Situated in the world-renowned Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa, andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp is the perfect blend of a luxury stay combined with prolific game viewing.
Following a stay at the then newly built andBeyond Tengile River Lodge in 2019, my daughter and I set our sights on a visit to their neighboring property, andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp. Airlink’s direct daily flights between Johannesburg & Cape Town International Airport to Skukuza Airport make the journey seamless, together with the extraordinary service where customers enjoy the comfort and generous legroom, complimentary luggage allowance, and a tasty meal, or snack, and a choice of beverages.
After a comfortable 2-hour and 30-minute flight from Cape Town, we are met on arrival at the iconic Skukuza Airport located in the heart of the Kruger by tracker Kholen, who transports us to the lodge in the andBeyond game drive vehicle. Our game drive starts as soon as we depart the airport.
Sitting down for lunch overlooking the pristine garden, nyalas are grazing peacefully while two tree squirrels are chasing each other. Chefs Lulama and Paul ensure that our culinary needs are exceeded, with the most delectable gourmet burgers and fries, concluded with a scoop or two of melt-in-your-mouth fudge ice cream. Butler Sam is always at hand to guarantee that our drinks order is delivered with a friendly demeanor and that we never go hungry.
andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp is steeped in history, and one can sense the bygone atmosphere when setting foot in the communal guest areas where memorabilia is beautifully displayed in glass cabinets. Owner Harry Kirkman built the farmstead in the late 1920s, and the former cattle farm has been transformed into a magnificent property over the years, retaining some historic facets such as the original farmhouse.
Receiving a facelift in 2021 by Fox Browne Creative, the team went to work on adding a touch of glamor whilst maintaining the original style, adding gorgeous wallpaper murals featuring a bushveld scene in the 12 guest cottages. Bathrooms now sport a brand-new look after the old-fashioned bathtubs were removed, making way for extra-large showers and double vanities.
Freelance guide Roan rounds us up for our afternoon game drive. With leopards also topping his list of favorite wildlife sightings, we count ourselves lucky to be in his capable hands. Driving along the route where a female leopard had been spotted earlier, Kholen gestures to Roan to stop and look at tracks he has discovered on the path. Exiting the vehicle and disappearing into the bushes, the dynamic duo goes in search of the most elusive of them all – the rosetted beauty that will suddenly appear in a flash, bolting across the road into an underlying thicket. This specific leopard is rumored to have two young cubs, and she seems irate, possibly because of the hyena that’s been sniffing around her territory. Perched on top of a tree branch is the colorful lilac-breasted roller, and it’s easy to see why these brightly feathered birds are slated to be the most photographed winged species in South Africa.
As the sun starts dipping below the horizon, we approach a dam where hippos are having a playful time disappearing into the water. A few meters further, we cannot believe our luck as Roan and Kholen find the cutest two nine-month-old leopard cubs. In typical cat-mode, they stalk and play relentlessly until the one decides to scale a smallish tree and doesn’t quite know how to get down again. We are parked right alongside the cub and as she makes eye contact, I realize the absolute privilege of sitting in silence, marveling at being in the presence of one of the most sought-after predators in the world, especially such a young one.
Pre-dinner drinks are enjoyed in the bar, with guests exchanging stories of their day. Stepping back in time is not always a bad thing when modern devices are put away for a while and real conversations are had. Tonight, dinner is served out on the verandah and looking up, the clear sky allows for a blanket of stars to be observed.
Chef has gone all out with the most delicious spread of potato gnocchi with herb & butter for starters, beef fillet with potato fondant, beetroot, heirloom carrots, roasted baby onions, snow peas & red wine sauce for the main course, and vanilla yogurt mousse with berry compote for dessert. My daughter opts to order a gourmet burger for supper and her request is fulfilled with a smile. With their family-friendly ethos, extraordinary game viewing, guiding, and incredibly hospitable staff, a stay at andBeyond Kirkman’s Kamp is a magically memorable experience.
For any inquiries, visit www.andbeyond.com
The views expressed are the author’s own.
How To Get There
Airlink is a privately-owned, independent premier regional airline offering the widest route network and connectivity to more than 45 destinations in 13 countries in Southern Africa. Experience More https://www.flyairlink.com/airlink-profile
With more than 50 regional jetliners in the fleet, Airlink has been ranked as South Africa’s most punctual airline, based on its 97% average on-time performance year to date. This is a clear indication of their determination and commitment to remain synonymous with customer centricity, punctuality, service excellence, and reliability.
Travelers can also enjoy the benefit of our intra-continental style business class service on select routes operating the magnificent E-Jets. Discover More https://www.flyairlink.com/airlink-profile/business-class
How to get there: Airlink operates direct flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg to Iconic Skukuza Airport in the heart of the Kruger National Park. Explore more https://www.flyairlink.com/en-za/flights-to-skukuza
Book direct on www.flyairlink.com, the FlyAirlink app, or your Travel agent.