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love2run Jan 19th, 2009 10:48 AM

Sabi Sands in July
We would like to spend 3 nights in 1 camp in the Sabi Sands in July. There will be 3 couples. We were hoping for Inyati but they booked, so I am looking for suggestions. We would like to keep the cost in the $400 a night range. Game viewing is the priority, but a nice camp setting is also important - we loved the Inyati setting overlooking the river.
At this point I am looking at Exeter River Lodge, Simbambili and possibly Lion Sands.
Any advice and suggestions would be really appreciated.

ShellCat Jan 19th, 2009 11:10 AM

Check out area with the Sand River below the lodges and excellent game viewing.

Good luck with your trip plans!


Krugerlover Jan 19th, 2009 12:33 PM


I'm so glad to hear that you're visiting our amazing country.

All 3 lodges you mentioned are superb but I would advise you to have a look at Kirkman's Kamp. I spent 3 weeks in July and 5 weeks in December at this camp. It is simply brilliant. If game viewing is your main priority then this is the lodge for you. Accommadation is not as luxurious as the lodges you mentioned but I reckon the game viewing is better.

Simbambili is way up north in the Sabi Sands. It has no year-round flowing rivers so water is a bit scarce in winter time(june - Sep)

Exeter River is a beautiful lodge on the banks of the Sand River (which flows 4/5 of the year). The only negative thing about River lodge is the time one is able to spend at sightings. You are only permiited to stay 25 minutes per (high profile i.e cat) sighting. River lodge shares traversing rights with aprrox 10 other lodges = 20 game drive vehicles. That gives you 500ha per game drive vehicle. Kirkman's Kamp = 1000ha per game drive vehicle.

Lion Sands borders Kirkman's Kamp on it's eastern border. They lion viewing at LS is similiar to Kirkman's Kamp.Leopards tend to move along riverbanks in winter time looking for prey that come down to the water to have a drink.
Therefore I would say that Kirkman's Kamp has superior leopard viewing in winter. The reason for this is that KK can traverse on 2 banks of a river where LS only traverse on one side.

Mala Mala is $175 pppn out of your range and shares traversing rights with Kirkman's Kamp.

Last note: The wild dogs in the area have denned on Kirkman's Kamp property for 2 years in a row and there's a very good chance that they'll come back to an area where they were successful in raising previous litters. So...

Good luck choosing.



Krugerlover Jan 19th, 2009 12:36 PM

I forgot to add that if you're 3 couples, then you'll get your own land rover for the 6 of you.



napamatt_2 Jan 19th, 2009 03:05 PM

Kirkman's makes a lot of sense for your budget and interests. That's where I would head.

love2run Jan 19th, 2009 03:14 PM

Krugerlover: Wow, you are so fortunate to have been able to spent extended time in the area. That you for your insight. Yes, SA is an amazing country! I was born in Zambia and grew up in Swaziland, and met my husband in SA. While we have visited quite a few reserves, we have only visited Inyati in the Sabi Sands area (in 2007). It was more congested than other parks we have visited, but we had amazing game viewing. Do you think things have deteriorated?
Kirkmanís looks good, but the pictures give it a colonial feel as opposed to an "African" feel. We will be bringing 2 US couples who have never been to Africa, so I was hoping for something with more of an ethnic feel, but will certainly look into it.
Thanks again!

love2run Jan 19th, 2009 03:49 PM

Oops, that should have read: Thank you for your insight!

I appreciate the responses - would anyone recommend Exeter River Lodge?

napamatt_2 Jan 19th, 2009 08:09 PM

Not sure what you mean by an african feel - Mala Mala uses rondavels with thatched roofs - superficially african rather than colonial, but with his and hers bathrooms, tough to imagine anyone but the ruling elite living that way.

I would be focused on game viewing rather than some preconceived notion of accomodation style.

Krugerlover Jan 20th, 2009 12:38 AM


If you say Kirkman's Kamp doesn't have the true "african feel" then Exeter River lodge DEFINITELY does not have the true "african feel".



love2run Jan 20th, 2009 01:38 AM

OK - thanks, as I said, I was just going from the pictures I had seen online. Your feedback is, appreciated!

Krugerlover Jan 20th, 2009 01:50 AM


Only a pleasure.



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