Mala Mala Game Reserve- User Reviews
A dream come true
I am still on cloud 9, having just returned from the holiday of my dreams. Everyone is very welcoming and nothing is too much trouble, all the rangers answer questions with such knowledge and enthusiasm. On the first drive my group saw the big five and there was a friendly rivalry between the rangers which in turn passed to us clients. As we set off, our ranger,Aymer asked us all what we would most like to see so he was able to tailor our desires and hopes. As it was so dry we were able to clearly see leopards stalking, saw twin baby leopards and many other sights at other times would have been impossible. As no more than three trucks view the animals together you can get really close and the animals ignore you, although when a lion cub sharpened it`s claws on our wheels we were a little concerned! Being able to go off road made the experience mega exciting, you never knew what we would see, elephants,rhino, hippo, cheetahs, baboons, the list goes on.
The accommodation was very comfortable and clean, with the animals able to wander round as they please you felt at one with them. The food was excellent and the service was second to none with the cheerful and happy ladies. To sum up, if you want a holiday of a lifetime Mala Mala came up with it!... more
An Exceptional Experience
Mala Mala was a 5 star experience all around. Game viewing exceeded expectations. We saw the Big 5 in the first day of our four day trip. But each day had its own highlights -- lions stalking, leopards mating, giraffes necking, a leopard munching on an impala snack, elephants drinking at the river, and cheetahs walking along as cool as you please. Admittedly, we were lucky but both rangers talented at finding game and the dry weather which caused the game to hang near the river, helped. At Mala Mala, the guests spend most of day with their assigned ranger. You are with them not only for game drives but also for meals and drinks at the bar beforehand. So you need to get along with these guys to make it an enjoyable experience. However, I saw no one that wasn't enjoying interacting with the rangers, that includes my group who enjoyed hanging with Daniel over the four days. The time and social pressure on the rangers is large, but they all seemed handle it with aplomb. Daniel not only knew where to look, he was very knowledgeable about all the animals we saw (including numerous birds), but was also good at explaining their behavior, or, more to the point, the reason for their behavior. One other ranger-positive remark: the game drives take place very early and late in the day and with the sun low in the sky, back lighting and shadows make for tough photographs. These guys were particularly adept, when possible, at maneuvering the truck around to get a good, close, well lit shot. Now, they can't drive over logs or cross rivers to do this, but if they could achieve a good position, they would. Our rooms were spacious and well cared for. They have complimentary laundry service, a very important feature when you can only carry 20 kilos of luggage for an 11 day trip. The food was tasty and well prepared. Meals were buffets which was helpful in controlling quantities. Final point: work with your travel agent in getting to the camp. Mala Mala has a airstrip 15 minutes from the main lodge. Make sure you can access the camp via this airstrip as opposed to the two hour drive from Nelspruit that we experienced!... more
Outstanding safari destination
Mala Mala borders the Kruger National Park. Southern Africa's in the grip of a drought, but Mala Mala's fortunate to have a (much-reduced) river running through it North to South. This and the winter-thinned bush make for a safari bonanza. Thanks to our outstanding guide Tim we saw a veritable A-Z of African wildlife, from top predators through to some of the rarest animals on the planet. Because Mala Mala's private you're not sitting in a queue with tens of other vehicles, and the guides can get their vehicles well off the track. It feels unbelievably privileged. Highlights were wild mating leopards, a female leopard in a cub with her den, running with a nighttime pack of hyena, herds of elephants (and much more). We were in a family double room which worked brilliantly. And I'm always amazed how places like this serve up exceptional food and drinks, which is a bonus. But we came for the safari, really, and it's made for a lifetime set of memories.
We have just returned from our third visit to Mala Mala & as usual, cannot speak highly enough of of our experience. Special mention must be made of Leon, ranger Adi ( previous Rangers Jonno & Paul) & indeed the entire staff who were courteous & friendly. The accommodation is clean, comfortable & attractive, the food is good & lots of it! Only wish was that the orange juice could be freshly squeezed & alcoholic drinks could be complimentary till say 8 pm!!
Safari with Style
Mala Mala is an absolutely amazing safari destination. Having done a more rustic camping safari in the past, I was blown away by the comfort and amenities (wifi, a/c, lack of insects, etc.) of the Mala Mala camp so deep in the bush. The guides themselves are extremely knowledgeable and bend over backwards to make sure that your experience is second-to-none. We saw all of the major animals that are native to the area (rhinos, leopards, lion, elephants, hippo, water buffalo, and so much more)! In fact, we were able to see elephant, baboon, antelope, and others from the porch of our private cabin, while enjoying a glass of champagne.
Another great thing about Mala Mala is that it shares an unfenced border with Kruger, so animals are free to roam between Mala Mala and Kruger. But what makes Mala Mala even better is that Kruger has restrictions on off-road driving, meaning that you can't track animals off of the main roads; but Mala Mala is a private reserve and does not have these restrictions. The guides are able to wander into the bush and get guests close to animals, while being very respectful of the animals themselves to make sure that both parties are comfortable.... more
Mala Mala, Superb accommodation, superb wildlife sightings
It's always difficult to know just how lucky with wildlife sighting you've been on a trip when compared to those who've come before you but on this occasion we must have been very lucky indeed! As a location for leopards Mala Mala is unrivalled in our experience and we've visited a large part of Africa over the years. The accommodation was excellent as was the food and general service. As very keen wildlife photographers we are always reliant on the expertise of the local rangers, we never have enough time anywhere we go and need the rangers to get us to the optimum locations for photography. They know their area whereas we don't and in this respect they are an invaluable source of the local information every photographer needs. Mala Mala has some of the best rangers we have come across and hopefully our photographs did them justice. We would have no hesitation in recommending Mala Mala as a safari destination not just for leopards but for game photography in general including significant numbers of birds.... more
A wild place
My stay at Mala Mala game reserve was one out of three stays during a photosafari trip arranged by Stu Porter at Wild4 Photo Safaris. He had arranged this stay as the last on our tour and i can understand why. A better ending to a perfect week in the bush is hard to find. We stayed at Rattray´s on Mala Mala where i had the privilege to live in my own Khaya wich is something i can really recommend. These Khayas are simply wonderful and makes you feel like a king. The staff is very helpful and service minded and will always do everything to make your stay memorable.
Anyway, our main goal with this trip was to get as many nice safari pictures as possible and Mala Mala delivered that too. Our ranger Peter took really good care of us and as he also was very interested in photography he had a good feeling for what we probably would like to see. We successfully spotted the big five and lots of other interesting animals such as a pangulin for instance. We went out into the bush at 6 o clock every morning and brought our breakfast with us out to have it the Landrover. Being in april it was kind of cold in the mornings but the car was equipped with blankets so that was no problem. We then went back to camp at around noon to have lunch and do some downloading of our pictures and after that we went back out again until the sun went down and it became too dark for photography. We really had a lot of nice moments at Mala Mala during this trip and those moments will always stay in my mind. I hope i get to go there again sometime.