On Safari at MalaMala Game Reserve
If you have your sites set on seeing the Big 5 then MalaMala Game Reserve is the place to do so. It's said that 98% of guests sight these illustrious animals over a two-night stay. MalaMala sits on 33,000 acres of land directly to the west of Kruger National Park. The Sand River runs for 19.5km through the reserve. This environment, including sharing a fenceless and uninhabited border with Kruger National Park and neighboring Londolozi Game Reserve, in combination with a team of highly skilled rangers - including members from the local tribes - has led MalaMala to gain the reputation as one of the best places in Africa for wildlife viewing, and one of the best places to see leopards. Private lodges in the Sabi Sands often allow for shared traversing, meaning, rangers can cross reserve boundaries when in pursuit of wildlife. Only 30% of MalaMala's reserve allows for shared traversing with a max of three vehicles at any sighting. A stay at the illustrious camp, the oldest (founded in 1927) and one of the largest private game reserves in South Africa, MalaMala offers an outstanding safari experience from the moment of arrival to departure. There are three camps on the property: the main namesake camp and Sable Camp to the north of the private airstrip, and the luxurious Rattay's Camp to the south. The main camp is unfenced, so it's not uncommon to see a nyala or elephant wander past your air-conditioned room. Families with young children (four and up) are accommodated at the main camp and a babysitting service is available for an additional fee. At Sable Camp, there six private suites (one with two bedrooms) with a common deck and pool area overlooking the floodplain. For the most exclusive luxury experience at MalaMala, book one of the eight spacious villas at Rattay's Camp. The rooms look straight "Out of Africa" and feature verandahs overlooking the river with private plunge pools. If you don't fly directly to MalaMala's airstrip, the camps are approximately a 40 minute drive from Skukuza. Transfers can be arranged with the lodge for a fee.
By Marie Frei, AFAR Local Expert