MalaMala Rattrays and Thornybush or Phinda Forest
Rattray’s is a great replacement for Sable as Rattray’s vehicles only take 4 max. This will ensure that you and your family have a private vehicle and guide for the duration of your stay. Tswalu also offers private vehicles so you would have had the same there and the ecosystem of the southern Kalahari would have been a more stark contrast compared to Thornybush or Phinda (both Thornybush and Phinda take max 6/vehicle). I find it hard to understand how Phinda or Thornybush could come in $3k higher in cost compared to Tswalu which is a premium product.
To answer your question about which option to choose, Phinda will certainly offer more diversity, but there is a bit more human intervention there than you will see in the Kruger area properties. This is all in the name of conservation, but Phinda’s rhinos are dehorned and they do control the elephant population there through contraceptives etc. You will see heaps, it’s a great reserve and story, but I always feel that one should be aware of their practices (not placing judgement so much as awareness). Of the properties in Phinda, Forest is my least favorite. Recessed into the tree-line, it doesn’t have big views nor feel particularly safari-esque. Still very upmarket and lovely. I much prefer Vlei is that northern sector of the reserve (the northern sector is more open and productive for wildlife viewing). The southern sector has lovely properties too and I am a big fan or Rock and Mountain (Rock in particular), but the game viewing immediately surrounding the lodge isn’t as strong as the north. Is it possible to move from Forrest to Vlei?
Thornybush will feel quite similar to MalaMala area, but with less density in wildlife. If you do the Thornybush option, I recommend you do Thornybush first.
With that said, if I had to choose between the two limited options, I’d go with Phinda.
Is your agent/tour operator unable to give you other options due to where your deposits have been placed? MalaMala Rattray’s combines exceptionally well with Mashatu Euphorbia (4 per car here as well and great for active families).
Kota Tabuchi – Managing Director: Africa – Travel Beyond