User Reviews – MalaMala GR

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Incredible wildlife and an amazing lodge experience!
Overall rating
5/5

There aren’t enough good things I can say about our time at Mala Mala. It was genuinely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There were times when it was hard to remember we were in a jeep because our animal encounters were so vivid and personal. For instance, we watched a baby water buffalo born just minutes before our arrival take its first, halted steps. Later, we looked up into a tree and saw a leopard ripping apart an impala it had just killed, while a hyena circled below waiting for scraps. We were only twenty feet or so away from the hyena – too awesome! The impalas, alas, endured another casualty the next day. In the morning, we saw a pack of wild dogs fighting over the pieces of an impala, which gives new meaning to the phrase “pack of wild dogs.” We saw a plethora of giraffes, elephants, rhinos, and zebras, oftentimes only a few feet away from our jeep.

We saw big game everywhere, but one of the more interesting compenents of the safari was learning how a complex ecosystem operates – from the smallest insects to the leopards and lions. For instance, our ranger spoke to us at length about the “life cycle” of rhino droppings, and scooped a small mound off our path to reveal an ant lion hiding in its hole – no larger than the size of a pencil eraser. There was nature all around us, from the elephant herd that walked by my porch only fifty yard away, to the amazing stars in the night sky. I genuinely adored each moment.

One of the more meaningful moments was the morning of our departure, when we went on one last drive to see the only Big Five animal we had left to spot – a lion. After an extensive search involving quite a bit of off-roading with tree branches whipping our faces, we came upon a pride of five lions, lying in the center of the road, asleep. I could now check off the Big Five! I even received a certificate to prove it.

The park to visit for once-in-a-lifetime game-viewing experiences
Overall rating
5/5

If you want to visit a park where you’re virtually guaranteed of seeing the Big Five, as well as incredible sightings of other animals, MalaMala is the one to choose.
Luxury is central to your time at MalaMala, and so when you’re not enjoying the facilities at the exquisite lodge, you’re required to sit back, relax and let someone else take care of the driving. Guests are taken on game drives in open game-viewing vehicles, and are accompanied by a ranger and a tracker. The rangers are in constant radio contact with each other, and calls are sent out when “special” animals are sighted.
Because MalaMala is a privately owned area, you’re allowed to be out in the park after dark, and the usual drive-only-on-the-road rule doesn’t apply. Once you get over the shock of your first true bundu-bashing experience, you’ll realise that being able to look for and track animals off-road drastically increases the quality of your game viewing. Over the course of a few days, I found myself literally in the middle of a herd of 300 buffaloes; hot on the heels of two lionesses as they chased and then killed an impala; and spent almost an hour sitting under a tree while a leopard ate her kill.

Fascinating, friendly foreever-experience
Overall rating
5/5

The experience of Mala Mala Game Reserve stirs memories of beautiful and romantic lodges at the brink of a wonderful river with fascinating and plenty wildlife in a very engaged, informed and friendly athmosphere.

Mala Mala was absolutely AMAZING!
Overall rating
5/5

Brett and Yuri were amazing guides. It was a great experience and we got to see the Big 5 in just 2 days.

A beautiful, fantastic experience for all of the senses that changed my life forever!
Overall rating
5/5

I believe that this trip could not have been more perfect. The weather was luscious, as was the food. We stayed in 5 star hotels and I am sure I would have been as happy in 3 star based on my love of the scenery and wildlife. The food was amazing, the wine was even better.

I believe Mala Mala is dearest to my heart because of its history. I had read Paul Theroux's book and particularly loved the chapter about Mala Mala. Our guide was knowledgeable to the extreme! (Thanks, David) --

I also thought that not using trackers at Mala Mala was very interesting and made the guides work that much harder at appeasing all the guests needs.

I wish I could have stayed longer. I believe I will be back.

Mala Mala is Luxury Safari at it's Best!!!
Overall rating
5/5

I didn't know what to expect when arriving at Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa. It was the 5th Safari in 17 days that had included Zimbabwe and Botswana and each place was unique and spectacular. I stayed at Rattrays and was lucky enough to have my own luxury villa which in all honesty was wasted on just one person!!! The accomodation was spectacular to say the least!! The staff were attentive and very friendly and our guide was fun and very knowledgeable for as young as he was. We only spent three days but probably saw the most animals that any other one Game Reserve although each one was spectacular. The guides are in constant communication and are quick to respond to an animal sighting and really do their best to track down the animal in question. We saw a Leopard and her Cubs, Lions at a kill, Lions and Cubs playing on the River Beach. Rhinos and their young, Girraffe, Elephants. The highlight for this particular stay though was a chance encounter with two Hyena pups whose mother was nearby. They got so curious that they came right up to the vehicle and climbed up onto it and was chewing the guides shoe laces and were so playful they tried to chew my camera strap that was swinging around....amazing experience!!! I posted part of it on YouTube at screen name jet400a. I will post the whole 15-20 minutes worth soon. My video of Duba Plains in Botswana is also on there.

The food, just like every other camp, was 1st class. I can't say enough great things about Mala Mala and its accomodation and staff!!! 5 Stars all the way....can't way to go back and take my family!!!!!

Mala Mala offered complete luxury, a perfect escape from reality.
Overall rating
5/5

The accommodation and service were top notch, offering a personalized experience that went way above my expectation. Amenities were fine, but I was not there for the amenities as much as the wildlife. In two days we saw just about everything I had hoped, going out of our way to try and complete my list. The guides were knowledgeable and made sure that my experience was amazing. I would highly recommend a trip here in the future. I drove myself to Mala Mala, an option that was fine but I would not do this again. Too much time was spent on the road rather than at the camp.

Visiting Mala Mala Game Reserve was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Overall rating
5/5

Everything about our safari was perfectly arranged. Our lodging and food was excellent. Our guide was an expert and was able to find wildlife, such as lion prides, hidden in the bush. Everywhere we drove there were amazing animals. We quickly saw the Big Five. Mala Mala is a huge game reserve adjoining Kruger National Park, and we had the place to ourselves with the animals and only the other Mala Mala guests.

Mala Mala has a wide range of scenery, from its river valley to rocky outcrops.

We did go in the rainy season, so we did have some rain every day. I definitely hope to return some day.

Spectacular Game Viewing and Experience
Overall rating
5/5

Not enough superlatives to describe the experience. The wildlife was varied, active and spectacular. Great viewing of many types of animals (lions, buffalo, elephants, hippos, rhino, giraffes, etc.) but the stars were the many leopards. Having stayed at the Rattrays lodge, there were only 4 guest per vehicle. Never more than 2 vehicles at a sighting. Impossible to imagine a more knowledgeable or friendly guide and of great assistance in positioning me to get the best photographic lighting. Service could not have been more attentive. Accommodations were world class. Food was quite good, with dinners eaten outdoors in a communal setting. A special experience.

Very Special Experience
Overall rating
5/5

This was my first Safari experience and a colleague recommended that I should go to Mala Mala and it didn't disappoint. The excellent, knowledgeable guides and spotters, great wildlife viewing opportunities at the end of winter (September, dry season) fantastic accommodation and the fact that you could fly directly there from Johannesburg all were big positive points.

Average User Rating

  • 4.9/5
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star 29
  • 4 star 4
  • 3 star 0
  • 2 star 0
  • 1 star 0
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