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“Wildlife Central of the Sabi Sands”

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Rattray's on MalaMala
Certificate of Excellence
new york
Level Contributor
32 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Wildlife Central of the Sabi Sands”
Reviewed August 13, 2012

We had the pleasure of staying at Rattrays Camp for three
nights in april of this year after first visiting cape
town earlier in the trip. This was our third trip to
africa (kenya/tanz on our honeymoon, zimbabwe) so were are
well attuned to the safari experience (and fully addicted).

We chose Mala Mala because of its reputation as the best
place to see wildlife in the Sabi Sands and it lived up to
its reputation.

Upon arrival at the airstrip we found out we had been
upgraded to Rattrays camp which was tremendous as this is
the most luxurious of the Mala Mala camps.

It is worth pointing out that this is a fenced camp. We
prefer unfenced but for many this will provide peace of
mind. We did see a large male lion walking along the
fence the last morning so it is there for a reason. You
will still have monkeys in the trees outside of your room
and the view from your deck of the Sand River below
provides the opportunity for great game viewing. The fence is well hidden from view.

ROOM:
Enormous, unbelievably appointed with a huge bed, two huge
bathrooms, a deck with a plunge pool, air conditioning if
you want it etc... Its actually almost a bit over the
top, but i am certainly not complaining. After previous
trips staying in luxury "tents" this was quite a change.

GUIDE:
I view this as the single most important factor besides
luck for a good safari trip and we were very lucky to have
Chris. As one of the most senior guides there (he was
acting manager during our week) he has an enormous amount
of skill tracking, seeing and anticipating the animals moves. Many of the younger guides seemed to defer to his
judgement. They are very good at managing good sightings
to limit the number of cars without making you feel like
you are missing out (by using their radio headsets).
Unfortunately for future visitors this was chris' second
to last week. I'm sure he will be missed

FOOD:
I'd give it a A-/B+. plentiful, and definitely good, just
not great (that title is still held by kleins camp in
tanzania). The Brai was good with a nice performance by
the staff. The bushbaby in the tree above also seemed to
enjoy it

SERVICE:
Outside of the gregarious guides, the staff was friendly
if a bit shy. I think the vibe here is more laid back as
opposed to some other camps with an assigned butler, many
managers fawning over you etc.. I liked the laid backness
of it, its all about the game here.

WILDLIFE:
This is where malamala and Rattray's stands out. Their
concession is ENORMOUS when compared to all the other
private concessions in the sabi sands except maybe singita. and many of those
concessions share traversing rights with each other to
cover more ground and increase the chances of good
sightings. Only guests of the malamala camps can
traverse their concession. they share a huge unfenced
border with Kruger National Park. They have the most
exposure on the sand river which is where many animals go
to get water. the map on this link kind of lays it out for
you.
http://malamala.com/What_Makes_Us_Unique.htm

We saw SO many animals it was ridiculous. many times we
couldnt get a couple hundred yards from the entrance to
camp without stopping numerous times. Huge prides of
lions, lion cubs, lions mating; multiple leopards a day, the cheetah
brothers on 2 different days (including one climbing a
tree), a hyena den with tiny cubs coming up to the vehicle
to chew the tires, giraffe, huge herds of elephant,
giraffe, and buffalo. then all the plains type game kudu,
waterbuck, zebra, wildebeaste, nyala etc.. The most
impressive were the numbers of rhinostill thriving in this
area. We also got very lucky and saw a serval and two
honeybadger which were firsts for us. The highlight was definitely seeing a mother lion moving the den of her 3 three week old cubs.

Its also worth pointing out that there were less people in
the cars at rattrays vs the other mala mala vehicles we
saw. to be honest we only saw other vehicles a few times
and it was NEVER an issue. We were alone or with one other couple for our all of our
drives.

Activities:
we did two walks and its such a rush to be on the ground not knowing what you might see. we felt comfortable with chris guiding (armed of course)

Room Tip: All of the rooms are the same layout/quality. The rooms extend to the right from the main lodge so...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank sek07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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164 reviews from our community

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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed June 9, 2012

Hi we stayed a few days here in early June and from the moment we arrived Gordon took over. A great ranger in a fantastic facility with abundant animals. This is a first class way to do a safari. Regards to a great team there and thanks,Peter and Elizabeth Short.

Room Tip: They are all good
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Clatu28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vienna, Virginia
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed May 25, 2012

We spent four days in Mala Mala and had Ranger Ant leading our tour every day. It was the most wonderful experience. The food was just spectacular and different every day, with one breakfast made out on the land with Ant cooking in frying pans, etc. Our accommodations were amazingly comfortable and luxurious, yet fit into the camp setting. Ant was so knowledgeable and we got up so close to the animals for photo ops yet learned quickly to be respectful of their territory and home. We flew into Joburg, then flew directly to Mala Mala. It was first class all the way. I would definitely recommend this adventure.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Lovestwotravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed April 6, 2012

Service, sightings and accommodation were exceptional. I especially appreciated the in depth knowledge and attentive care provided by Ranger Mike Morreira! A master of his craft. All in all a must for anyone who has the privilege of staying at this magical African haven xxx

  • Stayed February 2012
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Helpful?
Thank Njolies
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2012

We stayed at Rattray's for four nights on our third safari vacation and it was nothing short of exceptional. The rooms are fantastic, the game viewing is second to none and all of the staff were very attentive. I would definitely recommend them as a great place to stay on safari.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank GSLarson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 24, 2012

From the moment we arrived to when we left we were treated like royalty.The facilities are fantastic and the game drives guaranteed to thrill and amaze. The staff are brilliant and make sure you want for nothing? We will certainly return some time in the future and would recommend to anyone,

  • Stayed February 2012
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Helpful?
Thank DDDMLC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bath, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2012

That says it all - wonderful experience - probably the best 3 days of holiday i have ever had.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank homelea1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Rattray's on MalaMala

Property: Rattray's on MalaMala
Address: P.O. MalaMala, Skukuza, 1353, Kruger National Park 1353, 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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Number of rooms: 8
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 Rattray`s Camp Hotel Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
Rattray's On MalaMala Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

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