We Love...&Beyond Kirkmans Kamp
The original homestead of Harry Kirkman has been beautifully restored to create todays Kirkmans Kamp. The 18 charming cottages overlook the bushveld and beautiful lawns surround the lodge and swimming pool, with spectacular views of the unspoiled landscape surrounding the Sand River. The moment you walk into the main guest area, you’ll think you’ve been transported back in time. The fact that the lawn has warthog grazing on it instead of a neatly dressed party playing croquet does nothing to dispel this illusion; in fact, it all adds to the ambience of this 1920s South African homestead. Impeccable and gracious service completes the old world atmosphere, as the spirit of safari comes alive at this evocative camp, set in one of the most renowned wildlife regions in the world.
Located high on a ridge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Kirkmans Kamp overlooks the Sand River like a stylish matriarch gazing down upon the landscape. The green tin roof and manicured grounds carve out a soft and cultured niche in the wild and tumbling bush. Enjoy the ritual of afternoon tea served on the spacious veranda or rolling lawn, perhaps in the company of a wild but friendly visitor or two.
While gracious style abounds at Kirkman’s, the landscape beyond is never forgotten. Wander through the spacious guest areas and admire the many mementoes of a time gone by. Clean lines and authentic furniture transport you to the 1920s, while sheer creature comfort is never compromised.
Indulge in private time in the fascinating library or while away a few hours in front of the roaring fireplace in the guest sitting room. Leisure hours can be spent by the pool admiring the bush landscape and enjoying a special wildlife sighting in the river valley.
Private verandas attached to each cottage offer a secluded spot to drink in the breathtaking views. Old-fashioned bedsteads combine seamlessly with modern comfort and souvenirs of bygone years to create a nostalgic safari atmosphere. Generous claw-foot bathtubs complete the picture, while stand-alone showers in each room provide an up-to-date touch.
Set out in an open 4×4 safari vehicle in the company of a ranger and tracker team, who will attempt to track your favourite animals. The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is well known for its leopard sightings and you may well spot one of these elusive cats resting after a successful night hunt. These usually shy and elusive cats have become accustomed to vehicles in the Sabi Sand and, unlike many other areas, where leopards are rarely glimpsed in daylight hours, sightings of these magnificent animals are not uncommon on day drives.
Before setting out on your first game drive, the trained guide will ask you about your favourite wildlife species and will do their best to ensure that your preferences are met, whether it is tracking a particular animal or spending more time enjoying each sighting and getting to know the habits of the animals. The guide and tracker will also tell you about the vegetation of the region and will explain the behaviour of the animals that you come across. In some cases, the guides will be able to identify individual animals and let you know about their history and habits.
While wildlife is the biggest drawcard for most travellers, the guide and tracker teams are also equipped with a wealth of knowledge about the area’s vegetation, including the traditional and medicinal uses of various plants. Birding enthusiasts can ask their guide to identify birds that are specific to the region as well as notable migrant species. Guests with a special interest in photography should let their guide know, as he will then take extra care to position the vehicle to make the best possible use of the available light at wildlife sightings.
Most trackers come from the areas immediately surrounding the game reserve and, as such, will be full of interesting information regarding the region’s culture, language and traditions, as well as local folklore.
Game drives in the Sabi Sand are able to go off road in search of exceptional sightings, include the members of the Big Five, when not in environmentally sensitive areas or after excessive rain. Afternoon game drives may also continue after dark, with a specially filtered spotlight used to illuminate wildlife that remains active at night.
Guided Bush Walks
For those looking for an active thrill beyond the excitement of Big Five sightings on a game drive vehicle, a walking safari offers an opportunity to connect with the African bush, interacting with all its inhabitants, from largest to smallest. Embark on an adventure where your feet tread in the tracks of zebra and buffalo, your nostrils fill with the scent of crushed wild grasses and you push through the brush and all six senses re-awake as Africa touches you and you touch Africa.
At one with nature, experience a range of natural wonders in the company of your experienced professional guide. Learn how to track, seeing how close you can come to smaller game like impala or nyala antelope without them being aware of your presence. Crouch behind a bush to catch a glimpse of a passing elephant or rhino. Smell and taste wild herbs, learning their traditional uses, and explore the smaller marvels of the bush, from the magnificent tapestry of a spider’s web to the microscopic world of the dung beetle. Watch a multitude of colourful birds as they flit from branch to branch, trilling out their sweet songs. Engage all your senses as you discover an unexpected world where each sound and scent and every bent blade of grass have a meaning.
Each bush walk is accompanied by an expertly trained and qualified guide, who follows strict protocols to ensure your safety and comfort. Your guide will point out the finer details of your environment, from tiny insects to interesting trees and shrubs, as well as animal tracks and dung. Together you will explore the beautiful bush savannah or browse the thickets of the Sand River.
Local Community Visit
There’s no better way to get a glimpse into real African life than by visiting one of its rural communities. A trip to one of the villages surrounding the Sabi Sand Game Reserve provides a glimpse into the challenges, hopes and dreams of this local community in a way that not only educates but also inspires.
&Beyond believes in making a meaningful difference to the communities that surround its game reserves and, with the help of generous donations from its guests, it has partnered with Africa Foundation on a number of projects in the surrounding areas. Visit some of these community-led initiatives to get a glimpse of the challenges and triumphs encountered by the local people.
In the Huntingdon community, meet the young learners of Hundzukani Primary School, where classrooms and food gardens have been build, allowing the school not only to ensure that pupils never have to attend school on an empty stomach but also to sell fresh produce to community members. Move on to the older children of Kurhula Secondary School, the first high school to be built in the area.
In neighbouring Justicia, meet the children of the Happy Homes Preschool, the only crèche available to the local residents. This preschool has grown from a corrugated iron shack where 28 children were cared for to a proper facility with brick and mortar classrooms that caters for no less than 212 children.
The Madilika Craft Centre, situated at the entrance to the Sabi Sand Reserve, is the community’s landmark success story. Beginning with a partnership between twelve craftspeople, business and financial skills training carried out here has allowed the group to expand their product range and target the tourist market.
A visit to any of these projects will leave you inspired and amazed at the commitment of this local community towards facing and overcoming the challenges that hold it back from achieving its goals of building a better future for themselves and their children.
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