We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Outdated rooms but great game viewing” 3 of 5 stars
Review of MalaMala Main Camp

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
MalaMala Main Camp
Save
You added MalaMala Main Camp to your Saves list
4.5 of 5 Lodge   |   PO Box 55514, Northlands, Kruger National Park 2116, South Africa   |  
Hotel amenities
Denver, Colorado
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Outdated rooms but great game viewing”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 20, 2009

This lodge is very hard to rate..... I notice many people write about the experience (=the game drives) at Mala Mala and I agree with everybody, it is outstanding. The ranger we had was very nice and very knowledgeable. We saw everything you came to see (=the big 5) and more and our kids where as fascinated as us and enjoyed the 3 hour drive in the morning and the 3 hour drive in the afternoon, no problem. The nature is just fantastic and all drives where different. The 4WD we had needed to be updated, they where not up to a luxury lodge standard. We had to change wheels 2 times during our 3 night stay...and that takes time from your experience.
HOWEVER, this is a site reviews hotels and the for the price you pay at Mala Mala, we expected much more. The rooms really needs to be updated. They can not have been renovated since the main camp opened. The bedspread and the whole atmosphere in the room was just ordinary and old looking. The bathrooms were the worst..a SHOWER cabin from the 70's with fixtures from Hans grohe that must be nearly antic. I would have chosen to stay at Rattray's or Sable camp since it looked newer but they do not take children there so we had no choice. The food was just ok nothing special and you had to stay in line like a school cantine to get your food and then your ranger had to run back and forth to get you drinks. It just felt very cheap and when you pay 1000 dollar a day you at least think the drinks where included but you had to pay for even soda water. The chef was very visible and really made sure that everybody felt taken care of but it just did not help to have great staff and great rangers when the facility and food was not even close to 5 star quality (maybe 3). If you want to see Leopards in the wild and great nature, this is probably your best bet (but don't expect luxury). If you want good food and luxury accommodation don't go to Mala Mala main camp you will be disappoined.

  • Stayed May 2009, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

170 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    148
    14
    6
    2
    0
See reviews for
50
59
7
4
Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (37)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Bruxelles, Belgique
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
64 hotel reviews
Reviews in 58 cities Reviews in 58 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2009

Sixteen years ago, I stayed in Mala-Mala with a friend and loved it so much that I insisted to return at Easter : three nights in Madiwe Hills, in Kings Camp and Mala Mala as a wonderful conclusion to a safari holiday. Yes, the big five were there and the clay huts ...but without trackers ( on strike since Christmas ) the poor rangers had to assume everything from the table service to guiding us back to the room.They have to find their way through the bushes and the dry beds of the streams.The rooms were clean but their decoration was ordinary , nothing special, an hotel like you find in the UK, or in fact anywhere. The maids never smiled.The local men inthe restaurant were nicer and the food quite good.The drinks had to be ordered at the bar and then brought in the fridge ( in Madikwe and King's Camp the fridge offered a whole choice of drinks) .In Mala Mala the only free drink was water! Thank you to our ranger :he saved our stay in Mala Mala .I should have cherished my first Mala safari

  • Stayed April 2009
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, NC
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2009

We stayed at Mala Mala Main Camp for four days in March and had a fantastic stay. First off and the reason why you go, the animal viewing was incredible. As we landed at on the runway, we saw a giraffe out the window. Within 24 hours we saw the Big Five and there was never a shortage of animals. The rangers got us so close to the animals that you felt like you could reach out and touch them. We had Mike for a ranger and he did a great job.
At Mala Mala, you sit with your Ranger and your fellow jeep travelers at the meals. My wife and I loved this because all we wanted to talk about were the animals, life in the bush, and everything and anything related to the bush. I think this is a big bonus (plus one morning, we were exhausted so we just sat inside and ate by ourselves which is okay). The food was fantastic, the bar was fun every night telling stories about the day an the accomondations were perfect. We got the normal room and it was a bedroom, a separate living room, a separate entry area, two bathrooms, a walk-in closet and a patio overlooking the river. If this was the normal room, I can't imagine what the upgrade was. Plus, from our room, we saw hippo, cape buffalo, impala and elephants. Not too shabby.
I can not wait to go back (although expensive, worth every dime).

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Top Contributor
109 reviews 109 reviews
41 hotel reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
98 helpful votes 98 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2009

You can drive to the camp or, like we did, arrive by small South African airways plane onto their private landing strip (apparently someone from the camp goes out to make sure there are no rhino or elephants on it before you land!) . You are then taken to the camp, a few minutes drive away, and you are met by a ranger and his tracker (who are then yours for your stay) who take you to your room and give you all the information you need.
When I said room, it's really a big "hut" with two (yes two) bathrooms, a large bedroom, two large wardrobes, a lounge, fridge/bar and panoramic windows leading out to your own private wooden deck with lounging chairs . More than you need really as you only sleep and chill there for a few hours each day.
A great restaurant with everything cooked on site, it seems like food is served almost all day - hot drinks and warm pastries and cakes before your first drive at 6AM, huge breakfasts, amazing lunches, afternoon tea and fantastic evening meals all on a huge deck with your ranger as your host and fabulous ladies serving and looking after you. Eat traditional food or try stuff like Ostrich carpaccio, Impala pie or Kudu wellington. Have pre dinner drinks in the bar, talk about your day with other guests, take a photo of the scoreboard of daily sightings, and order the wine to go with your meal.
Safari drives are early morning and late afternoon to sundown (beer and wine tastes even better watching the sun go down over the game reserve), with an optional walk in the afternoon, try this, with a couple of armed rangers and trackers in Land Rovers, and get up close and personal with all the wildlife, vegetation and strange insects. Learn plenty from your trackers about the paw prints and animal droppings and understand more about the reserve and its animals.
We stayed three days, and saw not only the "Big Five" ( Rhino, Elephant, Water Buffalo, Lion and Leopard), but we were also fortunate to see a fairly rare Cheetah and even rarer African Wild Dogs and received our "Big Seven" certificates. You will most certainly also see Hippos, Widebeest, Giraffe, Zebras and many, many more animals and birds. There are always rangers out around the reserve training or working and everyone is in radio contact with each other, so if anything happens or is seen everyone gets a chance to view it.
The camp is part of the Kruger National Park and there are no border fences, so animals have the freedom to go wherever they like. Mala Mala Camp itself has no fences, which is the main reason your ranger will walk you to your door every night (and you can hide behind them if any hungry animal is nearby!)
I would give this place six stars if I could!
TIPS
1) make sure you take a South African electical adaptor, most "universal" adaptors won't work
2) take the right clothing - I saw everything from full blown safari suits with loads of pockets and leg "gaiters" to red t-shirts denim jeans and flip-flops
3) The most important, take twice as much memory stick (or film, if you still use it) for your cameras as you think you need. We came away with over 1500 memorable images and video footage after our four days

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Delano, Minnesota
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2008

Mala Mala is a really neat camp. We saw 4 of the Big 5 on the property before we arrived at camp! The food was delicious and the staff was awesome. Our guide Wayne was so cool and we had a great time with him and John AKA Snoop (our tracker). The lodge we stayed at was nice and there was also a really cool pool outside. We saw lots of really cool and we came really close to seeing wild dogs! Wayne drove as fast as he could but we were just a little bit to late... I would highly recommend Mala Mala to anybody!

  • Liked — the animals
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2008

Fabulous place. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Wayne (our Ranger) and John (our Tracker) were great. The room was lovely (remember to bring your 3-pronged plug if you bring any electronics) and large. We took South African Airways and they lost my luggage (which I hear they are notorious for) so be sure to bring an extra set of clothing .... in case. The staff makes every effort to accommodate you. They set up a dinner table in our room because we were exhausted from travel. They hemmed a pair of pants for me within a few hours (since I needed to buy some essential clothing).
Go to Mala Mala's cyber diary to see examples of what you will see. Personally I just wish I could have captured it all in a bottle and taken it with me.

  • Liked — Animal sitings, the food and the people
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nj/az
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2008

Animal sightings, guides, accomodations,food, service - all excellent. This is the way to experience a safari.

  • Liked — Everything
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed September 2007, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hotels you might also like...
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
Price Your Stay

Been to MalaMala Main Camp? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about MalaMala Main Camp

Address: PO Box 55514, Northlands, Kruger National Park 2116, South Africa
Location: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — MalaMala Main Camp 4.5*
Number of rooms: 25
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

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage MalaMala Main Camp, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.