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“Exceptional lodge: great service and location, amazing Safari experience, food to make you fat!”

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andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp
Certificate of Excellence
Singapore, Singapore
Level 6 Contributor
167 reviews
83 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 166 helpful votes
“Exceptional lodge: great service and location, amazing Safari experience, food to make you fat!”
Reviewed June 30, 2013

After a two hour drive from Nelsprit airport, we rounded a bend on the windy dirt road and arrived Kirkman's Kamp. Standing right outside the main house were host, Ulandy and our butler, Cynthia. Ulandy welcomed us warmly and gave us a quick tour of the main house, telling us about the history of the house and some Do's and Don'ts [eg. Don't feed the monkey, and, Never walk outside at night without a camp guard].

The main house is where everything happens, including the WiFi. There is a bar area for after game drive drinks in the evening, and at the back of the house, is the dining room and a view of the sunrise. Wifi is only available here. Most likely, your package, like ours, is an all-inclusive deal. The food at the kamp is very good. There is lots of fresh fruits, salads, meats and even the honey cured ham is done in-house. The dining area has indoor and outdoor seating. Although it was winter, outdoor meals at lunch and dinner are comfortable.

Watch out for the BOMA - this is a traditional English outdoor meal meaning "Officer's meal surrounded by fencing". Hot brazier in the centre, tables arranged around it, and an outdoor cooking area [like a huge BBQ pit] surrounded by a high fence. My son said it was like being on the set of Jurrasic Park. We had a good time here and were joined by our Ranger and other vehicle occupants [we had a lovely couple from the USA -she was volunteering in Congo as a Doctor].

Our personal butler was Cynthia, and she ensured that we were well-fed at our meals, and also tended to our requirements in our room. She even made my wife and I a bubble bath, complete with bubbly and glasses to enjoy after a long day on the game drive. We enjoyed the food very much. Often there would be some game meat on the menu, but these were not too gamey. There was too much food and too little exercise!

In between the game drives, we had time to hang out around the main house or rest in our room. My son received "daily missions" at breakfast. My son learnt to shoot the air gun at a paper target and learnt how to survive without a toothbrush and toilet paper [using nature's gifts!]. Eugene was very patient and enjoyed showing my son the ropes. Meanwhile, my wife had time for massages between breakfast and lunch.

Rooms are rustic and colonial style with modern touches. Air conditioning, heated mattress, fridge with fizzy drinks and alcohol, plus snacks come as part of the room. In the toilet, there is a cast iron bath tub, a single sink, toilet and a shower area. The shower is a little low on pressure, but was very hot. There is also a safe, ceiling fan and hairdryer. The laundry was done for us, but it may depend on your package.

There is a small gift shop near the front of the main house. If you need warmer gear for the game drives, reference books or gifts for family, this is the place to be. The final bill is settled here too!

Game drives happen everyday, just after 0630hrs and 1500hrs. You simply appear at the main house, get some coffee or tea, a light snack [home-made muesli bar or cookies at breakfast; cakes and coffee at high tea] and soon after, hop onto your game drive vehicle.

Kirkman's uses open top Landrovers and these can get quite chilly on the morning game drives. Luckily, they include a warm blanket and hot water bottle for each passenger. We were allocated to a vehicle and with it came with a Ranger and Tracker which you will build a bond with over the next few days. Our tracker, Victor, was very knowledgeable and experienced. We spent two game drives tracking an elusive Leopard - one male and one female, and this was a really good experience for us. On this drive, we drove off road into the bush looking for tracks. We ended up at an area, with each vehicle following their own Leopard tracks and had eventually converged here. The search continued as the trackers worked together on foot to find the elusive male Leopard.

On our first game drive, soon after we left Kirkman's, they spotted fresh Lion tracks. Our Ranger, Wayne, drives the 4x4 and gave us a narrative on what we are looking at, interesting facts, passes on survival skills and helps the tracker with animal tracks spotting, At the start of the drive he makes decisions with us on what we would like to see at each drive. He was an experinced driver too, and handled the vehicle very well. Over the course of our five game drives, we built a good bond with Wayne and Victor.

Midway through the 3 hour game drives, we stopped for something to eat and drink. Wayne and Victor broke out a table, and coffee and tea was served, often with a choice of having Amarula [similar to Bailey's cream] popped into your coffee. We also nibbled on cookies on the morning drives. In the evening, alcoholic beverages are served with nuts and Biltong [an air dried and spiced beef cut into pieces].

A word about your camera. You can get away with a standard "pea-shooter" camera with a good zoom function. My son used a Lego camera and my Canon S95. My wife took pictures and videos with her iPhone4S, and these came out quite well. Most times, your vehicle gets pretty close to the animals. Even when we spotted a resting pride of Lions, these cameras were sufficient. For the serious photographer, you can bring your zoom lenses as there will be times when the animals are further away across the river or high up in the trees.

Our time at Kirkman's Kamp came to a close all too soon. Each day was spent driving around for 6 hours, and in between was meals, massages and more fun. The staff here are very warm and friendly, and they make sure you are well taken of. Game drives are a very unique experience. This is made better by the hospitality and knowledge of your ranger and the intimate knowledge of your tracker.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Jamie575
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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501 reviews from our community

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Utah
Level 6 Contributor
432 reviews
80 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 238 helpful votes
Reviewed June 23, 2013

This was a wonderful experience to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. At first, I blanched at the cost, but the experience was definitely at that level with pampering plus. There is an amazing camaraderie among the staff. My only quibble might be that they checked on how we were doing too much. We were rather shocked to have a "butler" assigned to it, but he looked after us beautifully and had a terrific sense of humor.
The rangers were knowledgeable, helpful, and funny. We chased wild dogs--an unexpected sighting--through the bush. Every outing was memorable. We pulled into camp one evening, and a hyena was exciting the lounge, having stolen the bar food! Cheeky devil. There's a reason why security guards walk guests to and from rooms after dark. It's not dangerous, but KK wants to make sure its guests are entirely safe.
Here's a sample schedule:
5:30 am wake up
6:00 am coffee/tea before loading into LandRovers for the morning game drive (expect hot water bottles on board if it's chilly)
Near the 3-hour outing, the ranger and tracker will pull out collapsible table and set up with linens with coffee, chocolate (spiked with African chocolate liqueur if you wish) and some nibbles to get you back to the lodge.
9:00 am full breakfast back at lodge with lovely buffet and made to order meals.
1:00 pm lunch
3:00 pm High tea before getting back on Rovers for late afternoon game drive
Cocktail stop near the end of the game drive for G&T etc.
7:00 pm Dinner back at the lodge--perhaps with a hippo grazing on the lawn.

It was chilly during our May outing, so coats, earwarmers, gloves. We also recommend cap clip (clips to connect baseball cap to collar so it doesn't blow off--we use EKcessories) as well as clear safety goggles for night drives to keep wind out of eyes. There was a prohibition for white or brightly colored clothes on packing list, but frankly, we saw everything.
Recommended reading: Paul Theroux's chapter on history of camp in his Dark Star Safari. This is a historic cattle ranch (what were they thinking!) turned game preserve, but the trappings of the ranch are still omnipresent.

Room Tip: If you wish to be near lodge, then low-numbered rooms are good, but if you wish to away from lodge w...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank mule54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed June 20, 2013

Our trip to Kirkman's was excellent in every way. From the moment we arrived and were greeted by smiling faces all around until 4 days laters when we (sadly) left, we were treated like family. No joke, when we left, we felt like we were leaving family. Our ranger was great..professional and knowledgeable on the game drives...and he spent his free time in the afternoon playing tennis with us, teaching us rugby, and challenging us to a heated game of croquet. The camp manager and general manager were always moving around the grounds and eager to chat about anything from the dinner menu to animals to their own background and personal interests. Our assigned 'butler' was always taking care of any need we might have (but to be honest, the service at this camp doesn't leave much to be 'needed'). The game viewing was excellent.....really, it's hard to compliment or criticize game viewing on an unfenced area because the animals are going to go where they want and do what the want. I can compliment the excellent communication between the rangers in order to assure that not only did everyone get to view some of the unique sightings, but by limiting the number of vehicles present, the sightings were still very personal. My family and I have adventure travelled and safari'd all over the world and without a doubt, Kirkman's Kamp sets the standard.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank dmkreeder
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fareham, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed June 17, 2013

We had a fantastic time at Kirkman's and wished we had stayed longer. The camp has a lovely atmosphere with the original building making it feel more homely than some of the lodges in Sabi Sands. The meals are served out on the terrace which we enjoyed (even with monkey interruptions!) and there was an excellent choice of food. A decent sized swimming pool was also a bonus, quite often lodge pools are small. Brett & Elvis (ranger/tracker) were brilliant and we had great drives with some excellent spottings and were particularly lucky to see black rhino. We would not hesitate to recommend this lodge to anyone coming to Sabi Sands.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sue06_Rich05
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Milford, Connecticut
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2013

I love Africa and return on safari every chance I get. My latest trip found me at Kirkman's Kamp and I have to say that of the more than 50 camps I've been to in East and Southern Africa, it is my favorite. What makes a great camp? beautiful grounds and surroundings, good food and wine, an attentive staff, comfortable accommodations, terrific guides and trackers and, above all, great game viewing - the reason you're there. Kirkman's had all of these and something more - the sense of being welcomed into a family home (it's a 1920s homestead); a warmth and camaraderie that makes you feel like your joining old friends for a weekend in the country.

The food was out-of-this-world fresh, delicious, and beautifully presented. The staff was warm and welcoming and eager to please, and our guide and tracker, Jason and Jerry, were skilled and knowledgable. But it was their genuine delight and passion to be in the bush each day that made it the best possible experience.

It helps to be in, arguably, the best game-viewing area in Africa, and to have a leopard cub to visit each day, but again, it was something extra that made the difference. &Beyond fosters the sense of conservation and stewardship for Africa - for its people and its animals - and it was evident at Kirkman's. We shared this homestead with various warthogs, hyenas, monkeys, hippos, elephants and leopards who all traipsed across the property during our stay. But mostly it was evident in the joy and enthusiasm of everyone from the staff to the guests for this magnificent place in this spectacular land.

We were there for four wonderful days and we'll be heading back there again. A little bit of heaven on earth!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank SueTrue22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level 6 Contributor
28 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed May 31, 2013

Best trip ever!

Everything was outstanding. Game drives, food, room, parties. We even had monkeys running around stealing food off tables! Yeah that'd be obnoxious if it happened at home. But very entertaining in Africa.

Loved the get togethers with other guests in the lodge after the evening game drive. Not every place offers this.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Vegaslonglegs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pretoria, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 29, 2013

The rooms are very good. No TV in the rooms – exactly what you need when taking a break.Who needs a TV with a view like that!
Game viewing with Brett and Kholon was special. Breakfast along the river. Sun-downer on the deck. Leopards wowed us. The staff all ensured a special weekend.
The only thing missing would be a deck next to room 15!

Room Tip: If you get room 14 or 15 the view is unreal
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank KSPieterse
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 
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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