The largest private game reserve owned and run by one family, Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Limpopo Province is a force to be reckoned with. The flagship luxury lodge in the Kapama four-property portfolio, Kapama Karula is sophisticatedly fabulous.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

The beautiful pool area at Kapama Karula’s main lodge is where lunches are served and a dip is always welcome.

My daughter and I are each savoring our scrumptious lunch seated next to the pool, consisting of the most deliciously succulent homemade burgers, made up of lamb patty, cheddar cheese, crispy onion rings and a side order of French fries. For dessert, I choose the Karula Pavlova – meringues, Chantilly ice cream & berries, while my daughter sticks to her all-time preferred dessert – vanilla ice cream.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

The lounge and bar area where High Tea is enjoyed in the afternoons.

Today, we are joined by my husband, who, after a comfortable flight on Airlink’s Embraer E-190 from Cape Town International Airport to Hoedspruit Airport, will be enjoying this wonderful family getaway with us. He is collected in Kapama’s open game viewer at Hoedspruit Airport by our ranger and head guide at Kapama Karula, Morné Ferreira, after which he sits down for lunch and proceeds to order the exact same meal my daughter and I just had.  

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

Our expansive Family Villa, perfect for our family of three.

We are shown to the expansive Family Villa, perfectly proportioned for our family of three. With only two of these villas, sized at 1,830 sq ft, this is luxury at its finest. The open-plan living area houses a large lounge, the main bedroom, a bathroom with freestanding tub, double vanities, a huge walk-in shower, outside shower, and a powder room. The outside area is equally inviting, with a heated swimming pool and loungers in which to enjoy the abundant sunshine.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

The second bedroom is spacious and beautifully furnished.

Our daughter is over the moon to learn that she has her own en-suite bedroom, equipped with a flat-screen TV, a variety of movies and a Wii game console. Her favorite feature? The Fatsak in front of the television, where she is under the misconception that she will be spending a lot of her spare time here.

Before our afternoon game drive, we are treated to a delectable selection of treats for High Tea – think homemade cake, fudge, savory choices & anything you would like to drink. Morné meets us at the game viewer, with tracker Nicholas Sithole at the ready to see what he can find out in the bush.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

A female elephant with her tiny baby walks towards our game drive vehicle.

A huge female elephant is feeding on the greenery, while her tiny baby is trying to mimic her. Bearing witness to this is always both wondrous and humorous, as most elephant calves don’t quite know how to use their trunks yet. Imagine being that size and having an appendage dangling from your face, containing over 40,000 muscles!

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

An amazing sunset with a vulture silhouetted in the treetops.

The sun has started setting and as we stop for sundowners, the silhouette of a vulture perched in the treetops catches our attention. Usually, where there are vultures, there is bound to be a kill of some sorts. Morné explains there is likely to be a kill when the vultures are either circling the area or a few are roosting in the upper branches of the trees.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

The main restaurant at Kapama Karula.

Back at the lodge, we decide to have dinner instead of going back to our room to freshen up. Served in the main restaurant with a great ambiance, I pick a gorgeous Philippe Starck ghost chair to sit on. The menu is plentiful in choice – for starters, there is caramelized onion soup; crumbed cheese, cranberry, cloud & micros; beef fillet steak tartare with smoked bone marrow, pickled quail egg & parmesan. For the course, choose from Hoisan chicken supreme, basmati, coconut & lemongrass veloute & swiss chard; smoked tomato risotto, basil, Grana Padano for vegetarian option; sole with lemon risotto, brussels, courgette & saffron; braised lamb shank with polenta, charred onions & port jus. Dessert is milk tart with berry compote, Chantilly, vanilla ice cream; deconstructed black forest swiss roll, hazelnut praline, cranberry sorbet & soil or South African cheese board.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

Our Family Villa with luxurious amenities to make a stay extra comfortable.

After our delicious dinner, we take a leisurely stroll back to our villa, where a cleansing shower awaits with the complimentary Charlotte Rhys Cape Town products. We all retire for the night under the soft white bedding, ensured of a good night’s sleep. Our daughter is so exhausted from the busy day that she completely forgets about her eagerness to indulge in some DVD watching before going to bed; she’s out for the count.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

Impalas at the dam during our morning game drive.

As dawn breaks on another beautiful day in the bush, we see the most precious sight of a waterbuck with her young, basking in the early morning sunlight. On the banks of the dam, impalas are enjoying the water source and further afield, we see a pair of red-billed hornbills warming up their feathers in the sun’s rays. Morné stops for coffee and freshly baked goodies and on our way back to the lodge, we spot lions lazing about.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

The invigorating spa pool at the Karula Spa & Wellness Centre.

Morné drops us off at the entrance to the Karula Spa & Wellness Centre, where we are warmly welcomed by Lalene van Zyl, assistant spa manager and spa therapists Boiketlo Kgomoeswana and Kulani Mdluli. This is the perfect place to come for a treatment or to immerse yourself in the spa pool. If you favor keeping fit during your stay, there is a state-of-the-art fitness center, or you can simply ‘sweat it out’ in the steam room.

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

Kapama Karula head guide Morné Ferreira and tracker Nicholas Sithole.

We spend the day at leisure in our opulent surroundings, taking in the sights and sounds of the bush around us. After the most enjoyable meals during our relaxation time – we feast on breakfast, lunch, and High tea, we depart for our late afternoon game drive. The usual suspects are out and about, but the sighting that gets us all excited is when Nick finds leopard tracks in the sand, and we eventually find the leopard after nightfall, on the prowl and marking his territory. Someone once remarked that leopard urine smells like popcorn, and it’s true!

Kapama Karula in Kapama Private Game Reserve

A buffalo looks our way during our afternoon game drive.

A surprise awaits us back at the lodge – it’s boma dinner night. The chefs have gone all out to prepare the tastiest selection of salads, meat, and desserts. I think I might have overindulged as all I want to do is go back to our villa, where I can lay down on the comfy bed. The walk back alleviates my discomfort and after a restful night, we are eager to find what other animals we might encounter in the 322,000-acre expanse of Kapama Private Game Reserve.

** Thank you to Nicole Walker from Kapama for arranging our stay and to the Kapama Karula team for their hospitality. Views expressed are the author’s own.

| Photographs courtesy of Kapama Karula and by Heléne Ramackers

Airlink Embraer E190 at Hoedspruit Airport

Airlink Embraer E190 at Hoedspruit Airport

Airlink – How to Get There

Airlink – Airlink is a privately owned and funded entity. It operates as a Regional Feeder Airline and franchisee of South African Airways using its own visible brand intellectual property. Connecting travelers to more than 55 routes within southern Africa and St Helena Island.

Route Specific Information – Direct scheduled flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Hoedspruit. With an all Jet service, Airlink provides a Business Class service from Cape Town, styled in the manner of European intra-continental service.

Connectivity – Through our alliance with SAA, travelers can connect conveniently, effortlessly and seamlessly, with SAA, their Partner airlines and other carriers throughout Southern Africa and the world.

Frequent Flyer Programme – Airlink is a member of the h African Airways Loyalty program – Voyager.

Discover more: www.flyairlink.com
Book Direct: https://www.flyairlink.com/destinations/flights-to-hoedspruit

 

 

About The Author

Helene Ramackers

Heléne Ramackers is a freelance journalist who enjoys interviewing local and international celebrities but thinks she has found her calling amongst the travel writing fraternity. A creature comfort girl at heart, she loves all things opulent. Her first taste of the bushveld was all it took to get bitten by the ‘bush-bug’, an absolute life-altering experience. She now longs for the expanse of wide open spaces, a pollution-free sky and the roar of a lion lulling her to sleep. When she’s not fantasizing about her next leopard sighting, she thrives on taking photographs of her family and loves capturing the beauty of sunrises, sunsets, rainbows and the magnificence of the full moon. Born and bred in Cape Town, this wife and doting mother love visiting the beauty that is right on her doorstep – the splendor of Table Mountain, the crashing waves at Bloubergstrand and the alluring scenery of the Winelands. To add Upscale Living to her portfolio is a dream come true!

Related Posts