Spanning 15 000 hectares of the pristine African bush, Kapama offers the perfect sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife. Here, over 40 different species of mammals including the Big 5 – elephant, lion, leopard, African buffalo and rhinoceros – as well as 350 bird species, thrive in their natural habitat. Visitors get the opportunity to observe these magnificent creatures in the wild with twice-daily guided game drives and nature walks.

Kapama’s four luxury lodges each have a charm of their own – Buffalo Camp delights with its old-world feel, Southern Camp offers warmth and hospitality, River Lodge is vibrant year-round and Karula is breathtakingly elegant. The more adventurous can also choose to spend a night in one of our romantic sleep-outs.

To offer visitors the best experience possible, Kapama now boasts a private aeroplane and airstrip to receive guests travelling directly from Johannesburg or Cape Town, as well as a courtesy transfer service from Eastgate Airport.

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

Today, Kapama is still owner-managed by Johann Roode’s son, Bernard Roode, making it the largest family-owned reserve in the area. Only after Johann’s tragic passing in 2002, did his vision for Kapama 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.

According to local legend, Shangaan 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.

According to local folklore, a lone lion named Kapama lived on the land. According to the stories, he was no ordinary lion. Not only was he enormous in size, he was also crafty beyond measure. Every young man in the village had pitted their hunting skills against the great beast, but he evaded them at every turn. So good was Kapama in thwarting his prey that the people came to believe he was an ancient king who, through some misdeed, had been condemned to roam the land in animal’s body.

There came a time when there had been no rain for many months, and the people and animals suffered greatly. But the great “king” Kapama knew where to find water and would track the fattest game. The young men of the village, who had grown to revere the old “king”, learned to follow him rather than hunt him, and so were able to feed their tribes. When the rains finally came, it fell on the hard earth in torrents, creating a new river, which was named Kapama. According to legend, the “king” had paid his dues and was never seen again.


Summer is from October to March. Daytime temperatures can reach highs of up to 42°C and lows of 20°C. Summer is also when most rain falls in this area, which receives about 550 mm of rain annually.

The colder winter months of May, June and July experience daytime highs of around 26°C and night-time lows of about 8°C.

Spring and autumn are more temperate seasons with less variance between day and night temperatures, and generally range between 12°C and 28°C. Game viewing, however, is excellent throughout the year at Kapama.