Tucked away in a forest of green, on the banks of the world-renowned Sand River, lies a special place. MalaMala Rattray’s Camp offers an intimate glimpse into an era long lost, when travellers from afar married the magic of the African bush with elegance and refinement.
MalaMala Game Reserve is the safari industry’s blueprint for the luxury photographic safari. In existence since 1927, this massive, thriving tract of land offers the most exciting wildlife experience this side of the equator. MalaMala Game Reserve is one of the largest private Big Five game reserves in South Africa. It covers 13 300ha (33 000 acres), shares a 19km (12 mile) unfenced boundary with the world-renowned Kruger National Park and lies strategically sandwiched between the Kruger and the Sabi Sand Reserve.
View our camps at MalaMala
From our blog
As rangers we are all passionate about animals and most of us have pets at our homes away from the reserve. However, there is an understanding that one must undertake when becoming a ranger; while we spend hours every day admiring and watching the animals around us, we will never get to touch them or form any sort of affectionate physical bond. They are not pets and these wild animals must remain wild.
With the onset of our dry season MalaMala has become quite… well, dry. And dusty. The rains will only fall again in November and so, in the coming months, animals must endure ever increasing hardships. These include less water availability as well as significantly reduced grazing and browsing opportunities.
The giraffe, an animal so unique to Africa, is silently going extinct. Many of us have been blissfully unaware of the dire predicament in which these ungainly beasts find themselves.
Often, when we ask our guests which animals they’re most hoping to see, we hear the usual ‘Big Five’ (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and Cape buffalo) and then, almost always, this is followed by the giraffe.
West Street has a new guardian. It is no secret that MalaMala has some of the best river frontage of any reserve in the country, with around 24km of prime game viewing habitat on the banks of the Sand River. The vast majority of our reserve sits east of the river while all three of our camps are on the western bank. It is therefore inevitable that we need several crossings to gain access into the east.
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” – This quote is attributed to Roman philosopher, Seneca, and its essence is something that we as photographic safari rangers understand and deal with on a day to day basis. The challenge with wildlife photography is that we can’t tell the ‘models’ what to do and we don’t get any retakes. To make up for this we try to anticipate their next move and position ourselves accordingly.
Out of all the animals in the animal kingdom, there are very few that fascinate me as much as the leopard. Their secretive nature, elusive behaviour and tremendous adaptability has resulted in many gaps in scientific literature. They have the uncanny ability to continually surprise the observer.