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michael-ibk

A great report Safaridude, gorgeous pictures of course. Those lesser-known South African parks are really interesting. I loved De Hoop a few years backs, and also have very fond memories of Augrabies. Golden Gate and Mountain Zebra are now certainly on my list for a next visit!

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Here is another tardy trip report, thanks to some lockdown downtime… this from April 2018…   We’ve made this whole safari business too complicated.  Flying from one camp to the next.  Is so

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Mountain Zebra National Park   It is perplexing that an animal that lives in one of the driest areas of Africa is hefty and water-dependent.  The mountain zebra, like plains zebra but unlike

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@safaridude Phinda sure looks like a great place. The crested guineafowl is a true beauty.

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Zim Girl

Beautiful pictures from De Hoop and Phinda.  We were at De Hoop last November and also loved it.

 

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AKR1

Wonderful report K, with your usual spectacular photography. The last two- De Hoop and Phinda are spectacular although the former with its non- traditional safari ( as you put it) is particularly compelling- loved the land based, or should I say, top of dune, whale and dolphin viewing and the Bonteboks are exceptional. I thought I had read somewhere that the Cape Leopard Is also sometimes seen at De Hoop.  Thanks again for posting this beautiful report. 

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Safaridude

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Kirkman’s Kamp – Sabi Sands Game Reserve

 

Kirkman’s Kamp is a homestead-like lodge that lies at the southeastern corner of Sabi Sands Game Reserve, which abuts Kruger National Park.  Once part of the larger Mala Mala block, the property surrounding Kirkman’s Kamp was separated from Mala Mala when & Beyond entered the picture.  As is the case with many of the properties in Sabi Sands, Kirkman’s is not only granted its own primary boundaries, but also has in place reciprocal traversing agreements with the neighboring properties (Mala Mala to the north and Lion Sands to the west).  These arrangements allow the small number of guests (only 18 suites) at Kirkman’s access to 26,000 acres for game viewing.  The central area of the lodge is a blast from the past – a 1920s-styled farmhouse decorated with historical artifacts.  The guest suites are plush without the loss of old-world charm.

 

If you were on a short, three-day vacation in Naples, would it be unreasonable to seek out Neapolitan pizza for every meal?  Of course not.  Likewise, we are almost-exclusively, unabashedly looking for leopards at Kirkman’s.  The Sabi Sands area may be the best place to observe leopards, not only in terms of quantity of encounters, but also in terms of quality (only South Luangwa, may rival Sabi Sands in these respects).  The thick riverine vegetation along the Sand River and the abundance of small and medium-sized prey prove to be favorable to leopards, and the leopards here have, through generations of reinforcement, become ultra-comfortable with gawkers in vehicles.  That’s the thing about leopards – once they become accustomed, they let you into their lives.

 

I am not going to describe every leopard encounter here.  Suffice it to say we enjoyed many intimate viewings of the spotted cats.  I will say, however, there were several distractions from the viewings – in the form of white rhino, black rhino, mating lions, and wild dogs on a hunt.  Sometimes you get lucky… and get your wishes, and then some.  It’s easy to bash this style of safari – glam rangers relying heavily on the centralized radio communication system… oh, and the spa…  But it is as authentically South African as a DIY bakkie trip.

 

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The central area of Kirkman's Kamp

 

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A "point system" for game viewing

 

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Southern yellow-billed hornbill

 

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Grey lourie

 

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Black rhino found on the Lion Sands side

 

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Plains zebra

 

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Magpie shrike

 

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Our first leopard at Kirkman's

 

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White rhino

 

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Various leopards

 

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Elephants drinking from the Sand River

 

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Pied kingfishers

 

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Stirated heron

 

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Nyala

 

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More leopards

 

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Mating lions

 

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Pooped out

 

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In repose

 

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Greater kudu

 

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Wild dog

 

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Missed the initial contact of this kill by a couple of minutes

 

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Looking for a spot to hang the impala

 

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=================================

 

There you have it.  From penguins to leopards, mountain highlands to coastal dunes, and self-catering units to Dutch colonial farmhouses, South Africa offers something for everyone – in as uncomplicated a style as you choose.

 

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Hads

Stunning Photography - Thanks @Safaridude

What a wonderful finale.

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adamt123

Great report @Safaridude. I think while the large predators are great, my favourites from your report are definitely the Phinda red duiker and crowned eagle. (also the yellow mongoose shots were superb) :)

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AKR1
2 hours ago, Hads said:

Stunning Photography - Thanks @Safaridude

What a wonderful finale.

+1. Could not say it better. 

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Peter Connan
6 hours ago, Safaridude said:

 

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Absolutely stunning shot!

 

Thanks for a lovely report. I really enjoyed it.

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xelas

More excellent photos, and more in-depth report about places less visited. Thank You, @Safaridude!

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Zubbie15

Thanks guys sharing @Safaridude so many lovely shots and some great information as well. 

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madaboutcheetah

Thanks for this report, @Safaridude - I haven't been to the Sabi Sands in a long long time, but, you remind me of the amazing  Leopard there .......... 

 

 

 

 

 

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Towlersonsafari

Very enjoyable  report @Safaridude I love the title " various  leopards " !

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Tdgraves

Kirkman’s was our first real safari experience, a lovely camp

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SafariChick

Fabulous report @Safaridude - stunning photos as always - especially loved the leopards and lions - and loved places I went in 2012 on my very first safari - Betty's Bay and Phinda - happy memories of both! At Phinda, we had a magical sighting of a mother cheetah and 5 little cubs all to ourselves there and also great rhino sightings there. Kirkmans really delivered for you, wow! I didn't realize they had traversing rights on all those properties - sounds like a place to put on my list for when I get back to South Africa!

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Safaridude

@Towlersonsafari @Tdgraves @SafariChick

 

Thank you all.

 

@SafariChick  I believe most properties have traversing rights on neighboring properties, but the arrangements have certain restrictions.  For instance, there are a limited number of Kirkman's vehicles allowed into Mala Mala at any given point.  This is usually not a problem, as things are very organized through central radio command at these Sabi Sands properties.  If I recall correctly, this only affected us one afternoon when we couldn't go into Mala Mala for maybe a half an hour.

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Sangeeta

Finally found the time to do this one justice, and what an informative read, as always! The birds are all stunning, @Safaridude. But my favs are all your fog-bound ones (esp the Eland) and of course, of course, of course the chiaroscuros! 
When are we getting the antelope book?

When are we getting a chiaroscuro exhibition?

Oh when?😄

Thanks for doing this. Following in your footsteps to Mokala next year (for the quagga project) but nice to know that some version of them can now be found elsewhere too!

 

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Safaridude

@Sangeeta

 

Thank you.  As for the antelope book, a couple of people beat me to it.  Working on something different now.  As for chiaroscuro, a couple of people named Leonardo and Caravaggio have done it waaaaay better.  :lol:

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BRACQUENE

@Safaridude

 

Just read your great TR and admired your fabulous photos , a bit late perhaps but then I looked at the dates and it was the week my brother in law sadly passed away ; more than the more famous ones , these are the sort of places and reserves ( Karoo in particular )  I would love to go to ! Thanks for sharing 

 

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Safaridude

@BRACQUENE  Thank you.  There are so many of "those" sorts of places in South Africa to be discovered.

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Soukous

Neat TR @Safaridude, South Africa has so much to offer, excellent accommodation, fantastic hospitality and super guides, and at a very reasonable cost too.

I do have one question though: I know Squack is a wonderful guide -I've not travelled with him but several friend have done so - but when South Africa has so many great guides of its own, why not use one of them rather than a guide from Kenya?

 

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Safaridude

@Soukous

 

Thank you.

 

As for your question... well, I dunno... Sometimes I like discovering new places together.  I get a lot of joy from traveling companions (guide or not) seeing things for the first time.

 

 

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Alexander33

I just came across this excellent report, but better late than never. I’ve entertained the idea of visiting a series of South Africa’s lesser known parks and reserves, and this certainly steels my resolve to do so. 
 

I have great memories of Phinda and the reserves adjacent to Kruger from our first two safaris. &Beyond consistently offers a top-quality product. It is easy, as you say, to “bash” those types of safari experiences, but they also occupy an important niche in the marketplace by giving a sense of assurance to first-timers who might have some trepidation and not otherwise feel secure about a trip to Africa.  Not infrequently, those first-timers then become enamored, returning again and again to explore other areas that are more off the beaten path, thus giving added support to conservation efforts across the continent. Ask me how I know.....:)

 

Thanks for showing that these places can still have something worthwhile to offer to even veterans like you.  And, as so many have already mentioned, wonderful photography. 

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