Mahoora Elite Camps - Yala National Park


Don’t just discover Yala, live it.

See more of Yala and experience more of Sri Lanka’s rich culture and heritage, with immersive experiences curated to take you on a journey from ancient tradition and spiritual awakening, to sharing a meal in the village and birdwatching by the lake. Exclusively for Mahoora guests staying with us for more than 1 night, or guests who would like to opt out of a safari.

An Evening in the Ranminithenna Village

Discover the unique way of life for indigenous communities living on the Yala National Park borders, and enjoy a tea at sundown and bush meal at nightfall with them.

Start time: 5:30pm

Duration: 3 hours

Includes: Transport, Refreshments, Village Tea and Dinner

Take a ride to Ranminithenna, the village bordering the Yala National Park, for an evening of memories steeped in ancient Sri Lankan tradition. We depart from the campsite at 5:30pm to reach Ranminithenna in a half an hour drive, a journey adorned by nature and wildlife.

For those who are passionate about getting more out of the journey, our naturalists will take you there by foot. However, we recommend this option for guests who are accustomed to long hours of walking as the footpath tends to take around 2 ½ hours.

Upon arrival at sundown, the farming family in the village will warmly welcome you and treat you to an exceptionally delicious array of traditional sweetmeats and beverages. All meals are homemade and prepared according to the local tradition, with locally grown organic vegetables and fruits from the village fields.

Thereafter, you are taken to unwind and soak in the great outdoors with a cup of tea as dusk slowly turns to night.

When its supper time, your village-style dinner is set amidst the Slash and Burn Cultivation, where you are surrounded by a secluded harvest on a starlit night. Enjoy the taste of a meal harvested in the hour you arrived, with a range of wholesome and nourishing local dishes.

Your dinner includes community delicacies such as “Kurakkan Pittu with local curd”, served with lake fish curry – a family favourite. However, if you are more adventurous, go ahead and try the spicy tomato jam with Kurakkan Thalapa (a local main dish made out of Kurakkan Flour).

The Chena Cultivation

Historically, the Chena Cultivation / Slash and Burn Cultivation dates back to when the locals used land to cultivate crops which are sustainable in hot, dry weather with little to no water. The local farmers plant the crops during the “Maha Season” (monsoon season) where there is a short burst of water that hydrates the Dry Zone.

The farmers live in the cultivated property to look after their crops, so that a good harvest is managed without being disrupted by wild animals.

Fresh food from the “Chena”

The Slash and Burn Cultivation / Chena Cultivation, produces a variety of organically grown fruits and vegetables. On your visit you will see the green patches of corn swaying with the westerly winds, the immensely beautiful streaks of kurakkan, pumpkin, cucumber, bandakka, brinjal, cayenne pepper, tomatoes and an array of lentils such as Mung Beans, Kaupi and Dal.

Exploring the Sithulpawwa Rock Temple

Discover ancient ruins and rituals along with a short jungle trek to Sri Lanka’s famous rock temple.

Start time: 4pm

Duration: 2 hours

Includes: Transport, Refreshments, White Sarong, Jungle Trek, Religious Rituals

Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya is an ancient Buddhist monastery located in the Hambantota District of Sri Lanka. It is believed to have been built by king Kavantissa in the 2nd century B.C. The name Sithulpawwa is derived from the word "Chiththala Pabbatha", which means the hill of the quiet mind.

This ancient monastery with a history over 2200 years, was a place of worship for devotees as well as an education centre for Buddhist monks. Paintings of the Anuradhapura era and the ruins of stone Buddha images, Bodhisattva images, Image Houses, and Circular Relic Houses are spread throughout the monastery premises.

The excursion to and from the temple explores area of scenic wildlife, and includes an easy 30 minute trek through the jungle to visit the Stupa. Experience religious rituals at the temple and head back to camp just in time for a late tea.

Birdwatching in Sri Lanka at the Katagamuwa Tank

Start time: 4:30pm

Duration: 1 hour

Includes: Transport and Sunset High Tea by the lake

Enjoy a scenic evening drive to the nearby Katagamuwa Tank with our Naturalist for a memorable birding experience! After you tick off your birder bucket list, enjoy a quiet high tea by the lake at sundown.

Nature & Village Walk
to the
Kotchipathana Tank

Start time: 6:30am and 4pm

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Enjoy an immersive Nature Walk with our Naturalist through the bordering village until you find yourself on the banks of a paradise for birds and thirsty wildlife. On returning to camp, breakfast / tea will be served.

Religious Rituals and Ceremonies at the Kataragama Devalaya and Kiri Vehera

Exploring the Sithulpawwa Rock Temple

Puja Times: 4:30am, 10:30am, 6:30pm

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Includes: Transport, Refreshments, White Sarong, Religious Rituals

The Kataragama Temple in Sri Lanka is a temple complex dedicated to Buddhist guardian deity Kataragama deviyo and Hindu War God Murugan. It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Veddas in Sri Lanka. For most of the past millennia, it was a jungle shrine very difficult to access; today it is accessible by an all-weather road. The vicinity of the temple has a number of ancient ruins and inscriptions. The nearby Kiri Vehera is an ancient stupa dating back to the 6th century BC and is believed to be built by King Mahasena, a regional ruler of the Kataragama area. Being one of the most popular Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the country, the Kiri Vehera is also 1 of the 16 most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites of ancient Sri Lanka.

Visit both places of worship and take part in religious rituals which includes lighting the oil lamp, religious offerings and smashing the flaming coconut.

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