Generally we leave for Yala around 4 in the morning to end up in our bungalow by 12 noon. This means one has to wake up at 2.30 in order to get the stuff ready such as ice and other frozen foods and to pack everything and pick the people up from their houses. I always found it a strain to wake up that early and rush around making sure that you get to the park on time to make the most of your holiday. Also for me a Holiday really begins on the day you wake up in that location and not on the day you drive down. I know it sounds a bit crazy but then that’s the way I am and I offer no excuses.
On this outing my kids and the wife were coming too and I knew for a fact that they would find it difficult to handle this early morning rush. So we decided to do something different. To drive to Yala the previous day at a godlier hour and spend the night at Governors camp.
It was one of the wisest decisions I ever made.
We picked the kids early from school and had a leisurely drive along the new Panadura Horana Ratnapura road which is completely done up now and is amazing to drive on. It is not used by Lorries and buses as much as the high level road is which makes it an easy, fast and stress free drive. In fact we found ourselves in Ratnapura in ninety minutes on that day which was awesome. Alltogether it took us less than five hours to get to Yala and this was at a very relaxed pace as there was no pressure to beat the clock.
Governors camp was all that I imagined and more. In terms of the setting it is as good as staying inside the park except it is more comfortable and clean. The only limitation being that you have to go to the main entrance and pay the fees and get a tracker every time you want to get into the park proper. As the name connotes it is a camp not a hotel and it is inspired by the wild life department bungalows. There is a dormitory which can sleep ten comfortably and a separate eating area.
The sleeping quarters
Clean crisp sheets feels so wonderful after such a long drive
Places to just sit back and do nothing in....
Simple yet elegant thats what I like about this place
I love these arm chairs it was so relaxing to chill out on them
The little things which make a big difference
The toilets... love the color scheme!
What I liked about the place was it was nice and windy so it was not too hot. Also we received a warm welcome by the staff. It was lovely to walk in and have a hot cup of tea relaxing in one of their comfy arm chairs with the wind blowing gently against our skin. Also the cook was excellent. No excellent is an understatement he was out of this world. In the night he made us Noddles Kothu which was the first time I had heard of such a dish and it was utterly delicious. I must confess I felt this particular dish was quite unsuitable for a jungle environment because the sound of the clanging while the kothu was being made really disturbed the still of the night. And the breakfast oh wooow !!! Fish curry with extra goraka, pol sambol, parippu and homemade (should I say camp made?) string hoppers. Another wise decision I made was to order the food from the camp instead of taking the provisions which they would have willingly cooked at no extra charge.
Sadly we did not spend enough time there to absorb it one hundred percent. For instance I could not check out the beach though the kids said it was lovely. I also heard that they have a couple more properties of their own in Uda Walawe and Wilpattu and that the Uda Walawe property is supposed to be breathtaking. Well that’s another outing waiting to happen.