into the soul of a Shangaan chief.


Johann Roode bought the farm Moria in 1986 to be used as Grazing for his Bonsmara cattle. Soon her needed more grazing and a second portion of land, Drakensig, was acquired. Within a year Johan decided to shift his focus for ecotourism, and so Kapama was born.

The Review

Karula is the jewel of the Kapama private game reserve – overlooking the Klaserie River, this beautiful lodge is home to 12 beautiful suites, including two family-sized options. Owned and run by multiple generations of the Roode family, the Kapama reserve also contains three other lodges – River Lodge, Southern Camp and Buffalo Camp. The land was originally purchased to graze cattle, before Johann Roode realised what incredible safari potential this magnificent setting held.

Kapama sits within the greater region of the Kruger National Park, a truly world-class wildlife-watching destination where visitors can hope to spot the Big Five – lions, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants and buffalos – along with hundreds of other awe-inspiring mammals and birds. The lodge organises daily morning and evening game drives, ensuring it is as easy as possible to get out into the majesty of the surrounding scenery.

Karula, meaning ‘place of peace’ is decorated in chic and sleek contemporary African style – an oasis of serenity and elegance. What really sets this lodge apart from other five-star options is its incredible wellness offering – a generously-sized and well-equipped 24-hour gym is a serious contender for where to spend those hours between game drives. It even features floor to ceiling glass windows, offering an unparalleled views across the bush, meaning you might spot a family of impalas meandering past as you work off dinner from the night before.

The spa proper is a real treat, with a comprehensive list of treatments to pamper and soothe after a day spend out in the bush. A huge (and, crucially, heated) outdoor pool complete with spa jets greets you at reception – you’ll want to recline poolside here on a lounger, smoothie in hand, after a treatment, soaking up the sounds of the bush. Multiple rooms and therapists ensure that groups can book in for an afternoon of indulgence together. The helpful staff can curate wellness experiences according to guests’ needs. Consider starting your day with a private yoga class at sunrise on the library deck, complete with birdsong and soft candlelight.

The spa’s elegant contemporary design of glass and stone echoes in the lodge’s twelve open-plan suites, all of which feature freestanding tubs and private pools. Two family suites even have entertainment such as loaded Nintendo Wii consoles for little ones, while a fully-stocked complimentary mini bar and wine rack will keep adults busy too.

It’s not all about wellness – gastronomy is another key reason to visit Karula. Opt for a surprise breakfast picnic in the bush with a private chef cooking eggs just how you like them, or enjoy an evening tasting menu by the glowing fireplace complete with perfectly paired South African wines.


Kapama Karula Private Game Reserve

  • Address: Kapama Private Game Reserve, R40, Hoedspruit, 1380, South Africa
  • Travel info: The best airport to fly into is Eastgate Airport, also known as Hoedspruit Airport, as it is just a 10 minutes’ drive from the reserve entrance, and Kapama offers complimentary transfers in open game viewing vehicles directly to the reserve.

Key Features

  • Airport Transfer

  • Pool

  • Stunning Views

  • Gift shop

  • Weddings

  • Yoga

  • Free Wifi

  • Car Parking

  • Fitness Center/Gym

  • Bar

  • Restaurant

  • Spa