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“Great for leopards and very easy safari experience”

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andBeyond Kirkman's Kamp
Certificate of Excellence
Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
143 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 130 helpful votes
“Great for leopards and very easy safari experience”
Reviewed July 18, 2014

This is the second safari we have been on, the first in South Africa.
I really did like Kirkman's. As with all the &beyond places the people were great and the food was amazing. We actually picked this place because we wanted something a bit more "hotelly" for this safari, in Botswana we did "under canvas" and the camps were really isolated. I must say that it being closer to a "standard hotel" does not take away from the experience In fact it's a nice bonus that you can plug your electronics in and charge them all day (no generators), you have wifi (which can be a pro or a con depending on your point of view), you have electric blankets and heaters in your rooms and a mini fridge (if the drinks at the lodge aren't enough).
All rooms have a place where you can sit out during the day (no going out at night). You can watch the bushbuck, guinea fowl, ibis, monkeys, baboons and who knows what else pass through...there were lions that wandered through during the day when we were out on our drives!
The standard day is: 6am knock, 6:20 drinks and off on the morning drive, ~10am breakfast, 1pm lunch, 3pm drinks and off on the afternoon/evening drive, 7pm dinner.
I'm unsure if the water is completely potable, they provided bottles so we used them for teeth brushing.

The trucks do not have tops - in Botswana all of them were covered - so this might mean you want to bring hats and do extra sunscreen. This is due to the offroading and they do offroad a lot. It's great because you can see things you wouldn't otherwise see - and as much as it looks like they are destructive they explained to us that there are certain things it is ok to run over and certain things they avoid.

Weather - can be very cold in the mornings (hats/ear covers useful - you might want a scarf), they give you blankets and hot water bottles. It was much colder than Phinda and some people looked freezing in the mornings, we had 3 layers + windbreaker jacket (t-shirt, shirt, sweater, jacket) - and then you remove the layers during the day and put them back on in the evenings.

We found that it wasn't as dusty as Chobe, but if dust bothers your eyes you might want to bring sunglasses. I found that a bandana also helped (i actually bought it in the gift shop) to cut down on early morning windburn and keeps you a bit warmer.

We saw the big 5 and wild dogs - but, as a warning, lions and wild dogs are not guaranteed as they pass through and none of them actually live here. Leopards are pretty much a guarantee.

Pregnant on Safari - I didn't find much info on this before so I will add this note. At 25 weeks pregnant (and having an easy time) I would say safari here is very doable. There is a bit of off roading here, but to be honest it really didn't bother me. Keep in mind if you need to go to the bathroom more frequently than every 3 hours you will you will need to squat behind a bush (try not drinking before for an hour before the game drives). Didn't take malarial meds (SA says this area is malaria free in winter) and didn't see any bugs in either Kirkmans (Sabi sands) or Phinda.

Andbeyond Rankings from our experience:
Chobe was best for quantity of herd animals and lions, Kirkmans and Sandibe equally best for leopard, Phinda best for cheetah, Xudum is good for birding

Room Tip: Not sure if you have a choice but the lower numbered rooms are closer to the lodge
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank rockohorse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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493 reviews from our community

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English first
Baltimore, Maryland
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2014 via mobile

We absolutely loved our 3-night experience at Kirkman's. we arrived from Ngala, a wooded safari lodge and immediately enjoyed the contrast of Kirkman's with its British colonial feel. We settled in immediately.
on our first drive with Ross and Robert we saw baby rhinos playing with each other, lions, elephants, and giraffe. On several drives we saw 4 of the big 5 in short order. Ross and Robert did a terrific job of making sure that we saw what we came to see.
Our meals were terrific and Friday is a fabulous server- consider asking for him! We often relaxed by the pool for an hour I t he afternoon- it was very cold in the morning but warmed up nicely by the afternoon. If you go in the winter do take a coat, scarf and warm hat- it is really cold in the morning and evening drives. The sunsets were gorgeous.
Kirkman's provided a wonderful stay and we miss it already!

Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank Jennifer G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salem, South Carolina, United States
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2014

Kirkman's Kamp is a charming old hunting lodge. The individual cabins are well appointed with lovely views of the Sand River. The staff is excellent and makes sure that you have everything you need. The Ranger and Tracker insured that we saw the Big 5 at least once during our three day stay. Our Ranger, Ralph, was great and had a vast knowledge of birds, plants in addition to all of the animals. The atmosphere of the camp encourages guests to mingle during drinks before dinner at the lodge. The food was superb and plentiful. We even had one of our breakfasts out in the bush! Wi-Fi worked well and there was a computer and TV in the game room.

Room Tip: Ask for cabin 14 - all the way at the end, but the view is worth it.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
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1 Thank SandcastleSC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Katikati, New Zealand
Level 4 Contributor
48 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed July 13, 2014

Kirkman's Kamp was the first stop for our group on a tour of Southern Africa, coming from New Zealand. We had a wonderful time. The lodge as comfortable, the food was good, and the staff very friendly. Within the first 24 hours we had seen the "Big Five", and also giraffes and hippos. The advantage of being in a private game park such as Sabi Sand is that their are few other vehicles doing game drives, in this case only from one other lodge, Lion Sands. Also, the game drive Landrovers are not limited to roads, but could follow animals across rough ground. The opening of the new Skukuza airport in Kruger means that access is easier, as for us there was a two hour drive from Mpumalanga airport..

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2014

Had the most fantastic sightings of leopards mating. Wonderful experience, lovely setting, good food. Ralph and Lennox our Rangers were great and their knowledge great of the bush and wildlife. Saw everything we wanted to see.

Room Tip: Any room all great
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank marianajohnstone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 7, 2014

Kirkmans is arguably the best place in Kruger to visit this year. Everywhere is the area is great for big five sightings, but Kirkmans has an active wild dog den and hyena den. During our visit the young hyena were 4 weeks, 4 months, and about a year old. It was wonderful seeing them interact with each other and the adults. The wild dog pups were 9 weeks. This forced the five adult dogs to stay close to the den making it one of the best places in the world to see wild dog. We followed them on a successful kill and then back to the den to regurgetate the meat to the pups. There is no guarentee the dogs will den in the same place in future years. We stayed four nights and saw the big five regularly, and all five in one amazing two hours. Leopard, buffalo, rhino, and elephant are all resident. The territory of the lions is larger than Kirkmans, so they work hard to know where they are and take customers to them when ever they are on Kirkmans or Lion Sands land. Kirkmans also have a border with Kruger National Park, so there is a chance for anything to wander in. Cheetah is an occational visitor. Kirkmans large stretch of river make game thick in the dry season. &Beyond has a rigorous guide qualification program and our guide JP was excellent. He knows all the mammals, birds and their calls. He worked hard to get to know his customers and came up with great personal things to please them. One couple really wanted to see elephants, and he arranged brunch on a bluff above the river where a herd was feeding.
Kirkmans is very comfortable with climate control, hair dryer, in room bar etc. The tap water is not 100% safe, but they provide abundant bottled water, pure ice etc. You will have the same server for every meal, and the food is good and abundant. There are basically 5 meals and 2 snacks every day, so plan on skipping some. All our dry season dining was outdoors including two cook outs in the bouma. The bouma meals included traditional singing and dancing. On bouma nights you sit with your guide and game drive mates. Other nights are mostly couples or family tables. There are always vervet monkeys and bush buck around and 3 buffalo visited one night, while baboon visited another day.
The camp holds up to 36 guests with 7 vehicles doing game drives. Sme sightings may have up to two other vehicles at the same time. Sensitive sights such as the dog den are limited to one vehicle, with a system for taking turns.

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Globetrotter921
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manalapan, New Jersey
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed July 6, 2014

This was our first safari and suffice it to say, we can't wait for our second. We selected Kirkman's for the game drive reputation and it lived up to every bit of it. Jared and Vic were unbelievable in tracking and locating everything we could ever want to see. Several leopards, one with a rat kill, wild dogs feeding their litter and on and on and on. The accommodations and hospitality were also beyond expectations, Friday and Gift were gems and Lauren who was visiting for a job opportunity was terrific. Brendan runs more than just a remarkTable Kamp, but one that makes your feel like a home right from the moment you arrive. Thanks to all. The Russells.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank dave r
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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