AN AFRICAN EDEN
A WARM WELCOME TO KAPAMA
Spanning 15 000 hectares of the pristine African bush, Kapama offers the perfect sanctuary for a wide variety of wildlife. 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. Guests are privileged to be able to observe these magnificent creatures in the wild with twice-daily guided game drives and after-breakfast bush walks to be fully submerged in the African bush experience.
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 our romantic sleep-out.
To offer visitors the best and most convenient experience possible, Kapama 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 (also known as Hoedspruit Airport) for guests flying in on commercial flights.
Johann Roode bought the farm, Moria, in 1986 to be used as grazing for his Bonsmara cattle. His herd quickly grew and the second portion of land, Drakensig, was acquired. Within a year, Johann decided to shift his focus to ecotourism and Kapama was born.
Johann started to develop Kapama into an ecotourism destination dedicated to the preservation of the breathtaking region, with construction starting in 1989. Buffalo Camp now stands on the land that used to be the Moria farm. Today, Kapama is teeming with wildlife and is still owner-managed by Johann Roode’s son, Bernard Roode, making it the largest family-owned reserve in the area. Unfortunately only after Johann’s tragic passing in 2002 did his long-held vision for Kapama Private Game Reserve start 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 Gwalagwala and Hongonyi. These two portions of land are now the sites of the modern Southern Camp and the luxurious flagship, Kapama Karula.
According to the legend of the local people, the Shangaan, chiefs of the tribe who demonstrated acts of extreme bravery were honoured by being reborn as lions. Local lore says that if you look deep enough into the eyes of the lions of Kapama (at a distance that is!), you can see past the beast and into the soul of a Shangaan chief.
Folklore tells of a lone lion called Kapama who lived on the land. Kapama was an extraordinary beast and in addition to being enormous, he was a crafty animal. Every young man in the village had pitted their hunting skills against the great lion but he evaded them at every turn. Kapama was so good at thwarting his prey that people came to believe he was an ancient king who, through some misdeed, had been condemned to roam the land in the great animal’s body.
There came a period of great drought and strife in the area and the people and animals suffered greatly. But the great “king” Kapama knew where to locate water and was able to track the fattest game. The young men of the village had grown to revere the old king and followed the beast rather than hunting him and were able to feed their tribe. When the rains finally came, it fell on the hard earth in torrents, creating a river which was named Kapama. According to legend, the king had paid his dues and was never seen again. “Kapama” was the name given to the last chief of this revered bloodline.
Summer in South Africa is from October to March when daytime temperatures can reach highs of up to 42°C and lows of 20°C. Summer is when most rain falls in this area, which receives about 550mm of rain annually.
The colder winter months of May, June and July experience daytime highs of around 26°C and night-time lows of 8°C.
Spring and autumn are more temperate seasons and day and night-time temperatures generally range between 12°C and 28°C. Game viewing however is excellent throughout the year at Kapama.
In summer, the vegetation is dense, but the summer season also brings with it full watering holes, lush vegetation and lots of newborn animals to spot. Dryer months mean animals congregate around available water sources so visibility can be better in certain areas.