I took my 23 year old nephew to South Africa for the World Cup. I figured, once we've gone this far, we have to do some kind of safari. I have always done my own travel arrangements, but because of the World Cup, I could not even find accomodations, and the trip had to be customized for dates of travel around our game dates. So, I looked on Tripadvisor for folks commenting on South Africa and found a great, great travel agent in the US that specializes in Africa. I worked with Matt at Travel Beyond who was working with a South Africa travel agent called Thompsons. There were a few glitches in the execution, but both Travel Beyond and Thompsons were very responsive. Anyway, after looking at various game reserves that both Travel Beyond and two other agents came up with, after trading off costs and reviews, we chose Mala Mala Main Camp. It's kind of confusing how the private parks/reserves are referred to - they all are in the area of (and sometimes referred to as part of) Kruger National Park. Also, many of them say they are part of Sabi Sand, which is also the name of one of the reserves. Mala Mala is a private reserve, the largest in acreage (33K acres) of them all, with the largest border with the actual Kruger National Park. It is on the high end of the reserves cost wise, but not the most expensive. Mala Mala has 3 camps - Main camp and Sable camp which are more basic (but not very basic at all - the rooms were huge, 2 bathrooms for the two of us, open view onto the camp with animals at your windows) - and Rattrays, which is more exclusive, high end and expensive. There are only 4-6 people in each jeep and I think there are only about 12 or so jeeps on the property at one time. It's two weeks later, and I'm still blown away by our experience there. I can unqualifiedly recommmend Mala Mala.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
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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