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“The consummate bush experience”
Review of MalaMala Main Camp

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MalaMala Main Camp
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The consummate bush experience”
Reviewed 24 April 2014

Marvellous Mala Mala. We have had several bush holidays over the past few years and our family view is unanimous – Mala Mala is simply the best. We are about to book for next Easter. Why would we go anywhere else?
The game viewing was exactly what we wanted – it was not a glorified safari park as so many of these exclusive lodges are, where the rangers are constantly radioing to each other and driving to each viewing opportunity so you can tick the animals off your list. It was such a thrill to discover the animals for ourselves – we had marvellous sightings of a rhino lying in a river bed one morning, a leopard with her cubs, a hyena in its den one evening and an hour in the midst of a herd of 300+ buffaloes coming down to drink at the river. On each occasion, we were the only vehicle at the sighting. Slightly nerve wracking was the herd of elephants as we came round the corner one evening in the dark on our way back to camp but our two rangers during our stay, Matthew and Dave, inspired complete confidence.
The accommodation and the food were entirely appropriate. We do not want mussels in white wine sauce (which we were served in a camp in Botswana last year!) – we had delicious “home cooked” food with fresh ingredients. The accommodation was extremely comfortable and had an authentic African feel which reflects the owners’ African heritage, rather than some interior designer’s idea of faux African décor.
All the staff were extremely helpful and friendly and all in all, it was a truly memorable visit to Mala Mala. Roll on next Easter!

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Beatrix19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
56 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 March 2014

We stayed at Mala Mala for 3 nights late February on a Titan tour. We had not expected to stay here but were so glad we did. The whole experience was marvellous from the magnificent safari drives to the excellent food, great rooms and first rate rangers like our ranger Michael. I would not have missed this for the world. One evening we saw the all of the big 5 within the first 20 minutes.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank CazandSteve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hull
Level Contributor
35 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 19 February 2014

This really was a wonderful experience-from the fabulous room, wonderful food, amazing location and of course memorable safari drives! Will never forget Nick's driving, never mind the rampant elephant and all the other close up animals!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Barbara G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviewed 16 February 2014

Our Titan Tour 'The Best of South Africa' included a 3 day stay at the Mala Mala Private game reserve. this was a truly unforgettable experience. Our superb accommodation, excellent food, the friendliness of all the Staff and Rangers was exceptional. Matthew our Ranger was very knowledgeable, on all aspects of the questions we asked him. we saw the 'Big Five' twice and more, during our 4 Safari's with him. We will never forget the Pride of Lions walking past our Land Rover in the dark, I could have reached out and touched them!!! at the same time the Impala and bucks , were sounding the alarm that Lions were in the area... I have just read some of the previous reviews and disagree with their description of the overall Lodge. I must add the whole place had a quaint charm about it which blends in with the atmosphere of the place.
I would most certainly recommend Mala Mala as 3 day Safari Holiday......

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank moira t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 February 2014

We recently stayed at Mala Mala for three nights, after staying at &Beyond's Phinda Reserves beforehand. Both locations were incredible, each with countless animal sightings, knowledgable rangers and delicious meals. Both camps are great and I can't pick a favorite. Things I liked better about Mala Mala include the pool, the gym, the lodge/bar setup and the view from the room. Animal sightings were equal, and just depend on luck and the weather. But there were a few things that I didn't like and want to note in more detail.
1) No cell phone cameras on the game drives. Due to rhino poaching issues, we were not allowed to have our iPhones on the drives. Luckily we have a nice camera as well, but we couldn't snap any selfies or other shots to email out to friends. And it would have been nice to have been notified about this beforehand in case we didn't have the Canon.
2) The ranger eats all three meals with you. We really liked our ranger, but felt like he deserved a break and we wouldn't have minded having more family time alone. Two meals would have been plenty. Plus at dinner he kept getting up to serve us drinks, so he was a combo dinner guest/waiter. It was awkward at times. Mala Mala should hire more waiters.
3) They don't have trackers. Unlike Phinda, which had a tracker and ranger together during the drives, Mala Mala's ranger plays both roles. This is fine from a tracking perspective, but I was always a little worried in the back of my mind from a safety perspective. Nothing bad ever happened, but I would have preferred a second person just in case of an emergency.

Despite these three issues I really loved the experience and highly recommend Mala Mala.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank ViajandoGary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
47 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
Thank Travellingsuz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level 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
Helpful?
2 Thank agusbicho
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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