At 160km2 (16000 hectares), Mala Mala is not only the largest privately owned reserve within the Sabi Sands but also in South Africa.
Mala Mala’s eastern border spans 19km and is set against the Kruger National Park. The shared border is unfenced, allowing for the uninterrupted flow of wildlife between these two incredibly wild and game-rich areas.
Visitors have often been heard to utter the phrase, “Everything’s bigger at Mala Mala”. This stands true for both the amount of wildlife herds and the sheer size of some animals. In fact, the rarest occurrence at Mala Mala is leaving without having seen the big five.
Whether its a matter of genetics or simply an optical illusion, on a game drive at Mala Mala you just can’t shake the feeling that the wilderness is more primal and the animals much larger than anywhere else in the Sabi Sands.
Game drives are completely exclusive at Mala Mala and it’s one of the only reserves in the Sabi Sands that does not allow any neighbouring reserve vehicles on its property. The reserve’s size and the unbelievable amount of wildlife ensure that no Mala Mala game drive vehicle ever needs to leave the reserve in search of better sightings.
You may see a number of Mala Mala game vehicles while you’re out on a drive, but the Mala Mala rangers have managed to coordinate and run sightings like a precise military manoeuvre. The senior ranger at a sighting coordinates proceedings discretely over a headset and microphone. The chaos that normally typifies the western section of the Sabi Sands is completely absent here.
Mala Mala lodges
There are three lodges on the Mala Mala Reserve, each has their own personalised look and feel while ascribing to the Mala Mala Ethos – a code based on bringing man back to the wilderness.