Jump to content
TravelMore

Mala Mala Sable Camp

Recommended Posts

TravelMore
Posted (edited)

One more day til we get there. We are cooling our heels in Johannesberg til our Airlink flight to Skukuzza tomorrow.  We chose MM based on its long shared property line with Kruger and long frontage to the seasonal Sand river. My stongest siting desires are big cats and hopefully a hippo or two. AND 6 peoples per vehicle. I was not up for 8+ this time around! Their website boasted siting rates in excess of 90% although I can't find it now. I guess we will see if it lives up to the hype.

 

We planned the trip a year in advance because we nailed the air travel down with award flights. Initially we booked Ethiopian out of ORD but a week and a half before travel South African opened up out of IAD, cutting down the travel time by around 5 hours and eliminating a (brutal?) layover in Addis. At the time of this writing we are still returning via ET and Addis but with only about a  2.5 hour layover.   The flight in business on SA was great, I would do it again. The plane had a 1-2-1 configuration with my dh and I taking 9A and 9K. This row is typically the "bassinet" row so we waited til less than 24 hours out to snag these seats. We did not choose the 2 middle seats together thinking they might be more desirable for a family looking to exchange once on board.

 

If you saw my excited posts leading up to the trip you know I supplemented my old gear with a new camera and telephoto lens. While I got some good shots 2 years ago with an apsc and 200mm lens I yearned for more reach in the Klaserie Reserve so I've upgraded to 400mm.  So then I had the dilemna of how to carry it all - certainly not on my shoulder as I've done in the past.  Peak design camera cubes solved the problem. The medium size slid into my Briggs and Riley cabin spinner with enough room for a smidgeon of incidentals and light jacket inside, tablet, kindle, paperwork in the outside pocket.  The cube is quite sturdy so if our smaller Airlink flight has an issue with the carryon 15.5×15×9, I can lift the pack out and gate check the bag. The cube will easily slide under a seat with room to spare.  My recollection of people shoving bags into the small overhead still gives me nightmares.

 

A few weeks ago, I added a surprise for my dh on to the trip. I convinced my oldest son to join us. Here's where I have to give Chantel at MM reservations a Big Shoutout!!  My son is a relatively low man on the totem pole so it's difficult for him to get a nice long chunk of extended time off especially near a holiday ( returning July 5th). We had to coordinate airfares, housing, time off requests, and finding accommodation at a pretty much sold out camp. Her commucation was always lickety split and she came up with a 2 bath family room where the sitting room converted to a bedroom. Here is the description:

We have a bigger family suite available at Sable Camp which can easily accommodate 3 guests - Large, luxury suite enjoys a panoramic view across the Sand River and the wilderness beyond. Large sliding doors and an intimate private deck allow one the opportunity to appreciate ones surrounding between game drives. A separate lounge area may be used as a sitting room or to accommodate a 3rd adult or 2 children under the age of 12. This family suite has 2 en-suite bathrooms, each with a vanity, shower, bath and WC. A separate outdoor shower is also available. Facilities include 24 hour temperature control, a large walk in cupboard, direct-dial telephone, a mini bar, tea station and secure in-room safe.
Each room has twin 3’6” beds which can be made up to a king size double bed on request. The 3rd and 4th beds are standard single beds (not roll away’s!).  Attached is a lay out of this suite…
"

She was also super great with many questions we had - like "Can we settle tips on our credit card at the camp?" And the answer is "YES!!  We can!"

 

Well, I hope to have some wild life photos tomorrow! Hope I didn't disappoint with my ramblings today.  

 

TM

Screenshot_20190626-072754_Drive.jpg

20190623_132339.jpg

20190614_140208.jpg

Screenshot_20190626-084524_Drive.jpg

Edited by TravelMore
Forgot 6 / vehicle!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wildship

You will love it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn
Posted (edited)

It is exciting to read a trip report where the trip is still in the anticipation stage.  That is a great Sabi Sands map you posted which really emphasizes the vastness of Mala Mala and how the river provides a water source for the length of the property.

 

 

Edited by Atravelynn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore

Ty Atravelynn! Between MM's 3 camps, there are about 34 accommodations.  I believe suites in the main camp can accommodate extra beds (for children/family members?)  The lions den #18 can accommodate 2 couples with separate bedrooms adjoined by a common sitting area. 

 

Rattrays camp puts 4 people per vehicle. The other camps 6. We popped for 2 days in the middle with a private vehicle. We chose the photography vehicle over a regular private vehicle since they are supposedly the same comfort level yet $60 less per day. It will be interesting to see how it pans out and how they work it out with the guides. 

 

In hindsight,  maybe Rattrays isn't So much more expensive if you were going with 2 couples who shared the same interests because I would be less inclined to get a private vehicle under those circumstances. We picked Sable also because we are hoping others will be willing to sit and dine together.  Rattrays seemed as if couples often retire to their own khaya. Main camp was a little too densely populated imo.

images.jpeg.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore

Passing time in the airport,  thought I'd make everyone hungry.  We ate at Trump's Grillhouse in Mandela square last night. Kinda just found it by accident strolling around in the afternoon. We had no idea how highly rated it was, just liked the menu and made a reservation.

 

Meat was phenomenal, rib eye, bone-in sirloin, lamb loin chops. Chips cooked to perfection.  Creamed spinach was made from fresh spinach dried so thoroughly the sauce was perfect. I have to try this at home!

 

 Dinner was accompanied by Tokara Cabernet Sauvignon (We visited the Tokara winery in Stellenbosch 2 years ago.  While I love their wines if you ever have the opportunity to get your hands on their chenin blanc, well, Swoosh!  Just Do It.) Passion lemon cheesecake was wonderful as well.  

 

Boarding now....

IMG_20190626_202944875.jpg

IMG_20190626_202939322.jpg

IMG_20190626_202920528.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn
6 hours ago, TravelMore said:

 

 

Rattrays camp puts 4 people per vehicle. The other camps 6. We popped for 2 days in the middle with a private vehicle. We chose the photography vehicle over a regular private vehicle since they are supposedly the same comfort level yet $60 less per day. The photography vehicle is LESS?  Not what I would expect. It will be interesting to see how it pans out and how they work it out with the guides. 

 

I shared with one other couple for 4 nights, very roomy in the vehicle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The_Norwegian

Yet another person about to get hooked on sabi sands ;-) Have an awesome trip, and have fun with all the leopards and lions, wild dogs and all the other fantastic creatures! Lots of cubbies both lions and leopards in MalaMala at the moment! Take tons of pictures, and don`t hold back when posting them ;-) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
6 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

 

The 3 of us shared with a mom and daughter. It is very roomy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)
On 6/27/2019 at 8:22 AM, The_Norwegian said:

... with all the leopards and lions, wild dogs and all the other fantastic creatures! Lots of cubbies both lions and leopards in MalaMala at the moment! 

 

Thursday evening - Drive #1 none yet :(. Well ok, Im I'm lyin about the lion. There is a skinny injured male lion that is subsisting off the remains of other kills and spending most of his time lyin around. He supposedly has a beautiful dark mane, hopefully we'll get to see it.

 

Saw a few ellies and a couple other things. I'm realizing I'm not going to be able to keep this up in real time so I'll try to put up a short post each day, then write up all my thoughts and summation later.

 

 I will say, the food is very satisfactory and the camp is stepping up and beyond to help me out with staying on a keto diet.

LRG_DSC03289.JPG

LRG_DSC00018.JPG

LRG_DSC03287.JPG

20190627_150708.jpg

DSC00090.JPG

DSC00083.JPG

DSC00042.JPG

DSC00150.JPG

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

2nd drive. Friday morning? Wow already losing track of time.

I have more but need time to compress them.

 

 

 

DSC00181.JPG

DSC00356.JPG

DSC00378.JPG

DSC00412.JPG

DSC00434.JPG

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

Ohhhh boy what a great viewing day. We caught up with the same leopard as this morning. Spent time with her as the sun began to set. She then started on the move. Marking territory, smelling the air and watching. Her spots make a "collar""  around her neck. DSC00701.JPG.8534432f38c997ecf912082df50ab217.JPGDSC00754.JPG.95dfbfc764ec296b8fcca8d26bf0f324.JPGWe spent the next part of the evening with 69+ elephants, drinking, eating, whipping dirt, challenging us. Later we went back to the lion we saw earlier, he roused himself( or he got tired of us watching him ) and decided to roar a little bit.

 

Pictures: leopard today, more of ellies and lion tomorrow.  The food and drink flows liberally here and I need to get showered and be ready for breakfast in 8 hours.  

 

Quick note: SHOUT OUT  to the staff that provides meals and drink service throughout the day!  They do such a wonderful job. This evening we chose elantra! Even better than sirloin  - sorry no pic  but trust me !!!!!!!). Every staff member pitches in for whatever you like.

 

On to leopard pics.  Note: DSC00684.JPG.6d2dab9f6d5aa914e1b729401d6c0139.JPGone of them you can see the flies that pester her.  Isn't she beautiful?!  I must transfer More tomorrow - before I indulge in South African wine!

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wildship

Is the big male lion one of the Gowrie/Birmingham boys? Have a drink with Micheal at the main lodge bar, he is a good guy. Love the pics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

The lions in posts 9 and 11 are both gowrie boys. I believe there is one other.  We saw the 2nd lion in the evening as well, he Roared for us calling for his coalition but our ears did not hear a response at this time.  I've included a pic of His Sleepiness from the morning as well.  He slept all day, lifting his head once when a vehicle pulled up behind us. After I snapped thd pic he fell backwards ti sleep again. We were fortunate enough to witness him rouse after dark.

DSC03441.JPG

DSC03465.JPG

DSC03462.JPG

DSC00365.JPG

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

The Island female was my highlight of drives  2 (morning) and 3 (afternoon). You may notice she as some injuries but they did not seem to affect her walking at all as we followed her for some time in the evening. I have pics of her walking around but not on my tablet.   

DSC00181.JPG

DSC00202.JPG

 

DSC00710.JPG

DSC00699.JPG

DSC00713.JPG

DSC00718.JPG

DSC00754_1.JPG

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

This space is a place holder for a spectacular elephant post.  We were able to get close to a small group, then we backed off so we could see them in the field.  I regret I did not get a wide angled shot because there were about 69!   Eventually several started leaving the river coming quite close to our truck.

DSC00480.JPG

DSC00519.JPG

DSC00526.JPG

DSC00527.JPG

DSC00551.JPG

DSC00559.JPG

DSC00566.JPG

DSC00569.JPG

 

 

 

We also saw another lion this afternoon.  I believe the hurt Gowrie we saw last night. They do like to snooze most of the day!

 

DSC00463.JPG

 

 

 

Also as we were getting ready to cross the causeway, the guide would always stop and listen.  His eyes picked this creature up on the rocks just as we were getting ready to cross!  Funny how none of us noticed it til he pointed it out.

DSC00474.JPG

DSC00476.JPG

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

Saturday Morning.DSC00801.JPG.6c01cc4bceee412c97e574c63586528d.JPGToday. Not enough superlatives to describe. Giraffes sparring.4 leopards. Wild dogs. A female lion. And More, much more!

 

Ok, too tired. More pics tomorrow.

DSC00871.JPG

DSC00855.JPG

DSC00852.JPG

DSC01410.JPG

DSC01371.JPG

 

DSC01382.JPG

DSC00923.JPG

DSC00937.JPG

DSC00972.JPG

DSC00956.JPG

DSC00929.JPG

 

The Skittish Male Leopard. My son captured this photo. I have a fer of him in bushes and of his behind. He does not like the vehicles!

DSC_0980.JPG

DSC00885.JPG

DSC00891.JPG

DSC01111.JPG

DSC01124.JPG

DSC01128.JPG

DSC01191.JPG

Edited by TravelMore
More!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

So you are doing this day by day whilst on safari?  I don't really use whilst but when I am able to use the phrase "whilst on safari" I can't help myself?

Great sightings.  How many in the pack?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Wildship

Wonderful sighting. Both times I have been to Mala Mala I have seen wild dogs. How is Nsuku doing(Gowrie boy)?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

Yes Atravelynn,  I'm trying to do it day by day but am behind and also didn't post all the different things I saw the first day. I know I could wait but wanted to share some of the overwhelming amazement on how much we  are seeing in a day!

 

Eeks! My dh just came in the room and thinks there are monkeys outside the room (midnight!). Whew, glad I shut the windows!

 

A leopard moved through camp and the baboons went crazy warning and trying to move it along.

Edited by TravelMore
addtl info

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Wildship said:

Wonderful sighting. Both times I have been to Mala Mala I have seen wild dogs. How is Nsuku doing(Gowrie boy)?

About 12?  I will ask if it was Nsuku.

 

 

 

Edited by TravelMore
more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore

Reserved for more

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

Sunday morning

Today we saw all 3 boys. I'm not what  the nsme is of the one who is hurt.  When he first stands up, his right rear leg looks useless but my guide said after he moves a bit he has seen him walk and run on it.


More:  morning,  male & female, making their way back (assumed) from Londolozi. Then another male,  following the same path, stopping to drink from the Sand river.

DSC03501_1.JPG

DSC03500_1.JPG

DSC03509.JPG

 

 

A little while passes and here comes another female with suckle marks. Our guide promptly takes off like a bat out of h---, makes it to the den just before her.  pics to follow.

 

 

 

2 leopards today. Picadilly female And Senagal Bush male. He growled at us this morning but not too much this evening.  Then a surprise this afternoon, but you will have to wait for pics.

 

DSC03525_1.JPG

DSC03530_1.JPG

 

DSC03538_1.JPG

 

DSC03544_1.JPG

 

 

Part II, the BIG Surprise!!

 

 

In the afternoon we were driving in a very rough area of a river bed.  Both sides of the bank had huge boulders, we were driving on rough sometimes jagged rocks, very slowly, very carefully.  This went on and on and the guide said we were looking for another mama lion and cubs.  Instead, we found this!!!!

 

DSC02527.JPG

DSC02535.JPG

 

This guy was GINORMOUS.  The pictures, don't really give him proper scale.  He was easily 3x as large as our vehicle.  My heart was racing!  The guide drove as far around him as we could - I was praying he would not get up!  Freaked out was an understatement.  Fortunately he just wanted to snooze in the sun.

 

 

DSC02538.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

After we drove out of the riverbed, we sighted some other animals.

 

DSC02556.JPG

DSC02560.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

But then along comes....... you guessed it, another leopard marking territory.

 

DSC02589.JPG

DSC02595.JPG

DSC02596.JPG

DSC02597.JPG

DSC02598.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

Later more lions, snoozing by the river. Some getting bathed by mom.  Too dark though and pics were not as great.

DSC02626.JPG

DSC02632.JPG

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)
On 6/27/2019 at 8:15 AM, Atravelynn said:

The photography vehicle is LESS?  Not what I would expect.

 

Right not what I expected either. But, now that I've done it, I would take a regular plain private vehicle instead. The installed bars and resting pads were not good for me whereas the bars in the regular vehicle were perfect.

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TravelMore
Posted (edited)

Avoca Males - they get around quite a bit!  Within a week they were spotted on Londolozi, Mala Mala, and Chitwa Chitwa.  DSC02777.JPG.0b63b35f1d6153455283e51209c45393.JPG

 

DSC02773.JPG

 

 

DSC02784.JPGDSC02793.JPG

 

 

Before we caught up with these beauties, we had a long drive ahead of us to the South of the reserve.   We were able to see Kirkman's camp and other small houses (lodges?) across the Sand River.  We saw game on the way down, the best was a rather large heard of elephants.  They crossed in front of us to make their way down to the river, but a bull didn't like us there.  He ended up coming back up the embankment, to the rear of our vehicle.  Our guide determined it was best we depart.

 

DSC02693.JPG

DSC02694.JPG

DSC02695.JPG

DSC02699.JPG

DSC02702.JPG

DSC02706.JPG

DSC02707.JPG

DSC02714.JPG

DSC02725.JPG

DSC02750.JPG

DSC02753.JPG

 

 

Edited by TravelMore

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy