Mala Mala Private Game Reserve

Mala Mala Private Game Reserve is a luxury big 5 safari strategically located between the Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sand Reserve. An interesting fact is that Mala Mala is the largest Big 5 Game reserve in South Africa boasting 33 000 acres of land, it is one of the most prestigious reserves where many wild life documentaries have been filmed.

So when I was told I was getting to visit Mala Mala Private Game Reserve for myself, the little child in me came alive.

With all sincerity, I am not much of a bush baby, but I do relish in the occasional bush get away. As all bloggers, before diving into something, research must be done and just Googling Mala Mala Private Game Reserve was a holiday on its own, I got completely lost in their visual presentation that I did not pay much attention to their written accounts. But then out of sheer curiosity I decided to check on the rates. And this is when it all became very interesting. Looking at the price in American dollars per night, I fell out my chair.

Now the curiosity turned into fascination. What could possibly warrant this rate?

Anticipation in the air I finally hit air with my travel partner, and love of my life, my son, Alex. A quick 55 minute flight to Johannesburg after which we hoped onto a 40 minute flight to Skukuza airport. There, we were met by our ranger Timothy who transferred us to Mala Mala main camp. The road trip was around 40 minutes and on arrival we were quickly checked in, orientated and it was time for the first game drive. We left at 5pm, which was late but that been said we saw lionesses with cubs, many Impalas, bush bucks and Nyala. It quickly became dark and as soon as the sun disappeared the temperature dropped like a hot potato.

After a much needed shower and freshening up, Timothy met us for dinner.

Timothy John Jansen van Vuuren was our designated ranger for the duration of the stay, and accompanied us not only for the game drives but also formed company for when we dined. He was an absolute wealth of knowledge not only about the reserve, but also about the animals. His passion for his occupation can not be denied and he showed enthusiasm to answer all the questions that I had.

I remember at our first meeting he asked me about the animals I wanted to see, and I mentioned that elephants were my favorite. During the course of the next day he made it his duty to search out those elephants for me. I did not get to see them on the second game drive, however on my third and final drive, which was a late afternoon drive, I encountered the beauties in all their glory.

During my 2 night stay at Mala Mala Private Game Reserve, I encountered many wild life, which included leopards, hippos, cheetahs. Impalas, bush bucks, Kudus, Nyala, elephants, buffalos and zebras, just to name a few.

There were two highlighting moments during the game drive, the first been the elephants, I find them to be such exquisite animals.

The second was pursuing two leopards that were mating, apparently this is a rare sighting and if possible it should be experienced. So there we were, on hot pursuit of these mating leopards.

After at least 40 minutes on its scent we finally tracked them down, but at that time the male was perched high up on a tree devouring its fresh Impala kill. The female was completely forgotten about as she wondered the ground beneath him. This sounds like the story of our lives ladies.

As I mentioned previously, Timothy the ranger was incredible and sought to educate us as much as he possibly could. I learnt that there are some species that are monogamous whilst others are polygamous, which very much resembles the human world.

I also learned that during the Rutting season, male Impalas seek to mate with as many females as possible to ensure the survival of their genes. At this time he will accumulate as many females as possible for reasons of mating and any males threatening his plan will be fought off. Hmm, again the resemblance of the human world can not he denied, this is what many male humans would be happy with.

My favorite lesson had to be about how the lions fought for their territory, however just because a female was in that territory did not mean he had the right to mate with her. Oh no, he had to prove that he was a strong male and that he could protect his family. Apparently, other lions kill cubs that do not belong to them, thereby ensuring that their genes are strongest.Wild life rules, you got to love it.

Getting back to camp was always a pleasure, the rooms were luxurious, the staff were all happy and eager to assist. In terms of food, I found that a selection was available on all days. I must however warn you that the rooms do not have television, so if you are travelling with a little one, make sure you pack entertainment.

After two incredible nights at Mala Mala Game Reserve, I left with more than just a holiday, I left with a greater understanding and an appreciation of the animal world. Its was enlightening to see the similarities between the animal world and human world. As much as we like to think that the humans have evolved, after 2 nights in the bush, I beg to differ.

Mala Mala Private Game Reserve may not be an affordable holiday destination for most locals, but I do understand their rates. There is no other game reserve that people could go to and have the many encounters with wildlife as they do here. For foreign tourists visiting South Africa is a guaranteed destination for those seeking this experience. Despite the vast stretch of land, spotting the wild life in its habitat was frequent.

I salute those rangers that I met on this trip who not only love what they do, but they have a genuine interest in the well being of every animal on that reserve.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the following people who took the greatest care for both my son and myself.

Timothy John Jansen van Vuuren – Ranger

Ryan Brisling – Camp Manager

Alan Singh – Bar

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