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Our adventure began the moment our ranger Gordon picked us up in a Land Rover from the MalaMala airstrip. En route to the breathtaking Rattray’s on MalaMala, we saw three lions laying in the shade a few feet from our track – we weren’t even on a game drive yet! This award-winning reserve is the oldest, most historical private game reserve in South Africa, often frequented by the glitterati. It’s one of the top destinations in the greater Kruger for those after superlative game-viewing and the largest single private reserve in the region extending over 40,000 acres, sharing a 19km unfenced border with Kruger.
RATTRAY’S ON MALAMALA
Offering a glimpse into an era long passed, Rattray’s on MalaMala pays homage to the earliest travellers to Southern Africa and captures the spirit of a classic African Safari in its refined, elegant and exclusive conservation area located on the banks of the Sand River in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve which shares an open border with the Kruger National Park.
In addition to Rattray’s on MalaMala, the game reserve also has two other camps to choose from. The Main Camp which features simply decorated cottages with two en-suite bathrooms and balconies with river or marsh views is best suited for families. Sable Camp is part of Main Camp, using the same rooms but with a smaller and more exclusive common area aimed at small groups.
THE CULINARY EXPERIENCE
We savoured our meals at Rattray’s on MalaMala on the beautiful deck overlooking the sand river where animals frequently came to drink, with our ranger Gordon and a lovely American couple, Kris and Don. On our first night we exchanged stories over a beautiful candlelit meal whilst dinner, on our second night was served in an enclosed boma (tent) under an ancient Jackalberry tree under the starry African sky. What we loved most about our seriously delectable meals was that they were family style but in a resort style setting. We used to look forward to each meal to see what the talented kitchen whipped up for us – be it breakfast after our morning game drive, a hearty lunch, evening snacks at the bar or dinner.
THE GAME DRIVES
Sharing an open border with the Kruger National Park, Rattray’s on MalaMala is situated on the banks of the Sand River on the Sabi Sands Game Reserve. This private conservation area is renowned for its excellent game viewing and breathtakingly beautiful, untamed surrounds. We went on two drives each day in an open-top Land Rover with two other safari-goers. Our ranger and host Gordon shared his knowledge and passion for the bush. We spotted the Big 5 as well as a rare pack of wild hunting dogs, giraffes, baby rhinos, wildebeest, impalas, Bushbuck and many other mammals, plants and birds. After sunset Gordon would scan the bush with a spotlight and educate us on the elusive nocturnal wildlife. For those wanting to explore the bush on foot, guided walks can be taken after breakfast. Our most unforgettable moment? Being in a lone car in the bush surrounded by a herd of buffalo.
MalaMala consists of three unique camps, each special and truly memorable in their own way.
Main Camp – Luxury rooms start at Dhs2,718pp per night. Luxury Suites start at Dhs2,938pp per night.
Sable Camp –Luxury Suites start at Dhs3,122pp per night.
Rattray’s on MalaMala –Luxury Suites (Khaya) start at Dhs3,765pp per night.
Rates include: accommodation, all food, game drives, nature walks, transfers to and from the MalaMala Game Reserve airstrip and laundry (10 items per room per day). Min 2 nights stay.