Noel Rodrigo's Leopard Safaris operate two boutique mobile camps, offering comfortable accommodation and a sense of true adventure in two of Sri Lanka's best national parks.
This camping safari is the vision of its owner, Noel Rodrigo, a wildlife specialist whose knowledge about the Sri Lankan leopard - or kotiya as it is locally known - is second to none. Noel has one camp set up by the elephant fence at Yala National Park, and one just outside of Wilpattu National Park. The camp at Yala stays in a fixed place year-round and does not move, which means a more solid structure can be used. The camp at Wilpattu moves to a secondary location during the rainy season due to the change in water levels at the first site. Camping within the national parks themselves is prohibited to all, which makes these two camps some of the best accommodation options in all of Sri Lanka for travellers wishing to get as close to wilderness as possible.
The accommodation at Noel Rodrigo's Leopard Safaris takes the form of customised canvas tents in the South African style, furnished with a number of different amenities depending on your tent choice. Mobile tents offer a comfortable, close-to-nature experience in either double, twin, triple or family sizes, complete with jungle-view living area. In addition to the mobile tents which are available at both sites, there are also two luxury lodge tents which can be booked at Yala. Despite being semi-permanent structures, these tents maintain the camp's eco-friendly focus, with solar-powered lights, energy-saving air conditioning and recycled timber incorporated into their design. You'll also be able to enjoy a private deck, private access path, leather lounge chairs and a king-size four-poster bed. The Yala site even has a saltwater eco-pool where guests can refresh themselves after a full day of safari activities.
Meals, including BBQs and snacks, are prepared at the well-equipped kitchen and served up in style, along with imported wine for dinner. Chilled local beer and spirits are also on offer.
A customised Toyota Land Cruiser is used for the game drives. These vehicles can handle every kind of terrain and are specially fitted with camera support points for photographers. A wildlife specialist will accompany guests on the game drives and is ever willing to share his knowledge and experiences. There are two game drives available per day, each lasting a minimum of three hours. Full-day safaris can be arranged on request in advance. Parents travelling with children are able to enjoy a number of family-friendly activities, including cooking classes, nature walks and games designed to teach children about the wildlife of the surrounding area.
Noel Rodrigo's Leopard Safaris is a family-friendly camp, although children must be 3 years of age or above to stay here.