We are experienced safari travelers, and have stayed at Mala Mala Rattrays before. This time we stayed at Sable Camp, and while the chalet was spacious, the furnishings and fixtures look like they have not been updated in decades. The beds are twin beds pushed together, blankets and towels are worn and tired. Bathrooms are shabby and old. Nevertheless, the location is fabulous, with river frontage and frequent animal sightings (baboon, antelope) on the property. Service was exceptional, food was tasty, with several choices, and consideration given to our party's various allergies and preferences.
Mala Mala did away with trackers after a labor dispute in 2009. This puts a lot of pressure on the guides, who all seem very young, to "do it all". Our guide was very knowledgeable and helpful, but lacked the skills we have seen with experienced trackers, and the easy rapport of experienced guides. Mala Mala makes a lot of their large acreage, but most of our sightings were close to the camp, with the airstrip being the favorite animal hangout. That being said, we saw the big five on every day but one, a definite accomplishment.
Mala Mala has pros and cons - I will likely try another camp next time, but at the same time, must add that overall we had a positive experience.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- MalaMala Game Reserve is the Safari Industry's blueprint to the luxury photographic safari. In existence since 1927, this massive thriving tract of land produces the most exciting wildlife experience this side of the equator. MalaMala Game Reserve is the largest private Big Five game reserve in South Africa. Comprising 13 300 ha (33 000 acres), MalaMala shares a 19 km (12 mile) unfenced border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park, and lies strategically sandwiched between the National Park and the Sabi Sand Reserve. For over four decades, Michael Rattray has remained focused on his objective to preserve and protect the land over which he is custodian. Allowing nature to move to its innate rhythm, guests experience today what the forefathers of the African Safari would have experienced at the turn of the century. This philosophy has paid off, as experienced by a veritable collection of photojournalists and film-makers who have made MalaMala their destination of choice to capture footage of wildlife viewing that would rival any Hollywood production for thrilling and breathtaking animal encounters. MalaMala's Camps (MalaMala Main Camp, Sable Camp and Rattray's on MalaMala) are the embodiment of an authentic safari experience pioneered at a time when the safari was simple - unassuming camps, vast sweeping plains, the African sky and the bush in all its splendour. Wellness was the feeling after a long day in the wild. Cigars were shared without pomp and ceremony. Guests to MalaMala will still spend hours beneath an inky sky in the traditional boma exchanging stories from the wild - a sumptuous meal, good company and relaxed faces warmed by the crackling fire, accompanied by the nocturnal symphony of sound. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Mala Mala Main Camp Hotel Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
- MalaMala Main Camp Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa