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“You Will See the Big 5---Guaranteed!”

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Rattray's on MalaMala
Certificate of Excellence
Montgomery, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
69 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“You Will See the Big 5---Guaranteed!”
Reviewed September 2, 2013

Our guide, Roan, met us at the Mala Mala airstrip and set the tone for our stay at Rattray's. That tone remained most accommodating and hospitable throughout our 4-day stay. The lodging is spectacular in every sense of the word---think Four Seasons in the Bush! It included a beautiful, spacious and open concept bedroom and living area and separate bathrooms equipped with all the up-scale amenities you can imagine. A beautiful patio with plunge pool awaits right outside the sliding glass door. Rattray's has thought of everything to make your stay most luxurious and comfortable. And if you're fortunate to have Roan as your guide, all the better! He is most informative and willing to go the extra mile to make your camera safari truly unforgettable. One evening, we had the opportunity to witness a pride of lion feasting on a kudu---an experience we'll never forget! All of the guides work closely together to bring you the best of the bush. The only negative I can say about Rattray's Camp is the food. Lunch and dinner remained consistently mediocre. There is not much creativity or imagination to the menu items. But the experience and exhilaration in seeing the Big 5 multiple times outweighs the food situation. Rattray's remains a keeper!

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Kid55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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173 reviews from our community

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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
456 reviews
132 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 183 helpful votes
Reviewed September 1, 2013

have just spent the last 4 days at Rattray's at Mala Mala and it was OUTSTANDING!

Managed to see all the Big five in the first two days along with an array of other animals. The Raangers go out of their way to meet your requests and the staff are brilliant.

The rooms are huge and have a his and hers separate bathroom and I even managed to use the plunge pool twice (thanks to the great weather).

We had breakfast packed instead of returning to the camp each morning and it made the experience even greater. What could be better than a continental breakfast set up alongside your jeep in the stunning surrounds that are this truly amazing area.

Early mornings and late evenings are on the schedule so be prepared. You will be impressed!!

Expensive? Yes! Value for Money? Yes! Worth every cent!!!

Well done...keep it up because I'm coming back and will be bringing friends!!

Room Tip: I can't add anything. The numbers are strictly limited so every room is great and they all have...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank Grant T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2013

We started our African safari at Rattrays. The camp was as close to perfect as a camp can be. The staff was outstanding. Our guide Brendan was professional, knowledgeable and fun. Our room was beyond beautiful... modern his/hers bathrooms and a comfortable bed with luxurious linens facing the water and an outdoor plunge pool that was heated. The food was of excellent quality and creative, with lunches being a traditional African choice and another non-African choice and unlimited salads and side dishes to accompany both. Dinner was less creative (grilled meats and fish) but nonetheless delicious. Our only complaint was that we were paired off with another older couple for our game drives our entire stay and were seated with this other couple and our tour guide for every single meal. Although we loved our guide, I am sure he would have welcomed a break from us and as far as the older couple, we did not sign on to go on vacation with anybody else and would have preferred to dine alone. We could not have requested this on the spot as we were told at mealtime where to sit and tables were pre-set according to who you were out on the game drives with plus tour guide. A better option would have been to arrange tables in settings of two and let guests choose whether they wanted anybody else to join them. Tour guides should be given meal time off. Just some constructive criticism and a word of advice to those folks wishing to have some private meal time. This camp has WIFI which is a plus. Many camps do not have WIFI but WIFI is harmless and alleviates any stress for those of us who may need to stay connected for very good reasons.
The game drives were packed with sightings. We saw the big five within days and viewed many other sighting including a kill between a hyena and kudu.
I highly recommend Rattrays but would call the camp ahead of time to request meal time without your game drive partners if you wish to be alone as there is plenty of time on the land rover with the other guests (8 hours each day!).

Room Tip: Room#1 closest to main building and #7 furthest away. Recommend being close to main building for sa...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Dalocopa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
Reviewed August 14, 2013

If you want to see animals and stay in a beautiful place, stay at Mala Mala. We chose Mala Mala because they have a huge swath of land that borders Kruger, has a river that runs through the property and their game viewing stats are unbelievable. My experience at Rattray’s was simply outstanding. The accommodations are stunning (his and her’s washrooms, double shower, classic, yet warm and comfortable décor) and the service is superb. Everyday was an amazing adventure and then we had the pleasure of coming back to the most amazing camp. In terms of game, we pretty much saw every thing except a cheetah. The rangers are extremely knowledgeable. The food was really good and there were always a lot of options provided.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank HSGKKG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed July 31, 2013

This adventure was a once in a lifetime experience. From Check-in to check-out it was 6 star all the way. From our first game drive with ranger Brett Ross, seeing the big five in one drive, we knew we were in for a great ride. Early morning game drives were helped by hot water bottles and blankets!! The reserve itself and the dedication of the rangers towards the animals and conservation was amazing. Their knowledge was first class. The accommodations were also exceptional, it was just a shame that we didn't have more time to enjoy the facilities as we were keen to experience as many game drives as possible. Food, ambience, the company of fellow guests as well as the attention of our rangers at drinks and meals all contributed to the most amazing holiday!

Room Tip: They seemed to be equally fantastic. The lower the number the closer to the main buildings but the...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Maggiebell53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pinehurst, North Carolina
Level 5 Contributor
76 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed July 30, 2013

For our first safari experience, my wife and I spent 3 fantastic days at the MalaMala Rattray's camp July 16-19. The safari was amazing. Our ranger, Brett, was extremely knowledgeable, passionate, friendly, and very attentive to everyone's interest and needs. We saw an unbelievable amount of animals, including the big five of course, often at very close range. Our lodge was superb, with a beautiful view of the Sand River; from our deck we observed giraffes, kudus, and plenty of colorful birds. The rest of the camp was wonderful, well maintained and very clean. The entire staff was exceptionally nice and professional; you could sense how much everybody loved their work and how proud they were of MalaMala. The food was excellent, well prepared and every night they prepared a special meal for my wife who had special dietary needs.
Most visitors seem to be repeat customers (6, 7 times for some) which attests of the quality of the camp and the exceptional game viewing experience.
We cannot imagine a better safari experience.

Room Tip: We stayed in room #1, the closest to the main lodge, which was very convenient. The view of the Sand...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank SFSCL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canberra, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
54 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2013

As part of a photographic safari, we managed to stay at Rattray's of Mala Mala - what can I say... WOW! The service was fantastic, we had one of the luxury khayas, with own private balcony, plunge pool, 2 separate bathrooms with heated floors (which was nice as it was cool in the evenings / early mornings), wireless internet was available from our room. We generally had room service for dinner as we got in late in the evenings and had an early start in the mornings.

We had a private guide / vehicle which meant we could go on our game drives early, we often took breakfast out with us and stopped at a convenient time for breakfast.

The food at Rattrays was delightful, really enjoyed it.

Whilst I am sure the rooms are ideal for a "couple" however there was a single bed in the room which i used whilst we were there.

I should mention the animals... Mala Mala have a very large reserve which Sabi river runs through. This was great as we had the Styx pride playing around in the sand one morning - so much fun to watch them. There is a great variety of animals, elephants, buffalo, lions, leopards etc etc

If the budget allowed i would definitely stay here again! wow wow wow!

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank linda c
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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