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“Go for the animals”

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Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 January 2012

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.

Room Tip: Due to the rain, the roads were extremely rough. Consider extra padding and hold on
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank OzAbroadView
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 January 2012

We booked Mahoora Mobile Tent in Yala. On the whole, we found that it was not value for money. Our jeep got a flat tyre on the way there and we had to wait for a replacement for quite some time. The result was that the new driver drove far too quickly to make up for lost time and get us to the camp for a late lunch. The afternoon safari was equally frenetic as our young driver drove far too quickly and we saw nothing. Once we were shown our tent, everyone seemed to disappear and we had no idea what the programme was. The naturalist was out with another group so we had no one to give us any information at all on what we might expect. The positive was that the food was sensational. The location I am sure was excellent except that it was so wet and muddy we were not able to go anywhere and the tent and bedding were dark and damp so the benefit of being in Yala itself was negligble. The following day we again had no naturalist and no information on the programme - although our driver for this session was very knowledgeable (although language was a problem). I believe that there are other camps in the park and I would suggest looking at these if you are looking for a luxury tent. Food aside, this was disappointing.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank traveller123WA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Anuruddha B, Owner at Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala, responded to this reviewResponded 17 January 2012

We have written to the traveler for more information and received very comprehensive feedback, for which we have replied extending our gratitude and explaining our position.

December is the peak of the season. As a result we were compelled to maximize our resources. For instance, although we have a number of very experienced naturalists, we had to obtain the services of less experienced naturalists on a rostered basis during such busy times. At the moment all these less experienced naturalists are on a fast track training prorgamme and they will be equally good in few months time.

We strive to provide the very best experience to each of our guest, as such we advice our ground staff to minimize activities in the customer - bound areas, ensuring maximum privacy and seclusion for our guests.

We are concerned that we have not been able to meet the expectation of our guest in this instance and we regret any short comings on service delivery .

We have in fact done the best we could in the given scenario by upgrading the accommodation facility from a premium tent to a luxury mobile tent with an en suite bathroom and washing facility , and all the other comforts and facilities which we provide to any other Mahoora luxury camping traveler.

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Reviewed 13 January 2012

Our family travelled to Sri Lanka over the Holiday Season and had in advanced booked a 3-night tent safari with Mahoora Eco Team. We had a very warm wellcome at the gate and were taken to a brilliant tent camp. The site was choosen at a very peaceful beautiful spot in the wilderness and we could "enjoy" the sound of the leopards in the night. We had very memorable game drives and our guides did their very best to get good views of fauna and flora. We were very lucky and saw six leopards at our visit. After the game drives we got good food and drinks and could also take a nice dip in the river. The staff were very nice and friendly and very dedicated and knowledgeable. They really liked their job and the device "come as a guest, leave as a friend" is very applicable. We really enjoyed our stay which we all ackowledged as our top experience during our Sri Lanka visit.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank Joachim L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2012

I traveled to Sri Lanka on last December with my family and got to know about Mahoora through internet.I just want to take a different kind of holiday with different type of experience,but i never thought that Mahoora will take me to a dream world.

camp site was absolutely brilliant,peaceful environment in the hart of the Udawalawe national park healed my body and the mind at once.food was superb and the camp site people treated us very well,during the safari time we spot lots of wild animals,including many elephants. As a family we enjoyed the Luxury camping experience and every thing was perfectly arranged for us.

our naturalist Amidu did a great job and we will recommend Mahoora for our friends for sure.beautiful surroundings and hard working staff with good service took us to a dream world and this is an unforgettable experience in my life.

Room Tip: as for luxury camp..its good for family.
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  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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6  Thank jhon c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2012

Although set near a little river and underneath a canopy of trees which were beautiful, this camping experience was not worth the price tag. I would have been more comfortable if I had brought my own tent as there were mouse droppings and mouse inside our tent. Further, there was "mud" smeared on the curtains which should have been noticed if someone had actually cleaned the tent. Further, the wall to walk carpet is dirty and patched up with other mats.

The food was average however we were disappointed there was no chef cooking our BBQ for us. Instead it was one of the campsite workers who burnt the food.

The tours around the national park were great, but not enough information was provided. Further, one of the Trekkers in our tour group couldn't speak English! However, the sights were amazing.

All in all, it would not have been so bad but for the steep price tag. Considering people pay so much, it's even more surprising and sad that the Trekkers have to sleep in the open jeeps.

  • Stayed: December 2011
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4  Thank Pquee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Anuruddha B, Owner at Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala, responded to this reviewResponded 13 January 2012

We have written to the reviewer via the Trip Advisor on the 10th of January in order for him/ her to send his / her details regarding his/ her stay, so that we are able to verify the authentic y of the posting . This would help us to conduct an investigation on what has really taken place. However we are yet to receive a reply.

We provide feedback forms to all our clients at the time of departure with a sealed envelope addressed to the Quality Assurance Department so that the client can share his experience and provide us feedback in a timely manner. However none of such feedback received in the month of December 2011 reflect a situation as mentioned in this post. All our feedback in this month irrespective of heavy rain had been either overall very good or excellent.

However, we like to state our position on the comments as follows:
Mahoora has 3 types of camps namely Standard, Premium & Luxury with 3 different levels of service & pricing giving a client the option of selecting what they prefer and what they believe as value for money.

We always have a chef in the camp and during bad weather there could be a possibility that the chefs are not in white uniforms but in outdoor camp uniforms.

We have in site Naturalist who is part of our staff and a Trekker provided by the Department of wildlife for a game Safari. We have absolutly no control over whom we get as a trekker as it is at the discretion of the department of wildlife and done based on roster. However, Trekker’s responsibility is to assure safety and make sure that the visitors are adhering to the park regulations and there is no requirement for them to speak good English.

We provide comfortable staff accommodation for all staff including Trekker from the wildlife department.

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Reviewed 1 January 2012

The Team: Our host Dilan Pieris who is a member of the EcoTeam Sri Lanka and an expert on snakes ( as well as most things in the wilderness), together with the staff gave us the most memorable two days. They were friendly and professional and I got the feeling that their job was also their passion and hobby.
The Tents: Very comfortable and cosy. Proper beds, running hot and cold water, electric lights ( from 18-2300hrs), otherwise lamps, coir matting on the floor, curtains separating sleeping area. Good pillows, crisp white sheets, towels, flush toilette and shower inside tent, soap, shampoo and even tooth brush! Good quality binoculars and book on birds provided ( not to take away).
Food: Herbal teas and soups as well as porridge made from locally grown grain. Excellent rice and curry for lunch and european style food for dinner, although one can have one or the other for both meals on request. Wine, bier and other alcohol drinks are served. Cook seems to take grate pride in detail. The team seems to move from one camp to another but the two waiters Sajith and Sarath were exceptional. We had a modern Mitsubishi 4X4 and the driver Vasantha must have had special training judging from the way he tackled the muddy roads! We also appreciated stop for tea and biscuits in beautiful spots during the safari which allowed us too get out of the jeep and stretch. But 2-3 days is more than enough.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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7  Thank Iromi P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 December 2011

Stayed in a luxury tent in mid december (own bathroom inside with plumbed shower and toilet, much to my wife's relief) in mid december, and enjoyed the experience initially...

You will be met at park entrance by Mahoora staff and their own custom built 4WD for the 45 min trip into their tented campsite. Would recommend arriving in middle of day, as on the way to campsite you see lots of animals, then relax having a great lunch, by a river ( food so impressive given the remote location, with napkins/table clothes etc ) , then go on the evening safari. Each safari will go for 2-2.5 hours, and you will see lots of elephants, water buffalo, hundreds of different bird species (peacocks and fly-catcher were our favorites). We also saw jackals, mongeese, monitor lizards, and guinea fowl. We did not see the spotted leopards. Our guide was brilliant at spotting the animals, differentiating all the birds, and very informative. You will have your own jeep with great views. Returning to camp in the evening all lit up with lanterns, and with a great campfire, for a BBQ feast was really enjoyable.

Tents were surprisingly comfy, but not airconditioned of course, so could get hot depending on weather. They had power from 6-11pm at night which was great for charging electrical equipment. Supposedly hot water too for showers..We did hear elephants stomping around near-ish our tents at night, which prompted our ever attentive staff to let off elephant fire-crackers to scare them away, and then they kept watch whilst we slept..

The plan for the next day is an early safari (eg 6-9am) then breakfast (v nice) and long relax in camp, with another late safari (eg 3-6pm) as these times are best for the animals.

So what was the problem ? Well it began to rain, and continued throughout the night, and next day, and whilst you do stay v dry in the large tents, there is little to do from 9am on return from your safari and you can't leave camp (unsafe as elephants around), ....also the safari's are all similar , and what we found exciting and exhilarating on the safari into the campsite, becomes much less so, by the 3rd safari.... so we actually decided to leave at lunchtime on 2nd day...

Staff were exceptional, and very keen to please, and I would highly rate this experience (our 12 year old liked it too) which is really quite different from anything we have ever done before...bring a raincoat, some books, an ipad and a pack of cards tho' if you are staying more than one night....

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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8  Thank spiritof66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala

Address: | bordering Yala National Park,15-20 minute drive to the park’s ticket office, Yala National Park 90714, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Yala National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 47 Speciality Lodging in Yala National Park
Price Range: £461 - £780 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala 3.5*
Number of rooms: 3
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

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