User Reviews – MalaMala GR

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Overall rating

It's only by comparison to Mala Mala that I would rate the other game reserves I visited less than five stars across the board. I would guess that Mala Mala is the ultimate in luxurious, African Bush safaris. Not only are the accommodations luxurious and the meals terrific but Mala Mala has no fences. It's HUGE expanse of property runs right into Kruger park and other unfenced game preserves so the wildlife moves freely and you never know what you'll see on any given day. I spent three days at Mala Mala, I hated to leave and I wish I could be there right now.

A Luxurious Bush Hotel
Overall rating

Mala Mala is obviously geared towards the high market, with most visitors arriving by plane. As such, it is important to review Mala Mala in this context.

Yes, the rooms are luxurious and contain everything you could need, but there are other lodges that just add that touch of style which give them an edge in the luxury department. More specifically, the rooms felt like a 5-star hotel rather than a bush lodge - there was little viewing to be done from the room which was in near proximity to other rooms and therefore wasnt as open as it could have been. The view from the balcony was less than spectacular, rather dull even, but the occasional animal did walk by. In short - very comfortable, but didnt integrate you into the bush, or even really 'Africa'.

The communal areas were much more succesful in this regard, tastefully decorated, also with large trophies and plenty of space. Eating is done on a large deck with a great view over the river Sands, where the occasional elephant of hippo walks. There were many stories of animals coming into the lodge, but I didnt witness any of this. Further, there is a large and beautiful pool, as well as gym and entertainment room for kids with DVDs. The food was fantastic.

All the staff were extremely friendly and helpful. No complaints here. Especially the guides are extremely knowledgeable and willing to adjust to your wishes. They also eat every meal with you, providing great conversation.

The wildlife is what Mala Mala is famous for and there is no shortage of it. Within my first hour I had seen 2 cheetahs, a leopard and an attempted lion kill. We visited these animals repeatedly, and saw some more great interactions. The one thing I will add is that they are a little obsessed with the 'big five' and even provide a certificate at the end. Although the wildlife is great, and the game drives are lovely, the lodge lacks anything to really get you into the bush; the walk was 20min long and followed a road with the car trailing us, ready to pick us up. Further Ive heard some negative things about their conservation record, perhaps unfounded, but now with the fence to Kruger removed this should be fine.

In summary, a very comfortable and luxurious experience. You will see a lot of spectacular wildlife. Perfect if you want to visit Africa for a short time in comfort and tick your animal checklist. If you really want to explore Africa and experience the bush - go elsewhere.

Emiel de Lange

Fascinating, friendly foreever-experience
Overall rating

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.

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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