When Kapama staff say Elvis has left the building, they’re not talking about the King of Rock and Roll, but rather a super friendly porcupine who visits the camp most nights, offering guests an up-close view of his prickly and impressive quill armour. He’s quite the celebrity, having starred in many an Instagram shot.
Modern luxury is juxtaposed with Old-Africa traditions in a heady blend that is 100% five-star safari. The name, Kapama, comes from a former Swazi King and like its namesake, the Kapama Private Game Reserve is proud, respected and fierce. Since it was claimed as a private reserve back in 1993, Kapama’s owners have vowed to uphold strong conservation principles – their game relocation programme has seen the introduction of elephant, buffalo, rhinoceros, giraffe and vast herds of wildebeest, kudu and other antelope to the area, which makes for prime game viewing. The park is home to over 40 different mammals, including Africa’s iconic Big Five – lions, leopards, rhinoceros, cape buffalo and elephant – and more than 350 species of bird.
The dry season in Kapama, from May to September, is the best time for wildlife watching and August is the time for absolute prime viewing. The wet season from October to April sees a green blush on the reserve as the verdant landscape returns to full form and frisky newborns arrive. It’s the perfect backdrop to spot flashes of gold amongst the green as the Kings of the Jungle prowl around the reserve.
The newest addition to the Kapama lodge family, the intimate Southern Camp perches on the southern reaches of the Big Five Game reserve and exudes a friendly, relaxed five-star vibe. Fifteen distinctive suites with private patios look out over scrubby bush and melodramatic skies, and are tastefully decorated with a neutral, earthy palette. For those after a hint of luxe, seven superbly-appointed suites, complete with private lap pools, open fireplaces and nature showers, offer the luxury of space. Three dedicated family suites, again with private lap pool and bath, are perfect for bigger groups.
360-degree views from the main pool lined with ivory umbrellas allow swimmers to spot an elephant or zebra in close quarters whilst bathing, and an open-sided dining room, with an imposing high-peaked roof, ensures you don’t miss out on any action when fuelling up. The well-stocked wine cellar is a focal point in the room, and its trade-mark fine South African estate collection is showcased behind frameless glass. And, when the weather is just right, dinner is served fireside in the open-air traditional boma.
Rates are based on a fully-inclusive experience including dawn and evening safaris with qualified rangers and trackers in Kapama’s open Land Rovers. A selection of local alcoholic drinks is included during sunset game drives.
11 official Languages Spoken
Afrikaans – English – isiNdebele – Sepedi.– Sesotho – Siswati – Xitsonga – Setswana – Tshivenda – isiXhosa
How to say hello?
Molo – Xhosa
Sawubona - Zulu
Hallo - Afrikaans
Dumela - SeSotho
Electricity – Volt & plug
The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins.
WiFi/Internet Access on tour
WiFi can be found at most accommodations, restaurants and airports, however, the download speed is often slow and many connections limit your data usage. In short, you’ll be able to stay connected with home, but don't expect to watch HD movies in your spare time.
When to go
South Africa is blessed with a mostly mild climate, but different areas will yield different temperatures throughout the year. Summer in South Africa is usually peak season, lasting between November – February, however, Easter time (March) is often still considered peak season too. Temperatures range from 25ºC in coastal areas to high 30ºs in inland areas. Cape Town has ideal weather during this time and Durban sports warm beaches and humid air, Johannesburg experiences hot clear days and often an afternoon thunderstorm.
The shoulder season is April and May, as well as September and October. Surprisingly, the weather in Durban is often at its best during this time, and other areas simmer down from their scorching highs. Prices are lower and crowds are smaller. September and October see eruptions of flowers and blooms all around the country.
Winter is beautiful in most parts of the country. Cape Town experiences winter rain and is often a little cold and miserable, but still crisp and beautiful. Because of the warm Indian Ocean, Durban has spectacular weather in winter, often hovering around 20-25ºC with clear blue skies. Inland areas get quite chilly and the odd snowfall is not uncommon (it only lasts for a day though!). Prices are at an all-time low and it is an ideal time for game viewing, as the animals are more active in the cooler weather.
The Garden Route enjoys a Mediterranean Oceanic climate, which is intrinsically temperate and mild almost all year round. Summers are warm to hot, and winters are cool. Second only to Hawaii, the Garden Route is acclaimed for having one of the mildest climates in the world.
However, the winter rain season can cause some delays for outdoor activities but the mild sunny days and the appeal of seeing the Southern Right Whale migration makes the Cape Whale Coast & Garden Route an ideal destination during the European summer holidays. You can expect cool mornings and evenings, but usually the climate remain bright and sunny during the day.
Best time to go where?
Jun-Jul (winter) = Safari in Kruger region
Jan-Feb (summer) = Cape Town city or beach destinations along the Cape Coast
Year-Round = Moderate Garden Route
With the possible exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, most tourist services and attractions are open on South African public holidays. In addition most city shopping centres, restaurants and entertainment venues remain open.
|1 Jan||New Year's Day|
|21 Mar||Human Rights Day|
|30 Mar||Good Friday|
|2 Apr||Family Day|
|27 Apr||Freedom Day|
|1 May||Workers' Day|
|16 Jun||Youth Day|
|9 Aug||National Women's Day|
|24 Sep||Heritage Day|
|16 Dec||Day of Reconciliation|
|17 Dec||Day of Reconciliation Holiday|
|25 Dec||Christmas Day|
|26 Dec||Day of Goodwill|
Visa & Travel docs
Travellers from most Commonwealth countries (excluding New Zealand), most Western European nations, Japan and the USA receive a free, 90-day visitor's permit on arrival. These travellers do not need a visa to enter South Africa. A valid passport is essential with at least two empty pages. You generally will need to show return or onward travel arrangements. Children aged under 18 must show an unabridged birth certificate (showing both parents details).
Some countries do, however, need a visa. Visas are not issued upon entry, they must be attained beforehand. It is advised that you clarify this before you leave, the Department of Home Affairs office has a comprehensive list of countries that do not require visas. http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
What to pack
We're generally laid back in South Africa, so no need to haul out your best silks and diamonds when you head to our shores. Here's some clothing advice when in South Africa:
Health & Safety
There are no compulsory vaccinations required to enter South Africa with exception of a yellow fever vaccination if you have been in a yellow fever area within the last 12 months.
The only major health risk you might face in South Africa is malaria, which is confined to small areas in the north-eastern parts of the country. Small pockets of the northern parts of the Kruger National Park fall under this area but the risk here is considered extremely low and it is not always necessary to take anti-malaria tablets. Remember as a precautionary measure to check with your accommodation what is recommended.
South Africa may have high crime statistics, but if you conduct yourself wisely, most tourists enjoy the country without any incident at all. Ensure that you lock away your passports and travel documents in a safe, which is usually provided by your accommodation. Don't flash around valuables and keep an eye on your belongings at all time. Majority of South Africa’s crime is opportunistic petty crime, so if you are vigilant about your belongings you should not have any problem.
South Africa has 3 world-class airports that receive international flights every day; Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. Most international airlines will have flights into one or all of these airports daily.
There are numerous budget carriers that offer domestic flights between the major cities for very reasonable rates; this is the fastest and safest way to span large distances, especially between Johannesburg and Cape Town, which is a 2-hour flight.
From the airports there are numerous shuttles and taxis that you can pick up upon arrival, there are also many different car hire options at each airport and in all major cities. Uber is another reliable and affordable option.
Our currency in South Africa is the South African Rand. You can easily convert your currency to rand at a bank or Forex Bureau, the airports and larger towns often have many different Forex options. You can also withdraw from an ATM, banks are available throughout South Africa. Be sure to check what international bank charges you will incur for withdrawals before you arrive. Major credit cards are usually accepted in hotels or restaurants, however, there may be a surcharge. It is advisable to have small amounts of cash for curios and tipping.