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4 - 9 of 33 reviews
Reviewed August 25, 2014

Thinking the horrible reviews on tripadvisor were about another guesthouse (the name was slightly different), my brother and I followed lonely planet and went to this place. When a bodybuilder with a too bright smile welcomed us, we recognized the description from tripadvisor and got alarmed but we were tired and the spot was beautiful so we decided to just be careful and stay the night. BIG MISTAKE. During dinner the owner sat with us, making us feeling uncomfortable. My brother brought up the horrible reviews on tripadvisor and the bodybuilder sighed, told us how those were people trying to ruin his business because he was the only one having reasonable prices near Udawalawe. When we had asked his younger brother the same question a little earlier, he explained how this had been true but that the management had changed rcently and that this was history. Knowing for sure now they were lying we discussed again leaving but again decided not to since it was late and we were in the middle of nowhere. We arranged a safari for the next morning with another driver (the owner had offered to take us) and let the owner know we wouldn't be going with him. The bodybuilder reacted very strange. We were just in bed when our safariman called us: bodybuilder called and threatened him, he wasn't welcome near the guesthouse because bodybuilder would take us on safari. We hung up, had a short discussion deciding to leave first thing in the morning and meet the safariman at the parc entrance. When we called safariman back, he was even more upset: why did we let bodybuilder know that he called us?? We hadn't left the house so the only thing we could think of was that one of the owners had been outside the window eavesdropping on us. At this point we were really scared. We locked and blocked every door and window and contacted the Dutch embassy, wanting to be sure that someone knew about our location in case the situation would further escalate. This might seem a little exaggerated but we felt really vulnerable being in the middle of nowhere with a bodybuilder and his brother who apparently went around threatening people. We barely slept and left at 5:15am. Not eager to have another confrontation with bodybuilder, we left money (the owner had our cellphone so we figured he would just call in case he didn't find the money). During the rest of the morning we got seriously stalked by the owners, who kept calling our safariman ordering him to not drive any further but wait for him. The younger brother would then jump out of a Tuk Tuk, shouting and threatening my brother. Thankfully it never came to a physical confrontation but we felt very threatened and were glad to leave Udawalawe.

If in doubt: TURN AROUND! We seriously underestimated the situation and have been regretting this the rest of the night and following day. Please do not make the same mistake we did.

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Dorien D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 25, 2014

After 3,5 months of travelling in several countries, this was my worst night. There is a big scam set up with tuk-tuk touts luring you to this place (that has no name on the spot, and changes according to what the tourist expects). Although in the Lonely Planet (the number listed there is still correct) the place has deteriorated to the point where the filthy rooms (the mozzie was so full with insects that it covered the bed once we put it up) can no longer compensate for the beautiful spot.

The owners are simply criminals. We ended up here by accident but saw the other bad reviews on tripadvisor so were very secure on the doors and keeping all valuables with us. One of the owners (a bodybuilder-guy) sat with us with dinner which was very uncomfortable. I presume that in the same time his brother might have entered the room to look for valuables (judging by other reviews) which we, luckily carried on us.
He and his brother's smiles were simply a bit overdone and we didn't feel at ease from the start to be fair. We called the central park entrance and arranged for a guide to pick us up the next morning for safari. I told the bodybuilder that unfortunately we wouldn't be taking his jeep (it was a lot more expensive, too) and he quite briskly hang up the phone. Half an hour later our guide called me again to inform me that he had been threatened by the manager and would not be coming to pick us up.
We felt extremely unsafe and sneaked away at 5.30 the next morning after a terrible night. We left the money but were chased down by both brothers throughout the day, accusing us of not paying etc. They simply contacted the safari guide or tuktuk driver we were with at a certain moment, who would then stop and hand us his phone. They tracked us down several times and we ended up have a big fight (fortunately not physical) which cast a big shadow over our safari in Uda Walawe (which is, I must admit, a beautiful park!)

Should you anyhow end up in a place similar to the description or the pictures, get a tuktuk straight out of there. It is NOT worth the gamble!!

  • Stayed: June 2014, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Arne D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 7, 2014

We were 2 couples.We stayed only one night, the place is nice and the bungalows are basics but confortable. One of the 2 brothers (owners) looked nice and friendly : room 2500 ( with no extra charges)breakfast included...but at the end when the final bill came up they changed the prices of the room, drinks and charged us for breakfast 550 roupies per person!!! We decided not to pay for breakfast and not for the extra charges as the 1st brother said from the very beginning and of course he wasn't here to give us the bill,. We tried to solve the problem as grown up person with the 2nd brother but very unfriendly and he became mad and aggressive , insulting us, screaming throwing money, keys on the ground trying to scare us. So we just fled from that horrible place. Please don't go there!

Stayed: March 2014, traveled with friends
3  Thank Michel D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2014

I want to write about another place very similar to Selara. The owner (bodybuilder in his 30') took me there saying it was Selara (he had Selara business cards), and it seemed right because of description from Lonely Planet (riverside, waterfall-type showers, adobe bungalows, monitor lizard). Anyway, the place was great and the bodybuilder and his brother were really nice and helpful. But I made the mistake of leaving money in the bungalow when we had breakfast. Most of it disappeared and I'm quite sure it happened there.
Later, when I investigated I realized it was NOT Selara River but Pokuna Safari Eco Lodge, but if you are looking for accommodation near Uda Walawe you should be aware of this scam.
And one more thing - when I showed the card I got from the bodybuilder to moto taxi driver (the card said exactly Salara Rever Eco Resort), the driver took me to Pokuna Lodge. It's like they all work together...

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Service
Thank Marius K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 30, 2013

Ok, I had to write this comment to warn all of you considering this place as your accomodation.

We came here accidently (owner had an agreement with a bus driver who called him that we're coming) but we really liked this place. Cottage was basic, but had everything we needed. It was facing the river, there were many interesting fruit trees, small pond. Place is really green and quiet as it's in the middle of forest. There are some neighours but the town is 15 minutes away by tuk tuk.

We liked the place, liked the owner who was doing his best to fit our needs.

Unfortunately, during safari we left in our cottage some money from our country (50 PLN) and some jewelery and they disappeared. Of course we found out that we don't have it few days later. Now I understand why the owner was asking us if we could exchange him 100 PLN bill to USD. He said that he received it from Polish friend and could not exchange it anywhere. We haven't exchanged it because we needed USD but we're not suspecting that next day our money might disappear. Next time when people from Poland visited his place he was probably trying to exchange 150 PLN from 'Polish friend'...

If the above things woudn't happen I would give this place even 4/5 but after such experience it must be 1/5. Stay away or take extra care of your valuables!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank neffff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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