This place is absolutely fabulous. We were able to fly into Mala Mala directly from Johannesburg on SA airlink, and were met at the airport by a jeep which took us the 5 minute drive to our camp. Rattrays consists of eight bungalows, housing a maximum of sixteen people. Bungalow is a misnomer, since each unit is a villa with his and hers bathrooms, a luxurious king bed, a sitting area, a deck and your own private plunge pool. All units are airconditioned, and absolutely private (skinny dipping is possible). The villas face the river, and you can often see game (we saw buffalo, kudu and baboons) on the banks. Bird watching from the deck is a delight.
The service is amazing. With 30 staff for 16 guests, your every whim is catered to. Our guide was knowlegable and worked hard to find the game we wanted to see. Most days we saw the big five, often crashing through the bush is pursuit of a sighting. No request was too small - one member of our party was fascinated with chameleons, and our tracker made sure to find them for her. Sundowners (drink of your choice) in the bush was an added bonus.
I have read negative reviews about the food, and cannot agree with them. While not gourmet, food was plentiful, very fresh, tasty and always included a regional specialty plus an alternative.
On the day of our departure, our flight was delayed and then cancelled. Nils, the Rattrays manager, was supurb,staying with our group us as we renogiated our flights, and then arranging for us to stay over an extra night at the airline's expense (thank you SAA). His graciousness made what could have been an ordeal into an adventure. Thank you Nils!
Our last night, we stayed in Mala Mala Main camp, so were able to compare experiences. Main camp is much larger (about 60 people) and so is less intimate. While the rooms are less luxurious than Rattrays, they are quite pleasant. The game drives are with equally qualified rangers, although jeeps are with six rather than four guests each. The food is the same. Next time, we may opt for more days at Main camp for less money, although Rattrays is the way to go if you want absolute pampering and cost is not an issue.
We have had one previous private game park experience at Londolozi. The game viewing at Mala Mala is far superior. Do this for the experience of a lifetime!
- 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