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“Excellent Game Viewing”
Review of MalaMala Main Camp

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MalaMala Main Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level 5 Contributor
47 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Excellent Game Viewing”
Reviewed 6 February 2014

We came with my parents in their 70's and my kids ages 9 and 12 and we loved the experience. Our guide, James was an encyclopedia of information. He worked his tail off night and day for the lodge and showing us an excellent time. The game viewing was spectacular. We even saw a herd of elephants walk by when we were relaxing by the pool! We had a room that fit the four of us and my parents had their own room. The food was great and their was a little (not fabulous) gym that you could use to work off the calories. The lodge is nice for relaxing and the bar is very old school and comfy. The only thing I would say is that the bathrooms in the rooms could use updating. I also felt like the lodge's approach to everything especially meals, bar time, etc. was very old school. Some people may like this but it felt a bit formal for us. One thing to note is the Jr Ranger program which seemed non existent and wasn't even mentioned to us even though we had two kids. Then when we left we got a "gift" with a book for the boys to log all their sightings. This is something you bring on the game drive with you but we didn't get it until we left. Very strange and our boys would have loved to have it on the drive to note all their sightings. I felt like this Jr. Ranger program is on the website but not put into practice but it would be great if they did. My kids still had a great time.
Overall it was an excellent place to visit and the game is second to none.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Travellingsuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 January 2014 via mobile

I am writing this review from my room on my last night at Mala Mala's Sable Camp. My family has one more morning game drive to go, but I am positive nothing could ever change my review. I came with my husband, my parents and my youngest sister. This place is magical. The setting, the decoration, the rooms' facilities... Everything is meant for leisure and rest. Not that it is a slow program, because it is not, on the contrary, but the sunrises and beautiful sights make up for the early mornings.The staff at the camp is super nice and attentive, caring for all of the guests' needs and comfort. We have felt looked after and spoiled since the minute we stepped a foot into these facilities. The food is superb and abundant. We've gained as much pounds as rest. But to be honest, it is a fair trade off. Breakfasts include scrambled, fried or poach eggs, sausages, bacon, toasts, and a complete buffet with assorted cheeses, salmon, fruit, cereal, yoghurt, etc. Lunch includes salad bar, cold cuts, warm buffet, etc. As for dinner... Well... Where to start?? The welcoming with local traditional singing by the camp's own staff, the appetizers in the deck with a view to the reserve and the moon, or the candlelight and fire? I wouldn't know what to compliment first. The chefs at the camp are incredible. Last, but not least (I have saved the best for last), our ranger Morné. Our hero!! So knowledgeable, talented at tracking animals, gifted driver, cautious, yet adventurous. He made a perfect host, a pleasure to be with. He guided as around camp, keeping us company and looking after our safety. He is the "human Animal Encyclopedia". There is nothing we asked and he could not answer (and we can be pretty curious people). Amazing!! We have nothing but words of appreciation for his work. We got to see plenty of animals: the Big Five (several times each), hippos, giraffes, jackals, hyenas, different birds, insects and flora. We will never forget Morné and the exquisite time we spent at Mala Mala. These past 4 days have been Heaven. I encourage all who are considering Mala Mala to go for it!!

Stayed January 2014
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2 Thank agusbicho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 21 January 2014

Our three day stay at Mala Mala was unforgettable and utterly faultless. The rooms and public areas are perfect, the food exceptional but it's the safari experience that makes Mala Mala truly great. We saw the big five (on our first night!), plus three cheetah, fighting rhinos, wild dogs and a leopard cub. Our ranger, Morne, was amazing. He ensured we saw as many animals as possible (getting us off road and close to the action), provided sunset drinks during our game drives and took us on a bush walk with breakfast. This is definitely the place to stay if you want to get up close with plenty of animals (we saw many more than other travellers we met who had just done trips into Kruger) and have a five-star at camp experience.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the river and you might spot the local elephants popping down for an afte...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Eleani
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Irvine
Level 5 Contributor
50 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 January 2014

We had such an incredible 5 days at Mala Mala Game Reserve. Our ranger, Grant was so knowledgeable and so nice. We saw the Big 5 on our first day. We saw many leopards and lions. Our daily game viewing was incredible. We say two jackals and two leopards chasing each other which was fun to watch. The rooms were very comfortable and the food was amazing. We enjoyed the game drives and our BBQ in the bush. Our girls saw a herd of elephants while setting up for lunch. We took amazing photos and videos of our stay. We can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank NatcoH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level 4 Contributor
39 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 January 2014

This was an experience of a life time but I'd like to do it every year. Our ranger would look after us from our wake-up call in the morning to our escorted walk back to our rooms after dinner. Every possible experience whether dining, safaris, the outdoor BBQ with dancing...everything was just incredible. I want to go back soooooo much.

Room Tip: They are all excellent you don't have to worry
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
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3 Thank Megan62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
Level 6 Contributor
148 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 December 2013

My friends and I spent 3 nights at MalaMala. This was our first very safari, but we went to another camp later during the trip so I have some basis for comparison. Our time at MalaMala was nothing short of incredible. Most importantly, the game viewing was great. At this private game reserve, the jeeps are able to off-road and get as close as possible to the wildlife. There were morning and afternoon game drives each day. We saw the Big 5 by our second game drive and saw all 5 again on the third day. Prides of lions abounded. We saw a leopard everyday, and we even saw a leopard carry off a dead baboon carcass right past our jeep. Unbelievable. The rangers tracked wild dogs through the park, and we were lucky to see them. Water buffalo, rhino, giraffes, elephants, warthogs, jackals, sables, baboons, birds, and much, much more. There was a lot of variety. Our ranger was fantastic, knowledgeable and really cared that we had a good experience. He was a large part of why the trip was so great.

The accommodations were excellent. The rooms were huge (they're free-standing structures, not exactly cabins--I don't know what to call them), with his and hers bathroom, heat/AC, and wi-fi. The facilities are not brand new but have a rustic feel, and the room felt like the equivalent of a 4-star hotel room. The lodge was well-kept. Lunch and afternoon tea were served on the patio, and long tables were set up around a campfire for dinner. Awesome dinner atmosphere and the food was very good. The camp staff was very friendly.

All in all, this far exceeded our expectations for a safari. I only have praise. Everything was taken care of seamlessly. Animal viewing was incredible. I have plenty of amazing photos and memories. I enthusiastically recommend this safari camp to anyone, and especially to first-time safari-goers. I don't think you can go wrong with this choice, whether it's your first, second, or tenth safari. Also, MalaMala seems like it would be a great option for families too.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
4 Thank djl485
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rotherham, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
41 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 December 2013

We flew into Mala Mala and were met by a ranger who drove us the few hundred yards into the camp. We were greeted at reception with a cold towel and refreshing drink before a very rapid check-in, introduction to our ranger - Daniel - and then escorted to our room. The rooms are fabulous, massive beds, air conditioned, great views from the veranda, double bathrooms with all the facilities you could possibly need. We had 2 game drives per day 6am - 09.30am ( be aware you get a 5.30am wake-up call!!!) and an evening drive 4pm - 8pm. Daniel was a fantastic ranger, very knowledgeable, efficient and polite, we had seen the Big 5 after only 2 drives!!!
In between drives you are provided with very good quality food at Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner - not the place to go if you want to diet!!!
The pool is the perfect place to relax and watch for the wildlife coming down to the river, we were going to try and sleep in between drives but the activity of animals around the river was such that we never managed it.
All the staff in the camp were very professional and personable which further enhanced our stay and experience. A dream come true - Brilliant

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank PeterG170453
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
Region: South Africa > Kruger National Park > Sabi Sand Game Reserve > Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Speciality 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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