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“Beyond Amazing”

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andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp
Certificate of Excellence
California
Level Contributor
13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Beyond Amazing”
Reviewed September 22, 2012

My husband and I spent four nights at Kirkman’s Kamp and did not want to leave. We had an unforgettable time there and we highly recommend Kirkman’s and & Beyond (which booked our trip). The camp centers around a gorgeous, colonial style lodge and deck, where we enjoyed many of our meals. Our room was comfortable, tastefully decorated, and had a lovely view of the river. The camp does not have fences, so animals (e.g. buffalo, kudo, bushbuck) freely roam on the property. The camp has an infinity pool overlooking the river as well.
The service at Kirkman’s was exceptional, far exceeding any luxury hotel that we have stayed at in the United States. The staff really gives Kirkman’s its essence and we cannot speak highly enough of their professionalism, service and demeanors. We had the great privilege of being assigned Friday as our “butler,” who coordinated our meals, including a lovely private dinner on our balcony and memorable breakfast in the bush, wonderfully. We were really impressed with the food at Kirkman’s, particularly the soups, croissants, meat dishes, and coffee.

The highlight of our stay was the game drives. Brett, our ranger, and Khalin, our tracker, provided us with an exceptional wildlife viewing experience. Khalin was highly skilled at spotting and tracking wildlife. Brett was highly skilled at ensuring we saw the wildlife and very knowledgeable about every animal we saw. We went on two daily game drives, morning and late afternoon/evening, in a topless Land Rover with two other couples. We saw buffalo, wildebeests, wild dogs and pups (a very rare sighting), a small lion pride eating an impala, a large lion pride and its cubs, lions mating, leopards mating, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, hippos, hyenas (including baby and juvenile hyenas), monkeys, warthogs, zebras, bushbuck, kudo, impala, nyala, waterbuck, and many different types of birds. Kirkman’s has private land and access to neighboring Lion Sands, which ensures that there is little vehicle traffic and numerous opportunities to see wildlife. Brett also took us on a walking trek, where we learned about many of the plant species and smaller creatures of the bush. During the drives, we would stop for cocktails and snacks.

Thank you to Kirkman’s and all the staff for making our experience

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view of the river.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank AniseCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed September 18, 2012

It's been several weeks since our 4 days at Kirkman's. Others have done great jobs in telling about Kirkman's. We're not wealthy. So many great places in this world...the true luxury in life would be the wherewithall to return to the spots that are really special. It took two exceeding long flights to get there, and I'm just looking for a way to manage to RETURN! There is a remarkable combination of guides, guests, good conversation, exceptional service and a true committment to nature conservation. I can now understand "& beyond".....it is "above and beyond". You will not be disappointed.

Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
Helpful?
2 Thank RitafromKansas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 3, 2012

My husband and I spent 4 nights (and 8 game drives) at Kirkmans in late August and of our 11-day S. African holiday, our time there was hands-down THE highlight. The previous reviewer did a great job of breaking down the various aspects of Kirkmans (big 5 and more, delicious food, cozy rooms)-- for me, all of the details were incredible, but it was the overall experience that they create that made it the most memorable trip of our life. Everything from the small, thoughtful surprises to the authentic lodge and the way that they build a communal, 'family' feel - it made for a magical safari experience. We've had friends that have done the luxurious, couples-centric safari trips before, but none of described the experience of Kirkmans which places such high importance on people and wildlife. I can't recommend Kirkmans highly enough, and though all of the guides/ hosts are wonderful, I must insert my affection for Cynthia, Brett & Eckson-- who contributed so much to our epic trip. I can't wait to go back one day.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank NYCcouple1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fairfield, Connecticut
Level Contributor
37 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2012

Dave Patterson from The Africa Safari (Bwana Dave on Tripadvisor) handled all of our travel planning and was extremely thorough with the details and suggestions he provided to us. I highly recommend him! We had two nights at Tshukudu Game Lodge (see separate posting) and had a driver take us to Kirkman's Kamp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve - about three hours away. It is set up on a hill overlooking the Sand River - a beautiful spot. The welcome was with a cool, herbed washcloth and homemade lemonade. I knew from that moment, this was just going to be a great stay! We were given a tour of the main lodge and introduced to our Butler, Cynthia who showed us to our room and what was available inside. The accommodations are five star...luxurious amenities...heated blanket plus a down comforter, private patio to watch the animals from the back of the building (two rooms per building). Full mini bar and snacks included in the room. Laundry service included (and yes, they will wash your underwear!). Tea/Coffee/snacks at 3pm before the afternoon game drive. We had five people in the LandRover (one was too sick to join us) plus a ranger (who drives) and a tracker who sits in the jump seat and watches for tracks and determines which way we should go (depending what you are following). Blankets are provided for the seat and for your lap as it really does cool down in August as soon as the sun goes down. We saw on this drive white rhino, impala, giraffe, white duiker (rare) impala, rock monitor lizard, hooded vulture, tawny eagle, three male lions eating a two day old buffalo kill, elephant, giant eagle owl, and more. We stopped for a sundowner, but of course they also had a semi-full bar with snacks too. And Beyond really has the formula down pat for these safaris - that is for sure!

At night you must walk with a guard to and from dinner. This property has no fencing so there potentially could have very large animals right in your path! Dinner was in the boma with the group we rode with (Austrailian woman, her boyfriend and her parents). This lodge is VERY family friendly. In fact, we were the only couple there by themselves. Everyone else either had kids with them or were traveling with parents. Buffet dinner with oxtail and whole trout for the main entree, cauliflower with cheese sauce, spinach, sweet potato, and salad were available. A large variety of wines are offered that are included with your stay. Dessert was bread and butter pudding with cinnamon/banana ice cream, and then you could toast marshmellows over the fire. The entire staff comes out at dessert and sings and dances - really fun.

Days start with a 6am wakeup call to meet for coffee/tea/juice/hot chocolate/snack at 6:15 and then you are in the vehicle at 6:30am. You have a wool blanket PLUS a hot water bottle to start out with. It really warms you up. Our first am ride was almost four hours. We followed two unknown male lions eyeing the kill we saw from the night before (who may have roamed from Kruger National Park - that is the benefit to being here - there are no fences so you really never know what you may see!) Different animals we saw this morning were too many birds to list, vervet monkeys, chacma baboons, male kudu, zebra, and just a glimpse of a leopard who had dragged a kill into a tree but was chased away by an elephant. We made a stop and were surprised by a full breakfast set up in the bush! Cereal, yogurt, croissant, muffins, ham and cheese...then the ranger and tracker cooked sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, fried onions and tomatoes all on propane burners...top that off with mimosas, special coffee with Marula and hot chocolate...it was amazing! I forgot to mention the role of your butler - they serve you at all of your meals, besides getting you whatever you need at other times. Lunches are all served on the patio and start with a soup. A tray with multiple vegetable side dishes, salad and an entree to share is brought to the tabel. Dessert included fruits with cheese and crackers.

We were here for two nights. We were truly lucky and got to see the elusivve honey badger - which our ranger hadn't seen since he had been there! Breakfast while at the lodge was a nice continental breakfast but always had a choice of a hot dish as well. On the second night after the evening drive, we came back to the room to find a bubble bath drawn with champagne waiting, petals strewn all over, candles, etc. It was really nice.

We had a great stay here. Since we were now going to Dulini Lodge (another And Beyond property in Sabi Sand), our ranger Jason drove us to Dulini in the LandRover (so it was an extra one hour safari ride) and they even packed a bag for us with waters and snacks for the ride. I highly recommend this lodge!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Stressed2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ashburn, Virginia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed August 11, 2012

My wife and I just returned from a 15-Day Southern Africa vacation that included 4 nights at Kirkman's Kamp. This lodge is run by &Beyond, and is one of several lodges in Sabi Sand Game Reserve bordering Kruger National Park, South Africa. We started at Kirkman's in early August 2012: this is Winter in South Africa, during the dry season, with mild to cold conditions generally, though the weather this year was somewhat cooler than normal. This review will cover several areas: (1) Overall Experience, (2) Safari Quality, and (3) Accommodations.

Personal Background: my wife and I have been on safaris before in August/September 2006 in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, and Zambia. While we normally stay at low to moderately priced lodging, the 2006 was at higher end locations (see Elsa's Kopje in Kenya).

Overall Experience:
We had an Excellent to Outstanding experience at Kirkman's overall. While the game viewing was somewhat worse than our 2006 safaris, the overall experience was as top-notched as any we've had, including superb guides, fantastic accommodations and meals, and excellent value-for-money. Kirkman's Kamp has an "Out of Africa" feel, built around an old cattle ranch with a lot of "Old World" frontier charm. Additionally, I would rate Sabi Sand as a better game viewing reserve that the other &Beyond location we stayed at during this trip (see Phinda Mountain Lodge). As with other safaris, nearly everything is included in the cost (except some optional activities and higher-end drinks). The staff were very friendly and helpful, meeting all our needs with great flexibility and concern for our enjoyment of the vacation. We would heartily recommend Kirkman's to anyone wishing to experience a top-notch safari, particularly to anyone interested in seeing Leopard up-close.

Daily Safari Quality (Guide: Ralph // Tracker: Richard):
(1) Overall Feel: being at a private reserve, vehicles are allowed to go off-road, which we did numerous times. Consequently, you can get much closer to the animals, on a more consistent basis, than you can at the various national parks in South Africa and other countries. On one occasion at Kirkman's, we had leopard walk directly next to the length of our vehicle. As we were there in winter, the lack of foliage on the undergrowth helped with the viewing. However, the undergrowth is dense in many areas and viewing is still much more difficult than in the Serengeti or Chobe. Overall, the game viewing at Sabi Sand is better than at Phinda, but there are clear differences. Phinda has more than its share of cheetah, whereas Sabi Sand seems to be practically overrun with leopard. Leopard sightings are generally rare, but we saw leopard on virtually every drive, in several settings. We also saw a fair amount of Kudu and Impala. We also saw a fair amount of white rhino, good-sized herds of elephant, waterbuck, duiker, buffalo, etc. In one instance, we were "stalked" by an irate female elephant for a while into the midst of the herd. As with Phinda, we had a great viewing at the Hyena den with sightings of young and infant hyena. With Kirkman's Kamp located next to a river, birding was pretty good, with sightings of Lilac-Breasted Rollers, Spoonbill, Bateleur, Fish Eagle, Hoopoe, Little Bee-Eater, and more. In fact, the large tree (Celtis Africana??) located on the Kamp grounds had numerous interesting birds to view close-up. We also had large game come right into camp including hyena, kudu, and (supposedly) leopard. Game viewing is in an open vehicle with 3 rows of seats for up to 3 persons per row. Another row of seats in the front for the driver and guide, with a "Tracker" seat mounted to the left-hood where the tracker normally sits. Temps were low to mild during most of the game drive times. Morning in particular could be very cold (low 40's), though the afternoon drive could get quite warm (high 70's to low 80's). Layering was very important in order to be warm enough when cold but cool enough as the temps got greater. One very nice touch on the morning drives were hot water bottles added to the blanket that was included with every drive.
(2) Communication: 7. Richard did not talk very much, and Ralph was somewhat difficult to understand at times. Ralph was generally good about talking about the game plan for each drive, asking about what we'd like to see, and pointing out the game. On several occasions both Ralph and Richard left the vehicle to track game by foot. While Ralph always explained what was going on, he didn't always give us a good idea of how long they would be gone; generally this was not a problem, but we did have to wait for 15+ minutes a few times.
(3) Knowledge: 7. Ralph did not normally discuss the behavior and traits of the animals we were seeing and how they specifically behave in Sabi Sand vs other locations. When questioned, though, he could talk with confidence and he had no trouble identifying any of the animals we saw.
(4) Professionalism: 7. Both Ralph and Richard were older guides and appeared to have worked together for some time. Their easy demeanor encouraged a sense of confidence on each drive. Both approached their jobs matter-of-factly, and we had several good sightings. In particular, we had a great first drive when we were the only two guests in the vehicle. However, Ralph didn't generally talk about game plan for the drive, and we had some drives where we didn't see much game. We also almost never had a normally-timed sun downer. As a big plus, Ralph used a headset on the drives to listen in to the radio; this made for a more pleasant experience by keeping the radio chatter from interfering with the viewing.
(5) Courtesy: 8-9.
(6) Personality: 9. Ralph was fun and upbeat. Richard was good before and after the drives, but nearly silent during the drives.

Accommodations:
(1) Overall: Excellent facility with minor annoyances. More mosquitoes than expected, no netting over the beds, and gaps in screens and doors that let the mosquitoes in. Staff was very good, frequently checking to see how things are (how was your day, how was your game drive, do you need anything, etc). Food was top-notch with good variety including vegetarian options. Too many meals outside in cold weather (I don't think we used the dining room once).
(2) Bed: 7-8. Would rate higher but the bed was two singles pushed together with a single set of linens to fit. Additionally, with the mosquitoes and the feel the camp was going for, I think netting would have been appropriate. The bed was quite comfortable and warm enough, but the ridge in the center makes cuddling more difficult. Other than that, the room itself was decently sized and appointed, with closet, air conditioning and mini-bar.
(3) Bath: 7. Decent pressure but inconsistent water temperature. Only an inside shower. Additional points off for no shower curtain or door (so unnecessarily cooler than otherwise would be).
(4) Common Areas: 9. Beautiful and historical common areas. Grassy areas surrounding the main building, set on hill with excellent views of nearby Sabi River. Lovely patio area in back with large, white-flowered tree providing scenic setting. Open-air African Boma for special meals, but metal construction seemed out-of-place. Points off for unheated pool.
(5) Service: 8. While everyone was very professional and friendly, and meal service was attentive, the bar area not always manned.
(6) Courtesy: 9. Gracious and attentive.
NOTE: Our "butler" Cynthia was fantastic, taking great care of us at each meal and keeping our room in great shape. On the 2nd night of our stay she prepared a hot bubble bath in our claw-footed tub complete with flowers sprinkled on the bubbles and around the tub, lit candles and a chilled ice bucket of local sparkling wine. This was a lovely surprise to return to after a chilly game drive in the afternoon/evening.

Room Tip: No fitness center or spa, though massages are offered. Nice pool area though unheated.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Thundar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surfers Paradise, Australia
Level Contributor
80 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2012

The Kirkman's kamp is located at Sabi Sands. It is an all inclusive privately run game reserve. You pay a premium price for the experience. I had high expectations and some were met while others were not. Overall a truly great experience in a unique location. Our trip was in July so winter time. It was considerably colder than expected, not so much outdoors ( the drives were cold ealry in the morning but that is expected) but the room, which had concrete floors and no working heating. It really was cold. I recommend taking slippers as these are not supplied and the floor is cold. The food is plentiful and good quality. The game drives are excellent and the ranger (Richard) and tracker (Elvis) work hard to deliver an exciting experience. Richard is very knowledgable and really added a lot to our experience. They did an outstanding job finding game. We like to walk and were a little disappointed that there was avery limited opportunity for this. Overall the company has developed a great experience product. i am not sure how &beyond would compare to other similar lodges but I think I may try another one next time to compare. So while the experience was great there were some disappointments, which were mostly to do with the room - add an electric blanket and/ or basic heating (obviously this is only an issue for a month or two). The staff try hard to please and should be commended for their effort. An experience to be cherished for sure.  

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank BSGB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cape Town Central, South Africa
Level Contributor
32 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed July 21, 2012

Kirkman's has historical roots to colonial life in the early 20th century. While not an over-the-top luxurious camp, it really captured the flavor of the bush, and that is what made it most special. The lodge is the main social focal point where guests and staff can mingle after a long day. Food was very good- not fantastic. The staff could not do enough for us- really excellent and extremely friendly. To me, this is the hallmark of & Beyond. Rooms are somewhat basic, but the beds are very comfortable- the decor is appropriately in line with the spirit of the camp.

But, the best for us was absolutely the game drives. Over the 5 days we were there, we saw leopards daily, including mating on two days. Lion/leopard interaction, lion/hyena interaction, lions on a buffalo kill, lions of two prides fighting, getting in the middle of a 50-60 strong elephant herd, wild dogs/leopard interaction, birds, birds, and more birds. We were worn out at the end of most days. We have stayed in a good number of & Beyond lodges in E Africa and S Africa, and each has their strengths, but overall, our safari experience here was the absolute best. Our tracker Victor was brilliant at spotting, and our ranger JP Joubert is truly exceptional- we borrowed him from Phinda as he is the best of the best. Cynthia, our butler, took great care of all our needs.

Overall, we highly recommend Kirkman's

Room Tip: Room 13 has excellent views over the Sand River- you can spot giraffe and elephant on the river.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank RestlessTravelBaron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp

Property: andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp
Address: Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kruger National Park, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 42 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp 5*
Number of rooms: 18
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The spirit of safari comes alive at historic Kirkman’s Kamp. Step back in time into the gracious early settler atmosphere of this original 1920s homestead and marvel at the spectacular views of the unspoiled wilderness from each of the 18 guest cottages and the lodge’s rim-flow swimming pool. Rolling lawns carve out a niche in a wild and tumbling wilderness that hosts memorable game viewing in one of the most renowned Big Five wildlife regions in the world. Spacious sitting, dining and bar guest areas contain original mementos of a time long past. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kirkman`s Kamp Hotel Sabi Sand Game Reserve
AndBeyond Kirkman's Kamp South Africa/Sabi Sand Game Reserve

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