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“"Stay away during peak season"”

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Rattray's on MalaMala
Certificate of Excellence
Dubai
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“"Stay away during peak season"”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2009

My partner & I visited over the xmas break & upon arrival were told that 100 staff had gone on strike between their two camps at mala mala. They had clearly chosen the most opportune moment to strike. The skelton staff that was there were really thrown into the deep end and worked extremely hard to keep the camp running like normal. Unfortunately 100 staff walking off is not going to be unnoticed, irrespective of how much work they did. While given a tour of the resort, we were shown the facilities and the massage room was pointed out. When I asked if massage was available I was told "no" which was quite disapponting as thats one thing that was on the agenda and a luxury resort charging so much should provide. 2 of the 3 days we were there, our room was not cleaned and as it poured for the duration of our stay, we were confined to our room apart from the morning and afternoon game drive. By the 3rd day, our room was in quite a state & eventually cleaned however, Ice buckets were still not refilled and the glasses were not cleaned and were left half full with alcohol. Not to mention an expensive bottle of whisky we had was taken away and was not even empty. The other couple we shared the game drive with also commented on what a difference it would have been if the staff had not gone on strike. The laundry which we had given for cleaning was never returned to our room and were even asked to go to the office to claim it when I phoned from the room to ask of its whereabouts. When returning home, we felt it was fair to request a refund of 10% for our stay as we didnt get 100% of what we paid for and did this through our travel agent. We were extremely shocked at the response from Rattrays who declined to offer such a refund as they claimed we had done damage to the room such as alcohol staining furniture and the stench of alcohol & tobacco which apprently made the room unusable for 4 days. Their response to not cleaning the room for 2 of the days was that we had a do not disturb sign on the door which wasnt the case at all. They also went to comment on hygeine which was completely out of order. If the room was cleaned when it should have been, there would not have been alcohol stains as they say or the smell of alcohol or tobacco. It wasnt until we went to our next game reserve called Thornybush who cleaned the room during morning game drive, afternoon and even whilst we were at dinner that we realised just what we missed out on at Rattrays. Their attack in the email to the travel agent really left a bitter taste in our mouths and we would not return or recommend anybody to go to this camp either. There are many new luxurious resorts to stay at. However, if you feel complelled to do so, then be sure to not go during a time when staff might fight it opportune to strike again. This is a beautiful resort with excellent game viewing and the rangers are extraordinary. However, should anything go wrong, dont bother trying to get any kind of compensation.

Stayed December 2008, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
8 Thank travel_bunny1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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163 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (53)
Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
72 reviews
65 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 September 2008

My husband and I stayed at Rattray's Mala Mala Camp in August and had a wonderful time. The room , actually an independant house, was huge. It had a wrap around terrace with outdoor shower and plunge pool overlooking the riverbed. I booked only a couple weeks in advance so we could not stay at Rattray's the whole time, as it was booked. We were moved to Sable Camp the other nights. I was quite concerned I would not like Sable, especially after starting out at Rattray's. However, I must say Sable Camp was very nice. No, you won't feel like you own your own slice of Africa the way you do at Rattray's, but it is very nice as well. The drives were really good. There was never more than one other couple with us. ( twice we were actually by ourselves ) The food was fine and all the staff were quite nice. It was a great experience all around.

  • Stayed August 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank goodtrips01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
26 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 August 2008

What an over-the-top place! The new Rattray's Camp at Mala Mala is a HUGE improvement over the somewhat-dowdy and dated accommodations at the Main Camp. The individual suites are huge, have wonderful verandas overlooking the riverbed, and are very tastefully appointed. The lodge itself is one of the most stunning in Sabi Sands.

Rattray's Camp Plusses:
- Wonderful, luxurious accommodations, complete with satellite TV and computers (which some folks need/want)
- The outdoor showers and plunge pools. I showered outdoors with the elephants one morning, which was a highlight of my trip
- Terrific staff; the lodge manager Niels was very accommodating and friendly, as were the ladies in the dining room and housekeeping
- Sumptuous, tasteful common space in the lodge

Minuses:
- While Mala Mala prides itself on 'excellent game' viewing, they delivered 'good' safari. Our very nice, but young, ranger was not the best we've experienced in Sabi Sands. And our tracker did not interact with the guests at all. Compared to Londolozi, we found the Mala Mala game viewing to be not as good
- The food was also good, but not over-the-top. Compared to the quality of the rooms, I expected better food.
- Oddly, there's no alcohol included at Mala Mala. For the daily rates we pay for this premium experience, MM is not competitive with, say, Singita, which (like most others) includes all beer, wine and spirits.
- We're a male/make couple, so the male/female bathroom split in the suite was odd for us. For two men traveling together, both would end up using the men's side of the bath.
- There also seems to be an odd, almost cult-like reverence for Mr. Rattray, which is evident throughout the experience.

Rattray's is definitely on par with Sabi Sands Ivory Lodge or Londolozi Granite Camp and worth a visit. This lodge is especially ideal for the honeymooning couple.

  • Liked — The rooms
  • Disliked — Food and wine
  • Stayed July 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank SavvyNavigator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alexandria, Virginia
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 August 2008

We stayed at Rattray's at Mala Mala for two nights in August 2007 and everything was fantastic. Our khaya (house) was beautifully furnished and had separate dressing areas and bathrooms for each person. Each bathroom had heated floors and a heated towel rack. The woman's bathroom had a sitting area with a huge bathtub looking out onto the property and the man's bathroom had a lighted walk in shower (big enough for two people) with two shower heads.

The living area has a huge king bed with mosquito netting, sofa, chairs and desk and a small dining area where you can eat indoors. If you want access to the electronic world, they can give you a key to unlock the TV and satellite access to the laptop.

Outdoors there is a heated plunge pool and outdoor shower, table and chairs where you can eat your breakfast, lunch and/or dinner while looking out over the Sand River. The morning we left there was a big herd of elephants right outside eating leaves.

The safari on Mala Mala is fabulous and you are pretty much guaranteed on some fantastic close up sightings and you will leave with an amazing experience. We also stayed two nights at the Main Camp.

  • Liked — It was like living in a perfectly designed house. Everything was designed for your comfort and the staff made sure you were well taken care of.
  • Disliked — The only thing we didn't like about Rattray's was that we had to leave!
  • Stayed August 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank emchokie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
138 reviews
136 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 233 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 April 2008

I could not agree more with the previous reviewers comments.

What really impressed me was the incredible attention to detail:

1.) Cold cloths given to you after meals / upon arrival were scented
2.) There were post cards in the room with stamps already on them - no excuses!
3.) Laundry was included in the price - in by 9am, back at turndown
4.) You were given a laptop in your room to use
5.) Candles in the bath room
6.) Dual head shower in the bath (the men's side)
7.) Dry beach towels were awaiting our arrival back to camp upon a rainy drive

If you like these nice touches, and don't like crowds, this is the place for you. We chose this hotel over Main Camp also because there are no children allowed. I have had too many evenings out with crying kids that I didn't want that possibility to put a damper on my vacation.

I found the food good, much better than "upscale fast food" (e.g. chain restaurants) but not as good as a 5* Paris restaurant.

Do try the local wine - the bar tender can make some good suggestions.

Oh, and the animals ---- all incredible as previous reviewers have said. Best of all was at camp hearing the lions roar at night! I get goose bumps thinking about it!!!

Stayed March 2008
Helpful?
2 Thank Service_Sommelier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
64 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2008

This place is absolutely fabulous. We were able to fly into Mala Mala directly from Johannesburg on SA airlink, and were met at the airport by a jeep which took us the 5 minute drive to our camp. Rattrays consists of eight bungalows, housing a maximum of sixteen people. Bungalow is a misnomer, since each unit is a villa with his and hers bathrooms, a luxurious king bed, a sitting area, a deck and your own private plunge pool. All units are airconditioned, and absolutely private (skinny dipping is possible). The villas face the river, and you can often see game (we saw buffalo, kudu and baboons) on the banks. Bird watching from the deck is a delight.

The service is amazing. With 30 staff for 16 guests, your every whim is catered to. Our guide was knowlegable and worked hard to find the game we wanted to see. Most days we saw the big five, often crashing through the bush is pursuit of a sighting. No request was too small - one member of our party was fascinated with chameleons, and our tracker made sure to find them for her. Sundowners (drink of your choice) in the bush was an added bonus.

I have read negative reviews about the food, and cannot agree with them. While not gourmet, food was plentiful, very fresh, tasty and always included a regional specialty plus an alternative.

On the day of our departure, our flight was delayed and then cancelled. Nils, the Rattrays manager, was supurb,staying with our group us as we renogiated our flights, and then arranging for us to stay over an extra night at the airline's expense (thank you SAA). His graciousness made what could have been an ordeal into an adventure. Thank you Nils!

Our last night, we stayed in Mala Mala Main camp, so were able to compare experiences. Main camp is much larger (about 60 people) and so is less intimate. While the rooms are less luxurious than Rattrays, they are quite pleasant. The game drives are with equally qualified rangers, although jeeps are with six rather than four guests each. The food is the same. Next time, we may opt for more days at Main camp for less money, although Rattrays is the way to go if you want absolute pampering and cost is not an issue.

We have had one previous private game park experience at Londolozi. The game viewing at Mala Mala is far superior. Do this for the experience of a lifetime!

  • Liked — Luxury and pampering, with the best game viewing!
  • Disliked — I want to go back
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank BigBree
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Milford, CT
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2008

This was our first trip to Africa. We went with another couple who had stayed at the Mala Mala Main Camp previously. We just can't stop raving about Rattray's. Our ranger Sean, and our Tracker Collin were fabulous!!!! Both were as friendly, knowledgeable, and as helpful as could be. The entire ambience was truly relaxing and hospitable. Our first drive out, we saw the big five. Amazing... we viewed the big five and more on almost every drive. The accomadations were exquisite. The only thing we would have liked better was if the meals were not all buffet. Breakfast would be fine as a buffet, but lunch and dinner we would have preferred an a la carte menu. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing we would change. Our hearts and souls are still at Mala Mala Rattray's and only hope that my husband and I will be fortunate enough to return someday. LOVED IT!!!!!!! We send our best to Nils, Sean and Collin.

  • Liked — The game drives and the staff
  • Disliked — The buffet meals
  • Stayed March 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
Thank zuzu2050
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
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
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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