Honeymoon Part 1 At Kapama Private Game Reserve: The Best Way To Experience Wild Animals In South Africa

Today’s post is a special one for me. I’m sharing details of where we stayed for the first half of our honeymoon in South Africa. We stayed at a Private Game Reserve called Kapama Private Game Reserve located in Hoedspruit South Africa. We wanted to experience the wild, see animals in their natural habitat and enjoy a true safe and luxurious safari. We got exactly that and more. Before we went, I figured I would just go out and see the animals once or twice but was I wrong? Seeing all the beautiful animals was such a beautiful experience that we went out on 7 of our 8 rides. A ride happens twice a day at Kapama, once at 6:15am and the other at 4:30pm. Each ride last for 3hours. We go out with a ranger and a spotter to look for wild animals in their natural habitat. On our first evening we saw Zebras, Giraffes, Lions, Buffaloes and Impalas. Impalas are an every day sighting by the way. The main thing is that everyone wants to see the big 5- Lions, Rhinos, Elephants, Leopard, and Buffaloes. We saw all 5! 

The rides work like this...the ranger drives and the spotter sits at the front end of the van. They are both trained to look, listen, hear and feel which animals are close by, have been around or may be heading a certain way. It was amazing to see and experience. They showed us tracks on the ground, branches and how they were broken, sounds of animals calls or simply looking how other animals have reacted on the onset. With this type of intelligence we were almost always able to spot the animal near by. The rangers continuously radio each other because the property is HUGE. If another ranger in another vehicle with other tourists spots a certain animal (especially one of the big 5), they will radio out and we will drive towards it. Luckily on a private game reserve, it’s never crowed and only a certain amount of vehicles are allowed around the animals. The intention is to keep the animals low stress and low impact with humans as possible. I loved that. We couldn’t get out of the van and touch or interact with the animals etc because it is not a zoo. 

The animals are completely wild, untrained, untamed and in their natural habitat. We sit still, watch them and if they decide the move or migrate the ranger will ensure the vehicle is not in their way. I shared pretty much everything on my Instagram Stories so if you are interested to see head over to my Instagram page @styleweekender here and check out South Africa Stories Highlights to watch all the videos. I was often asked if  I was scared and I wasn’t deathly scared, I was simply scared especially on our second spotting of Lions when a male Lion walked right by my vehicle on my side. I think I held my breath for a solid minute and said a quick 2 second prayer. Ha! We’re told that as long as we stay in the vehicle, no boots on the ground, we are fine. Animals see threat differently, if you're on the actual ground they see and feel that as a threat. So we never got out of the vehicle only at designated stops for coffee in the morning and wine in the evening. We felt extremely safe. On our morning for our last ride, we saw a Leopard. Our ranger was adamant that we find a leopard and a Rhino since those were the two of the big 5 that we hadn't seen. This was probably the most tedious because they have been tracking him for two nights. The Leopard hid itself in the bush and would not move. It was sly and sleek, we could see it better with our naked eyes than even with our best camera lens. He literally sat camouflaged for a good 30 mins and would not move. It was amazing to see. He eventually took off but we couldn't find it after that. They are swift and dangerous. Our ranger told us we would rather battle a Lion than a Leopard. 
The time difference was beyond exhausting but the excitement of seeing the animals daily took all of that a way. 

At Karula Lodge, if you had any special request they can set it up for you. We had a surprise picnic/bbq in the bush one evening and that will always be etched in my memory as a very special moment. We could hear Rhinos making sounds in the distance but we felt super safe as the staff is fully trained and know areas that are safe. We enjoy delicacies, wine and local beer. We had shared our experience with another couple at dinner that night and they requested a breakfast in the woods the next morning. They showed us photos later that day and it was so so beautiful. 

Here's some of the amazing photos we captured out on our rides. 

GIRAFFE (My Personal faves-We saw them on every ride)

This is a school that Kapama Private Game Reserve supports programs that help the kids with socialization skills, growing food sustainably, and overall care to name a few. We booked a tour to spend and evening with the kids. This was so important for us because we both value education. Additionally, Lincoln and I are products of a third world country. To be completely transparent, we also wanted the kids to see representation in us as also blacks visiting them. I remember while growing up we would have visitors at our primary schools and they were all white. Most of them were on religious missions or medical. It would have been nice to see black people that looked like me. The money we paid for the tour goes 100% directly to support this program.  We've also taken a special interest into this program as a personal goal. Because it is personal, I won't go into details but we are so proud and happy to be involved. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this really long blog post :). There is so much to share so please stay tuned for three more posts covering:
-A tour of the villa/property
-Outfits I wore and recommendations to wear on a safari
-How to afford and plan your trip including flights etc.



  1. The most beautiful animals I have ever seen. Never been to Africa but a few friends have gone to private game reserves. Wow thank you for sharing about our wonderful world

  2. It looks like you had a beautiful honeymoon! Your pictures have me very excited about my upcoming trip to Zimbabwe in December with the nonprofit I'm involved with. I hope to go on at least one safari ride while I'm there.

  3. You have a very fun and engaging writing style, thanks for putting this guide together for us 🙂 Traveling by car or by plane, is always worth it.

  4. The article is interesting !!
    Thanks for the post.
    We are also going to honeymoon.
    I was wondering where to choose when I saw your article.
    We know each other through Livejasmin
    . This is a great place.
    Thanks a lot

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