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South Africa Safari

Rattray's on MalaMala

Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

Lions at MalaMala
Return to Map of Sabi Sand Game Reserve

View images of Rattray's Camp: Rattray's Images

RATTRAY'S ON MALAMALA RATES: Rattray's on MalaMala Rates

Rattray's on MalaMalaAt nearly 40,000 acres (16,000 hectares) MalaMala Game Reserve is by far the largest piece of land within the Sabi Sand Game Reserve - the oldest conservancy of private game reserves in South Africa. Situated in the fabled Lowveld of Mpumalanga Province, MalaMala Game Reserve became the first of the tracts of privately owned game land to make the transition from hunting to photographic safaris.

But it is not just the sheer size of land that makes MalaMala so impressive. The 20 miles (32 kilometres) of open boundary, which MalaMala shares with the Kruger National Park, provides unimpeded access to animals from this world famous wildlife sanctuary. This essentially places MalaMala as part of a soon-to-be 12 or more million acres of pristine wilderness conservation area. Of constant appeal to the wildlife from the Kruger National Park is the vast array of habitat types within MalaMala - ranging from open savannahs to dense riparian zones and granite koppies. Perhaps the greatest attraction of all is the perennial Sand River – of which, approximately 36 kilometers soaks its’ way through MalaMala Game Reserve. The diversity of these habitats is the key factor behind the incredible complexity of fauna and flora for which MalaMala has become so famous, and is proven statistically by its game viewing – where it has become the exception rather than the rule for all members of the “Big 5” not to be seen on a single day on the property.

The camps of MalaMala are camps of Africa – designed to support the experience of the bush. One will find outstandingly comfortable rooms, the renowned personal service and high quality camp cuisine. Each camp is specifically located on the banks of the Sand River with magnificent panoramic views of the surrounding bush.

The new Rattray's on MalaMala camp is built on the site of the old Harry's Camp (Harry's Camp no longer exists).  Rattray's on MalaMala represents a classical “into Africa” safari experience in keeping with MalaMala’s history of presenting an authentic view of wildlife in Africa to the discerning traveler.

But ultimately it is the environment and how it is experienced that makes MalaMala what it is today. With the resources at its’ disposal, and the experience of nearly 40 years of being a leader in its’ field, MalaMala has indeed well and truly established itself as one of the premier photographic safari destinations in Southern Africa – and arguably the world!

In the early 1900's attempts were made to substitute MalaMala's wildlife with cattle farming. A losing battle with lions and a constant struggle with wildlife, diseases and drought soon proved that it was not a viable option. When Wac Campbell bought MalaMala in 1929, he explained that his intention was "the strict preservation of game with the object of handing this on as a legacy to my youngsters when I get old".

The site of Wac's first MalaMala camp was in the area where the Mlowathi stream flows into the Sand River. It was soon found that the rains made the river difficult to ford and in 1930 the camp was moved to its present site, on the near side of the river. The camp was used exclusively in winter as a base from which to hunt, but even then guests were treated like royalty and royalty, such as Princess Alice and her husband the Earl of Athlone, were often guests.

When Urban Campbell took over the reins from his father in 1950, things started to change and by 1960 the camera replaced the gun. In 1964, MalaMala was purchased by the Rattray family who, by retaining the best of the past and adding the comforts and luxury of today, turned MalaMala Main Camp into the top safari lodge of the world.

MalaMala Game Reserve recently received another award from Travel and Leisure Magazine, the World's leading travel consumer magazine. In the May 2005 edition, MalaMala was voted the 2nd in the category “Worlds Best Service” for Africa and the Middle East.

Awards received in 2004 include: 3rd "Best Safari Camp" - Conde Nast Traveler - October 2004;  7th "Best Hotel In The World" - Travel & Leisure Magazine, May 2004; and one of the Top 700 places to stay - Conde Nast Traveler - January 2004.

Accommodation            For images of Rattray's Camp, click Rattray's Images
The Rattray’s camp experience is exclusive, with each of the eight comfortable suites occupying its own elevated site overlooking the Sand River. Filtered plunge pools complete each of the secluded verandahs and an outdoor dining area provides the ideal vantage point from which to enjoy bush cuisine in complete privacy. Each guest has the choice of remaining connected to the outside world from the sanctuary of their room via continuous internet connectivity (512k wireless link via sattelite connection) and satellite television. 

Rattray's has a maximum capacity of 16 guests, utilizing 8 luxury suites called "khayas".  Eack khaya has wooden floors with under-floor heating in the winter months and wooden ceilings.  All khaya include separate his and hers luxury en-suite bathrooms and King-sized beds.

The Khayas also include:
• King-sized beds ONLY
• 24-hour temparature control
• Individual satellite television
• Laptop computer and 24-hour email / internet connectivity
• Private, secluded garden area
• Wooden deck overlooking the Sand River
• Private heated plunge pool
• Additional outdoor shower
• In-room dining on request (within your suite or on the deck area outside)
• Full range of guest amenities including bar, safe etc

Facilities within the elegant main building incorporate a viewing deck, an air-conditioned library providing a refuge for the literary devotee, an attractive bar showcasing the history of the area and an adjoining wine cellar stocked with a wide range of South Africa’s best wines. 

Other facilities:
• Dining Room with adjoining covered deck for outdoor dining
• Open-air veranda overlooking the Sand River
• Swimming pool with chang room facilities
• Bush gymnasium

Massage room
• Traditional African boma
• Golf Carts for guests who do not want to walk back to rooms
• Laundry Service
• Private, secluded garden area

Breakfast and lunch are served in the air-conditioned dining room or on the adjoining deck, whilst the traditional reed boma under a magnificent jackalberry tree is the ultimate outdoor evening venue.  Private dining in your suite is available on request.

Children Policy
Age restrictions do exist and are applied in the interests of personal safety as well as the comfort of other guests. We regret to advise that no children under the age of 16 years may be accommodated at Rattray's Camp.

The focus of the Rattray’s safaris will continue to reflect the ethos of the reserve over the past forty years – game viewing. Sound conservation management has ensured an environmental sanctuary for an impressive density and diversity of wildlife. With a maximum of 4 guests per safari vehicle, this wildlife wonderland that is MalaMala unfolds. Sightings of the Big Five and the interactions of the various species along the food chain from ants to elephants provides visitors with a glimpse of Africa as it has always been – untouched by the modern human hand.

Only guests accommodated in one of the three MalaMala Game Reserve camps may traverse the immense tract of privately owned game land within the Sabi Sand Reserve.  Game drives are conducted in open 4-wheel drive safari vehicles in the 40,000 acre MalaMala portion of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The rangers are in constant radio communication with one another to keep each other informed about the location of the game. Headsets are used for this purpose so as not to disturb the sounds of the African bush.

A special game drive feature at Rattray's is a maximum of four guests per safari vehicle.

The 4-wheel drive safari vehicles enable the rangers to leave the road and provide guests with close up game viewing and fantastic photographic opportunities. Night drives, with the aid of powerful spotlights, bring the bush to life at night.

After dark, spotlight safaris provide the opportunity to view nocturnal creatures and carnivores on the hunt and walking safaris with an armed ranger can be arranged on request. The success of our safaris can be measured by the fact that more than 76% of MalaMala's guests have had contact sightings of the Big Five.

The Sabi Sand area is known to have one of the greatest diversifications of animal species on the African continent. Over two hundred different species occur in abundance whilst the ever changing bird life provides even the most experienced ornithologist with rare finds.

The Big Five: Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhinoceros - the most sought after and dangerous of the world's big game. In previous centuries it was these five species which gripped the imagination of hunters and sportsmen, drawing them to Africa to experience the blood pounding thrill of hunting and shooting "The Big Five". It is in reserves like Mala Mala where this hunting and shooting still takes place, only the hunting is done by experienced rangers and Shangaan trackers, and the shooting is done with cameras. But it does not mean that the thrill and exhilaration of encountering these animals in an open Land Rover is any less gripping.

Apart from the Big 5 - Cheetah and Wild dog may also be seen. General game including Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, a variety of antelope and nocturnal animals such as Civet, Genet, Honey Badger and mongoose etc. occur throughout the reserve.

Folk lore and legend are rich with regards to the Big Five. Encompassing beliefs such as the following: " The Great One put the animals here for us to use wisely and respect, even as we hunted them, but he knew that without fear we might lose our respect for these creatures. So he put the five here to help us remember. The lion and leopard taught us fear of the night, that only the daytime was ours. The buffalo, the elephant and the rhino taught us to fear their strength, that we might respect the strength of nature."

Top           Return to Map of Sabi Sand Game Reserve          Return to Map of Lowveld Game Reserves          Return to Map of Limpopo Province

For tourist information and activities in the Limpopo Province, click More Limpopo
For further information about Kruger National Park, click More Kruger

For further information about South Africa, click More South Africa

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