Mala Mala Game Reserve

- Overview Mala Mala Safaris

About Mala Mala Game Reserve

Although geographically part of Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Mala Mala is an independent private game reserve bordering Kruger National Park without fences. It offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa with easy, quality sightings of the Big Five and leopard, in particular.

Size: help
133km² / 51mi²
Altitude: help
270-467m / 886-1,532ft
Pros and Cons
  • Superb wildlife viewing with almost guaranteed sightings of the Big Five
  • Off-road driving in open vehicles allows close animal encounters
  • Day and night drives and walking safaris conducted by highly trained guides
  • Largest property on Sabi Sands with extensive river frontage
  • No traversing rights with other properties making it very exclusive
  • More affordable than some of the other Sabi Sands properties
  • No budget or self-drive options
  • Accommodation hasn't been upgraded for a long time and is no frills compared to its competitors
  • Big emphasis on ticking off the Big Five animals


Mala Mala offers some of the best wildlife viewing on the continent. The Big Five is usually ticked off in two days and leopards are easily spotted on most drives. All sightings are exclusive to Mala Mala visitors because the park doesn't give traversing rights to other properties, as is common practice in the Sabi Sands reserves. This means quality sightings as you are allowed to spend more time without having to move on to make space for other vehicles (only three vehicles are allowed per wildlife sighting).
More about the wildlife


Mala Mala is sandwiched between Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Game Reserve with open borders on both sides. The vegetation consists of woodland savanna, dense riverine forest, acacia bushveld, open grassland and rocky outcrops. The Sand River flows north to south through the park for 20km / 13mi and attracts abundant wildlife in the Dry season.

Weather & Climate

The Wet season in Mala Mala runs from October to April, during summer, when stormy afternoons are not uncommon. The heat can be harsh during the daytime. Winter, from May to September, on the other hand tends to be dry and mild. Temperatures can drop quite dramatically at night, however, and early mornings will feel quite cool.
More about the weather and climate

Best Time to Visit

The Dry season (May to September) months are recommended for getting the best out of a wildlife-watching experience in Mala Mala. Animals can be found milling around the few remaining water sources, and the views open up as the bush recedes. During the Wet season (October to April), the vegetation is green and lush and birding is at its prime, but afternoon storm activity can spoil the best-laid plans.
More about the best time to visit

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Safari Reviews

- Mala Mala
Expert Rating
Scenic beauty
Bush vibe help
User Rating
Scenic beauty
Bush vibe help
Latest User Review
By Tom Friedel from AustraliaAU

Mala Mala is the largest private game reserve located in the in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and adjoins the Kruger National Park on its western side. There is no fence between the two and , consequently, game can move freely between the two areas.... Full review

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