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“Cats & Crocks.. A great Safari Experience”

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Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 16, 2013

We stayed at Yala Mahoora Camp for 2 nights in December with 2 of my friends. It was a fantastic experience and a trip to remember for many moons. Though it rained heavily during our stay, the staff did a wonderful job to make us comfortable and find us great wildlife sightings. The “cats” were shy to come out due to rain but we were not disappointed because of our “eagle eyed” driver sajith and the Nature Guide . As Mahoora promises dinner was a magical setting and meal quality was none compromising too. However, we felt that the camp could do little bit more enabling guests to interact with the rest. Though we felt “exclusive” there weren’t much opportunities to talk to other guests.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank snowleopardsl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 9, 2013

A visit to Yala was a highlight for us, and whether or not you spot leopards, there is so much else going on, and the park is so beautiful, you won't be disappointed. The safari aspect of Mahoora was fine, although in the mornings, after getting up at the (very early) time that we were told, we'd be the only ones up, sitting for half an hour as the dark turned to dawn, itching to have some tea and get going, while it seems everyone had overslept.

The camping aspect of this trip was overpriced. You don't stay inside the park either, so if I was recommending, I'd say, may as well pay $100s less, stay in Tissa and do a series of safaris from there. The tents were comfortable with great amenities, including toilet and shower. But all were spaced out and separate from the dining area - this area had every group or couple entirely separated from eachother, and each party had their own jeep too. So ideal if you want to stare into your partner's eyes for the evening, but you don't have a social time. Likewise, staff are so 'colonial english' deferential, that there is no communication there either. A not very warm, slightly weird experience.

The welcome lunch, which was Sri Lankan food, was very good, but after that the catering went entirely western, and the 'five course meal' was largely inedible (on both nights we could not eat the burnt, cold offerings of our main meals), and courses were at best okay - eg you can't go wrong with a banana or a jacobs cracker with cream cheese as a course.

We were there to see Yala, and were not disappointed with this, but there are other ways of doing this, unless this company lifts its game in terms of the camp experience.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank KidzGo
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 January 12, 2013

We thank the customer for choosing Mahoora and more so for providing very valuable feedback. We are certainly appreciative of the fact that this customer has enjoyed the safari experience and rated the accommodation, service, etc very good in the review.
Our camp is located just bordering the park in a complete wilderness setting and takes only ten minutes to get the park entrance and that drive is also done as a part of a safari. And at the same time, we believe that “luxury” needs to be perceived from mobile camp perspective and not from a fixed permanent camp perspective. Though we are out of the demarcated boundaries of the park, still the camp is located in a sensitive area and we are Mahoora is still a mobile camp set up.

We have taken the feedback on the menu and addressed the same in order to provide consistently high level of quality in what we provide. The reason why the accommodation units are set in seclusion providing greater privacy is based on what most clients prefer. However we understand that the customer needs can change and we will address this n our future settings. Once again we thank for extremely useful feedback given.

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Reviewed January 8, 2013

For visitors to Mahoora in Yala is time to change the expectation level - it is now a really basic camp not a luxurious camp at all. It is not in the national park. It is outside and in a very bad location.

When we talk about setting expectation levels - we had before our visit filled in a form where we explained who we are and our interests, also what food we liked, what beverages and interests etc. But all of our stay it felt like they had no clue at all who we were and from which country etcetera.

I will list a few things below that summarizes the camp. However the wild life and naturalist guide and driver was good (however they were freelance guides....). My feedback is about the camp.

The camp is badly situated they should have cleared some of the bushes or made it look like a nicer camp. No common area existed for guests to be in. So it was also really small tents which certainly not was luxorius (we have seen safari tents in africa and they are really good but this was not even close to that). Fumes from somewhere (the kitchen area?) made it almost impossible to sit outside the tents because of the smell.

If it had gone several months since they moved out of the national park then the tents and the location should have been in much better shape to reflect Mahooras status as a luxurious place - but it was really bad instead.

No varm water at all during our stay - not very luxurious
Tents and beds really uncomfortable - should be easy to fix after a few months even if new location.
The management was not in control - it felt very un-organized, example should we be picked up for dinner or not? 3 different answers and timing depending on who you asked also example below of flashlight
We asked several times for flashlight since it was too dark to go from tent and also in tent after 22.00 but there was no flashlights, we used our Iphone instead, but then when we complained a final time the last night, then we got a flaslight all of a sudden eventhough the manager said earlier that there were no flashlights. They cut the power so in the mornings it is pitch dark outside so it is needed...

We talked to other guests, and heard that an italian couple left early, also a english couple who was vegetarian got meat every meal eventhough stated in the form they filled in before arrival and to the manager.

After the first days safari our naturalist guide came to us and asked if we wanted safari all day next day without going back to camp for lunch and we said yes since we didnt want to be in the camp at all.

We decided to skip our last morning safari since we couldnt sleep in the extremely unfomfortable tents and were really afraid we would be too tired for our wedding one day later. So we skipped last morning safari.

The service level of the staff was okay they really tried hard with the dinner and the service there but the level is still too low to be honest. So expectation level totally wrong and a huge disapointment.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank TormoAlfta
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 January 12, 2013

We thank the customer for providing feedback on his stay at Mahoora. We sincerely regret that we have not been able to meet his expectations. However, we would like to bring clarity to some of the areas that are of concern. Some of the suggestions for improvements are appreciated and will be used going forward.

Our camp is located just bordering the park in a complete wilderness setting and takes only ten minutes to get the park entrance and that drive is also done as a part of a safari. And at the same time, we believe that “luxury” need to be perceived from mobile camp perspective and not from a fixed permanent camp perspective. Though we are out of the demarcated boundaries of the park, still the camp is located in a sensitive area and we are continuing Mahoora as a mobile camp set up.

The campsite is designed in keeping line with the effect of creating an wilderness environment. As such one may get the feeling of being inside thick bush area which is what most of our clientele look forward to. As our aim is to provide privacy to each customer, we do not provide common area for all clientele but there are plenty of spaces including dining, hammocks that can be used for relaxing.

Reading this customers review we believe what's perceived prior to visiting Mahoora may have misled creating different level of expectation. Nevertheless we sincerely regret that we have not been able to fulfill all his expectations.

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Reviewed January 5, 2013

5 Hours before we where due to fly to Sri Lanka Mahoora enailed us to tell us we would not be staying in the park but we now know that they had moved out in Oct/early Nov so the late email was very staged so we could not back out, we paid top money as we wanted to stay in the park otherwise we would have stayed in a nearby hotel with all the comforts. As a offering that we would not be staying in the park they offered us a walking night safari which also never happened!!!
We are experienced in camping & safari travel and we can honestly say that this is not luxury or worth the money. Day of arrival complete lack of introductions and instructions, the camp was in total disarray. Our tent which was supposed to be delux and we have stayed in delux camps in Borneo, India and Africa, was definately not luxury. There was no hot water for 2 days and we only got hot water for one evening after a Indian family complained even louder than we did. Food - why did we bother to fill out the information form that we where sent when we booked asking us for our preferences and what we couldn't eat?? This information obviously wasn't used in any way as I am a vegetarian and was given meat every day, which I rejected and therefore did not eat the main meal for the evenings (you would think that once I had told them that I was a vegetarian that they would rectify this but NO) Food was alsocold or luke warm at best.
The rain is unavoidable but as this is a permanent site for the season some boarding would be helpful as eating your dinner whilst sinking in mud is now only laughable.
Torches was given on last day - luckily we are experienced enough to have our own.
When we asked to speak to the manager he obligingly stood at our table (whilst we where still sinking) and just looked as if he would cry and in an English saying he was about as helpful as a chocolate teapot! Offering no apologies or solutions except to go out on a safari!!!
We have never stayed any where so many people complained, we had some Italians in our truck who left after a day.
If this had been sold to us as a basic camping expereince at a lower price then we would have accepted it for what it was BUT it wasn't - this is supposed to be LUXURY sorry Mahoora this is not LUXURY!!!

We would sincerely NOT recommend this to anyone and we will be very surprised if there are not any more complaints on this website. We have never written a complaint before and feel that Mahoora has had us over - think twice before you book.

As for the safaris Yala is a very busy park which has no reflection on Mahoora Camping. The safaris where very good, crowded yes but as noted everyone would like to see a Leopard and therefore you must expect lots of "Jams" when an animal is sighted. Overall wildlife sightings very good. Our naturlist and driver where very good shame the picnic breakfast wasn't that good but mouldy bread sandwiches, no tea or coffee was a big let down but something that is consistant with Mahoora.

As we don't want to be accused of not having been to the camp we are happy to leave our names.

Colin & Lynette Mahon, England - Trip 27 Dec 12 - 30 Dec 12

Room Tip: Not a good position 35 mins from park - look for a hotel instead
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank laveggie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

We visited’ Mahoora Yala camp’ almost by accident while we were in Sri Lanka. The weather gods were not kind to us and probably due to climate change or whatever the reasons the rains have arrived on the island early/late. The people at the camp were very friendly and knowledgeable, the service and the food was fabulous, considering it was well off the beaten track. The two game drives was good as it gets, we were lucky to spot the elusive Leopard twice and the majestic elephant and a fascinating array of birds, a sloth bear, jackals and crocs everywhere. The vehicle was very comfortable and we had a naturalist with us all the time, he had eagle eyes, if he missed something our diver would spot it. We would advise you not to have a big meal before a game drive; the roads are quite bumpy especially after a downpour. We would highly recommend ‘Mahoora’ to anybody visiting this gem of an island, the two days we spent with Mahoora deep in the jungle also showed us the beautiful rural Sri Lanka and its people at its best.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Caroline T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We went on an evening safari drive with Mahoora which was an absolute disgrace. There were four of us in a track which was driven without a word of guidance or courtesy. The driver drove far too fast, beeped his horn and we saw virtually nothing. The park management is non existent and the roads were busier than Kandy with trucks and some cars careering all over the place. Then, suddenly our driver without giving any reason started driving like an absolute maniac. It transpired that a leopard had been sited. Well, we arrived and there were at least 70 trucks queuing to see this leopard. I was disgusted but we were unable to turn round and eventually after more than an hour managed to get a distant glimpse. Others further back in the queue may have been waiting for up to 3 hours because they could not turn round.
We were appalled because this is safari and camping at its very worst. We had a moderate dinner, asked for torches and decided that we could not face it for a minute more than we had to. No torches or water for showers were available until we made a fuss about the torches.
My over riding impression was that these people are only interested in zapping tourists for money and have no concept about health standards or safari management and all that goes with wild life preservation. What they are doing ought to be exposed and banned.
It is my fault for agreeing to go when many had tried to persuade me not to. But, I do resent having paid for a quality camp inside the park and been put in a shambles camp outside.

Stayed: December 2012
4  Thank Simon d
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 January 2, 2013

We thank the customer for providing feedback which is extremely helpful for us to take corrective measures. However we would like to mention a few aspects based on his comments which we believe would bring clarity to some of the areas.
Our staff are trained staff and in general possess over 2 years of experience in working with us, they are trained and clad in uniforms. As such we are surprised to see the customers comment with regard to the comment. Although it is possible that the campsite could get muddy due to heavy rain as we maintain our sites as close as we can get to the natural environment. The general very high traffic in the Yala national park is something we have absolutely no control on. As most customers are interested in viewing the leopard one of our primary focus in some instances would be that, however we would like to emphasize that we focus on the Game drive where our customers could see and savor the surroundings , its animals, flora and fauna rather than a single animal.
We sincerely regret that we have not been able to deliver our service to this customer’s expectations. However, we feel that certain expectations of the customer in some instances may not be totally practical.
Currently we have taken all corrective measures to guarantee same high satisfaction levels to all customers even during the extreme peak times.

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Reviewed October 28, 2012 via mobile


We were told upon leaving the camp that it would taken down later that day as the president had just outlawed them. The company based out of Colombo (amongst others) didn't go down well with locals for which it's their main income.

That said the camp was cool, food was good but not spectacular, paid full wack only to find it half price on agoada. (very annoying)

Two safaris were about right , saw everything but leopards ! The roads are in desperate need of repair, would not go in peak season as it would be manic! Guide was ok- jeeps cool- it was a non stop action packed experience.

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank Makeusabrew
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 November 26, 2012

We would like to thank this customer for providing valued feedback, and as we prioritize delivering on our promises, we would like to provide clarifications for some of the comments outlined in this review . Although we request that all our customers provide feedback during their stay, based on the name given here we have not been able to identify this customer. Therefore we are unable to verify the details surrounding his stay.
We have been providing Mahoora mobile luxury, premium and standard camping experiences for over a decade and have thus been operating alongside the local communities for many years . We employ and use resources from the surrounding areas and our operation has been thus far , unequivocally and mutually beneficial to the local communities as well as to us. As such we refuse to accept the comments made here that indicate that we have been a hindrance these communities that we so value. The ruling by the President has nothing to do with our operation. In fact, Mahoora has been awarded the Presidential Tourism Award just two years ago, in recognition of our groundbreaking efforts in this sphere.

The Mahoora campsite in Yala now functions on the border of the National Park and we are able to provide an equally exceptional experience to our clientele.
We have a 94% success rate in locating leopards on our safaris and it is unfortunate that this client has fallen to the 6% who do not see one. Even the best of efforts sometimes fail, and this fact is widely known when it comes to wildlife safaris all over the world.

Like any other hotel, depending on the availability, our marketing department puts out a limited number of rooms for booking engines with last minute discounts. It’s a transparent, open system for anyone who is interested in making a booking.
Though the condition of the roads in Yala is very much beyond our control, we are happy to say that most of the roads have now been repaired and are in a much better state.

We trust the above explanation provides insight to all readers pertaining to the current situation with regard to Mahoora and as we have done in all our years of operation, we still strive to provide our best services to our customers at all times.

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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
Phone Number:
Location: 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 38 Specialty Lodging in Yala National Park
Price Range: $441 - $961 (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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