Leopard at Mala Mala
20-22 September 2009
My brother and mother have done a brilliant job delivering the blow-by-blow of the vacation over at Mashatu Tiger; here’s a link to Doug’s summary of our arrival at Mala Mala and here’s Mum’s rundown on our time there.
I’ll bottom line it for you. Mala Mala Main Camp is beautiful and very elegant. We saw some amazing animals, including the Secretary Bird and the Ground Hornbill. Lots of lions, leopards, elephant and giraffe. We had a tremendous sighting of two bull rhinos on the last morning. We saw a mother and baby hippo walking across the lawn around 11 pm from our room. Our ranger, Lucky, was phenomenal. He was even able to spot a chameleon in a tree at night.
For most of these photos, you’ll need to visit my brother’s photo gallery because I managed to delete a whole bunch of my pictures from Mala Mala when I got home (don’t ask, I am still pissed about it.)
Nevertheless, we preferred Mashatu. Why? Mala Mala is elegant and the hospitality is impeccable. It just didn’t feel as friendly and down to earth as Mashatu. In fairness, our experience of Mashatu may be a little colored by Mum’s friendship with Afke and deep knowledge of the native animals due to her time spent “at the Pond.” Likewise, our first night at Mala Mala was not the smoothest — starting with the long delay of the plane and ending with some confusion upon arrival, well detailed in my mom and brother’s posts linked above.
However, I’m a pretty objective person. Even after I eliminate all of that, if your budget is limited and you can only do one “luxury” game reserve, I would recommend Mashatu over Mala Mala. If you can visit both, by all means do. The landscapes are completely different, and there are animals in each place that you just won’t see in the other.
But if you have to choose, make it Mashatu.
That said, here are some of my favorite pictures from Mala Mala.