The Mala Mala Game Reserve also consistently features in the world’s top tourism and travel awards such as Travel and Leisure’s ‘World’s Best Hotel’, and Condé Nast Traveler’s ‘Top Hotel in Africa’.
The game-rich reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park in South Africa, is the oldest and most historical private game reserve in South Africa, in existence since 1927. Sound conservation management, the sheer size of land (it is the largest private Big Five game reserve in South Africa) and a 19 km (12 miles) unfenced border shared with the Kruger National Park contribute to the lodge's reputation as the finest game viewing destination in the world.
The open boundary provides unimpeded access to the Kruger National Park’s wildlife, which are attracted by a vast array of habitat types – ranging from open savannah to dense riparian zones and granite kopjes. At a mammoth 13 200 ha (33 000 acres), MalaMala is not only the largest private Big Five game reserve in the country of South Africa, but it also features the largest piece of land in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve – South Africa’s oldest conservancy of private game reserves. But perhaps of strongest allure to wildlife is the perennial Sand River of which 13 km (8 miles) flow through the reserve.
While it has become the exception rather than the rule for all members of the Big Five not to be seen on a single day, Mala Mala is certainly not just about the big and hairy. CEO and owner, Michael Rattray, has been closely associated with the area for almost 70 years and his formidable conservation expertise ensures that smaller beasties like dung beetles have right of way! Indeed, MalaMala is a sanctuary for rare and endangered wildlife where nature lovers may see threatened animals such as cheetahs, pangolins and the wild dog – Africa’s second most endangered carnivore! The variety of birdlife in the reserve regularly rewards even the most seasoned ornithologist with surprising finds: the martial eagle and ground hornbill for instance.
Activities offered at the Game Reserve range from walking safaris to 4x4 safaris which may include sumptuous bush breakfasts, picnic lunches and the opportunity to savour sundowners as the sun sets behind the dusty horizon. Outdoor activities are led by highly qualified rangers, most of whom have university degrees in the natural sciences and are thoroughly conversant with all aspects of bushveld ecology.
To optimise the guest’s game viewing experience, trackers from the Shangaan tribe collaborate closely with their rangers. These Shangaan trackers have a fabled understanding of the bushveld passed down through the ages by their fathers and their fathers’ fathers.
Thrilling game viewing is a prime draw-card for some of the world’s most renowned wildlife photographers and filmmakers. It should therefore come as no surprise that lodge has also provided the subject matter for many a celebrated wildlife book, such as long-time Ranger Nils Kure’s Living with Leopards, currently one of the most in-depth scientific studies of this elusive cat.
The accommodation is the Rattray trademark incarnate: discreet, classic and elegant African opulence. We invite you to sample our new luxury camp, Rattray’s is a thoughtful reinvention of the traditional Into Africa safari experience. To enable the business mandarin to stay in touch with their company, each plush suite or khaya features optional 21st-century convenience – satellite landlines, wireless internet access, laptops and a plasma screen TV with global news channels to keep you in touch with market-moving events.
But ultimately it’s the environment and how it’s experienced that makes the reserve what it is today. With the resources at its disposal and the experience of over 40 years as a leader in its field, the reserve is well-established as a premier safari destination in southern Africa – and the world!
Mala Mala Main Camp
The ochre-coloured buildings of Main Camp are clustered amid shady trees and manicured lawns overlooking the Sand River. The individually decorated, spacious and comfortable rooms under traditional thatching offer spectacular views of the river and the wild- and birdlife that are attracted to the water for refreshment and refuge from the hot African sun.
The rooms are equipped with ‘his-and-hers bathrooms, 24-hour temperature control, insect proofing, direct dial telephones, a mini-bar and a mini-safe. Despite the comfort offered, the reserve retains an authentic bushveld camp atmosphere, where the attention to detail for which the hotel is world-famous shines through.
Dinner is another highlight of the experience and is served around a log fire in the grand old African manner, under star-punched skies and in a reed boma a tradition for 60 years. The delectable dinner fare features a smorgasbord of bush cuisine, including venison specialities and outstanding South African wines.
The spacious beautifully adorned Buffalo Lounge, which displays bronzes, works of art and wildlife trophies, leads onto an expansive wooden deck that provides an elevated view of animals congregating at the Sand River.
Main Camp offers luxury and comfort in breathtaking, untainted wilds, where exhilarating game drives and guided walks engender close encounters with Africa’s game – big and small. These features – and lodges famous ‘X-factor’ – conspire to make for a bushveld experience that is world-renowned and routinely recognised in the world’s top tourism awards.
Luxury Room with Disabled Facilities at Main Camp has a suite for the physically impaired, complete with a fully functional bathroom featuring all the necessary fittings required by wheelchair users – including a wheel-in shower. The safari vehicle used is equipped to comfortably and safely accommodate disabled guests on game drives. The facilities were designed with the invaluable aid of the Disabled People’s Information Service of South Africa and are in line with international standards.
MalaMala Sable Camp
Set in a prime, elevated position overlooking the Sand River and surrounding bush, and at the southern end of Main Camp, the Sable Camp is an ideal retreat for the more reclusive traveller preferring privacy and exclusivity. The Sable Camp accommodates 14 guests in 5 luxury suites. The Lion’s Den Suite is an ample, 2-bedroomed luxury suite with splendid views. The Lion’s Den Suite accommodates 4 people.
The fully air-conditioned, superbly-appointed Sable Camp is permeated with a classic, colonial feel yet augmented by modern comforts. The atmospheric library offers optional internet connectivity and satellite television. The intimate safari bar, swimming pool and large wooden deck surrounding the camp provide the platform from which to admire the unadulterated views that make the Sable Camp experience so rich and interactive.
A dedicated team of staff are on hand to make sure that every need of our discerning guest is taken care of, while our highly qualified rangers and trackers make possible close-contact wildlife viewing in the diverse wilderness that is the Game Reserve. The Sable Camp does not accommodate children under the age of 12 unless the entire camp is reserved exclusively.
Rattray’s on MalaMala, South Africa
The Rattray's experience is altogether exclusive and discerning, with each of the 8 luxurious suites or khayas occupying its own elevated site overlooking the Sand River.
Designed specifically to enable guests to stay at Rattray’s on MalaMala for as long as they wish, each suite or khaya (Zulu for ‘home’) functions as an inclusive home, resplendent with the finest furnishings, lavish his-and-hers bathrooms and a secluded outdoor shower. Each khaya is fronted by a verandah with grand river views. A filtered plunge pool built into the private verandah provides an ideal vantage point from which to enjoy the surrounding scenery, as does the outdoor dining area, where one can enjoy bush cuisine – any fare from breakfast to dinner – in total seclusion.
To enable the communication-conscious traveller to remain connected to the outside world. Each khaya offers optional wireless internet and a laptop, as well as crystal-clear satellite landlines. A plasma screen TV with entertainment channels and global news networks like BBC and CNN keeps guests in touch with market-moving events. So as not to detract from guests’ enjoyment of the wild and untainted surroundings, all communications’ equipment (except landline telephones) is locked away in a cabinet, and there it shall remain, out of sight, unless guests ask for the key.
Rattray’s elegant main building incorporates a viewing deck, an air-conditioned library for the literary devotee, an attractive bar that showcases the history of the area and an adjoining wine cellar stocked with a sundry range of South Africa's finest wines. Breakfast and lunch are served in the cool, air-conditioned dining room or on the adjoining deck, whilst the traditional reed boma and its tall, sweeping jackalberry tree make for unmatched outdoor evening dining.
However, safaris reflect the 40-year-old, traditional ethos of the Game Reserve – game viewing. Sound conservation management ensures an environmental sanctuary for an impressive density and diversity of wildlife. At Rattray’s they strive for a maximum of 4 guests per safari vehicle, so enabling this unspoilt piece of African paradise to unfold effortlessly before nature lovers.
Sightings of the Big Five and the interactions of the various species along the food chain – from ants to elephants – provide visitors with a glimpse of Africa as it has always been: untouched by the modern human hand. Children’s Policy and Rates
Age restrictions do exist and are applied in the interests of personal safety as well as the comfort of other guests. Family rooms may be used as a triple or a quad room to accommodate children – the separate lounge is converted to a bedroom. Every suite/standard room at Main Camp and Sable Camp includes two bathrooms.
Children of all ages are welcome at Main Camp. However, those aged five and under are not permitted to dine in the boma or to be taken on game drives, unless their parents have reserved sole use of the game drive vehicle. Special dining arrangements can be made and baby-seating services are provided on request, at a nominal charge. Family rooms and triple rooms are available upon request