Mala Mala Game Reserve

Kruger and surrounds, South Africa

The hotel

The original safari destination, the iconic MalaMala Game Reserve has been the flagship wildlife retreat all others try to emulate since 1964 (although its dream location wedged between The Kruger and Sabi Sand Reserve makes it unbeatable). It isn’t just South Africa’s oldest private reserve, it was also the first to introduce photographic safaris – and you’ll wear your camera out with the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and cape buffalo roaming free here. To cap it off, MalaMala Camp and Sable Camp have undergone extensive and breath-taking renovations. The new interiors and guest areas beautifully blend old and new, classic and contemporary – whilst preserving their heritage and authentic African character. The stats keep coming, as it’s also South Africa’s biggest private 'Big Five' game reserve. Its ‘private’ status brings extra experiences like night safaris, but all its game-drives are special, with just 4-6 guests per vehicle and its unfenced border with Kruger National Park making this a wildlife haven. It’s a haven for you too, with its luxury lodges including secluded Rattray’s Camp and historic MalaMala Camp, with their infinity river-view pools, and more intimate Sable Camp.

Amenities

  • Bar
  • Safari
  • Swimming Pool
  • Safety Deposit Box
  • Internet Access

Where is it

The MalaMala Game Reserve is on the largest concession within the Sabi Sands Reserve, a 6-hour drive from Johannesburg. A 1-hour flight from Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport and then a 1-hour transfer through the game reserve. Private charters to their own airstrip available.

Hotel information

MalaMala Camp offers 14 luxury suites, 4 luxury rooms, and 1 single room. Rooms have undergone a stunning refurbishment including beautifully appointed bathrooms, tea/coffee-making facilities, mini-bar and safe, sleeping maximum 2 adults and 1 child.

All Inclusive includes: all meals, snacks and drinks (excluding premium brands). Game-drives, nature walks and laundry service.

Sable Camp is located at the southern end of the MalaMala Camp and comprises just 5 Luxury Suites plus Lion’s Den which is a double suite, ideal for families, with 2 ensuite bedrooms leading off a central lounge.

Rattray’s Camp offers 8 luxury suites accommodating 16 guests only. All luxury suites have river views from a private verandah, plunge pool, "his” and “hers” bathrooms, outdoor shower, tea/coffee-making facilities, mini-bar and safe.

Each camp features an air-conditioned dining room and boma area for dinner. Lounge and historic bar. Infinity swimming pool. Fitness facility. Massage service*. Wooden safari deck overlooking the Sand River for sightseeing. Library. Safari boutique. Complimentary WiFi.

2 nights.

* Denotes local charge.

Rating summary

  • Location Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Sleep Quality Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Rooms Image of the Tripadvisor rating
  • Service Image of the Tripadvisor rating
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  • Cleanliness Image of the Tripadvisor rating

Traveller rating

  • Excellent (356)
  • Very good (29)
  • Average (18)
  • Poor (2)
  • Terrible (0)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Fantastic Safari experience

Aug 16, 2019 Raymondhstone Toronto, Canada

I had the pleasure of returning to Mala Mala again last week. It remains one of my all time favourites and definitely Best Picks for a superb safari experience. The game viewing on this property is off the charts. You will see fantastic game - no doubt about that. The quality of the camps are first class. The service is fantastic and the food… Read more
I had the pleasure of returning to Mala Mala again last week. It remains one of my all time favourites and definitely Best Picks for a superb safari experience. The game viewing on this property is off the charts. You will see fantastic game - no doubt about that. The quality of the camps are first class. The service is fantastic and the food spectacular. The guide that took me on safari every day for 4 days was Cameron Inggs. He is one of the best safari guides I have ever had and I have done more than 150 nights on Safari all over Southern Africa as well as East Africa. If you are considering a safari Mala Mala is a great choice that will never disappoint. Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Talk about attention to details, excellent!!

Aug 4, 2019 elvo73 california

We were there for 5 days, and what a place! from the pick up at the airport to the drop off at the airport!! Adam was our guide and he knew all the facts about all the animals, birds, area, etc...amazing guy, he have the personality, the knowledge about tracking the animals, always gave us more than we expected!! The reserve, was beautiful, our… Read more
We were there for 5 days, and what a place! from the pick up at the airport to the drop off at the airport!! Adam was our guide and he knew all the facts about all the animals, birds, area, etc...amazing guy, he have the personality, the knowledge about tracking the animals, always gave us more than we expected!! The reserve, was beautiful, our room was fantastic, we kept thinking what else can we ask for? totally the best expericence on a safari, the cooks, the maids, the bartender, the security guy at night, all was fantastic, I certainly will recommend Mala Mala 100% Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing few days

Jul 7, 2019 MikeH540 Basel, Switzerland

Beautiful camp in incredible landscape. Very luxurious and service was excellent. The game drives themselves were really good with the guides being able to travel off road and get very close to the animals, and all animals are here we saw the "big five" in 48 hours. Not cheap - but worth it.
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Trip of LIFETIME

Jun 22, 2019 meganleigh81

Still on cloud 9 after returning from 4 days spent at the MalaMala Camp. It was my first safari experience and to say it was incredible is an understatement, MalaMala was above and beyond. The accommodations were modern and 5 star but tied in the local culture, colors, fabrics, and the overall feel of the beautiful surroundings. The food was… Read more
Still on cloud 9 after returning from 4 days spent at the MalaMala Camp. It was my first safari experience and to say it was incredible is an understatement, MalaMala was above and beyond. The accommodations were modern and 5 star but tied in the local culture, colors, fabrics, and the overall feel of the beautiful surroundings. The food was fresh, healthy, delicious, and always served with a smile and a warm welcome at every meal. The bartender Michael, is like an old friend greeting you at the bar every evening before dinner. The best part above and beyond was our time spent on our drives with our ranger Thabisani. His extensive knowledge for all things around the reserve, intuition for the animals and their behavior, concern for his guests comfort and well-being and straight up sense of humor made this trip unforgettable. Thanks to "Thabs", everyday was filled with the Big 5 sightings, animal interactions I've only seen on Animal Planet and CLOSE!! encounters with the most beautiful creatures on Earth. Those guests lucky enough to get him as their ranger I'm sure will agree, he's amazing at what he does. I have every intention to return to South Africa and the MalaMala Camp again, thank you for the trip of a lifetime! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Two Ultimate safari and oh so different

Jun 11, 2019 Sultan2 Carmel, California

My wife and I have had the good fortune to have been able to do two safari’s in a lifetime. Several years ago we spent 15 days in Tanzania camping in tents in the Serengeti and just last year visiting for a shorter time the MalaMala private game reserve. Having done both we are always asked which we would do again. I don’t regret my days in… Read more
My wife and I have had the good fortune to have been able to do two safari’s in a lifetime. Several years ago we spent 15 days in Tanzania camping in tents in the Serengeti and just last year visiting for a shorter time the MalaMala private game reserve. Having done both we are always asked which we would do again. I don’t regret my days in Tanzania traveling and flying all around the park, but I must give my nod to MalaMala. There are many advantages with doing a PRIVATE game reserve. Especially one as well placed as MalaMala. Here are the advantages. For one, in South Africa you are in open jeeps. That’s a function of being on private land. 2nd you can go off road. This allows your guide to follow and look for the big game. In the national parks you have to stay on the road. In MalaMala we were able to drive right up to a couple of lions eating a fresh kill. In Tanzania we would possibly have been much farther away if the kill were not on a road. If a leopard walked into the brush, we could follow in MalaMala, not so in Tanzania. That also helped with seeing big game, the big 5 they talk about. It could be weeks to see them in a national park. In MalaMala we saw them all in a few days. MalaMala has the longest boarder to Krueger Park, more than any of the other game reserves. Don’t be fooled. These parks aren’t fenced. Animals wonder in and out of the park onto the private game reserve lands. 3rd was our guide, Thabisani Buthelezi Or “Tubs" as we called him. Guides have much more latitude on private land then they do in a government controlled park. Tubs took total advantage of that to give us a fun wild time. He was funny, informative and made sure we got the best experience possible. He even took our camera to make sure we had the best pictures possible. He has some eye for photography. There are a few things you give up with MalaMala. You are not doing the Out of Africa tent experience. You are in a lodge and you dine in a dining room, not your private dining tent or around a camp fire. The other is you won’t be able to interact with local tribes, something we did enjoy in Tanzania especially since we were there with our young children. Let me see.....well I think that’s the only downside going to MalaMala over Tanzania. If I was going to do another safari, and we will, we would go back to MalaMala. I would hope that Thabisani “Tubs” was still there. He is definitely our guy. Read less