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“Just want to come back!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Kapama Karula

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Kapama Karula
Certificate of Excellence
Genoa, Italy
Level Contributor
18 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Just want to come back!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2012

That was the top we reached during our honeymoon trip. And you believe we have been trough amazing places. Room was just...stunning. Perfect. It was a dream. The shower outside within the trees, the bath, the atmosphere.. Outstanding level also for food (considering we were outside Italy :-) ). Staff works really well. Safari was grat even if, of course, the game reserve dimension is such that cannot be compared with the close Kruger experience. It is not for all the pocket but if you can.. just go !

  • Stayed August 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Givi_81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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424 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (89)
Date | Rating
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English first
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Level Contributor
70 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 February 2012

Stayed over Christmas in one of the family suites. Would highly recommend.
Warm greeting on arrival, the staff already knew the kids' names, very personable and lunch laid on even day of arrival.
Game drives were done very well and the guides tracking a leopard for us (after a sundowner drink) a real highlight of our visit.
I heard from several of our fellow guests that they were not overwhelmed with the tented accommodation but the family suites are superb. The website accurately describes them. It's luxury in the midst of nature (the kids were delighted to find a wii in their room and frog in their shower).
Most of all though the service here was second to none. Special personalised safari backpacks for the children awaited them in the room on arrival and the christmas stockings provided on Christmas day after dinner a real surprise. Well done the Kapama Karula team.

Room Tip: Go for a family suite - after all aren't you worth it!
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank DCBLEGAL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sao Paulo, SP
Level Contributor
674 reviews
90 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 373 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 January 2012

I travelled with my boyfriend in the first week of January 2012. It was just perfect!!! From the pick up at the airport to the magnificent private pool in our suite we loved everything. I'm a birdwatcher and since the very first time I said this, our fantastic ranger, Darren, had all efforts to show me new species. The service is outstanding, from the cleaning staff to the manager, everybody smiled and tried to help us in every possible way. I would definitely come back and strongly recommend it.
Food was very nice, with two breakfast times, lunch with three a la carte options of main course, snacks in the afternoon and during the safaris, both in the morning as in the afternoon safaris, and delicious dinner, by the pool, at the boma or in the fancy restaurant with Phillip Starck chairs.

Room Tip: The suites are just perfect. They have a complete mini bar with a nice selection of South African wi...
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  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank RenataBiancalana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
72 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 January 2012

Our review of Kapama is a bit different from most of the reviews posted on trip advisor. I will start with the positive:

The tents were beautiful, luxurious and very comfortable. There is an understated modern charm to Kapama Karula which is evident in the tents and throughout the intimate lodge. The safari guide and tracker were extremely knowledgeable and tried their best to ensure we saw the big 5 (which we did within a couple of days). Also, there were many other intriguing animals that we had not seen on previous safaris such as Nyalas, African civets and many birds. Without a doubt, it is a fantastic location for a safari (whilst animals are not as plentiful as compared to East African safaris, there is a greater variety of animals at Kapama Karula). The service from the wait staff was faultless. We were assigned a butler who tended to our needs and was very attentive.

Where I felt Kapama Karula fell short was with the service from its management. It is a tiny lodge, therefore the service from management should have been more evident. I compared it to the Maldives where we were prior to our Kapama trip and there were stark differences (FYI, I am not comparing locations but rather the service at 2 similarly priced and sized hotels). At the tiny resort in the Maldives, every member of management knew our names, our likes, dislikes and were genuinely engaging. This was not the case at Kapama. It lacked the warmth and genuine friendliness of the management team which was extremely disappointing.
I would also describe the food as average. I think the breakfast menu was great but the lunches and dinners were average and felt a bit recycled. Although, I genuinely appreciated the effort the kitchen staff put in to ensure they used local products (as much as possible).

All in all it was a good experience but not a great one, especially considering the price of hotel.

  • Stayed September 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
18 Thank exploringtheglobe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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. And, while all of the facilities were beyond fantastic, Karula was our favorite. 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 us at multiple times throughout the trip! We even saw the elusive leopard! I had safaried in Kenya a few years ago and, while you won't see the number of animals in the Great Migration at Kapama, given the political risk in Kenya / Tanzania at the moment and the strong tourist infrastructure of South Africa, I would recommend this experience.
My parents celebrated a vow renewal at Karula and the team could not have been more fantastic or provided a more joyful event for my family. Through countless emails, the team at Karula answered our innumerable questions, inspired a sense of confidence and coordinated the entire affair. It turned out absolutely perfect – from the flowers flown in from Johannesburg, to the AMAZING African choir and dance team, to the incredible cake and officiant. Even when rain necessitated a change of plans, the Karula team executed Plan B seamlessly and made sure every detail turned out perfect!
Overall, it was an experience for the memory books and I would highly recommend Kapama in general, and Karula specifically. We could not have been more pleased!

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank dkbsmiles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
86 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 December 2011

Kapama Karula was the most amazing place. My boyfriend and I went there 3 nights, as it was also my birthday too. This was my first time to South Africa and although he is oringinally from there, this was his first time in a private reserve. We did game drives twice daily with Jordan and Collin (who were both amazing at spotting and tracking and also extremely interesting when answering questions about the animals there. The food was great, the bar was stocked with great wine and all our favorite beer and ciders. We had dinner at the boma one night with a traditional tribal dance and music and ate a romantic candlelight dinner by the big infinity pool another night. We stayed in the tent for two nights which was the nicest tent I have ever seen, Outdoor showering is fabulous! Our last night we moved to a luxury suite with a private pool, again blown away, It even has a fireplace, very romantic! The staff was extremely kind and helpful. We will definitely return here in our future travels.

Room Tip: The tents are fabulous unless you see the suites, then you will have to stay there!
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  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Dogdayzing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 December 2011

It can be challenging to maintain an impeccable quality when your guests have high expectations. I believe I am well travelled with 56 country stamps in my passport, and I booked into Kapama Karula following their number one ranking on TripAdvisor. It was my third trip to South Africa and I had already been to five different camps/reserves in the past. I was looking for a luxury safari feel with an original design twist (like my previous stay in semi-open stone and thatch cottages in Mkhaya Game Reserve, Swaziland).

I could not believe they even succeeded to exceed my very high expectations. I have been to the Emirates Palace and the Burj al Arab who claim 7-star quality, but I guaranty you that Karula topped them in service. From our arrival, we were introduced to our ranger, waiter and barman who were entirely dedicated to us for the length of our stay. You could not wish for a more personalised service. They remembered each specific request or wish and were available from when we got up to when we went to bed, irrelevant of the time. A much superior service than the butler I had in the Blue Train and the Burj al Arab.

If you love interior design you will be in heaven, recycled materials used in pure harmony with quality fittings, modern design with a subtle African touch, art work meeting with lush under-canopy vegetation giving a year-round subtropical appearance with plenty of wildlife excitement, open plan concept with wide decks around the infinity-edged pool.

As a couple, you might want to choose one of the suites with private lap pool which are really good value for money. Travelling with my sister, we decided to share one of the luxury tents which seems more original. We stayed in the number 1 "Mountain Bride" along the river, next to the pool, very convenient to be so close when you walk back at night with your torch, but very quiet and private indeed. Two seating areas (one outdoor and one indoor) compliment the large bedroom, expansive open plan bathroom with central bath tub and double basins. You can only love the 2x2m outdoor shower, there is enough space to keep both suitcases open and hang clothes, robes & sleepers, air-conditioning, safe and the best mini-bar I have seen in a while with fresh lemon, cookies and coffee filters.

The chef was excellent too, pleasing us, French girls, with excellent freshly baked croissants, and the best French toasts ever. Large choice on the breakfast buffet and menu (before and after the morning safari) including plenty of fresh fruits and a range of dishes from the traditional eggs benedict to smoked crocodile. The lunch and dinner menus were different each day, high quality, elegant and delicious, do not go there to lose weight! A comfortable bar and a glass walled wine cellar propose excellent South African wines to French champagne, as well as cocktails and beers. If you are lucky, you might even enjoy a few surprises by candle light around a camp fire in the savannah!

The safari drives were excellent and our ranger and tracker were dedicated to get for us the best shot of the Big 5. I have been extremely pleased with the quantity and variety of species present in the Kapama Private Game Reserve. All animals seem extremely healthy and colourful. Several other activities were proposed during the day like onsite Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, elephant walk and even balloon flight. 4 days just seem so short, it has been really difficult to leave paradise and come back on earth at the end of our memorable stay. Many thanks to all staff members and to the Roode family who created a real dream for all of us!

Room Tip: You might want to ask about another new section opening in Kapama in December 2011 before to book.
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  • Stayed December 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank ValerieR1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Kapama Karula

Property: Kapama Karula
Address: R40 | Hoedspruit, 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 #2 of 4 Hotels in Kapama Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — Kapama Karula 5*
Number of rooms: 12
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 South Africa/Kapama Private Game Reserve

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