Re-imagination of MalaMala Main Camp and Sable Camp

We would like to update you on the planned “re-imagination” of MalaMala Main Camp and Sable Camp and are delighted to confirm that Michele Throssell Interiors (MTI) has been appointed as the design team on the project. Michele's vision for the project is "a celebration of MalaMala's rich heritage through a contemporary revisioning of the romantic colonial era – mixing animal print, bold graphics and tribal patterns, and local object d'arts with a nod to traditional luxury." This is aligned with our objective of creating a fresher and sharper feel for the camps while at the same time preserving the unique history and soul of MalaMala. 

Our project team is busy finalising the building plans and scope of works which will determine the timing of the re-imagination project. We have been reluctant to commit to actual dates before receiving the final plans but we can now disclose the following proposed timetable for the re-imagination:

  • Phase 1: 01 October – 15 December 2017: 5 rooms at the southern end of the camp including Sable Camp.
  • Phase 2: 15 January – 15 March 2018: MalaMala Main Camp central facilities area (lounge, dining room, bar and safari deck) and 8 rooms. Guests will utilise the Sable Camp facility over this period.
  • Phase 3: 16 March – 30 June 2018: Continuation of 8 rooms on a rolling basis until all rooms are completed. 

The start date of 1 October 2017 has been set to ensure that we are completely ready for the project and are not surprised by any unforeseen delays. We also wish to avoid any disruptions during the high season winter months of June to September.
Based on the timetable above:

  • Sable Camp will only be available until 30 September 2017 (at Sable Camp rates).
  • Sable Camp will be available again from 01 July 2018.
  • For the first 6 months of 2018, Sable Camp will be used to accommodate Main Camp 'over-bookings' (at Main Camp rates).

We are confident that there will be minimal inconvenience to our valued guests during the important re-imagination of the camps. During this period, we will endeavour to accommodate a maximum of only 4 guests per safari vehicle, whenever possible.

Michelle Throssel Interiors design team

Rattray's on MalaMala

Following on from our October 2016 newsletter, we would like to highlight the following developments at Rattray’s on MalaMala: 

  • The existing Rattray's rates are now fully inclusive of all drinks (excluding premium alcoholic brands).
  • A new a la carte breakfast and lunch menu is now available 
  • Two khaya’s (suites) are able to accommodate twin beds
  • Two khaya’s (suites) are able to accommodate a third bed (triple share)

Rattray’s on MalaMala continues to offer a maximum of 4 guests per safari vehicle

MalaMala's photographic vehicle

Our dedicated photographic vehicle comprises of:

  • 3 rows of 2 bucket seats
  • A sliding camera mount per row
  • Bean bags for camera stability
  • Storage boxes for camera equipment
  • Under-seat lighting
  • A dedicated photographic ranger 
This vehicle is subject to availability on confirmation of a reservation at any of the 3 MalaMala Game Reserve Camps.

Rate: US$ 660.00 per vehicle per day (midday to midday) on a private vehicle basis and limited to the number of seats available (we suggest a maximum of 4 guests).

Guest photographic competition winner

The MalaMala 2016 Guest Photographer of the Year is.... Peter Short. Congratulations Peter, we look forward to welcoming you back to MalaMala. 

Here's what our judges had to say about the photograph: 

Max Waugh: "This was far and away my favorite image of this year's competition. It has many of the elements that make up a unique and interesting scene: interesting angle, dynamic action and excellent composition. One of the advantages of visiting MalaMala as a photographer is the ability and flexibility we have to position ourselves at better angles for photography. In this case, Peter was able to work with their MalaMala ranger to station themselves below the elephant, and the low angle pays off by making this charge look even more imposing and intimidating. I applaud the choice to convert the image to monochrome, as it enhances the somewhat dark and violent mood of the scene." 

Greg du Toit: "A really good photograph of a moving and dangerous animal will often depict a scary moment, but this photograph does not merely reflect such a moment but rather it invokes, in the heart of the viewer, a very real sense of danger! This image sparks not just fear, it ignites the human imagination leaving us to complete the story for ourselves. Why was this elephant running straight towards the camera? Did it stop before reaching the photographer? And why on earth is the photographer shooting from such a low angle? This type of imagery is so powerful because it not only makes a statement but it asks questions too and it does this all in a single split second. In this case, 1/400th of a second to be exact. Bravo!"

Stu Porter: "This image portrays a lot of energy, atmosphere and a real sense of danger. I can feel the excitement that the photographer must have experienced as this giant animal charged. The front foot and the dust add a feeling of speed and urgency. The low angle adds an extra dimension to the feeling of being vulnerable. Turning the original image into Black & White has added extra impact to the scene. The fact that this image was entered into the competition tells the happy story that the photographer, vehicle and MalaMala ranger made it out safely from this encounter! It is a great image of a wild animal in action. The elephant is doing something, and in this case it is doing it in spectacular fashion."

2016: The year in review

Contrasting conditions

It was astonishing to see how the bush transformed through the year from a leafy golden orange, followed by a bare landscape and finally to a lush carpet of green. In the height of the drought, grass became a precious rare commodity with vast patches of dusty earth void of even a single blade. The normally perennial Sand River dried up too.

Difficult as it may be to believe, drought plays a necessary and important role in nature – “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die… A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”.

Lion vs buffalo

The drier months at MalaMala are often filled with interactions between lion and buffalo and in 2016, this frequency increased even more. We witnessed many kills and a few great escapes. Drought has a negative impact on all herbivores, but some species are affected more than others depending on their diet, physiology, size, habitat selection and food preferences. Buffalo fare worse because they prefer taller grasses and in dry months expend a lot of energy as they travel great distances in search of food and water. A buffalo contains a lot of meat and it comes at little risk of injury to lions because of the reduced ability of the prey to defend itself in its weakened state.

Spoilt with sable sightings

There were times of the year where we had to remind ourselves that sable antelope are extremely rare creatures. We enjoyed many sightings of both bulls as well as herds ranging in size from four to seventeen!

Our 2016 viral video

22 cape hunting dogs, a hippo and a bushbuck - Several of our sightings went viral on social media and this video was one of them, receiving close to three million views. Click here to view the video.

Leopards come and go

Last year we welcomed new additions to our healthy population but we also had to say goodbye to an icon. The Airstrip male was often the favorite leopard to view with his street fighter reputation. Unfortunately he met his end prematurely when lions attacked him. He was 10 years old.

The Kikilezi female showed yet again what a successful mother she is. She gave birth to yet another litter just as her previous cubs became independent. This allowed us to enjoy more textbook-defying sightings as we recorded multiple viewings of three generations of leopards together with the territory’s dominant male.

Lion cubs

At the end of 2015 both the Fourways pride and the Eyrefield pride welcomed four new cubs. In 2016 we viewed these youngsters, who often gave us the privilege of watching them grow and develop. Remarkably all eight have survived and are doing well.

There was a light at the end of the tunnel for the Styx pride. After losing eight young cubs, our longest serving pride bounced back with a litter of two. Both the Marthly pride and the pride of six breakaway lionesses had five cubs.

Territorial wars

The much-anticipated territorial war between these neighboring coalitions was set in motion with the arrival of the six breakaway lionesses. We watched some adrenaline pumping interactions last year and currently the Matshapiri males seem to have the upper hand – but we suspect the war is far from over. 

Daily Facebook & Instagram posts

MALAMALA TODAY: March 4th. A magical MalaMala 7 day. Lions: the Marthly pride were found this morning on Matumi Rocks - a spectacular setting with the cubs climbing trees and lionesses perched on large boulders surrounded by rapids and lush green vegetation. The Eyrefield pride have finished off their buffalo cow kill from yesterday near Buffalo Pans. Leopards: the Accipiter male was flushed out of hiding by three cape hunting dogs. The Piccadilly female was viewed hunting impala in Piccadilly Triangle. Cape hunting dogs: we followed a pack of three for hours today and they provided us with much entertainment- they hunted impala, warthog and nyala, they were chased on numerous occasions by elephants, they chased a leopard and ran in between giraffe. Excitingly we've viewed three different packs (31 individuals) this week! Cheetah: One male was seen at Clarendon Dam. Hundreds of elephants were also viewed today!

MALAMALA TODAY: March 3rd. It's World Wildlife Day today and we celebrated just as we do everyday – by spending many quality hours in the company of our wildlife. Three lion sightings: we found the Eyrefield pride near Buffalo Pans during the early hours- later in the morning a herd of buffalo approached and we had front row seats to a successful hunt. The Fourways pride spent the day in northeastern Flockfield. One of the Matshapiri males was with three of the breakaway lionesses close to Princess Alice's Pans. Leopards: we followed the Piccadilly female on the prowl south of Campbell Koppies. The West Street male was seen in the south. Cape hunting dogs: the Toulon pack was viewed in southwestern Charleston. Many elephant and buffalo sighting were also recorded today.

MalaMala Game Reserve
Telephone: +27 – 11 – 442 2267