History Comes Alive At Sabi Sands

Have you ever thought what the ages-ago hunting lodges would look like? Feel like? Are you ready to go back in time? 

This is the modern-day ‘Back to the Past’ safari resort in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the predecessor to Kruger National Park.

In the 1920’s, Harry Kirkman born in the Eastern Cape, a young army man and a fearless farmer joined the Sabi Park as a ranger to manage the Cattle Ranch against predators and poachers – and this is the house where he stayed with his wife.

Kirkman’s Kamp


Staying at a colonial farmhouse and spending time in the same areas where Kirkman wrestled with the Lions is quite an experience that adds variety to your safari trip.


Take a magical trip into the historical world of the classically timeless Kirkman’s Kamp. Here history comes alive and the tales of the past are re-told and experienced in this deeply rich wilderness area. The ambiance is distinctly 1920s as if time has almost stood still. Spectacular views surround this magically ambient early Transvaal homestead with spacious sitting areas to let your mind wander and marvel at the beauty of the camp. – &Beyond

Surrounded by the vast wilderness, 18 suites surround a large central common space and open air restaurant. You can’t help but be swept away by the allure of natural beauty and fascinating history of Kirkman’s Kamp.image

Beautiful sunrises peaks through the columns in the veranda…imageimage All cottages are similar is size and shape and is a semi-detached unit with a bedroom and veranda that overlooks the bushveld. We had a King bed with an old fashioned bedstead, vintage decor, original photographs of young Kirkman hunting.

image imageimageThe rooms are simple and kept to the single theme of keeping up the heritage of Kirkmans being a farmhouse cottage.

Your cottage is fitted with smaller luxuries like House made Cherries and Nuts imageA claw-foot bath, often times filled with Rose and a Champagne waiting for your arrival. imageCheck out these cute animal illustrations on the bath accessories.image The long veranda that takes you to the common Spaces with all the vintage paraphernaliaimage The camp definitely invokes a historic atmosphere, a story telling decor with original rifles, licenses, survival kits, vintage suitcases etc. image image imageimageThe orignal Rifle License of Walter (Harry) KirkmanimageReal Photograph of a leopard drinking water in the resort’s poolimageI don’t know about those days but 21st century beckons Infinity Pools to be included along with a farmhouse, that too overlooking a riverimage When the sunsets and you are back home from the game drive, the fun times begin at the Paul’s Pub where all the guest gather for a social hour to discuss the day’s sightings and each ranger have a scoreboard that they report to track who WON based on their sightings of the day.Kirkmans is all about game viewing and the resort is intimate and personal, we met the best tracker/ranger combo here than any other lodges.image

The bar invokes an English pub atmosphere with a old-school charm, cozy fireplace and plush furniture. Especially with open bar all day all night, its not necessary you have to go here only at night.image Night-time shots are ready and a lantern to find your way, well after the shots that is!image Lunches are quite delish as well, here is a Chicken Pot Pie, Cheese spread, fruits and salad.image image&Beyond has focused a lot on empowering local communities through ecotourism and honoring their traditional heritage. In addition to the employment of people from adjacent villages, they also provide major skills development and training programme.

After immersing yourself in history of Sabi Sand, the next best thing is to actually be immersed in the wildlife of SabiSand. Game drives start at 5.45am, where your ranger wakes you up with a knock on the door.

Sabi Sand was opened as the first game reserve and the only way to watch game during those days was through the famous train line that ran across Selati; where the overnight train would stop and an armed ranger would accompany the guests. Cars were introduced in the park and in about 3 years of opening there were about 850 cars in 1929. Well, you do the math of how many cars would enter now. Thanks to Sabi Sands being a private park, unless you are staying at one of the lodges – you are not allowed to enter the park. (‘t was my main reason to avoid Kruger as I didn’t want to share the road with day visitors and watch game with 20 other cars)

Our first glimpse of the Lion was the most interesting – our talented tracker saw a vulture from very very far away and guessed there must be some kind of kill in that area. Then the head ranger/ tracker pulled out their rifle and went into the bush looking for the beasts that were feasting.imageAnd there we found him!imageimageThis is after a few hours, when we went back to check on him, he and his mates had completely devoured the buffalo and was resting.

Sun still doesn’t trust my SLR and takes his own iphony pictures. But this shows how close we get to these animals.image Crossing the river to have our morning coffee.imageMy favorite Kudus with their long spiraling horns.imageimageRoads blocked by the big black family.image Kirkmans Kamp had only recently entered into a five-year co-traversing agreement with Lion Sands Private Game Reserve, that only means you get to cover a wider range of land bordering 2 rivers: Sabie River frontage and Sand River.


There is something very pretty about animals crossing the riverimageBuffalos turning their backs on meimageDoesn’t this pic remind you of a bedtime story you read, when you were a kid?imageMale impalas rutting (fighting during the breeding season)imageZebra’s posture here is a tactic to hide from their predators by standing head to butt with other zebras as to mask their form. Ha, how brilliant!imageThe rangers are quiet adorable with these little surprises that usually ends a game drive, like this breakfast buffet in the bush.imageWhile we eat our food, here is someone else munching on as wellimageBaby elephants trying to climbimageA make-shift bar in the bush to watch the sunsetimageimage

I didn’t get a great shot at these Rhinos in my first drive but here is an important fact that you need to now. These poor little ugly creatures are being poached and killed, the number has soared as buyers in Asia now pay the U.S. street value of cocaine for rhino horn.

Rhino horn is made of keratin, a tough protein found in human fingernails. There’s a belief in Asia that taking ground-up horn cures diseases. However, no medical evidence supports that. – Fox News


Check day-to-day sightings on Kirkman’s Kamp blog – http://www.wildwatch.com/


End of yet another gorgeous sunset and its only time to revel in all the beauty of the Kirkman-made resort brings.

Every safari drive is different, every time you spot game its a new adventure but at the end of it – its the experience of living in such close quarters to nature with &beyond hosts, the wildlife enthusiasts, who just love to partake in showing off their surroundings. 

Curator. Dreamer. Designer. Founder of FreshGrub. Based in NYC. Seeking Inspiration Everywhere.

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