Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Pros and cons of the kokmote Bungalow Wilpattu.

They say never to judge a book by the cover. It is the same when it comes to bungalows of the wild life department. What you see is not what you get.  This post has been in the making for nearly two decades. That is about how long I have been visiting the Kokmotai bungalow for. I don’t visit Wilpattu park very often but when I do so which is at least twice or thrice a year I have stayed in this particular bungalow more than in any other.
But every time I stayed at this bungalow I found it more frustrating than the previous time.  Now, finally the pent up frustration has erupted in the form of words on this post.
When you drive up to the bungalow you can’t help going wow when you come face to face with this bungalows imposing wooden structure. I have never seen such a majestic sight. In fact it looks as if it belongs on the set of Heidi in the swiss Alps instead of the warm humid tropical forest.

And therein lies the problem. 
This bungalow should be in the Alps because it has been inspired by a European design which retains heat by trapping it. And once you have spent a couple of hours sweating it out then you begin to appreciate the half walled standard wild life bungalows which let the air circulate even though it does not look as fashionable. If you want to escape the heat the only alternative you have is to place the beds on the balcony. But sadly the balcony is tiny which means you cannot place a bed lengthwise unless it is only the mattress. With the greatest of difficulty you  can end up squeezing a4 beds side by side on the balcony. However this means the beds are uncomfortably close to one another.
I also found the toilets absolutely pathetic. Since the entire structure was made out of wood the floor and walls of the toilets had been laid with some kind of rubberized water proof sheeting. Which is not bad but then some nut has thought of livening the place up by smattering paint all over the green sheeting. It would have still worked if not for the fact that whoever did so had used brownish yellow ochre as one of the colors. Giving a person the impression that some person with a bad case of Diarrhea has defiled the entire place. Not good! Not good at all. And to add insult to injury only one of the two toilets has a shower which is not adequate if you have a crowd of ten which is the capacity of the bungalow. What was worse was the wooden structure is a breeding ground for rats and it is full of them which is not very hygienic is it?
One other negative about the bungalow is that is it located in furthest corner of the park. Which means it takes you two hours to get to the areas which are good for sightings.
The Modera gam aru in full spate
However there is one redeeming feature about the bungalow which is the modara gam aru which runs a few feet away from the bungalow. Most of the time it is dry but if you are lucky to visit the bungalow when it is in full spate it is an absolute pleasure to wallow in. One of my most memorable moment has been lying down in the water with a cold can of toddy (sadly you cannot buy them anymore) in my hands and luxuriating in the strong currents of water which were massaging me as they gushed over me. It was absolute heaven and far better than a Jacuzzi.
In the good old days there were not many bungalows available inside Wilpattu to stay in but thankfully today there are many more to choose from. Personally I look forward to spending some time in the “Manavila” bungalow with its breath taking view of a villu where you are sure to sight a leopard whilst seated inside.
But worse comes to worse if I had no alternative other than to stay in Kokmote I would rather than miss out on the grandeur of the Wilpattu national park.


Rajiv Welikala said...

Hi, I really liked your review of Kokmotte bungalow.

I stayed there once, just when the park opened in 2003.

We literally camped out because the place was in such a dilapidated state.

These days my favorite is Panikkawila bungalow which I feel has the best view and best sightings.



Nadeeshe Dharmaratne said...

thanks a lot for your honest review.. !!