Overview – Mala Mala GR
Although geographically part of the 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.
Pros & 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 checking off the Big Five animals
Mala Mala offers some of the best wildlife viewing on the continent. The Big Five is usually checked off in two days, and leopard 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).
Mala Mala is sandwiched between Kruger National Park and Sabi Sand Game Reserve with open borders on both sides. The vegetation consists of woodland savannah, 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.
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.
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MalaMala Safari Reviews
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Most Helpful Expert Review
Ariadne is a renowned African wildlife photographer whose work is featured in many well-known guidebooks and magazines.
Simplicity in MalaMala
Having visited many of the private game reserves in Sabi Sands, MalaMala is my first choice. MalaMala is in fact not part of the managed area of Sabi Sands anymore, but it is still part of the general cluster of parks. This park is much...
Latest User Review
Just keeps getting better!
This was my second visit to MalaMala (lucky I know!) so I had very high expectations - especially as on my previous stay we ticked off all the Big 5 just between the airport and Main Camp and saw both a lion and leopard kill on our first...