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Explorer by MahooraPrivate Tented Safari Camp Experience in Dambana



d2Living Experience

Explorer by Mahoora is a highly unique and immersive experience of living with untamed Sri Lankan wildlife inside National Parks and Nature Reserves across the country. Our Private Tented Safari Camp Experience in Dambana escapes you from modern times to live amongst the traditions of  indigenous people of Sri Lanka

The Explorer by Mahoora campsite is situated by the side of lake that is beautifully landscaped by nature itself. The evenings are breathtakingly beautiful where pink and purple hues adorn the evening skies. It is a place to lie down or sit back and relax, enjoy an afternoon cup of tea and simply watch the skies turn to dark blue as the birds fly back home saying goodbye to the day.



dt1The Explorer by Mahoora Living Experience combines rustic with modern. Enjoy a spacious, tented accommodation (15.6’x 8’) which includes a cosy bedroom, en-suite bathroom with a flushable toilet and complimentary toiletries, as well as a private veranda/ porch outside the tent. Your stay with us will always be carbon neutral.

Dining Experience

Dining too, is an adventure with Explorer by Mahoora at Dambana.

At nightfall, we make your wild dinner experience a little extra special with Kiri Koraha dance by the indigenous community (Veddas).  Listen to the campsite come alive with chanting and the beat of the dancers around the campfire, taking you back in time to an era that seems rather impossible to have existed.

Your wild dining is set up within the campsite, and meals are freshly prepared on-site by our executive chef. Menus are deliciously local and carefully designed for your palate, so your culinary journey sweetly complements the rest of your adventure.


Game Drives

d3Game drives let you explore the Maduru Oya National Park. Jeep safaris let you experience everything from an elephant roaming the tall grass to a range of bird life.

Maduru Oya National park has its unique features that you would come across in the game drive. The abundance of tall grasses hide at times the most gigantic elephants. The Park is untamed but bears evidence of once upon a time life that existed. Dilapidated schools and remnants of buildings can be seen in some places making you wondering as to what life may have been prior to the implementation of the Mahaweli programme.

The Mahaweli Development Programme, a national programme committed to the full development of Sri Lanka’s water resources for irrigation and hydropower, was implemented in 1975. This programme was to last 30 years. Under the Accelerated Mahaweli Programme (AMP) - a revision to the original scheme - 12 projects were undertaken to complete within 6 years, including Maduru Oya.

Maduru Oya was identified as a feasible location to provide irrigation water, in order to settle some 35,000 farming families. The soil was ideal for both paddy cultivation and crop cultivation such as: sugarcane, cotton, pulses, groundnuts, etc.


Experiences with Aadi Vaasi

Experiences with Aadivasi is not confined to observing their lives. In fact you get to take part with them. These activities will take you back to a time where your imagination will be filled with how people lived amidst nature. Walk in the forests, looking for beehives and yams are novel and exciting.  What’s more, you may try your hand at using some of their traditional equipment, bow and arrow and learn to ignite a fire the old - fashioned way.



The changing lives of Aadi Vaasi - Veddas of Dambana

d4Recent research shows that Dambana indigenous people have the genetic disposition of the early settlers in the world, dating back to ancient times and connecting with the African and European continents.  Such a remarkable insight places much historic importance on the Aadi Vaasi/ Vedda community - making it a definite privilege to meet, associate and to witness their lives.

This programme is targeted at those who would like to experience the real Sri Lanka by going  back in history, by way of interacting and experiencing the life of the indigenous people of Sri Lanka, commonly referred to as Veddas, also described as "Aadi Vaasi - the ancient people".

‘Vadi’ means ‘one who roams the forest’ and their rather nomadic lifestyle meant that there were extensive Vedda settlements in ancient Sri Lanka.

Yet due to economic policies in the 20th century and the Mahaweli Scheme aimed at improving Sri Lanka’s irrigation system and promoting agriculture, many steps were taken -  including the relocation of the Veddas.

The Rathugala Aadi Vaasi who were relocated due to the Gal Oya scheme, have over time, retained their close knit sense of community and adherence to their language, traditional ways and norms. Their closeness to nature is something they revere; still resistant to wholesale modernisation and assimilating into the larger population.

At Dambana, the Aadi Vaasi while nurturing their unique identity, have benefited from education and turned to chena cultivation to sustain their livelihood. Picking yams and collecting honey while showing skillmanship with bow and arrow, the Dambana Aadi Vaasi perpetuate their unique knowledge and display of traditions. Despite the hard changes they have faced due to relocation, leaving their ancestral lands and having to forsake livelihoods - they have survived and pride themselves as the indigenous people of Sri Lanka.


Maduru Oya National Park

d5Just beyond the Wasgamuwa National Park, lies a jewel not quite caught in the limelight; the Maduru Oya National Park. Situated in the eastern province of Sri Lanka, it is a formidable expanse of over 58,800 hectares and home to wildlife, ruins and engineering feats.

While the Park finds itself in the dry zone, water systems here make up about 15% of the land area, including the five reservoirs of:  Maduru Oya, Ulhitiya, Rathkinda, NDK, and Henanigala reservoirs, in addition to tributaries of the Mahaweli and Maduru Oya rivers.

What is significant about this Park is not just its biodiversity but its richness in being home to numerous endemic and endangered species, in particular. Elephants are a visible feature in the Park, and herds can be sighted quite frequently. Among the other residents are: the sloth bear, leopard, water buffalo, toque monkey, spotted deer, sambar, porcupine, Indian muntjac, jackal, fishing cat, wild boar, and several other smaller animals. This Park is one of the recorded habitats of the grey slender loris while the European otter has also been reported here.

Not to be outshone, the avifauna is also very varied and stunning to behold.  The white-bellied sea eagle, great cormorant, the painted stork, the black-hooded oriole, woodpecker, and Sri Lanka’s national bird, the jungle fowl, and the malkoha, amongst others, make their presence evident - if not very audible. Interestingly, around the reservoirs, the Asian openbill, spot-billed pelican and the Oriental darter take centre stage, along with the black-headed ibis and the Eurasian spoonbill.   

Moving around in an inconspicuous manner, are the water and common monitor, estuarine and mugger crocodile, the introverted Indian star turtle, and snakes such as the common cobra and black-tailed python. Giant gourami, catfish and snakeheads are just some of the fish found in the reservoirs.

The Park boasts of abundant dry zone vegetation.  Weera, palu, buruta, kaluwara welang, ehela, kumbuk, milla, kone, and fruits like beli and woodapple are all found here.

Amidst the sweeping landscape of Maduru Oya, you will suddenly encounter ruins, in places such as: Henanigala, Werapokuna, Gurukumbura and Uluketangoda - just to name a few. As in some of Sri Lanka’s other national parks, constructs built in different eras of the island’s ancient past - still stand and evoke a majestic and imperial past. Foregone temples, statues, dagobas and hermitages will have you in wonderment.  Dating from the 3rd century AD Brahmi inscriptions can also be seen at Kandegamakanda.

The Maduru Oya National is a drive of about 300 kilometres from Colombo, but it is a ride that will take you to an enduring wildlife experience… and don’t be surprised if you yearn for more...  



Explorer by Mahoora

Private Tented Safari Camp Experience in Dambana

1 Night /2 Days

Detailed Itinerary>>

2 Nights /3 Days

Detailed Itinerary>>




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B E S T   R A T E S   G U A R A N T E E D !


Much more than just a great place to stay

"Thanks to our guide Avinka we had five great safaris staying four nights just after reopening this February. The staff made us feel so very welcome during the entire stay.

The safaries are just wonderful, and having a great guide in your vehicle makes a big difference. Avinka can spot animals you would never see and we were even lucky enough to sight leopards on the trees, close to our vehicle, and also running through the field. The wildlife is so exciting that you will have a great experience even if you don‘t see any leopards. We also had a great driver, which is essential if you drive through difficult territory. You are being taken care of the entire time, so even for those who do safaris for the first time, you will always feel safe.

The camp itself is very comfortable, you get everything you can think of, and on top of the great food being served with so much attention and friendliness. You also get wonderful vegetarian and vegan options. They put on bonfires at night, which makes it unforgettable.
When booking and making plans, you get great support from the headquarters, even if it gets difficult since you have to change your plans.
The best thing what can happen to you at the end of a vacation is when you are a bit sad to leave the place, having experienced something to remember forever, and the team does everything for this to happen. Thank you so much"

Axel S wrote, Traveled with family
January 2021

Review us on Trip Advisor:  
Mahoora Tented Safari Camps Yala - Mahoora Tented Safari Camps Udawalawe - Mahoora Tented Safari Camps Wilpattu


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