This was our first time on safari and we were unsure what to expect. We booked the Mahoora Classic Plus for 2 nights through TripAdvisor / Agoda and I was a bit concerned as the packages on Agoda do not match with those on the Mahoora website. This was quite expensive but was all inclusive including all accommodation, food and drink, personal jeep, driver and guide. We were met just outside Kataragama by the jeep and our guide Saranga and taken to the camp site. The camp site itself is located just outside the Katagawuma Sanctuary. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to the Park entrance. The campsite is set up around a man made watering hole and each tent is secluded within its own area. The tents were quite comfortable with a fan, ensuite toilet and shower facility so you could freshen up after each trip. We shared our tent with a squirrel, a mouse and a family of frogs.
There are numerous dining tents which are used for breakfast and lunch. The dinners were grand affairs under the stars with flaming torches and a camp fire, seated at individual tables with linen table clothes, napkins and personal waiters. The dinners consisted of four or five courses and all the food was excellently cooked. The staff were very attentive and the camp manager was always on hand with ice cold towels and cool drinks when we returned from safaris and a member of staff was on hand to guide us back to our tents after each outing or meal.
We had four safaris starting after lunch on the first day. Saranga was a very informative guide and stopped the jeep to point out animals and birds throughout the park. We saw a huge amount of wildlife on each of our four drives – elephants, monkeys, wild boar, mongoose, deer, crocodiles, huge variety of birds (eagles, herons, hornbills, peacocks, bee eaters to name a few). We even managed to see a leopard (at some distance) and a very rare (nocturnal) mouse deer.
We started our morning drives at 515am in order to get to the park (we saw a lot of wildlife on the track to the park entrance too) as soon as it opened (6am) and hopefully see a leopard at close quarters. Unfortunately, we did not see a leopard at close quarters but it didn’t matter. The experience was still unique and highly recommended.
On both of our morning drives we took a packed breakfast in order to stay in the park for longer. We stopped at the river on the first day and the beach on the second. The beach area is very beautiful and the remains of the bungalow devastated by the tsunami are still visible. Our guide also seemed to instinctively know when we needed a break and carried a coolbox of drinks and snacks to keep us going.
Whilst we were at the park there were only a handful of leopard sightings – the jeeps from the various operators communicated with each other on the sightings and we had several close encounters (fresh tracks, animal alarm calls) and this reinforced that even though we were in one of the world's densest leopard populations, the leopard is exceedingly elusive. This only added to the experience however and we still had a fantastic time.
For people considering the safaris, you should be aware that the tracks are pretty rough. If you suffer from travel sickness or have a bad back, you will struggle. Our morning safaris would last from 5.15am to 10.30 or 11am so you will be in the jeep for at least 4 or 5 hours. Aside from the two stops mentioned above, there is nowhere in the park to get out of the jeep and no toilet stops.
For most people, one day (or half day) will probably be enough. However, if you are a nature lover or enjoy the outdoors, wildlife or bird watching, this is a great way to see the National Park and some great wildlife close up. We would highly recommend Mahoora for a unique safari experience.
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Agoda so you can book your Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Mahoora Luxury Tented Safari Camp Yala Hotel Yala National Park