Mala Mala Game Reserve

Kruger and surrounds, South Africa

Virgin rating

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

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

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 (397)
  • Very good (30)
  • Average (20)
  • Poor (4)
  • Terrible (0)
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Decent Wildlife Viewing

Jul 24, 2022 Elissa T Los Angeles, California

The accommodation is clean, but much more upscale than what I'm used to in Africa. This was booked due to the location, so the luxury just wasn't my cup of tea. The rooms were comfortable and we had a cute waterhole view, but I wish the camp was a little more traditional and not as upscale. I did not like how there were animal heads decorating the… Read more
The accommodation is clean, but much more upscale than what I'm used to in Africa. This was booked due to the location, so the luxury just wasn't my cup of tea. The rooms were comfortable and we had a cute waterhole view, but I wish the camp was a little more traditional and not as upscale. I did not like how there were animal heads decorating the lodge and I didn't like the animal skin carpets on display and being sold. It left a bad taste in my mouth. The food was okay-- not the best I've had, but also not the worst and the portions were good. Some game drives were slower paced than what I'm used to but when we did see sightings they were often good. I like the 3 vehicle limit for sightings. The staff were friendly and accommodating, which I appreciate! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating Amazing safari trip

Jun 3, 2022 Debra T Batemans Bay, Australia

MalaMala Camp and reserve proved to be an outstanding location for our recent trip with Oryx Photo Tours. The accommodation was clean, comfortable and had all needed amenities. Wonderful to have time away without televisions and the like - after all the focus is on the animals and birds. Staff were always on hand and willing to sort out any… Read more
MalaMala Camp and reserve proved to be an outstanding location for our recent trip with Oryx Photo Tours. The accommodation was clean, comfortable and had all needed amenities. Wonderful to have time away without televisions and the like - after all the focus is on the animals and birds. Staff were always on hand and willing to sort out any issues. We had some amazing experiences including several leopard and lion sightings among a host of other game - too many to list. Our ranger Pete was excellent - his skill at following the tracks and finding the animals and locations for us to photograph was a real plus. Our Oryx Photographer Penny Robartes made sure we came home with some great photos! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating BEST Bush Experience EVER!! 💯💯💯

May 28, 2022 jfane77

Where do I even begin? This was the absolute BEST bush experience I have ever encountered. It started from the moment we stepped out of the airport transfer and the staff greeted us. It was evident they GENUINELY care about their guests through their actions the entire stay. The rooms were beautiful, spacious, and super clean. The food was… Read more
Where do I even begin? This was the absolute BEST bush experience I have ever encountered. It started from the moment we stepped out of the airport transfer and the staff greeted us. It was evident they GENUINELY care about their guests through their actions the entire stay. The rooms were beautiful, spacious, and super clean. The food was delicious and accommodated my family’s needs. We arrived later than expected and the entire staff accommodated all needs even late in the evening including still ensuring we received the evening game drive. We ended up seeing a live kill from start to finish on the very first night and had no idea how that would be topped the remainder of the trip but guess what, it was!!!! Each game drive was unique in its very own way and offered an experience different than before. Everyone was great but a GINORMOUS SHOUT OUT to Obie (I apologize if I spelled her name wrong) and Reggie! I can’t wait to come back for more! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating An amazing safari experience.

May 26, 2022 johnaalex Greenford, United Kingdom

As a keen amateur photographer with a love for wildlife safaris are a favourite type of holiday for me. I have stayed at various game reserves in South Africa and they have all been good but I have to say Mala Mala is the best yet. the rooms, food and service are all definitely "five star and first class". The game drives, thanks to the fantastic… Read more
As a keen amateur photographer with a love for wildlife safaris are a favourite type of holiday for me. I have stayed at various game reserves in South Africa and they have all been good but I have to say Mala Mala is the best yet. the rooms, food and service are all definitely "five star and first class". The game drives, thanks to the fantastic driving and tracking skills of Melanie were outstanding! Read less
Image of the Tripadvisor rating 5 Star experience

May 2, 2022 Konrad R Brakpan, South Africa

From the time you arrive ,until you depart, you are made to feel special. We stayed in a luxury room facing the sand river, and what an experience sitting on your verandah and seeing a variety of animals crossing the river and grazing right infront of you . The rooms are spacious, well decorated and caters in every imaginable need of yours. Meals… Read more
From the time you arrive ,until you depart, you are made to feel special. We stayed in a luxury room facing the sand river, and what an experience sitting on your verandah and seeing a variety of animals crossing the river and grazing right infront of you . The rooms are spacious, well decorated and caters in every imaginable need of yours. Meals are served, either on the main deck, or in the restaurant, and the quality of the food, cant be faulted. If the weather permits, dinner is served in the Boma with a bonfire in the middle. What an experience!! Everyday you go out on 2 game drives, one early morning and the other in the afternoon. On every game drive, you will experience something else. The African bush never disappoints. The rangers are very professional. Mala-Mala is an experience you have to experience. Read less