Kirkmans or Sabi Selati?

Old Nov 7th, 2008, 06:49 AM
  #1  
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Kirkmans or Sabi Selati?

We have got last minute offers at either Kirkmans Kamp or Sabi Selati at fairly similar prices - which would you recommend and why? I'll be travelling with my sister, we prefer no kids, will be staying 6-7 nights, don't want to move between lodges.
thanks so much
Roz
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 06:54 AM
  #2  
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I should also have said that we would want open top landrovers, I'm into photography. Would also like to be able to view game between drives, either from platforms at the lodge or on walks.
which has the better guides and trackers?
thanks again
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 08:05 AM
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There are far more experienced folks on this forum, but I'll get you started with one perspective. I stayed at Kirkman's Kamp and it had a lot of old world charm, but it was a bigger camp than I consider ideal and there are bound to be kids -- it's a family-friendly kind of place. I did see an amazing variety of game strolling by my cabin's back door (nyala!) where I liked to work on my journal, and there are wart hogs and other assorted beasts around all the time. I have not stayed at Sabi Selati but it appears to have only 8 rooms as opposed to roughly 20 at KK. Don't know a thing about their guides.
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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As first time safari goers back in January, we stayed 3 nites at Selati as well as 4 nites at Little bush camp at Sabi.
Selati is very intimate and the are only 8 rooms. We encountered no childen during our entire stay at both camps.
The game drives were great and we were amazed with the knowledge that the rangers had about all things large and small. We had Mike at Little Bush and Will at Selati( who was borrowed from the main camp.
There is a lovely covered viewing area beside the pool overlooking a water hole. We did not see alot of game at the watering hole but the grass was extremely high at that time of the year. We saw all but Cheetah and wild dogs. Would have liked to see some snakes but alas that was not to be.
Cann't comment on Kirkmans but am sure your stay at Selati will be memorable.
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 01:11 PM
  #5  
 
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I'll have to lean towards Kirkman's Kamp. I visited both lodges this year and both were great. Kirkman's easily came out trumps regarding cuisine and personal service. Game viewing was better at Kirkman's aswell. This is the lodge with the highest number of wild dog sightings in Sabi Sands.

Regarding the rangers: They are all awesome! Ask for Duncan(head ranger). He is a very keen photographer!

But you cannot go wrong with Sabi Sabi. They have a tried and tested way of doing things and it's a very good lodge!

But IMHO Kirkman's is just a bit better. Enjoy. When are you thinking of going?
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 01:43 PM
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Duncan is the head ranger? Good for him! He was my guide in 2007 and a great guy. I have to say, my visit was in early August and we saw very little game in the mornings, doubtless because it was so damn cold;Duncan was the only one wearing shorts -- he had to wrap himself in like a mummy.

As I said, I had a good experience but had I known in advance (my fault for not asking about this) that the camp was so big, I would have made other plans.
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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KL - thanks for tip on ranger Duncan at Kirkmans. I will be at Kirkmans for 5 nights in Sep 2009. I'm also very keen on photography and will contact Kirkmans before I get there to request Duncan. Just hope he's not on leave when I'm there.

regards - tom
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 06:28 PM
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In Botswana recently, I met a couple from the UK who swear by Inyati in the SSGR. Apparently, they go only there thesedays for the game viewing. In their view, the other lodges/reserves in the SSGR don't meet their purpose as well as Inyati - which is game viewing and photography.

Personally, I have never been there ...... so FWIW just passing on info from other travellers I met.
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Old Nov 7th, 2008, 07:31 PM
  #9  
cwn
 
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A second thanks for the Ranger recommendation at Kirkmans.

I picked Kirkmans based on the description and the seeming ease getting there driving ourselves. We will begin our first time African safari experience there in March. Really excited...thanks for the information!
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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Pula,
you'll never see Duncan wearing long pants. Doesn't believe in them! Yeah, he's a very good ranger and a outstanding leader.

Tom,
Duncan is one of the better photographers I know(besides myself, just kidding). I'll be at Kirkman's 28 November 08 - 03 Jan 09, so I'll try and get his working time-table for you.

I read your trip report and your complaints about leaving late for game drives. If there's one person who's always keen to go out earlier, it's Duncan! I'll be holding thumbs that the wild dogs den at Kirkman's again next year. They've been denning there for the past 2 years.

You can contact Kirkman's direct at this email address: [email protected]
(not sure when the e-mail address will change because of the name change to &Beyond)

cwn,
only a pleasure. If you can't get Duncan, try and get Murray Tindall. Also an awesome ranger!
Enjoy your time at Kirkman's, you'll have the best time of your life!

Kind Regards,

KL
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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Hey KL - Many thanks again for ranger suggestions at Kirkmans. Would like to know Duncans schedule if you can get it this far ahead.

BTW, we will be starting our Sep 2009 safari (Sep 1st) in Kruger. Flying into JNB (from LAX) renting a car and driving over for 6 nights. I wanted to split the 6 nights between camps Lower Sabie and Letaba but Lower Sabie bungalows booked up, so all six nights at Letaba. I'm going to watch availablity calendar for Lower Sabie and maybe it will free up. We want Sep 1-4 there but the 2nd not available. Any suggestions on this? We stayed at Letaba a year ago (Sep 2007) and liked the camp. Also stayed at Mopani and Satara previous year (2006). Is the Kruger on-line camp accommodation availabilty calendar accurate do you think? Would be nice to know before I all them on phone.

regards - tom
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 09:50 AM
  #12  
 
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Tom,
Regarding Lower Sabie's availability: I would rather phone SanParks directly if possible. I don't trust the online availability.

I've ventured to Kruger every July for the last 19 years and I really do prefer Satara above Lower Sabie. Yes, Lower Sabie has the river frontage but I just can't get over the amount of traffic between Skukuza and Lower Sabie!! From Satara, you can drive north towards Olifants and Mopani or go south. When you go south, you can go via Tsokwane, Skukuza and Lower Sabie or South east via Lebombo area towards Crocodile Bridge. There's just a bit more variation when one stayes at Satara.

Just my penny's worth. Goodluck with the planning!!

Kind Regards,

KL
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 11:04 AM
  #13  
 
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KL - Thanks again, your 19 years of experience at Kruger means a lot. Maybe I won't worry about going to Lower Sabie, I don't like a lot of road traffic. Seems like every day we would spend time at Olifant bridge. Any other place like it in the central area where you can get out of your car and look around? So Letaba or Satara would be good. We considered staying at camp Olifant but it was not recommended as highly as Letaba. Your opinion on camp Olifant?

We really like Kruger, just fun to be your own ranger and do your own time. And think it's a great way to start safari after coming over from the USA. Lets us relax some (although we are out from 6am to 6pm ) and a cushion before going on to Sabi Sand or Timbavati private reserves.
regards - tom
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 11:20 AM
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Tom,
I would return to Olifants Camp in a heartbeat! The most amazing views you'll ever get in Kruger! Don't get me wrong, Letaba is nice with it's huge trees and the elephant museum but it's just a bit too far north for my liking.

I stayed at Olifants last year and had an awesome time. Saw lions hunting hippos in the river and a male leopard hunting bushbuck! All from the comfort of our chalet. If you're considering going to Olifants, try and get chalet number 9. Best view ever!!

Overall I do favour Olifants above Letaba.

Kind Regards,

KL
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 08:32 PM
  #15  
 
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Thanks KL - I'm going to call Kruger Monday morning and ask about changing my reservation from Letaba to Olifants. I see bungalow 9 on the perimeter corner like you said. But that bungalow code BD2V is not showing as available on the reservation calendar. But will take any other bungalow, perimeter preferred. Thanks again.

regards - tom
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Old Nov 8th, 2008, 11:05 PM
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Hi Krugerlover

I shall be at MM the same time that you are at Kirkman's so I shall be on the look out for you. Do you have a first name that you can give me on this board?

Wild dogs denned just inside Kruger this year. Did a pack also den at Kirkman's? Or is it one and the same? I didn't see them last time, and the people who did only seemed to see them dash in and kill, then back into Kruger again.

Will you be having Duncan as your ranger?

Kind regards

Kaye
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Old Nov 9th, 2008, 12:29 AM
  #17  
 
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KayeN,

My first name is Jacques. Yeah, I'll be trying to get Duncan as my ranger.

When I was at Kirkman's in July, the wild dogs were denning just inside Kruger like you said. Two days after I left I recieved an e-mail from Duncan saying that the(dogs) had moved the den onto Kirkman's/Mala Mala property. They have been causing havoc among the impala and bushbuck populations!! Unfortunatly they ventured into Kruger about a month ago but still make regular appearances.

Are you going to request any specific ranger at MM? I had Bruce Archibald when I was there. Really good ranger and he loved going to south towards Kirkman's. If I remember correctly, he worked at Kirkman's when Mala Mala still owned KK.

Anyway, maybe I'll see at a sighting of the Tjellahanga Male or Selati Pride...

Kind Regards,

KL

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Old Nov 9th, 2008, 02:20 AM
  #18  
 
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Hi Krugerlover

Thanks for your quick reply. I don't usually request a ranger though sometimes I give my preference. Due to the length of time I usually stay, I normally have a few rangers which doesn't worry me as they have all been great. I do know Bruce though I have not had him as a ranger, maybe this time.

I love going south but some of the rangers are not as keen especially when fellow guests are only there a night or two.

Good luck to both of us with our gameviewing! I would love to see the dogs again with their offspring and also the Selati Pride as I saw their cubs in June/July and it is great to see them grow into adulthood.

Kind regards

Kaye
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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 08:43 AM
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KL - so I called Kruger Monday morn and first added another night to stay there, so now seven nights. Now staying first 4 nights at Letaba then last three Olifants. Which brings me to another question please. Is it reasonable to drive from JNB to Letaba in one day? Remembering of course that you have to be in Letaba by 6pm. Would quickest way out of JNB be up the N1 to Polokwane then R71 east to Phalaborwa gate then into Letaba? Thanks.

regards - tom

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Old Nov 10th, 2008, 11:39 PM
  #20  
 
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Tom,

Good to hear that you got that extra night.

It all depends on how early you get out of Jo'burg. If you leave at 6am you can be at Phalaborwa gate at 12h-12h30. The route you chose seems a good one. You can even choose to go in at Orpen gate and you should have enough time to get to Letaba. But you really have to try and get out of Jo'Burg as quickly as possible!

7 nights in Kruger and then 5 nights at Kirkman's Kamp! Wow! seems that you'll have some awesome game viewing!! I can't wait to get to Kirkman's myself! Only 2 more weeks!!

Kind Regards,

KL
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