Mala Mala Main Camp | Sabi Sand, South Africa


MalaMala Camp is privately owned and run. It’s one of just three properties situated within the MalaMala private reserve, which is the largest of its kind in the Sabi Sands! Also the first commercial reserve in South Africa, MalaMala is the model on which newer reserves are based. This camp has been awarded a Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor! The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis and various packages are available – please contact a member of the YZ team for details. The camp is open all year round. All children are welcome, and the accommodation includes a fully equipped suite for disabled travellers.


The camp is accessed via road transfer from the MalaMala airstrip. It has a spectacular location on the banks of the seasonal Sand river, within unfenced gardens. Elephant and antelopes often visit, and the site is also popular with birds.


Guest accommodation consists of ten luxury rooms, ten luxury suites, and one single room. There’s an accessible suite too. All rooms and suites occupy ochre-coloured structures made out of timber, stone, and thatch, and nestling into trees alongside the river. The single room offers 40 square metres of floor space, while the luxury room option has 55 sq m and the luxury suite 85. Each unit has deck space, ranging from 15 to 20 sq m. All categories are very well appointed, featuring a comfortable main bedroom with beautifully made bed or beds, bedside table/s and lighting, a writing desk and chair, and a separate seating area. Additional amenities include 24-hour temperature control, direct dial telephone, mini-bar, tea-and-coffee station, mini-safe, and hairdryer. En-suite facilities typically comprise flush toilet, twin washbasins, step-up shower, and freestanding bathtub with shower attachment. The luxury suite is sufficiently spacious to sleep three adults or two adults and two children. And the accessible suite, designed in accordance with the Disabled People’s Information Service of South Africa, features ramp entry and exit, a fully accessible bathroom, wheelchair-level table surfaces, and ramp access into a suitably equipped Land Rover for vehicle safaris.

The communal lodge at MalaMala is another timber, stone, and thatch build. Inside, you’ll find the sumptuous lounge, with its well-cushioned sofas and armchairs around chunky coffee tables, elegant floor lamps, and all manner of local artefacts displayed on surfaces and walls. In the air-conditioned dining room, smart upright chairs flank chic individual or group tables, ready for delicious meals. The bar is a particularly stylish space, with its sleek row of stools and framed wildlife photos. Guests have access to a library too – known as the Monkey Club, this room has a satellite television, DVD player, and free Wi-Fi. You can have fun browsing the boutique, keeping fit in the gym, and winding down with a soothing massage. The lodge also has a deck, set up close to the Sand river. Pleasantly positioned in the shade of a jackalberry tree, this offers amazing views of the river and its inhabitants. You can watch wildlife from the infinity pool as well!


MalaMala offers an exciting variety of activities.

  • The private reserve contains the largest river section of any reserve within the Sabi Sands, resulting in some of the area’s finest wildlife viewing!
  • Game drives start out from camp during early morning and late afternoon, providing amazing opportunities to explore the reserve and to enjoy sightings of its wealth of wildlife. Children aged 4 years and younger can go on drives when their parents or guardians reserve a vehicle at extra cost. Among the highlights here are all Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo.
  • In fact, MalaMala Reserve boasts its own Big Seven, consisting of the traditional five species in addition to cheetah and wild dog. Other predators you can expect to see include hyenas, jackals, serval, and wild cat, while the overall herbivore count features giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and numerous antelopes too!
  • There’s a lot of birdlife, from raptors to songbirds to waterbirds – it’s well worth bringing your binocs.
  • Walking safaris are ideal for anyone interested in tracking game, as well as observing the smaller lives of the reserve on the way. Please note, there’s a minimum age requirement of 16 years for this activity.
  • However, a ranger is assigned to every family visiting the camp, and he or she offers plenty of things for kids to do! On arrival, each child aged 4–12 years receives a special MalaMala backpack laden with safari goodies. During their stay, the youngsters can get involved with animal tracking, bush survival techniques, and lots more besides.
  • For older guests, photographic safaris are available, in a dedicated vehicle.

*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.


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