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“3rd Time and Last Time!”

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andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 8, 2014

5 stars because I have had 2 outstanding stays here already, however my most recent stay was rather dismaying...

Firstly allow me to get all the positives out of the way! The game viewing was cooking while we were there and fortunately we managed to get to see pretty much all the action, including a leopard making a kill and dragging the kill to her very young cub... this was truly once in a lifetime!!! The accommodation was standard Kirkman's and was clean, well tended and comfortable.

We have travelled to andBeyond Exeter River Lodge (twice), @Beyond Dulini (when it was still @Beyond), Kirkman's Kamp (3 times), Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge (twice), Sabi Sabi Little Bush, Lion Sands and Chitwa Chitwa. Whilst all the lodges have been outstanding, we had thought that we had finally found an annual retreat with Kirkman's Kamp and Exeter River Lodge... but after our 7 days with @Beyond are feeling a little neglected and in two minds about returning.

So what happened? I will write a separate review for Exeter River Lodge and will now focus on the things that disappointed us over our 4 nights at Kirkman's.

As we really enjoyed the experience with our last guide and taking into account this being our 3rd visit we phoned ahead of time to find out if we could have the same guide again... denied even though he was there the entire time and his guests arrived the same day as us... he even had the one guest alone for a while until that guest was rejoined by others. Ok this is not a big deal... we can live with it and were introduced to our guide. Because this is in the public domain I shall refrain from using any names.

Our guide was generally last to arrive, did not track the animals like the other guides but rather responded to sightings. He did not appeared to be very interested in actively seeking out the animals but appeared comfortable responding. A very different experience to our guides in ALL the other lodges. Strangely enough there were two guides who pretty much found EVERYTHING and one of them was our previous (requested) guide. Not a problem really because we managed to see the animals they found with the exception of one... and it was a biggie for us! Our guide also managed to get us embroiled in the red tape of responding to a sighting... basically because we never found anything ourselves... we had to wait! Now for someone like me who had just spent $20 000 on a camera, I was also requiring some good light and unfortunately we always seemed to get to the evening sightings in poor light because of the red tape in how long the guide who found the animal can stay with the animal... Did not enjoy!

As we knew our previous guide from the year before we were friendly and there was some good natured banter between us (I thought)... For example when we responded to one of his sightings and he had left we told him that the leopard had gone and hunted the Impala nearby (which was not true and he knew it and we told him as much). One morning our guide decided to take us all the way to Lion Sands after heavy rain and as a result we were not allowed to go off road. While we were there the big male leopard we were desperately wanting to see had been found by our previous guide not far from Kirkman's Kamp. We raced there only to be told that the leopard had swum across the river. What I did not appreciate it that our previous guide then told us how amazing the sighting was, how they followed the leopard scent marking in the road, how they followed him through the bush and how he lay down on the rocks in the sun for a long time posing for photos. When he saw the shocked look on my face he said he was kidding and that the leopard was only with them for a few minutes before getting lost in the reeds and crossing the river. I believed him and thought the good natured banter was continuing. Unfortunately a day later a guest on his vehicle showed us the photos... scent marking in the road, walking in the bush and laying on the rocks right next to the vehicle... an epic sighting with the most beautiful photos... the whole affair left a bad taste in my mouth.

The food was below the usual standard with burn't cakes everyday. The creme brule was runny and in general the standard was lower than our last visit.

In general we felt the standard has gone down and we will not be back to Kirkman's.

  • Stayed: February 2014, traveled with friends
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4  Thank mlondozi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SamanthaOnSafari, Manager at andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp, responded to this reviewResponded February 24, 2014

Hello Mlondozi,

Your review is most appreciated; thank you so much for taking the time to post and share your recent experience at andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp. While we are happy that there were aspects of your stay you enjoyed, it is most disappointing to hear that not all lived up to your expectations. Your valued comments are most appreciated and enable us to ensure we get it right for our future guests. As I mentioned in my direct correspondence to you, please be assured that your concerns have been attended to with our team. I do hope that you will return as we would love to welcome you back and spoil you in the andBeyond style that you have become accustomed too.

Kind regards
Kevin
Regional Director

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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323 - 329 of 539 reviews

Reviewed January 23, 2014

Visited mid December and stayed for three nights at Kirkman's Camp. Our room was great, plenty of room and a comfortable bed. The service and food and were excellent, the location of the camp is wonderful and there is a great feeling of space at the lodge, Our tracker and ranger were very good and with their extensive knowledge of the flora and fauna and their combined abilities to find game made it a special trip for us.
Made use of the pool while there and also thought the shop at the lodge was well stocked with some useful items, bought a nice hat !!
My only criticism is the lodge is getting a little tired and in need of some TLC.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Louis R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2014

I spent the 3 best days of my life at Kirkman's Kamp! I can't even begin to explain what an awesome and unforgettable trip to South Africa I had, and the safari was the highlight. Our ranger and tracker went out of their way to make sure we saw the big 5 and many other animals. Our group wanted to see elephants, so Brett (our ranger) went on a wild chase to find a herd of elephants! Seeing these majestic animals up close was amazing. The staff at the lodge went above and beyond in making sure every need was meet and more. Food was great and there were some fun surprises, like having breakfast in the bush. I loved every moment of my safari and I would do it again and again! I hope to come back to South Africa soon :)

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Melanie D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2014

My wife and I stayed here over December break 2013. As soon as we arrived we were greeted and shown around the grounds of the lodge. The grounds are beautiful. Our room was clean and spacious. Friday, the butler who took care of us was amazing and really made sure we enjoyed our experience during the time we spent there. For our dining experience, he was fantastic and made sure my wife's picky requests were met. Our ranger Ralph, was good and listened to our request (we had stayed at a different lodge before coming here and wanted to see leopards) and we did see a leopard the last hour on the safari before check out. What we were disappointed with was when we arrived at the lodge, one of the woman who greeted us was quick to say she was surprised we were arriving so early. When we said we don't understand, you were the ones that arranged the transfer she was quick to come back at us and say we were expecting you. Then, during lunch, the same woman came up to us and asked us why were were checking out at 8:00AM. When we said we weren't, she was quick to say yes you are and your transfer is arriving at 8:00AM. When we said no that was not what we arranged with your lodge, she acted like we were lying and we were wrong. Fortunately, we had proof from the transfer that said we would be leaving at 10:00AM, after we went on our morning safari. I know my wife was quite confused as to why they were so defensive when they were the ones that arranged all of the transfers for us and didn't know what we would do if we didn't have proof. Also, when we got back from our morning safari run, the same woman had said she was in our room to freshen up. My wife went back to shower and I followed. My wife was in total shock when the door to our room was wide open. Fortunately, our passports and valuables were locked up, but we were extremely upset to see the door was open and no one was in the room. While eating breakfast we said something to the woman and again, she seemed extremely confused, even after she had admitted to being in our room. If I was to go back, there are plenty of lodges in the area that are a similar value. I would most likely stay somewhere else due to the rudeness of some of the staff members, which is a shame because there are definitely a lot of positives in this lodge (again, not the majority - just one or two)

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JetsFan85x
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 3, 2014

My husband and I had the true pleasure of enjoying another safari and to stay this time at the special Kirkman's Kamp in October 2013. Our guide Lennox was an absolute gem and we had the best laughs of all time. The whole package was excellent - amazing animals, welcoming staff, beautiful food, tantalizing pool for cooling off in the afternoon. A special thanks to Go2 Africa for organising our whole trip - with special mention to Lucy Copson.
Our photos are an incredible reminder of our special trip.

Room Tip: The closer rooms are easier for going to and from the main area but the furthest rooms have chances...
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Leona E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2013

After Serengeti and Ngorogoro, I thought I might be bored of all the big guys in the bush. Not at all! The service is 6 star, the food was excellent (great croissants even! and strawberry juice) and the tracker Elvis seems to be the best we've seen. Darren the ranger was knowledgable, enthusiastic and personable. The big open grass around the lodge was lovely, and I loved hanging out at the pool while the elephants made a fuss about 40 feet away.

Highlights -

* This was a good choice for last camp- very relaxing and a bit more civilized to prepare us for our return. wifi and televison!
* We were very happy with Darren and Elvis. While conversation was going, Elvis heard a bird call that pointed us in the right direction for the leopards. on our last day we had an especially wild ride in the bush as we searched for the leopard cub.
* Unforgettable scenes along the sands river as we searched for the rhinos. highlight was finding a very young rhino with mom. young one was jumping around like a disney character. great drinks and fun skipping stones on the river.
* The 3 lions we followed for a couple of days were interesting- 1 female that was mating with the smaller male, and another male that had his front paw injured. He stayed with them but was limping for miles and miles.
* Time to really observe many elephants big and small - we had time to really talk about their behavior.
* The bachelor heard of impalas we saw was another surprise - we had seen many hundreds but had not seen them practicing their fighting until this time.
* What made this experience and other safaris so memorable was to see the animals functioning in their society right next to all of the others. Watching the mothers and their young, the competition between siblings, the distress calls, - all of the things the animals know and do to survive. This is something we can never see in a zoo.
* Simon the butler took extra time to play with my daughter ( magic tricks) and keep her away from the tv a bit.
* Trip to 2 schools in town of Justicia was great- we had a chance to see investments that &Beyond has made in the town and young people. This was important to us - we believe that there can be no effective conservation if people are tempted with poaching.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Btravelin2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 14, 2013

We stayed Kirkman's in February to attend a friend's wedding at the venue. The staff were extremely welcoming, taking time to explain the protocol for staying 'in the wild' and the general program for the time we would be there. After the debriefing we were ushered to our wonderfully plush room, with its own private balcony, generous en suite bathroom and fully stocked minibar. We had the most incredible game viewing experience over the days to follow, taking in the big five (including both a lion kill - giraffe; and leopard kill- large porcupine). In every single instance we found Kirkman's staff to be professional and knowledgeable. While it is true the establishment is run like a machine there was never any hint of sterility. This was particularly true of the organization of our friend's wedding, which went off without a hitch despite the fact that there have only been a handful of weddings at Kirkman's. We highly recommend Kirkman's camp in every respect and hope to visit again when next we are in South Africa. Yes, there are probably more extravegant options out there, but the personal service, comfort of the accommodation, reasonable prices (within the context of a luxury safari venue) and quality of game viewing put this particular establishment in the stratosphere.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sean O
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

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 #7 of 43 Specialty Lodging in Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Price Range: $228 - $2,030 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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