MALAMALA GAME RESERVE
As one of the largest private Big Five game reserves in South Africa, MalaMala offers you an amazing wildlife experience. It was created in 1927, 94 years ago, and stands on 13 355 hectares. The game reserve shares a 19km (12 miles) unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park, which has helped create MalaMala's rich wildlife.
MalaMala Game Reserve
BIG FIVE GAME
All ages welcome at
the main camp.
Yes, in the main area.
Yes, but low-risk area.
With beautiful accommodation, friendly staff, delicious meals, and a game reserve packed with wildlife, MalaMala is a must-visit.
Mala Mala main camp is located inside Sabi Sands Game Reserve which is a part of the Greater Kruger. Sabi Sands is one of the most famous game reserves and is adjacent to South Africas flagship Kruger National Park. Offering safari experiences found nowhere else in the world and unparalleled game viewing. There are no fences between the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands, so wildlife is able to roam freely.
Malamala has three lodges:
The Main Camp, Rattray’s Camp & Sable Camp
We came across two sleeping female lionesses on our first drive and decided to leave them to search for leopards. We had been searching for a little under an hour when we heard a male leopard chuffing behind the vehicle. We turned around and found four wild dogs running off. We followed them, but we had to leave them running off in the darkness due to the sun setting.
Upon turning the vehicle around, we found stomach contents on the road. So we followed the drag marks and found a male leopard in the tree with a kill that he had stolen from the four wild dogs, and just off to our left in a small bush was a female leopard who was watching the male as she was waiting to mate. We watched the pair for a while, and eventually, the male removed the carcass from the tree and relocated it, with the female following after him.
We encountered two Wahlberg’s Eagles in a territorial battle; thinking the one had killed the other, so we sat and watched till suddenly a lioness strolled right past our vehicle, distracting the Eagle on the top and giving the runner-up a chance to escape and fly off.
We found one of the Birgham males from the Kambula pride with a kill inside Rattray's camp. He had a small impala and had leapt over the electric fence as he stole the kill from a leopard. Later having great difficulty trying to escape and leap back over the electric fence. We watched as he paced back and forth with what was left of the impala.
One evening we found the entire Kambula pride sleeping in the Sand River, and as the sunset, they started to get active. So we sat with them and had the entire pride get up and walk right past us on both sides of the vehicle, with a magnificent sunset. We had subadults drinking water right next to our vehicle and looking at us.
One hot morning, we found Hyenas swimming in the sand river. And what a fascinating sighting it was. They played, drank water and then walked off into the river bed.
An elephant died from natural causes, and we went to the sighting and found many vultures. We were able to see vultures scavaging on the elephants remains. We found the magnificent and rare Lappet Face Vulture and other more common vultures as white-backed and white-headed.
When heading to the bush, the grand bigger sightings are always amazing. However, when you head to the bush and appreciate the smaller things as birds, you can never be disappointed. Because if you don't see any big game, you are bound to see magnificent bird sightings. We came across a Heron with a large fish. The fish was bigger than the Heron. However, he eventually swallowed it after killing, breaking and cleaning the fish.
We went for a bushwalk and, upon returning to our vehicle to have a coffee stop we saw a few vultures circling close to us. We decided to follow up on the vultures, so we quickly packed up and drove in that direction to find a pack of wild dogs with 12 pups, all lying in the middle of the road. We stayed with the pack for nearly an hour and watched them.
Upon returning to Malamala for our second trip, we joined a sighting of the Inkoveni female leopard. She was pacing towards the boundary between Londolozi and Malamala. She stopped at a small dam and drank water, and then proceeded on. Stopping right next to us and contact calling her cubs from Londolozi. A few seconds later, we saw the two sweetest cubs running towards her. We spent an hour with them until sunset, where we watched the Inkoveni female lead her cubs to a bushbuck kill in the river bank bed.
We were watching the Kambula pride when, to our left, a few dagga boys strolled towards us. Immediately the lions began to stalk the buffalos. And we were able to watch as the Lions got within a meter of the buffalos and attempted to kill the buffalo; however, the hunt was unsuccessful.
One afternoon, we drove into the sand river bed and saw the magnificent Maxims male leopard in the river bed lying regally. We stopped and watched him from afar as he slowly approached the vehicle and walked past us. And headed towards the reeds in the Sand River bed in front of the lodge.
We head out early in the morning, searching for a game. We headed to Malamala's boundary to the Kruger National Park and searched for pride that we tracked to the area. After an hour of searching and bundu bashing in the rover, we found them on a buffalo kill with the Avoca Males.
Close to the Kruger boundary we found four male rhinos altogether. Which we were told is not a common sighting due to Rhinos being territorial.
Driving through the dry river bed we came across a male leopard finishing his sip of water, we followed him to discover that he had a male impala kill hoisted up in a tree. Watching him ascend the tree to feed a little. Later two hyenas joined, waiting at the base of the tree for some scraps to fall. The male leopard re-adjusted his kill a couple of times and almost dropped it to the Hyenas waiting below.
Going through the clouds of smoke from an adjacent property burning we found the Nkuhuma pride from the day before, having left their Buffalo kill. We found them all sleeping off their meal, full bellies and looking perfectly content. The Avoca males still with the Nkuhumas pride.
Looking out from the deck of Malamala main camp, we saw an adolescent male lion walking on the riverbed, with pace. We immediately stopped breakfast and jumped into the vehicle to find him. We found him shortly after leaving the lodge, it was a sub-adult male from the Kambula Pride and he was contact calling in search of his pride. We later found the rest of the pride not far from where we originally found the sub-adult male.