Question for safarinut and all u other SSGR experts

Old May 9th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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Question for safarinut and all u other SSGR experts

hey safarinut, back in 2000, i visited savanna lodge in the ssgr. when i look at a map of the area it doenst seem that the savanna area is very close to teh mala mala area but i keep thinking i saw mala mala land rovers on our trip. first question, do the differnt ssgr area traverse over each others territory or was i just mistaken? i know i remember seeing teh word mala mala but maybe it was just on a roadsign pointing out the direction to the lodge. secondly i saw a lot of game at savanna but was slightly turned off compared to botswana camps bc there seemed to be many more cars at sightings and it seemed like you couldnt follow the animals very much bc they didnt want to leave the roads much and beat up the bush with all the cars. you have converted me to try mala mala with all your great posts but i was wondering if you found my complaints about savanna to be the same at mala mala? i am definitely going to botswana next yr and am seriously cotemplating an additional 2-3 days at mala mala. any feedback would be appreciated. thx
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Old May 9th, 2004, 09:23 PM
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I will re-post a previous reply that explains the different traversing areas in the SSGR at the end of this reply.There will be some info that was specific to bushmad but the general rules stay the same.

First let me tell you that the western sector of the SSGR is more congested due to the fact that concession areas are small and they have to share.Savanna itself has only 2300 hectares or so compared to Mala Mala's 18 000 hectares,therefore MM doesn't share it's concession with anyone.After selling Kirkmans Camp last year to Exeter lodges they do overlap in extreme southern part of their concession but this is such a long drive to get there that Main Camp hardly ever goes there.

You may find other vehicles at your sightings at MM due to the fact that Main Camp has a 50 guest capacity,but it's never full so you won't feel bunched at sightings.

There are a number of factors for Mala Mala's superior game viewing:

1)18 ooo hectares of pristine game viewing land,the largest privately owned game reserve in the SSGR

2)13 kilometers(20 miles) of sand river frontage,the most of any game reserve in the SSGR.

3) It shares a common border of 19km / 12 miles with the Kruger National Park and is part of a conservation gene pool that covers 5.5 million acres of land in the heart of the South African Lowveld.

4)Location, on the western bank of the Sand River: which allows for herds of animals to migrate unhindered from eastern KNP to the perennial Sand River which flows north to south through the MalaMala Game Reserve

5)One of the first photographic safari camps in Africa,ie you find that animals are habituated to game drive vehicles which in turn makes for great photo opportunities!

People wrongly interpret this, believing that the animals are domesticated or tame.
It's just that they don't see you as a threat.

6)Only guests accommodated at one of the MalaMala Game Reserve camps may traverse this immense tract of privately owned game land.

In this regard Michael Rattray, the Managing Director of the MalaMala Game Reserve, has twice been the recipient of the coveted Ossie Doyer Trophy for 'The Conservationist of the Year'.

He has also been the only person in South Africa to have received the State President's Award for eco-tourism.
Finally, he is the longest serving curator of the National Parks Board of South Africa. MalaMala is a conservation success story, proof that man and nature can co-exist in perfect harmony.

Now for the traversing ares:

I think to make your choice easier I must give you a summary of SSGR and the different traversing areas:

Let's start in the NORTHERN SABI SANDS
ie. north of the Sand River.

Two main areas here:

1]Chitwa Chitwa,Simbambili,Elephant Plains.
These lodges share the same traversing area.From a previous post you've mentioned you have been to CC safari lodge.I think if you want to return to this same area Simbambili would be your best choice,as this is the most luxurious lodge in the northern Sabi Sands and after multiple visits I rate the game ranger Jaco Buys at Simbambili as the best in the SSGR.
I see no reason for visiting Elephant Plains as you could get Simbambili for 1350 randpp/night on,a real bargain!

2]East of the Simbambili concession you get Djuma and Nkhoro.I find this area to be the worst for game viewing in the SSGR.Again,I would not opt for Nkhoro as you could get much more luxurious accommodations for the same price on mtbeds.


This area totals 15 000 hectares and include Idube,Inyati,Savanna,Ulusaba,Exeter River Lodge,Exeter Leadwood,Dulini and Leopard Hills.

I have had magical sightings in this traversing area on previous visits to Ulusaba,Exeter,Inyati and Savanna.

For what's on offer now I would choose between Exeter River Lodge or Dulini.
They are the most luxurious options and you could get them for 1500-1750pp/night,usual price is 4750-5200pp/night,again look at mtbeds.

You've mentioned Inyati,Idube and Savanna in previous posts.Inyati and Idube both are nice lodges I just feel for an anniversary you maybe want the most luxurious option and therefore I would go with either Exeter River Lodge or Dulini.The game drives are going to overlap on Idube,Inyati and Savanna's property anyway you will just have more luxurious accommodations for an amazing price!

Here you get Londolozi and Singita.

This is a great area but very EXPENSIVE.
Londolozi Tree and Singita never have specials,but until end of May you could stay at Londolzi Bateleur,Pioneer
or Founders camps in a chalet for 1500 pp/night,usually 5000pp/night.
If it were me I would choose Londolozi Bateleur as all the chalets have plunge pools.If you stay here you will share sightings with Tree Camp and Singita lodges.


The following traversing areas:
1)Sabi Sabi and Nottens
At the moment you could stay at Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge or Selati for 1500pp/night.I would choose Selati as it is small and intimate.The rooms at Selati is nothing special but they have very nice public areas and a great boma and bar.I am not a great Sabi Sabi fan but Earth Lodge had amazing suites!,this lodge however never has specials.

2)Londolozi Safari Lodge,they share traversing rights with the main Londolozi property,you could stay here for 1250pp/night.I was here in Dec 2003
and had a great time,great lodge!

3)lion Sands
They have +- 3700 hectares ad is located on the Sabi River.
River Lodge is the only operational lodge at present and yes,they don't have great rooms and they are too big with 40 beds at the main lodge.I enjoyed my visit here as they offer multiple activities,fishing,moonlight walks,sleep-outs in the bush[great],special photography drives etc.
This lodge won't be on top of my list but I can't say anything bad about it as they have good game viewing,great food and superb service,maybe just the rooms aren't great.

Kikmans Camp
This camp was sold to Exeter Lodges last year and therefore they don't have access to the whole Mala Mala Game Reserve anymore.They are located in the South and has a great location on the Sand River.Decorated 1920's style and unique in that sense.Traversing area +-5000 hectares.
You could stay here for 1500pp/night,usual price 2700pp/night.
This is a lovely corner of the SSGR and I am sure you would enjoy your stay here.

Well here we have the best of the best! the LEGENDARY MALA MALA!

This is my favourite lodge and undoubtedly the best game viewing experience in the SSGR.They never have any specials though.

So to answer your last question,you couldn't have seen a Mala Mala vehicle at Savanna,they do not share traversing areas and is at least 20 kilometers apart.

You won't be disappointed in MM game viewing bigcountry take my word...and of course 25 year's statistics!
safarinut is offline  
Old May 9th, 2004, 10:33 PM
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Forgot to answer your question regarding off road driving:

Don't worry, Mala Mala rangers will break their vehicles to show you game, believe me, I've been through rivers,dongas,over trees.. you name it!

They will of course only do this for special sightings.

Well I hope this provided all the answers as I'm off to Toronto for a week!
safarinut is offline  
Old May 10th, 2004, 04:11 AM
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great thx for the help safarinut. mala mala here i come
bigcountry is offline  
Old May 11th, 2004, 11:26 AM
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This is a pretty good thread in my opinion however just for the benefit of those who dont know what SSGR stands for it relates to Sabi Sands Game Reserve. Just mentioning this as I could not work this out for a while and dfelt that many others would be in the same position as me.

Just trying to help.

Very proudly part of the wonderful nation of South Africa
Selwyn_Davidowitz is offline  
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