SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2009 – 80/64 – KIRKMANN’S KAMP
Since we want to see a bit of the Panorama Route before heading into the Sabi Sands Reserve to Kirkmann’s Kamp for our safari experience, we are on the road early. This route is one of the highest and most scenic in South Africa. The road runs along the edge of the lowveld to Kruger Park. This is a beautiful part of South Africa. It is high with rugged hills, clear trout streams and beautiful vistas. We spend four hours working our way to the town of Hazyview; driving over Long Tom Pass and up to God’s Window. We enjoy the fabulous scenery. Of course, there is also the need for some retail therapy along the way. At Hazyview we gas up and buy a few things for lunch and snacks for our time in Kruger National Park. We then head to Kirkmann’s Kamp, arriving a little after 1:00PM, after having our own little safari driving in! We pass a purple iguana on the road, and stop while some impala and two waterbuck give us a special welcome just before we arrive at the entrance. Kirkmann’s Kamp is an old cattle rancher’s homestead on the Sand River. There are ten guest rooms overlooking the river. The main part of the camp is in the old ranch house and it has a very comfortable homey feel to it. After being shown around and meeting our butler, ranger and tracker, we settle in and head for lunch, served on the front lawn overlooking the river and game land.
At 3:30PM we gather for the afternoon game drive. There are five of us in the jeep. A man from Canada (his wife is ill and stays at camp) sits in the very back row with the tracker, Dick has the middle row to himself, Carolyn and the wife of the third couple from South Africa, sit in the first row and her husband sits in the passenger seat. He suffered a serious injury to his back and neck about a year ago and uses a walker.Ralph is our ranger/driver and is wonderful. He is very considerate with his driving and tries not to jar us too much, which is fine with me. He is very knowledgeable and points out all kinds of interesting plants, birds and animals. What can I say; it is a fabulous four hours during which we see four of the Big Five game animals and a host of other things. The two most thrilling things we see are a mother leopard and her 5-month-old cub. We are able to spend 30 to 40 minutes watching the interaction of the two,including the cub nursing, which is beautiful.The whole time, we are sitting in the Land Rover no more than 15 feet from them.
The other outstanding encounter is with a rhino family group with a newborn calf. Ralph thinks the calf is less than a day old. He is absolutely adorable and full of himself. We watch him play, mock starges and dancing around, for a long time.Not long after we leave this group we come across another rhino with a much older calf.Ralph thinks this mother will soon have another calf from the look of her. We also see three different elephants, a group of three lionesses, some hippos, a monitor lizard and plenty of impala. We then enjoy sundowners in the bush before heading back to camp. Back at camp, we meet everyone in the bar to talk about the day’s sightings and other important stuff! Since it is Sunday night, an African style dinner is served in the Boma along with some entertainment by the staff. A Boma is a circular, lion proof, outdoor dining area.
What a fabulous day!