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
- 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