Arriving later in the day (4.30) we did a safari into the camp.
Thrilled by the first elephant - a juvenile being called by mum to cross the road but who shyly inspected us for some time before going bush at the increasing insistence. The remainder of the drive included deer, mongoose, plenty of bridlife and more elephant.
We arrived at the camp well after dark. The tents are fun and comfortable but this is not really a mobile camp.
Staff were ever helpful and when we said how hungry we were, they made us some pre-dinner french fries which went down a treat with the gin and tonics.
Food and service were of a consistently high quality and served at tables set up under canvas by the river.
Our spotter was the delightful Sunja - he is a brilliant spotter and very enthusiastic and knowledgable. A big fan of reptiles, he could spot the head of a land monitor sticky out of a branch at 500 paces.
In Yala you of course are there for the leopard. Disappointingly, there are no controls over the number of vehicles in the park so anyone can get a 4 wheel drive, sell a tour to day trippers and go bush bashing. These "tour guides" have no naturalistic or spotting skills and rely on the bush telegraph to find leopard. Too often this means when a leopard is spotted (aren't they all) that 50+ vehicles zoom in - causing a traffic jam, noise and dust to chew.
Fortunately, we started to avoid such scenes opting to sit and just enjoy less glamorous species. Thus our morning safari was 3+ hours and in the evening, we were rewarded with a leopard on the way back to camp right next to the road only metres from the vehicle.
To the sleep quality issue that I graded low - the beds are comfortable under mosquito netting - the noises of critters outside can disconcert but you get used to it. However, it was the critters inside that were the problem - we bought in the bowl of fruit and woke up to rats eating it and scurrying around the room. We reported the problem the next day but even the next night with no fruit - they were back. Very little sleep was had. Reasonably you are in the bush so it is to be expected but more efforts need to be made.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Mahoora is a holistic experience from your arrival to the departure focused on living in the wild and wildlife viewing and not just an accommodation option only.All the Safaris are included in the price. Mahoora safaris include high quality Safari Jeep / all the entrance and permit fees, sumptuous picnic basket and an unlimited supply of chilled beverages and a Mahoora Naturalist to ensure the best animal sightings and interpretations. All of Mahoora elite tents are set-up just prior to your arrival, and are moved out after your departure, thereby minimizing impact on the environment. This "Pack in and Pack out" aspect combined with all other green initiatives; guarantee to make your stay with Mahoora the one of the most environmentally friendly accommodation in Sri Lanka.Mahoora is an all inclusive stay and Tea / coffee, Tropical Fresh Fruit Juices, Beer & Spirits, Wine, and Snacks all are included in to the price. Mahoora's Fine Dining Executive Chefs will prepare tantalizing meals to suit your personal tastes, whilst adding in a few culinary surprises. This is just one aspect of the unique Mahoora adventure which keeps clients returning to the wild, time and time again. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Mahoora Luxury Tented Safari Camp Yala Hotel Yala National Park