We absolutely loved our stay at Kirkman's Kamp! This was not our first safari, but as far as lodging/staff/food goes, this was one of the best & we highly recommend it!
Accommodations- We stayed in two rooms (#1 & 2). Beds were comfy, linens for the beds & bath were luxurious, toiletries were fabulous (smells of Africa!) in permanent bottles. There was AC if you wanted it & your own patio with chairs/table looking over the bush down to the river. The kids enjoyed the pool which was warm enough for swimming...even warm enough for the adults to get in! Decor was luxurious with a safari style using natural colors & we loved the pictures on the walls which were mostly photographs from Kirkman's original owner's life...very unique! Not really any lounging area in your room other than your patio, but plenty of lounging space in the main building that is laid out to be comfy & intimate.
Lodge Staff- we really enjoyed Moses as our 'butler' he was always smiling & quickly learned our quirky non-alcoholic ways that like to share meals as to not waste! Laundry was always nicely done & folded on time...you could tell they weren't harsh with your clothes in the care or products. Room cleanup & turndown/minibar refill was timely & neatly done. It was nice to have some snacks in the room & some special syrups for mixing your own refreshing drinks if you wanted. Water was regularly stocked...both still & sparkling. There are a lot of 'invisible staff' that work hard to make the stay perfect.
Food- They were always feeding us...am tea & coffee, breakfast, lunch, pm tea & coffee, pre dinner snacks, dinner, and probably anything you'd ask for in the day! Food was some of the best we've had on safari (and ever!), but still second place to Olonana in the Mara...we still enjoyed it quite thoroughly & definitely prefer the table service with a few choices over the buffet style of many safari locations. The fresh lemonades here are fantastic & ready at your asking! One of our favorite pieces here!
Game Drives- Ralph was our driver/guide & Richard our spotter. We really enjoyed our time with both of them. We've safaried enough now to know a good guide & Ralph is one of those...he does his job diligently & is passionate about the animals & birds, knowing their behaviors so he can follow them & recognize them & anticipate their movements. He doesn't just point out what is there, he goes on to tell you about their behaviors & habits...truly an educational experience. We never felt like he was trying to get in early to end his time out on safari, which has happened to us in the Chobe & somewhat in the Mara. We enjoyed his sense of humor & loved his laugh...these were sprinkled in at appropriate times. The vehicles are open top & hold 9 people in back with a step up for each row of seats which made it easy to see wildlife no matter where you sat...and we sat in multiple locations with a nearly full vehicle each time. The open top leaves you more exposed to sun, but nothing a hat & sunscreen can't fix, plus hours are early & later so sun is only intense at the very end of the am drive & start of the pm drive.
Private-vs-Krueger- We heard many having great experiences in Krueger, but let me just give one story to show the advantage of Private....there was a leopard stalking Impala while we were in Sabi, we were able to follow it (of course there are rules, only 2 at a time for a viewing) & watch its behavior all the way through the bush until we could no longer follow her in the brushy creek....she killed later that day & we were able to drive out to the bush to see her with her kill. At Chobe, we had a similar experience...leopard stalking Impala, but we couldn't follow & therefore couldn't see the stalking behavior...it also causes them to lose track of the animal & no one knew where she was the next day or if she had killed anything. Sabi knows their animals...their ages, when they're there, where they go, when they return...you're going to see stuff here! We saw everything big (lions, leopards...so much so that when asked the last time to go see one, we said no!, black & white rhino, hippo, buffalo, elephant, giraffe, hyena, jakal) except a Cheetah, which evidently is not in the area at this time due to a large number of leopards & lions. If you're a birder, you definitely want to ask for Ralph...he knows them all & has done extensive reading on the birds!
Spa- this was the first time we ever had a spa massage & Zanele was very professional. The massage room & products were very relaxing & Zanele is good at either being quiet or talking to you...whichever you prefer. I was definitely relaxed & enjoyed my hour massage!
Gift Shop- they have a nice gift shop with a large variety of clothing items in case you forgot anything! It would be nice to see some more local handicraft items in the shop as well (and I'm going to guess kids might want some stuffed animals)...prices were good & comparable to airport/upscale shop pricing...certainly not prohibitive in causing you to shop here!
Great to see that Kirkman's is diligently adding native South Africans to their guiding staff...it was odd to see 'white guys' as guides from our past experiences in Kenya, so it is good to see that the native South Africans are being given an equal opportunity...or so it appears, although Kirkman's is still heavier on the 'white' side for guides.
Only thing missing- in comparison to other safaris, Kirkman's has definitely been one of the best...the only 'missing piece' is the refreshing scented moist towel upon arrival from safaris. This is the only thing I can think of that we've seen elsewhere that is really a nice little extra...but certainly doesn't change our excellent rating for Kirkman's...we highly recommend it & would stay again ourselves should we return.
If you have kids, ask for a room with a higher number...rooms 1 & 2 are so close to the Boma &am...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.