Kirkman’s Kamp had a special spot in my heart for years before I was able to visit and experience the Kirkman’s Kamp magic for myself. Our daughter and son-in law chauffeured us from Johannesburg to Kirkman’s; it was the location of their meeting, and now several years later another daughter was working here and getting to know the young man who has subsequently become her husband. The 6 hour drive went quickly due to the great company and stimulating conversation combined with a good road. Very thankful to S&C who had a busy weekend delivering us and then returning to Jo’burg the next day ready for work on Monday but their payoff was that they got to go back to the bush and see old work colleagues.
&Beyond Kirkman’s Kamp overlooks the Sand River, is in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and shares an unfenced border with Kruger National Park. I loved the vibe of the lodge which is built around the original 1920s homestead and named after ranger Harry Kirkman who served in The Kruger between 1933 and 1958. It is gracious and homely, beautifully maintained, staffed by wonderful people and serves amazing food. But you go to Kirkman’s to go on drive and experience the magic of the African bush, which I have to tell you, gets under your skin really quickly. The day starts early with drinks and snacks before you set off into the expanding dawn for the early morning drive.
The game reserve is criss-crossed with narrow sandy roads. The tracker sits up front but when we come close to the animals he hops back into the front seat. We also go off road for sightings. The African bush just goes on and on and on.
The animals; we saw all the big five plus much, much more; wonderful bird life, the wild African dogs with pups, hyena with pups, hippos, giraffe, zebra, warthog, all types of antelope. Far too many animals to name and the pics here are just a smattering of those we took. We had been tracking this leopard for a while and then, here he came walking right beside the truck.
A bush breakfast surprise. You never know about this, you just come around a corner and there it all is. It is breakfast in all elegance laid out in a little clearing in the middle of the bush. Quite unforgettable. There a two drives each day, early morning and an afternoon into early evening drive. Guests can take guided walks in the afternoon before going out on drive.
Down in the river we met our elephants and the Rhinos. There were several herds of elephants grazing along the river. We simply parked and sat and they made their way up the river, passing closely by, and then moved off into the bush. The elephants had moved away in the above pic but you can see the rhinos, the green is the front of the truck.
This is my lion! We had just watched a pair of lions mate. This fellow was the unsuccessful brother. There were two male lions and they had a sort of a discussion about which one of them would get the girl. This fellow sat off to the side while the deed was done by the brother, then he let out a roar which shook the whole area, it was so deep and guttural and then he just started walking towards another lion in the distance with whom he was communicating. Simply amazing.
We ate breakfasts and lunch on the terrace. This cheeky monkey came down and swiped the sugar bowl from the next table and sat in the corner to enjoy his sugar. In the evening there was a Boma. Boma is the word used for a livestock enclosure but it is also a place where community come together and it is in this sense that it is used at Kirkman’s. It is where guests and the rangers gather for an under the stars dinner. At the end of the evening the staff come and sing and boy, are those voices beautiful!
An African sunset. This pic was taken on our last evening just as we were heading back to the lodge for the boma. Thanks J&T for taking us out on that bumble. One of our very precious memories.
And so after three magical days it was time to leave. All the staff come out to wave us off as we were driven to the Skukuza Airport. And the sight seeing did not stop until the very end. On our way out of Kirkman’s we met our leopard resting under a tree and a snake slithering across our track. The Airport at Skukuza services the several game reserves in The Kruger and it is a really lovely airport. So it was back to Johannesburg for one more night and then homeward bound so very much the richer for our visit to Kirkman’s Kamp. To the very special people who work at Kirkman’s Kamp, it was wonderful to put faces to the names of people I had heard stories about. Thank you all so very, very much.