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“Exceeded expectations!”

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Rattray's on MalaMala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 5 October 2013

We chose Mala Mala Rattrays for our first safari based on the recommendation of Craig Beal of Travel Beyond. We are so glad we followed his recommendation. Mala Mala has the Sand River running through it and abuts Kruger National Park. It is a huge private reserve (I believe it is the largest of the private reserves in the area) comprising 33,000 acres. Only vehicles from the Mala Mala camps are allowed on the reserve and they are allowed to go off road (unlike Kruger). There were never any more than 3 vehicles allowed at a sighting and we were frequently the only vehicle present. We chose to stay at Rattrays because there are no more than 4 people in each vehicle. The khayas are huge with his and her bathrooms, plunge pool, and deck overlooking the Sand River. Mala Mala's motto is "It is all about the wildlife" and if you are interested in seeing the "Big Five" and more, this is the place for you. We were not disappointed! Highlights of our 4 night/5 day stay with our fantastic ranger, Greg Baldwin, were seeing a leopard dragging her freshly killed impala along the ground to a tree (our first night drive!) and the next morning (our second game drive) sitting among a pack of wild dogs as they consumed their kill and fought off a hyena. We experienced the excitement of following the dogs off road and watched them run down another antelope. The rest of our game drives were also wonderful and we had many leopard sightings, elephants, cape buffalo, lion, rhino, hyenas, warthogs, giraffes, mongoose, jenet, wildebeast, baboons, vervet monkeys, zebras, vultures, raptors, different types of storks, and a wide variety of antelope. I am sure I am missing some of the many animals we saw. I suspect that going during the dry season enhanced our wildlife viewing as the animals were mostly concentrated around the river. It is unbelievable how close you are able to get to the animals, just don't stand up in the range rover and you will be just fine. We appreciated the care the rangers took to minimally disturb the animals while we were observing them. You will be very very busy and we barely had enough down time to download our pictures between the early morning game drives, bush walks, meals, and night drives. Others have complained about the food which is served buffet style (we liked it just fine, we did have better food at other places during our trip to South Africa, but no place could beat Mala Mala in terms of the quality of the wildlife viewing and level of service and hospitality) as well as the fact that alcohol and sodas are extra but we found the prices for those items reasonable (I don't drink anyway), and there was unlimited wonderful ice tea, hot tea and coffee available. If your priorities are an all inclusive camp with 5 star food and alcohol, go to one of the other luxury camps, if you want fantastic wildlife viewing that is unbeatable, come to Mala Mala! Yes, staying at Rattrays is expensive, but it is worth every penny!

Room Tip: All of the khayas have great views of the Sand River. We saw an abundance of wildlife from our deck.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank vhuang
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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113 - 119 of 183 reviews

Reviewed 28 September 2013

After few days around different camps in Namibia and South Africa we arrived at Mala Mala. The other camps were pretty good, but Mala Mala is in a different league. Rooms, service and atmosphere were all above standards (AND there are bidets !!!! in the bathrooms, which after two weeks brought tears to my eyes). The safari game is also pretty,pretty good. Mind you, if you look for a more local atmosphere maybe not the best of places.

  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
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Thank faustxxx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2013

One of the best vacations that I have ever had!
The game drives were fun and exciting.
We were within a few feet of Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhino and Zebras.
Rattray's pays Incredible attention to detail. The only thing that you have to do is enjoy yourself.
The Staff, accommodation, and food were perfect. From the first moment that you arrive, until the minute that you leave, they create the most wonderful safari experience. Our ranger, Daniel was terrific. We were fortunate to meet and spend time with other guests, all of whom were friendly and fun to be with. Rattray's gets my vote for vacation of the year!

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank brencara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 September 2013

We had a fabulous time at your beautiful Rattay Camp. As first-time safari visitors we were not sure what to expect, and this trip far exceeded our wildest expectations. Seeing animals in their natural habitats – up close and personal – was thrilling in a way we could not have imagined. Our ranger, Brendan Cole was outstanding – serving as guide, ranger, interpreter, and host. His driving skills were very impressive – he was able to pick the best vantage points and get us there safely and securely. He made it all come alive for us, seeking out different ways to experience the richness that is Mala Mala, and providing us with background stories on the individual animals and their prides, movements throughout the area, and environmental threats both in the wild and from man. His passion and dedication made all the difference in our understanding of what we were seeing. That said, we were able to see the Big Five within 24 hours and were able to see the “Big Seven” – including cheetah and wild dogs several times by the end of our stay. The camp is an amazing place to experience wildlife; the diversity is dramatic and represents great value for any safari visitor.
Our khaya and all the accommodations were sumptuous and the meals were a delight. We were offered the opportunity to dine with others, including our guide, or on our own, and we chose to get to know the other safari guests and compare notes on wildlife sightings, Land Rover adventures and other memorable experiences. Our trip was made richer by sharing our experiences with others while enjoying our own private space. The food was delicious and we appreciated the opportunities to try new things and dine in different settings on various nights. We would certainly come back and will tell all our friends that this is the place to go to see the most wildlife while learning a tremendous amount, and enjoying the highest degrees of comfort and travel delights.

Room Tip: All the rooms are gorgeous. We were in #2 - a bit closer to the main camp, which made it very conv...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Laurel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 September 2013

With our second daughter and son-in-law, we had the most amazing 4 days at the end of August
staying at Rattray's and going on safari excursions twice a day with Brett Meadows. His driving ability, knowledge about the area and animals were great and was fun to be around at mealtimes. The highlights were numerous from lion cubs and hyena cubs to amost every other wild animal you could think of. The food, local fresh produce, was very enjoyable from delicious breakfast ham through to Apple Crumble at dinner. Staff were all pleasant and enjoyed their hospitality immensely.
We hope to be back with our first daughter and son-in-law!!!!

Stayed: August 2013, travelled with family
Thank Lynn C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2013

Having traveled a substantially, Rattray's was at the very top of my experiences. Initially, you may think the cost is "over the top" but I assure you it is not. Superb service and luxurious boutique accommodations with no more than 4 guests per large, open vehicle. The safari organization and format was essentially perfect - early morning safari at 6:30AM, 10AM breakfast, lunch at 1:30PM followed by 3:30PM safari ending at 7PM. Dinner at 7:30PM. Your "Ranger" guide is individually responsible for every aspect of your stay. My wife and I stayed 5 nights - a perfect, first time stretch. Our safari experiences defy description - all enhanced by our Ranger Greg Baldwin. We were regularly amazed at Greg's knowledge, experience and sense of safety. The general manager, Andre was exceptionally professional. Everything about Rattray's is top notch and it's easy to understand their AAA level ranking. "Fantastic" is an understatement.

Room Tip: We stayed in #8 Kaya - located the furthest from the the main lodge. This was ideal for us.
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  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank GSSATLANTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2013

With Roan as our guide, we were able to see everything! Cheetahs, lions, leopards, wild dogs, rhino, cape buffalo, giraffes, zebras and more! He even spotted a chameleon at night! That was when I knew he was good. Accommodations were incredible. Food excellent. We went to four camps and if you could only go to one, this would be the place to go because you saw lots of animals. If I had to pick an improvement it would be better sundowners and more savory snacks in between meals.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank welove2goaway
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

Address: P.O. MalaMala, Skukuza, 1353, Kruger National Park 1353, 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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 3 Speciality Lodging in Mala Mala Private Game Reserve
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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