When you abut the Sabi Sand Reserve – one of the most wildlife-rich areas on the planet – and your hashtag is still #itsallaboutthewildlife, there is probably something special going on.
Mala Mala, one of the first photographic safari destinations in South Africa, has long been revered for its incredible sightings, of the big cats in particular.
20 kilometres of pristine Sand River frontage offer guests unrivalled viewing opportunities, especially during the dry winter months when water is scarce and a plethora of game makes a daily pilgrimage down to the river to drink.
Although other reserves in the area boast similar wildlife densities, it is Mala Mala’s terrain that sets it apart, with the open sandy riverbed making any animal moving around just that much easier to spot, while also allowing for unobstructed photographic opportunities.
It is not just the game drives in which the wildlife features prominently; the camps themselves are constantly alive with nyala, baboons and monkeys, and views through the ancient jackalberry trees down to Sand River allow guests to sit on the verandahs of their suites and enjoy the march past of Africa’s greatest show. Elephants visit the camp almost daily, lions are regularly sighted from the decks, and scarcely does a day go by when the bark of a bushbuck or the chattering of monkeys isn’t heard from the treetops, indicating the presence of a leopard.
The rooms themselves are a wonderful blend of contemporary luxury and nostalgic decor that throws back to the early safari days. Guests have a choice not only of rooms (different size options are available), but camps as well, with three Mala Mala camps offering something slightly different to the discerning visitor.
Mala Mala Camp (formerly known as Main Camp) is the largest of the three, with ten luxury suites, eight luxury rooms and one luxury single suite. A pool, wifi area and library mean guests can stay connected if they really need to access emails and the outside world during off times from bush excursions.
Sable Camp, just next door, is a slightly smaller, more intimate version of MalaMala Camp and is ideal for those seeking a more private and secluded safari experience. This camp boasts seven suites, some of which can accommodate three guests sharing. The camp can be exclusively booked for between fourteen and twenty people.
The final jewel in the Mala Mala crown is Rattray’s Camp, sited a few kilometres downstream along the Sand River. Rattray’s is the most exclusive of the three camps, tucked away by itself, and only allowing a maximum of four guests per game drive vehicle. Flexible game drive times discussed with your ranger allow for all-day excursions to fully soak up the magic of the African bush.
In the context of modern safari, luxury is about far more than a simple thread count or what’s available behind the bar. It’s about time in nature, feeling like there’s no one else on earth, totally immersed in the experience.
With over 13 000ha to traverse and one of the highest wildlife concentrations in Africa, Mala Mala defines wild luxury.