My husband and I stayed at Mala Mala Rattray’s Camp in August 2007. We greatly enjoyed our trip – game viewing, service, accommodation, food/wine were all excellent, and exactly the type of experience that one should have paying this kind of money.
The reason we picked Mala Mala is for the consistency of the Big 5 game viewing, which I had read about. And we were not disappointed - both my husband and I saw the Big 5 animals (leopard, lion, buffalo, rhino, and elephant) in the first 24 hours of our arrivals (my husband arrived a day later and saw the big 5 in the first day as well). In addition to the big 5, we also saw many giraffes, hyenas, zebras, impalas, kudos, nyalas, etc. You don’t see big herds of animals at Mala Mala (maybe only big herds of buffalos), but you see a large variety of animals and get very close to them. Our guide Stephen and tracker John went through the difficult bush to get us very close to see 2 pairs of mating lions and two different leopards. Mala Mala is definitely a place for people who are very interested wild animals. The camp does offer massage services and has a gym, but the focus is on the game drives – about 7 hours of drives a day.
I also want to highlight the level of service, which was truly personal. Since there are only 4 guests on a game drive, there is no tight schedule and you basically do things whenever you are ready –which is nice and relaxing (sometimes you can get lucky and don’t even share drives. We had private ones). The camp really caters to its guests’ needs. Everyone is very nice and friendly. Nils, the camp manager, whom we really enjoyed meeting and discussing a wide range of topics at dinners gets to know his guests and makes sure that everyone is happy during their stay. You do have to pay for wine (not included in the price), but the prices are reasonable. Another nice feature that the camp offers is private dinners. You can have dinner in your room and it is free (other camps charge for that – can you believe it?).
At Rattray’s, you are not staying in tents like at many other safari places. You are staying essentially in private bungalows (can't think of a better word. its not small though. anything but)– very classy, spacious, comfortable and with a lot of great amenities – flat screen TV, a laptop with wireless (yahoo was very slow for some reason though), personal plunge pool, and his and her bathrooms. You feel like you are staying in your own home in Africa!
Last thing to consider, this camp is not designed in the most modern style but its classic and traditional. Other new camps in S. Africa like the one Richard Branson owns are more cutting edge from a design perspective but in my opinion, if I want design, I'll go to NY, Berlin, etc. This met all our African Safari needs.
- 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