Is Singita still the most luxurious of the safaris?

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Mar 21st, 2004, 09:51 AM
  #21
 
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Clematis:

I've sent you my email address,will be happy to answer any further questions.

More interesting facts about Mala Mala:

MalaMala Game Reserve comprises the largest tract of privately owned "Big 5" game land in South Africa.

MalaMala's world-wide renown has been gained due to its uncompromising high standard of service, sound conservation management policies and the fact that it consistently provides the finest game viewing on the sub-continent. The game viewing successes are a direct result of the vast area of land owned, a 32 kilometre (20 mile) unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park and the fact that the Sand River flows through the property for approximately 36 kilometers (22 miles) assuring a plentiful supply of water at all times.

The MalaMala camps are situated on the western side of the river, thus ensuring that unhindered access to the river is afforded to all animals approaching from the Kruger National Park.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 12:57 PM
  #22
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My goodness everyone! What loads of information. I'll have to check out everyone's suggestions. Thank you!

My attraction to Singita/Ebony thus far is based on the traditional and colonial look of the bedrooms and bathrooms. Ah well...we shall see.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 01:48 PM
  #23
 
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Safari nut, what does it mean that Mala Mala is a game farm? did they import animals in and then open it up to kruger? also when u saw things like the 4 buff kills did you get to stay with the animals or did they make you move on after a while so others could see and they didnt want too many cars at one sighting. i've only been to savanna lodge in south africa and compared to the botswana lodges i found their to be far more people and far less leeway in following the animals off road etc. but if you saw all that great stuff in 8 days, i am guessing that mala mala is different. from what i've read about mala mala and what i've seen at mombo (was their in jan for 4 days), it sounds like if you want to see leopards, mala is your choice and if you want to see lions mombo is your choice currently. you will see both at either camp so either is fantastic but if you want to specialize in one over the other that would be my deciding factor. in 4 days at mombo, i saw 6 different resident lion prides and 15 different male lions totally over 60 different lions. we saw 3 differnt leopards. we saw 3 cheetahs and 2 rhinos. the only thing i didnt liek about mombo was that you had to be in after 7 bc its in the moremi. at mala, can u stay out late? if so maybe that would make it a little more appealing. anyway, thanks for the info safarinut. after your posts i am very intrigued to get to mala mala.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 02:48 PM
  #24
 
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Bigcountry:

These private game reserves all started out as hunting farms in the early 1900's. After this they tried cattle farming but disease and a large number of predators prevented the early landowners of succeeding.

The animals have always been there.

The Sabi Sand Game Reserve was officially proclaimed in the 1950`s.
The Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve was originally cut off from the greater Kruger National Park by a game proof fence, which was removed in 1993, allowing animals free movement between the Kruger National Park and the private reserves.

As far as your question of how long we remained at the buff kills:

It all depends on the sighting for ex:

At one kill, in the northern section, we were the first to arrive and with the majority of the other vehicles being in the southern section of Mala Mala[a good thirty kilo's away]we could spend quality time at this sighting.Actually saw the lions[nine of them] suffocating the poor buffalo.This took the better part of a hour and was followed by a feeding frenzy.

At another kill the lions were leading very young cubs to the kill so obviously we didn't spend too much time at the kill.The next day at this carcass we were charged by a lioness!

You must remember the difference between Mala Mala and smaller lodges are that there could be more than one amazing sighting at the same time on different parts of the reserve.

That specific night I saw the first lion kill other guests saw leopards mating in the southern section!

Mala Mala is sooo huge!
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Mar 21st, 2004, 03:45 PM
  #25
LizFrazier
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Clematis-
What time of year would you go? It would be sooo wonderful if our paths could cross at Mala Mala. I am about 90% certain that we will go next year, but as you can see from my posts, it will be in the green season. Please share your itinerary for a possible meet up. Liz
P.S. Thanks Safarinut for your generosity, but if I may ask, please continue to post your info here rather than private emails. I think from the other posts, that we ALL are hungry for your details. Thanks. Liz
 
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Mar 21st, 2004, 03:47 PM
  #26
 
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Bigcountry:

Forgot to answer your last question about how late you stay out on night drives:

This I think is standard for most game reserves,depending on the season but generally +- 20h30.I know BIG IRRITATION as I WOULD LIKE TO STAY OUT ALL NIGHT!

Man am I having a serious case of verbal diarrhoea this weekend or what?

Can't help myself-I just love Africa and can't wait to return.

Two quotes come to mind:

''You can leave Africa,but Africa never leaves you''

''A day in Africa creates a lifetime of memories''
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Mar 21st, 2004, 04:34 PM
  #27
 
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great thx for the info safarinut, when is the best game viewing time to visit mala mala. i looked at their website and saw that the rates were constant throughout the yr. i would assume though taht the viewing is best in jun-sept in the dry season but was intrigued by u going in dec. bc i like to go to places in the "off-season" so as to have it the least crowded as long as the game viewing quality isnt hindered. sounds like it wasnt with all your great sightings. thx in advance. also do u book dirtectly with mala mala?
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Mar 21st, 2004, 05:29 PM
  #28
 
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Bigcountry:

I have been to Mala Mala in the months of May,August and once in December.

This past December has been my best game viewing ever!

I must mention that the severe drought played a significant role in our exeptional sightings as Mala Mala was one of the only game reserves with a natural water source ie. the Sand River.

They were also one of the only reserves that didn't burn their grasslands in anticipation of the great rains that we all know only arrived in Jan and Feb of 2004.

So you had water and good grass where other reserves had sand and man-made watering points.You should have seen how dry it was! amazing!

Anyway we would not venture too far from the Sand River daily because this was where all the action played out daily.

My point being I think the best time to visit would be at the end of the dry season September/October.August was great but there is still a nasty chill in the air early morning and late night for the drives.

I don't think May is your best time to visit as this is to early in the dry season-lots of standing water around and animals not drawn to the river.

This all said follow their weekly cyberdiary for just two weeks and check the sightings and photos!

They see amazing sights EVERY WEEK!

To see a kill when it is actually happening is not a daily occurance as you are well aware.

My main reason for going in December was based on spending christmas with my folks rather than choosing the best safari month.Well it turned out great in the end!

Avoid Main Camp from dec 15-jan o3,lots of people.[I left before the rush started]

Yes I booked directly with them but I am sure if you do a search you could save a few bucks.

Look at the advice re guides as I find this very important for an enjoyable safari.


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Mar 21st, 2004, 05:57 PM
  #29
 
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I suppose if you are an upscale traveler and you must stay at Singita then try one of their camps. We stayed at Lobombo and although we had a good time and enjoyed the experiance, our most memorable camp was our first and least expensive in Botswana at Kwara camp. It was intimate, friendly and enjoyable. It was unpretensious and the people we met were very friendly and sociable. My advice is to seek adventure and not status.
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Mar 21st, 2004, 10:59 PM
  #30
 
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B_Eames,

Will you please share more about your experience at Kwara and your experience with Kwando?

I am very interested in visiting Kwando's camps possibly next year, possibly staying at each of their camps (Kwara, Lebala, Lagoon and Songwe Village).

I imagine that Kwara was probably about 1/3 the price of Singita. It is very refreshing to hear that your best time came at Kwara instead of Singita. I am a veteran of Singita, as well, and while I loved it, I will never pay those kinds of rates again. Even Mombo, one place I may splurge on, is "only" about $1,450 per night in shoulder season, compared to Singita charging the same rates 365 days per year.

I will do a search to see if I can find a trip report from you, but please specifically share your experience at Kwara. Game viewing? Game activities? Food? Guide? Staff? Transfers to Kwara and onto next camp? Time of year visited?

Thanks in advance.
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 04:34 PM
  #31
 
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I've read the Mala Mala info with great interest. After extensive research, Londolozi Tree Camp and Singita won out over Mala Mala for me in 2003. From everything I'd read and heard, Mala Mala's accomodations appeared "tired" and the food was only above average. I was surprised at all the "kills" reported at Mala Mala. Every ranger we've had has told us how rare it is to see one.

When booking your 'trip of a lifetime', I feel accomodation, food and game viewing is important. Of course, everyone feels differently about this and that's what makes the world go 'round. It would be a pretty dull place if we all liked the same thing. That is why I encourage people to try different lodges...find a place that captures your heart and that "trip of a lifetime" becomes a recurring thing!
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 06:06 PM
  #32
 
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Girlpolo:

''Kure believes that the foresight of Mala Mala's owner, Michael Rattray, is why they have such a successful reserve. It was one of the first game farms - even before they became fashionable - and, while the accommodation is attractive, it's not one of those designer lodges. "Here it is all about watching game," says Kure. He thinks the fact that smaller farms need to offer customers more has fuelled the designer war

I would certainly not describe the Lions Den as ''tired''accommodation.
Food maybe tastes better after AMAZING game drives daily!

''This past December has been my best game viewing ever!

I must mention that the severe drought played a significant role in our exeptional sightings as Mala Mala was one of the only game reserves with a natural water source ie. the Sand River.

They were also one of the only reserves that didn't burn their grasslands in anticipation of the great rains that we all know only arrived in Jan and Feb of 2004.

So you had water and good grass where other reserves had sand and man-made watering points.You should have seen how dry it was! amazing!''

Girlpolo read the above info again and it will become clear why there were amazing sightings at Mala Mala in December 2003.

Remember in times of drought animals are weak because of limited nutrition in the grass and obviously dehydration plays a major role once temperatures rise above 43 degrees celsius,don't you think the above conditions are conducive to seeing kills?

Even under normal conditions Mala Mala provides by far the best game viewing experience in Kruger/Sabi Sands.

True,if you want Roast Guinea Fowl with a fresh passionfruit sauce, tender green beans and parsley potatoes and Creamy gooseberry tart with mango sauce served with a pecan nut ice-cream Londolozi and Singita should probably be higher on your list.
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 06:58 PM
  #33
 
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Sounds like a delicious menu...count me in! : )
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 07:20 PM
  #34
 
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Girlpolo:

Seriously now!,I also read and researched extensively before visiting the Sabi Sands for the first time and wasn't drawn to Mala Mala either.

After three visits there now I am totally hooked and will always return.

Do yourself a favour and pay them a visit I promise you will always return!

By reading about a game lodge I don't think you always get the true picture.

Signing off...Mala Mala junkie!!
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 07:40 PM
  #35
 
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All future Mala Mala guests:

When booking your 'trip of a lifetime', I feel accomodation, food and game viewing is important

The new Harry's camp will probably be completed end of this year and local word has it that it is going to be Singita-like accommodation,Londolozi-like food and of course MALA MALA-like game viewing!
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Mar 22nd, 2004, 08:52 PM
  #36
LizFrazier
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I realize this started out about luxury, but since it got off track on just incredible animal viewings, I am very glad to read about Mala Mala and Kwara. Maybe Safarinut should start a thread just on Mala Mala for those of us who just want a great safari experience.
 
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Mar 23rd, 2004, 10:32 AM
  #37
 
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safarinut: Thanks for the recommendation regarding Harry's Camp. If I'm fortunate enough to return to Africa in 2005, I will do my best to visit Mala Mala. Consider me converted! : )
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Mar 23rd, 2004, 05:31 PM
  #38
 
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Girlpolo:

Great news!

I'll warn them about your love for Roast Guinea Fowl with fresh passionfruit sauce!!!!
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Mar 23rd, 2004, 10:04 PM
  #39
 
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Oh Liz, that would be wonderful if we could cross paths. Email me when you get a chance about what month you will be there. I haven't made any plans but as my travel doctor says, "You have the shots now, so use 'em!"

Safarinut, thank you. Eames, I also hope to hear about Kwando as some agents push it but I've never heard any reports.
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