Mala Mala Rattray’s vs Sabi Little Bush Camp
Both are exceptional lodges and you won’t be disappointed with either. Given your parameters and a choice between the two, I’d say that Rattray’s is probably a better fit. A few things to consider.
The MalaMala reserve is simply massive in comparison to any other concession in the Sabi Sand area. The perineal Sand River also flows directly through MalaMala, thus attracting wildlife during the tail end of the dry season. Finally, the reserve is far from fences (which animals generally do not like) and the eastern boundary of the reserve borders the western boundary of Kruger park (vast tracks of open wilderness). In short, MalaMala Rattray’s has the advantage when it comes to location and wildlife viewing pretty much over any location in the greater Kruger area. The rest really becomes a matter of personal preference in terms of accommodations.
You should note that Rattray’s also takes max 4 per vehicle whereas Little Bush, I believe, takes 6. I don’t know if that’d sway your decision one way or the other, but 4 will give you a bit more space in the vehicle and a bit more exclusivity. However, on the subject of exclusivity, the Luxury Villa at Bush Lodge or Ivory Presidential Suite at Selati both come with private vehicles at a rate similar to Rattray’s on a per person per night basis (Selati is probably better than Bush as Bush is really family friendly with a nice kid’s center). If you are a keen photographer, there are certainly advantages to having a private vehicle over sharing one with not-so-keen photographers. With that said, you can always book a private vehicle at Rattray’s if this is of interest.
If you are seeking high end, but casual luxury and private vehicle isn’t important, I also suggest looking at AndBeyond’s Tengile (of course you can book a private vehicle here if needed). Arguably the finest lodge in the Kruger area and competes directly with the likes of Singita, Royal Malewane and Lion Sand Ivory. The advantage here is that Tengile has traversing nights into the southern sector of MalaMala. If you want ultimate luxury with the best available viewing, Tengile is high on the list. In terms of price, it’s on par with the MalaMala Rattray’s and the Villa options at Sabi Sabi.
And finally, Singita Kruger (Lebombo and Sweni) are offering a pay 3, stay 4 special which brings the nightly rate down to a number very comparable to a 4 night stay at Tengile, Rattray’s or the Luxury Villa/Ivory Presidential at Selati. I personally love the Singita Kruger properties (although called Kruger, they operate on private land) as the sense of space, landscape and remoteness here is unrivaled to the Sabi Sand. It’s a very dramatic and beautiful setting with stunning wildlife viewing.
I don’t know what the rest of your plans are for safari, but Mashatu will combine very well with a trip to the Kruger area lodges previously mentioned. The new Kruger Express service operating Thursdays and Sundays will connect any lodge in the Sabi Sand area with Mashatu via KMIA Airport. The new Mashatu Euphorbia is a kid-free luxury lodge slated to open shortly with max 4 per vehicle. Amazing for photographers with the sunken hide and stunning for big cats and high density of elephants. It’s known as the land of Giants and pairs super well with MalaMala, Sabi Sabi or Tengile!
Kota Tabuchi – Managing Director: Africa – Travel Beyond
Edited: 3:11 pm, June 02, 2020