It’s my first time in a safari and Master Campers offers a truly luxurious camping experience!
On approaching the Udawalawe National Park, a jeep was waiting to pick us up to the actual campsite. It was a brief 10 min drive in the forest to reach the camp site, where we were taken to our ‘tent’. It was a tent but it’s outfitted with a dining area and lounge chairs outside the tent, a double bed with a mosquito tent, an electric fan, not to mention a functional toilet and a standing shower. It was a little apartment in the forest.
The staff quickly offered us refreshing towels and orange juices. And the whole time while we were settling in our tent, they would come by and ask if they want more drinks – sodas, juices, coconuts etc.
I turned to my boyfriend and whispered,
“How much are we paying them? Why do they keep asking us if we want drinks?”
But every penny is worth it! We arrived just when lunch was about to be serviced. They come in nice dishes with curry, vegetables, chicken, dried veggies, potatoes and rice, tastefully laid out on the dining table outside the tent. It was truly yummy food. They offered to bring us another portion of chicken which we happily gobbled our food 🙂
We arranged the actual safari experience to come in two fold – there was one in the late afternoon, and another one in the early morning.
The two jeep experiences were fantastic. We saw more elephants, iguana, and even a star tortoise in the afternoon, and peacocks, lots of them, and apparently they are making more baby peacocks how much peacock mating rituals we witnessed. Our guide explained to us how to tell the age of the elephant (apparently by how much their ears fold). There were lots of jeeps coming in because it was late Dec which was a holiday in the country and locals flocked to the safari. But we did not see any jeeps chasing animals – we heard it happened in other national parks. Here the jeeps keep a respectful distance from the animals. The elephants there did not seem to mind the presence of humans among them.
Tip: If you are like me who has an abnormally small bladder, try not to drink too much before thejourney. Because you will spend 3 hours on the jeep, and there are no toilets (naturally) in a national park, and you will not be able to get off the jeep (unless you want to be leopard food.). The staff will bring along water and small snacks. Stay hydrated but keep in mind there will be no toilets until you get back to the camp.
The next morning we woke up at 4am for breakfast and coffee. The morning safari started 5am and boy oh boy, it was much different than a late afternoon one. There were a lot more wildlife activity in the morning – deers, birds, monkeys, hares, crocodiles, peacocks, peacocks, more peacocks. Roy, our guide, has an uncanny sense spotting animals miles away.
Tip: The birds are far away and if you don’t have a powerful zoom lens on your camera, you might need a binocular to see the birds. If you want to take pictures with your smart phone, you might consider getting a special clip-on lens. I saw some traveler has them and it does seem to work.
All in all, it was a truly luxurious experience but every penny was worth it.
Official Website: http://www.mastercamperslanka.com/