2022 Nov 19
Located just beyond the Yala National Park buffer zone, with the closest town being Kataragama, this will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for locals and tourists alike. Since its inception in late 2020, Makini has steadily built a reputation among the luxury camping community for serving unforgettable experiences to its patrons, whilst staying true to Southern Sri Lankan heritage.
Take a look at the backstory of how this one-of-a-kind luxury bush camp came to be!
IT specialist and avid wildlife photographer, Chamith Kumarage, conceptualised Makini. Before starting Makini, one of Chamith’s pastimes was voluntary safari tour guiding. After some thought, it only made sense that he teams up with some of his work buddies Saneth, Chamara, Nirosh and three others to make Makini Bush camp a reality. Who would’ve thought the IT industry had so many wildlife enthusiasts?
Together they explained that the name ‘Makini’ originated from the word for ‘spider’ in the Veddha language. In fact, Sri Lanka boasts the highest endemicity of spiders in the world. This name also encapsulates the concept of their bush camp; a nature-centric experience for people to revel in. After all, Yala National Park is the second-largest national park in Sri Lanka, so there’s so much to explore!
In terms of unique experiences, Makini has many to offer. A popular experience is the daytime guided safaris to the Yala National Park, where guests can not only get up close and personal with many wild animals and exotic birds, but also understand the impact on the ecosystem and the habitat changes that are triggered by the behaviour of these animals. Makini also offers guided night walks, bush walks, star gazing and wildlife photography sessions for all interested guests, to ensure their senses are heightened and memorable moments are created. Beyond witnessing the grandeur of Southern Sri Lanka’s dry zone, the highlight of staying at Makini is experiencing the local food and culture.
Two people admired around the bush camp are the resident cook and the caretaker; a hospitable wedded pair who engage in many roles within the course of a typical day. The resident cook has received high praise from both guests and locals for her culinary skills in the kitchen. Her meals are served either in the indoor dining area that accommodates up to 20 people or in the outdoor area, which is generally set alive by a hearty bonfire. One of the caretaker’s many skills, apart from his chena cultivation mastery, is catching fish in the nearby Maliththanpelessa lake, which he engages in almost every morning.
Only fresh produce is used to cook delicious and nutritious meals. A mini chena cultivation equipped with unique drip irrigation is maintained by the caretaker at the bush camp premises. Here, many fruits, vegetables, and legumes are cultivated, ensuring that fresh produce is available for the guests and staff alike. The rest of the staff at Makini are also known for their knowledge, friendliness, and hospitality, and for taking the time to help the guests interested in learning more about the locality. With sustainability and conservation being key pillars, Makini follows a minimalist approach. They are committed to meeting their business requirements internally for necessities such as fresh vegetables. Makini prioritises water conservation through collecting, preserving, and purifying natural rainwater. They also run the site on solar-powered energy, opting only to use the generator when guests arrive.
Their uniqueness stems from the drive to provide a truly authentic Southern Sri Lankan wilderness experience, lined with luxury and immersed in a hospitable culture. Visit Makini and experience it for yourselves!