A Visit to Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa, and Balu – Goway’s Newly Adopted Rhino

Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Goway Mascot Thandi at Kapama, South AfricaKirsty Perring, Product Manager for AfricaExperts, travelled recently to South Africa. Here she recounts her visit to the Kapama Private Game Reserve, as well as the wonderful opportunity to visit with Balu, Goway’s newly adopted rhino.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Kapama Private Game Reserve, in South Africa, which spans over 13,000 hectares in the Greater Kruger National Park. As a preferred partner of Goway, Kapama has 4 lodges on the property, and I went to do a site inspection of each one and was so impressed by all of them. Each is so unique yet offers something for everyone.

Also located within the Reserve is the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, and another important reason for my visit, as Goway recently fostered one of its rescued rhinos, Balu. I could not miss the chance to see the little guy who has stolen all our hearts. Balu was orphaned at 2 weeks, and was a scrawny fellow when he first arrived at the HESC, but has made excellent progress and is now thriving!

The world renowned HESC is managed by the same family who own Kapama, and a tour of the centre is a wonderful educational activity one can do while staying at any one of the lodges. After an introductory video presentation, the tour, which is conducted in open game vehicles, lasts 2 hours. During this time guests get up close to a number of wildlife species including cheetah (and the rare King Cheetah), wild dog, serval, and of course, rhino, amongst other animals that have all been rescued and rehabilitated.

Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Balu, Goway's Newly Adopted Rhino at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, South Africa
Balu, Goway’s newly adopted rhino at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre
Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Wild dogs at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, South Africa
Wild dogs at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre

The first night of my stay was spent at Kapama River Lodge. Although considered big by game lodge standards with 64 suites, the layout of the accommodation is done in such a way that it still epitomizes a traditional safari lodge, and offers an exceptional safari experience. The Kapama River Lodge is a great option for families, as it accommodates an additional 2 beds in the family rooms for children sharing with their parents.

Later in the afternoon, after a delightful high tea, I embarked on my first game drive in the reserve. Two game drives are included per day. At first I felt a little overwhelmed by the number of game vehicles (20) and people that were going to be setting out at the same time, all in search of the same animals. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn, due to the vast size of the reserve, everyone headed out in different directions, meaning there was never more than 2 vehicles at any given sighting. The game ranger and tracker were both professional, interesting, and entertaining, and I managed to see four of the Big 5 during the 3-hour drive, as well as many other animals and birds. I was also impressed by the fact that the rangers wear earpieces for communicating with one another, meaning your peaceful safari experience is not interrupted by the sound of static or feedback or other voices on the radio. The evening ended with a delicious dinner in the boma. All of the lodges have a number of different dining areas, and the food is top notch and plentiful. There is no chance of going hungry, but most definitely the chance of coming home slightly heavier!

Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Boma at Kapama River Lodge, South Africa
Boma at Kapama River Lodge

The next morning I was driven to Buffalo Camp, the Reserve’s tented option – perfect for honeymooners, as it offers a more intimate experience. No children are permitted at this camp, which has 10 luxurious tents all set on stilted wooden decks, offering marvellous views of the bush below. It also provides that little bit of security for those not completely au-fait with sleeping in the wild!

I then continued onto Kapama Karula Lodge, the most luxurious and prestigious of the lodges. The 12 superior suites are exquisitely decorated with natural wood, glass, and metal. Each has its own full-size heated swimming pool. I was also fortunate enough to experience the recently opened Kapama Karula Spa. There is literally no way to describe the sensations of having a treatment surrounded by nature, except to say pure bliss!

Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Luxurious Tent at Kapama Buffalo Camp, South Africa
Luxurious tent at Kapama Buffalo Camp
Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Kapama Karula Wellness Centre, South Africa
Kapama Karula Wellness Centre

My final night was spent at Kapama Southern Camp, which was my personal favourite. I was lucky to stay in one of the luxury suites, which came with a much appreciated lap pool, perfect for cooling off after a game drive on a very hot South African day.

I must make mention of the fabulous staff at all the Kapama lodges. They were so friendly and helpful, and their attention to detail did not go unnoticed. This certainly enhanced my overall impression, as service and attitude can really make or break a stay.

Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Luxury Suite at Kapama Southern Camp, South Africa
Luxury suite at Kapama Southern Camp
Kirsty Perring - Kapama Private Game Reserve - Goway Mascot, Thandi, with Game Ranger and Tracker, South Africa
Goway mascot, Thandi, with Kapama game ranger and tracker

Suggested Itineraries:
3-Day Kapama River Lodge
3-Day Kapama Karula Lodge

Goway also includes Kapama Lodges on some of our most popular tours:
15-Day Spectacular South Africa
13-Day Southern Africa Extravaganza

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