Kirkmans Kamp – Review of andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
I do not know where to begin about Kirkmans Kamp in Sabi Sands, our first safari camp.
When we arrived, we were met at the curb by the manager, Colleen, escorted into the main lodge and given cool refreshing hand towels and a lovely beverage. We had arrived after lunch had been served, but not to worry, they saved us a tray. We were then shown to the outdoor dining lanai and introduced to our personal butler, Sam. It was Sam’s job to make sure we never wanted for anything. He brought us our food and drink, always making sure our wine glass was full. In the evening, he walked us from the lodge to our bungalow to make sure we don’t meet up with any animals. And he was stealth, sometimes showing up at the table before we even had the chance to turn our head to look for him. The outside deck has a view of the lawns, complete with warthogs, and the Sand River. Lunch consisted of lamb patties, served with a yogurt cucumber sauce, a variety of vegetable salads, a cheese platter, and fresh fruit. Sam brought us warm bread and of course, wine. After lunch were we were guided through the rest of the lodge and then shown to our room, where our luggage awaited, so we could get ready for our first game drive. Upon arrival at our open air range rover, we are introduced to our Ranger, Lennox and our tracker, Robert. I don’t think there is a better team in all of Africa. Everyone who goes to Africa wants to see the Big Five. Lennox and Robert found them all on our first night, along with numerous other sightings. The highlight of the evening was coming upon a leopard eating a fresh kill up in a tree. When she came down from her perch, I don’t think we were more than 10 ft. away. Absolutely spectacular!
Each morning Lennox, wakes us up at 6 for a 6:30 safari drive. He is accompanied on the drive by Robert, who sits on a little seat on the front of the vehicle so he can spot the tracks in the sand. Most of the drive in on the dirt road, but for the Big Five, because Kirkman’s is in a private reserve, they are allowed to go off road, which we do often in search of lions. Our drives last about three and half to four hours with a stop each morning and evening for refreshments. One morning we rounded a bend to find Sam standing in the middle of a clearing with a full breakfast, accompanied by champagne & mimosas. Another day, it was Roberts special coffee (a combination of coffee, hot cocoa and Amarula, a liqueur similar to Baileys Irish Cream). That morning, upon return to camp, breakfast was served. I ordered the eggs Benedict. There is always real fruit and it’s so much sweeter than what we get in Florida. Lunch is combination of a hot and cold buffet. Dinner our first night was served outdoors by candlelight and was a choice of duck breast or filet mignon. One dinner was in the boma where we dined around a big open fire with the other folks from our vehicle and our Ranger, Lennox. Dinner was chicken, lamb chops and sausage. Along with soup, salad, veggies and dessert. After dinner about a dozen local ladies performed an African song and dance for us. Did I mention the soup! Each day there is a new selection for lunch and dinner. And, OMG it was the best soup I’ve ever tasted. On our last morning’s drive, we found Sam out in the bush with yet another buffet breakfast set up. This time, out of this world pancakes. And then, on our last evening game drive, we had stopped for our customary sundowner portable bar, complete with cocktails and snacks, and were on our way back to camp after a near perfect lion sighting, when we rounded a bend and there, hanging in a tree, were lighted hurricane lanterns, a silver champagne bucket and a silver tray of glasses. This time though, no Sam, this was all the work of Lennox, our Ranger. A lovely way to bid us Farewell.
As for the animals — I think it was more than Joe and I ever imagined. We’ve seen (in no particular order) impala, baboons, elephants, water buffalo, kudu, a pride of lions sleeping and another one 21 strong walking (within about 3 – 4 feet of us), rhinos, leopards with and without a kill, jackal, hyena, mongoose and giraffe. I almost forgot the hippos and crocodiles and too many beautiful birds to even mention.
The rest of our trip (Victoria Falls & Chobe Game Lodge) was stupendous, but Kirkman’s Kamp was impossible to beat.
Wonderful people, spectacular sightings, fabulous food and unparalleled service!