To this day, our most favorite vacation has been our trip to Cape Town and safari at Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa. Spanning over 32,000 acres of African bush, visitors get the opportunity to observe various African wildlife including the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and water buffalo) in their natural habitat. A truly once and a lifetime experience, our safari experience was top notch and Kapama Private Game Reserve is to thank.


You will fly into the Eastgate Airport located right outside the entrance gates to the reserve.  (Warthogs were running down the side of the tarmac as we landed!) Small and cozy, the airport is no frills with the departure signs resembled that of a fast food restaurant and the luggage carousel is a John Deer tractor. Your ranger and tracker will greet you at the airport and load up the jeep with your luggage.

What an experience it was driving through the main gates! Cue the lion king sound track! You will immediately be greeted by giraffes and zebras munching on the foliage.


Kapama Private Game Reserve boosts 4 different lodges: Karula, Buffalo Camp, Southern Camp and River Lodge. (The River Lodge was our home during our 4 night stay.) The largest of the lodging options within the game reserve, River Lodge features an open and airy design with two infinity pools opening to watering holes on the property, dining boma, bar and large guest lounge.



Each room is very spacious with either a king size bed or double beds, a walk out balcony overlooking the bush and all decorated in traditional décor. Luxury extended into the bathroom with double sink vanities, a large walk in shower and oversized soaking tub with also offered sweeping views of the bush.


Your stay at Kapama River Lodge will include 2 daily game drives, all of your meals, bush walks, access to the pools, spa and fitness area. Alcohol is not included and wifi is accessible only in the main guest lounge. The game drives are offered before sunrise in the morning and then in the evening during sunset. The big predatory animals hunt during the night and sleep most of the day. The game drive times are designed to help capture the animal activity.


The goal of every safari drive is to see the Big 5: lion, leopard, water buffalo, rhino and elephant. (We were lucky enough to see all 5! The leopard was very elusive and disappeared back into the bush before we could snap a photo.)

The lion prides put on the best show with the cubs wrestling and playing with one another and the lionesses venturing extremely close to our vehicles.  We even witnessed one lioness gathering her ubs which were hidden in the brush after an evening hunt. 

The animals are accustom to the vehicles and do not fear their presence. However, there are strict rules to remain seated in the vehicle at all times and do not draw attention to your presence.


Your safari options include private versus public (national parks run by the governments).  Trying to understand the positives and negatives to both, we found the top differences to be centered around how the animals are viewed, hours of operation and price.

In a private game reserve, you are able to drive off road in an open air vehicle.  In a national park, you are required to stay on the paved roads in an enclosed vehicle.

National parks restrict game viewing to the daylight hours and can be more crowded with visitors doing self-drives. Whereas, game drives on a private reserve are centered around sunrise and sunset hours as animals are most active at night in the dark.

In terms of pricing, private game reserves are typically more expensive than lodging within a national park.

In regards to the safety of an open air vehicle at night surrounded by large predators, our safety was never questioned. However, looking back on the experience, we did get stuck on a log in the thick of the bush tracking the largest pride of lions. Stuck in an open air vehicle while looking for a large pride of lions? Yeah, we would have made a nice amuse-bouche. But this was one of the main reasons we choose a private game reserve versus a national park, the experience!

Welcome to Mullen it Over!

Hi, we’re Amanda & Kai!

An every day couple trying to see the world and cross off our ever expanding bucket list.