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“Children's introduction to the bush”
Review of MalaMala Main Camp

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MalaMala Main Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Children's introduction to the bush”
Reviewed June 27, 2013

Mala Mala is legendary as regards big five, flora and birding.... A beautifully preserved bush veld paradise. This was our children's first introduction to the South African bush veld and with over 6 hours per day on the Landrover we were slightly apprehensive as they are 5 & 10 respectively. Our ranger was excellent and kept them engaged and interested on every drive, a real winning experience and highly recommended. From Big Five to impala lilies and little egrets.

This was our 1st experience at Main Camp as we normally stay at Rattrays, the suite room is a bush veld camp room, not a luxury room one might expect and be used too as global travelers, but spacious, comfortable and clean. Arguably this could be more appropriate for the experience but might be considered underwhelming considering the price.

Food was the same as ever, hearty and palatable to all, not Michelin star but perfect for the environment with both venison and normal cuisine available at most meals.

If you want a bush veld experience with wonderful wildlife chose Main Camp, if you want more luxurious experience and the wildlife choose Rattrays, but defiantly chose Mala Mala for the ultimate Wildlife experience.

Room Tip: Room 17 was private with easy access to the buffalo lounge and dining.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Marchant K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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309 reviews from our community

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English first
Level 6 Contributor
330 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 132 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2013 via mobile

Mala Mala's animal sightings never disappoint- we saw the most amazing animals: leopards, three prides of lion and nearly a kill. Unfortunately the camp itself is a complete disappointment. It is dated,the wine cellar barely have stock in it and the service and food is average at best. Our ranger did his best to keep us happy but even his brilliance could not compensate for the fact that this camp has had better days.

It seems as though there are some politics between the rangers( not hard to pick up for guests) and that did influence the overall experience.

If you want to visit Sabi Sands and surrounds I would definitely rather recommend Londolozi.

  • Stayed June 2013
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Helpful?
4 Thank Reenwoud
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 5 Contributor
64 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed May 30, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Sable Camp feels a lot more private than Main Camp
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank BigBree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 27, 2013

The whole Mala Mala safari experience definitely exceeded our expectations. Everything including the accommodation, food and staff were superbe. My wife and I stayed at the Sable Camp for 3 nights and were in a room overlooking the river. We found the rooms to be clean and very comfortable. Staff was very polite and courteous. The safari experience itself was fantastic and we managed to see the Big 5 (saw four different leopards in 3 days!) as well as cape wild dogs. The rangers were generally very professional and knowledgeable and i believe ours (Morne) was exceptional (he also helped improve my photography skills). Gym facilities can be improved. Overall, I would highly recommend Mala Mala and do hope to go back for another visit.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank meraj_adnan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 6 Contributor
101 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed April 19, 2013

Staying in Mala Mala was one of the best travel experiences in my life. The hotel is perfect. Rooms are sooooo spacious! Me and my husband stayed in a room with two bathrooms, which is a dream come true. The staff is fenomenal. Excelent food. The rangers are very professional and knowledgeble. There is nothing negative I can say about the place. I hope to go back. I highly recommend it!

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Ldeavila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
High Point, North Carolina, United States
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 15, 2013

Mala Mala is a great place to see the big 5. The rangers are very professional, and will stop at nothing to make your experience of a lifetime reality! We spent a week in south africa, 3 nights at Mala Mala, 3 nights at another game reserve, we saw much more game and had great service at mala mala. the service was outstanding at both game reserves reslly, but the massive size of mala mala is key to lots of game viewing potential. i used a gps to track our game drives, we ofted traveled 25-30 miles in the bush to see big game!!! it was awesome, I will return to Mala Mala

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Mike O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greensboro, NC
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2013

My husband and I just left Mala Mala a few days ago after a 3 night stay and I cannot say enough good things about it. First and foremost, the animal viewing is superb. Big 5 the first day and almost every day after. Lots of other hoofstock, birds, giraffes, etc can be seen as well. We visited another park on our trip and while it was elegant and refined they had many fewer animals in the park at least when we were there. I actually preferred the camp experience at Mala Mala; a historic hunting lodge feel complete with hides and heads on the wall. The rooms are large with his and her bathrooms and our had a lovely view of the Sand River. The grounds are beautiful; one night we came out of our room to find an elephant muching on the landscaping over top of a wall! Fabulous. The rangers were great, ours was Yuri and he was fabulous. A lot of fun, dedicated to giving us a great experience, and very capable. I had the utmost confidence is his ability to keep us safe, and I have to say at the other camp there were times when that was not the case. The rangers give the animals a lot of respect, never scaring them with the vehicles, and therefore the animals are very calm and relaxed and you can get very close for a wonderful experience. Some have commented that they were disappointed with the food but that was not my experience. There were always lots of choices, including game for the adventurous. I don't eat red meat, and found they always had polutry or fish for me and lots of options.
My final recommendation would be to think about why you are going to South Africa...I think some camps provide more social activities and amentities to distract you from the lack of animal viewing. But if you want animals, lots of them, in a very intimate setting, with fabuous ranges and a wonderful staff. Mala Mala would be the place to go.

Room Tip: Ask if the river rooms are available, you never know what you might see from them.
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Cindy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about MalaMala Main Camp

Property: 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 Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
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 
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Also Known As:
Mala Mala Main Camp Hotel Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
MalaMala Main Camp Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

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