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“Definitely Not Luxury”

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Mahoora Tented Safari Camp Yala
Certificate of Excellence
England
Level Contributor
41 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Definitely Not Luxury”
Reviewed January 25, 2013

My wife and I have stayed in a few 'luxury' camps in Africa and on this sort of scale Yala barely registers. It is supposedly an eco-friendly camp (now outside the park) but one level above boy scout camping so, if this is what you want go for it but do not expect luxury camping.
The tents are small and tired with poor light (the picture is misleading) only after 18.30, as is hot water and there is no storage or hanging space. In our tent the shower delivered only a few drops of tepid water and was very dirty, the toilet was OK - just, the bed was very basic and uncomfortable and the tent could not be secured as the lock and key were corroded. We were booked for two nights but left after one.
On the plus side, the staff were pleasant and helpful and we had a good guide (who was a freelance). The food was OK.
The management must understand that this is not luxury camping and not portray it as such. It will appeal to some people as an opportunity to spend time close to nature and this is how it should be marketed.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Worlands
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 review, January 27, 2013
We appreciate the feedback given by these clients .However, our camp is not a permanent camp and we believe that any “luxuries” need to be perceived from “mobile camping” point of view and not comparing with permanent structures. Biggest “luxuries” we offer are “living closer to the nature” and “world class safaris”.
We have addressed agents selling our product all over the world again and again to be very clear on defining our services and what we offer. In occasions like this, it’s clear that clients are expecting something totally different to what we offer. Our websites and promotional materials are giving detailed explanations on what we offer and go to the extent of defining the size of the tent and thickness of the mattress etc.
We regret that these clients expectations are not been met by our product.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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289 reviews from our community

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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
Reviewed January 18, 2013

We stayed at Yala Mahoora Safari Camp for 2 nights in December 2012 . We received very warm welcome by the polite and professional staff. Every meal we had was fantastic and quality was magnificent too. The waiters were very professional. The tent was very clean, tidy and provided with all necessities. The Safari Vehicle was so comfortable and the driver had eagle eyes to notice any animal or bird. Our guide was so knowledgeable and expert of wildlife . The driver and the guide tried hard to look for a Leopard and on final day we were lucky to spot a big leopard looking at our cameras. We saw many different birds, elephants and many other animals including stunning peacock dancing.

The service was far better than any other holiday resort, We wish that we could stay more. We had a fantastic experience and a trip to remember for a long time. Since our return we talk and talk about the trip …I would highly recommend “Mahoora” Camping trip. Life is too short to miss a trip like “Mahoor Camping Holiday

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank malanifernando
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2013

We had the trip of our life....The staff and quality of service were beyond our expectaions. They understood our needs and tried to delight us. I wanted to see a Leapord and the driver and the tracker tried their level best and they made it....Both of them tried hard and showed us so many wild animals and Birrds. The food was excellent and I like their environmental friendly concepts.
I am so happy to recommend this place to anyone as they are able to meet or even exceed your expectations.
It was a luxury camp and we got everything we needed.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank preethiSenarath
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Colombo
1 review
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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Helpful?
Thank snowleopardsl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Queenstown, New Zealand
Level Contributor
24 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
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 review, 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.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stockholm
Level Contributor
22 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
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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Helpful?
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 review, 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.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
england
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
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
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank laveggie
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

Property: 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
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 36 Specialty Lodging in Yala National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
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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