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“Beyond anything we dreamed of...”
Review of MalaMala Main Camp

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MalaMala Main Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 18, 2013

And we can only give it 5 stars!! We had 3 days/2 nights here as part of a tour of SA and it was incredible in every respect - the rooms (just as they appear on the website) the food, the service, and the rangers.
Well, it's all been said and I know everyone in our group of 35 thought their ranger was the best but ours, Daniel, definitely was!! His knowledge, enthusiasm, unfailing courtesy, not to mention his driving skills made this the experience of a lifetime. We saw the big 5 almost immediately and when, on our final morning, he found a lioness and her 4 young cubs and we were able to sit so close to them and watch them playing in the grass - you can't explain the sheer joy we felt.
To me, this was perfection. if you possibly can, go, and go soon.

Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Youngatheart6248
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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209 - 215 of 348 reviews

Reviewed September 30, 2013

I recently went to South Africa on safari. I stayed at Mala Mala Main Camp....a private game reserve. The camp was just wonderful! The rangers have a agricultural degrees and know an awful lot about all of the animals along with flora and fauna. The villas were beautiful, the food was outstanding, and the game drives were to die for! Saw the "Big Five" in just 2 days! If you are considering a stay in Krueger National Park, this is the place. The Sabi Sands river runs along the camp and the setting is just spectacular! The service is great. They will do your laundry and have it folded and waiting for you. The jeeps seats are open, and everyone has a great seat with a great view. The flowers were in bloom, as it was in May and they were just beautiful. It was a fantastic experience, and I highly recommend it for anyone who wants a truly wonderful African safari experience!

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank Happytrails1190
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Mala Mala shares a border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park, which makes for an amazing safari and wildlife experience. While sipping tea on the deck before we even set out into the wild, we saw a group of elephant walking along in the distance. Lucky was our guide on our journeys through the wild. He was incredible. Lucky grew up in the bush and knew exactly what to look for to lead us to the most thrilling and breathtaking animal encounters.
The camp was beautiful, we were extremely comfortable in our room and were amazed to hear the roar of a lion close by while we were getting ready for the day. We dined with a group of other guests, family style - it was very nice to get to know others and share our experiences from the day. We also had a traditional african dinner one night - it was so unique and we were very grateful. Mala Mala is a must!

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jamie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2013

We were travelling as a family - 6 adults and 5 children - so we reserved Sable Camp, which is away from the Main Camp, with beautiful individual villas and the "Owner's Lodge" with library, bar, dining room and a wonderful terrace overlooking the bush and a swimming pool (very cold in August!).

We stayed in four camps over the course of our safari and this was the perfect first camp for those who had not been on safari before. Each villa has its own balcony looking out over the bush and animals and birds come very close. It's magical at night to watch and hear the sounds of the wild life.

Our guides, Matt and Matthew, were outstanding - and excellent drivers of Land Rovers over very "iffy" terrain! In our two day stay, we saw all the Big Five. Among several highlights, was a high speed drive - "Hang on!" - as we followed a pack of Cape Hunting Dogs and were in on the kill when they brought down a bushbuck. On every game drive, it was obvious we were in very capable and knowledgeable hands.

Everything at the camp itself was first class: service, food, etc., etc. One evening, we had dinner in the "boma". I think the word originally meant a livestock enclosure; in this instance, it's a large round area, open to the sky, with reed walls. There was an open fire burning, delightful Africans who sang traditional African songs before serving us a wonderful meal. Quite magical to sit and look up at the stars in the clear African night sky.

The whole area of the Main Camp and Sable Camp is very attractive, with bougainvillea growing over the thatch-roofed villas and kudu wander right up to the villas.

We loved the whole experience.

Room Tip: We loved the privacy of Sable Camp and the Owner's Lodge.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank Judith P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2013

We have traveled to eight African countries, and no lodge in any of these countries compares to the wildlife sightings at Mala Mala. There are more luxurious places, lodges with gourmet food, lodges with more advertising and greater claims, and certainly more expensive lodges, but none come close to the wildlife experience and authenticity of Mala Mala. For that reason we have continued to return for the last twenty two years.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Donald W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

We stayed here at the beginning of a month travelling throughout the continent. After 4 days and nights here, we could have gone home happy. What a fantastic place, full of such knowledgeable and fun guides who give such personal attention to everyone. Food fantastic, viewing unbelievable, service 11 out of 10, the rooms were gorgeous! The pictures are true to life. I just cannot rave about this place enough! I went to 4 other countries and fantastic places but Mala Mala I will definitely be going back to.

Room Tip: Get a river front room. Have all the wildlife roaming right in front of you.
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Chrissy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

My wife and I stayed at Mala Mala for two nights in July, 2013. In summary, this was everything we had dreamed of experiencing on our first safari vacation. The animal viewing was consistently spectacular; the food was delicious; the rooms and lodge were clean, cozy and comfortable; and our ranger Jonathan (aka Johnno) was the absolute perfect host.

Game Viewing: This is obviously the focus of the trip, and it could not have been better. Within two drives we had seen the big 5 plus plenty more. On 4 total game drives we saw lions, leopards, a pack of wild dogs, elephants, rhinos, mongooses, giraffes, zebras, a cheetah, cape buffalo, baboons, all types of beautiful birds and antelopes, and so much more. It was non-stop. We never drove more than a few minutes without witnessing some fascinating animals. Although it was very tough to decide, my 2 highlights: 1) with giraffes peering above the trees in the background, we saw a leopard which had dragged the carcass of a nyala up high over a tree branch while a pack of hungry hyeanas waited below; and 2) we were lucky enough to come across a baby elephant with its mother less than 1 hour after being born. It was pretty amazing to watch it wobble back and forth on is feet trying to figure how to move. In general, the game viewing was far superior to Sabi Sabi - we saw so many more animals constantly, while at Sabi Sabi the viewing was more sporadic.

Ranger: Johnno was top notch. From the second we arrived, he was a pro at introducing us to other safari-goers and making us feel comfortable with the others we would be driving with. He was also an expert at tracking wildlife while explaining everything that we were seeing/experiencing in detail. He provided a constant, entertaining narrative that enhanced the experience tenfold. He is truly passionate about this, and he is a great guy who we really enjoyed getting to know over the course of our stay.

Lodge/Food: The lodge was terrific. Our room was very comfortable with plenty of space and a beautiful view of the river. We often witnessed elephants in the distance as well as antelope grazing around right in front of our room. Every meal was delicious. Our favorite meals were the dinners in the boma where we would eat with Johnno and the 4 other guests from our safari drives around a campfire while being entertained with local singing and dancing . We also enjoyed the bar in the lodge where we would gather with others and discuss everything people had seen that day. Mala Mala has a great sense of camaraderie, and we really enjoyed the time talking to rangers and other vacationers.

SUMMARY: Best place we have ever stayed. Game viewing was unbelievable, the accommodates were perfect, and our ranger could not have been better. We promised each other to go back some day

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank JackG672
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

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: $1,543 - $1,816 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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

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