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-   -   Mala Mala question (https://www.fodors.com/community/africa-and-the-middle-east/mala-mala-question-735676/)

kak113 Sep 11th, 2007 07:33 AM

Mala Mala question
 
This may seem uneducated, but I was curious as to whether the difference between the lodging options at Mala Mala (main, sable rattrays) impacts your game drives at all. I can see the difference in the rooms and would think the cuisine might be most upscale at Rattray's, but I wasn't sure if the game drives were longer, had less people on them or "better" for some other reason depending on where you stay.

Even one night at the Main camp would be more luxury than we usually have, so I'd be curious as to whether there is something extra in addition to the accomodations that we'd be missing. I'm trying to find the right balance between all our lodging options on a hopefully 10-12 night trip.

Also, do any Fodorites feel they restrict availability to Main Camp in order to get you to stay at Sable? Just curious.

GrannyJoan Sep 11th, 2007 11:03 AM

All three have the same game viewing drives. The jeeps at Rattray's have max of 4 persons, where Main & Sable have six per jeep. The length of game drives is the same.

They all have the same cuisine.

The difference in the rooms is size, Rattray's offers free laptop with WIFI and own plunge pool. The other two camps have access to WIFI shared computer in the Library which is very slow. They both (Main & Sable) have nice swimming pools if you wish to swim.

Guides are excellent at all three.

Yes, I agree the Main camp offers enough luxury for most. We stayed at Main camp on our first visit for 3 days. We loved it so much, we returned for 13 nights this year in May/June. We had accomodations at Sable (8 days) and Rattray's (5 days) both were very nice. Rattray's was ideal if you wanted internet and email in your room and a real feeling of over-the-top luxury. Rattray's was like having your own little home in Africa.

We had booked all 13 nights at Main Camp and were upgraded as we were repeat clients with long stay. I'm not sure they do this all the time, but was a really nice treat for us and very much appreciated the upgrades. We were also in the slower season so space was available in the Sable and Rattray Camps.

We go for the game drives and the luxury of the Main Camp is enough for us as well.


-GrannyJoan

napamatt Sep 11th, 2007 12:15 PM

Grannyjoan is right on.

I actually like to do a combination of Main and Rattrays, but I find Main to be spectacular, Rattrays is just a notch above in terms of much nicer accomodations, privacy, 4 to a vehicle, and the chance to drive further south on the property.

I would not choose Sable, the only difference is that less people are at meals and there are 4 to a vehicle.

KayeN Sep 11th, 2007 05:48 PM

Hi kak113

Most of your questions seem to be answered. I have never stayed at Sable since it became Sable, although we have eaten there a bit when it has been empty and they want to lessen the numbers at Main Camp.

As mentioned, the food is exactly the same at all camps. I normally spend most of my time at Main Camp with 3 or 4 nights at Rattray's in the middle, as I do tend to stay longer, at the moment, anywhere from 21 to 25 nights, so nice to break it up.

The gamedrives are the same, other than the number of people in the vehicle and even at Rattray's I have had 3 other annoying guests!

I do love the Rattray's rooms, but I am also very happy with Main Camp, as very comfortable.

As for your last comment, no I do not believe they restrict access to Main Camp to get you to book Sable - I have recently booked my next few trips, June 2008 and January 2009, and some nights at main camp are already fully booked in January 2009, and not for one minute do I think they are saying that in order to get me to book Sable! But it does give me a perfect excuse to have to stay at Rattray's, not that I really need to justify that to myself!

I am not back at MM until 16 December and the time is certainly dragging by, sometimes made a lot harder by the gameviewing in the cyberdiary!

Kind regards

Kaye

napamatt Sep 12th, 2007 06:25 AM

Main Camp is often fully booked by large groups over a year in advance for one or two nights. We were thinking about upgrading to Rattrays this month but one of the three nights was fully booked by Abercrombie and Kent, so no go for us.
MM is very popular and deservedly so.

GrannyJoan Sep 12th, 2007 07:05 AM

Shhhh! Guess we will find it hard to book if we keep touting the praises of MM.

Kaye, Will you be at MM for Christmas? How great is that! It will be here soon as time goes by pretty fast.

Matt, I agree that the reason that MM books up is group bookings by some of the tour agents. That was definitely the case on our 1st trip as we were part of a group doing 7 different African countries, MM was the lodge chosen for S.A.

My DH just sent me an itinerary for next year Africa Private Jet by TCS Expeditions. I guess he is getting the bug to go every year now as well.

-GrannyJoan

scootr29 Sep 12th, 2007 09:14 AM

1 month from today my wife and I will be headed to Mashatu , Mala Mala, and Canp Jabulani....

I will give my 2 cents when I get back.

Scott

obrienenator Sep 12th, 2007 05:17 PM

I hate to be the bearer of bad news but...
Imagine a camp with a lodge at each end of it, long string of the same rooms in the middle of it. One big lodge at one end (main camp) and a small one at the other end (sable) The difference is the lodge you have access to, not the rooms. Yeah there are only 4 people on a car at Sable (max) but that can happen by accident at main camp anytime. The main camp is larger, more people but just as nice, same staff on any given night as well. The difference is Sable is smaller, a bit quieter and fewer people around. Now don't get me wrong, main camp is not a mob, just more people. Frankly, we asked to upgrade to Sable just prior to arrival but they were sold out, we were just as happy if not more for the money at Mala Mala main camp. You have the ability to go see both camps anytime, there is no restriction. For Sable to be more exclusive it needs to be a destination, not an addition to main camp. Now Rattray's, that's a different story. Well done almost Bravo...

KayeN Sep 13th, 2007 04:43 AM

Hi GrannyJoan

Yes, I am not back to MM until 16 December 2008, and the time is dragging by! Will also have a few nights at Rattray's but will be there all up for I think, 24 nights, so can't wait!

I do not know where you are all getting 4 persons per vehicle at Sable, that is Rattray's, Sable is a max of 6. In the busy season, which tends to be most of the year, I nearly always have others in the vehicle, I get the odd gamedrive with just me and my niece, but usually not these days.

Another difference to Sable in no kids under 12, but I generally find it is the kids over 12 that are the problem!

Kind regards

Kaye

Lily622 Sep 13th, 2007 06:18 AM

I have never stayed at Main Camp - my only MM experience has been at Sable. I truly appreciated the much smaller size of Sable. It's true that Sable is located just a stroll away from Main Camp, but I felt it made a significant difference. There were at most ten guests when we were there, so it felt very private & secluded and meals were definitely more intimate. I did see a lot of kids at Main Camp and my husband and I were relieved to be at Sable as it was an anniversary trip... Also, our "room" (more like a cottage!) at Sable was enormous. I loved Sable and I can't imagine anyone being disappointed with it...but to each their own!

napamatt Sep 13th, 2007 07:57 AM

Kaye

You are correct, though Sable operates 3 vehicles and has a capacity of 14 guests, that means that only will vehicle will have 6 on a given day.

I prefer the boma at Main Camp, it is so beautiful because of its size and the huge tree in the centre. I don't think the boma's at either Sable or Rattrays can compare.


kak113 Sep 13th, 2007 08:17 AM

It looks as though I have spurned a great debate but I thank you all for the great information! This board is a wonderful resource for me as I try to narrow down so many choices!

Thanks!
Kathy

GrannyJoan Sep 13th, 2007 12:00 PM

Yes, MM site states 6 persons per vehicle at Main & Sable and 4 per vehicle at Rattray's.

When we were at Sable we ate at the Main Camp as there were so few persons available at Sable during our stay. Even the library was closed at Sable during our visit and we used mostly facilities at Main Camp.

Also Main Camp has the gym where you can walk on treadmills and stairstepper and watch elephants outside the picture window.

Rattray's also has nice gym overlooking the pool and river.

-Granny Joan

ekscrunchy Oct 25th, 2007 12:13 PM

Is there a swimming pool at MM large enough to swim laps? Would this be accessible to all, no matter which lodge you were staying at?

KayeN Oct 25th, 2007 09:41 PM

Hi ekscrunchy

There is a pool at Main camp, available to both Main and Sable, obviously Rattray's is not within safe walking distance, and I guess you could do laps, but if a few people are about, it could get a bit messy.

Kind regards

Kaye

ekscrunchy Oct 26th, 2007 03:43 AM

Thanks, Kaye! I am guessing you mean that the pool at Main Camp is small... No pool at Rattray's large enough to swim in? Thanks very much!

KayeN Oct 26th, 2007 04:05 AM

Hi ekscrunchy

I think you may be able to do laps, though not a huge pool. I meant that in summer, there is often quite a few people in the pool during the day. Rattray's pool is smaller and probably not really suitable for laps.

Kind regards

Kaye

atravelynn Oct 26th, 2007 05:54 AM

There is also an exercise room with equipment like a treadmill. Treadmill with a view as I recall. I didn't use it though.

ekscrunchy Oct 26th, 2007 06:00 AM

Thanks! I just got home and am already planning a future trip! I do like the idea of being able to swim laps in the middle of the day...was just investigating some possibilities..it is difficult to tell from the web sites how large these pools are...maybe I should post a separate question but am afraid I will get laughed (or sneered) at for asking about swimming!


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