Leopard Trails, Yala

Location

Leopard Trails provides a classic mobile camping experience in the buffer zone bordering Yala National Park. Located just 4 kms from the Katagamuwa entrance to Yala, the camp site is immersed in nature. Guests are advised to arrive at the Leopard Trails campsite by 12.00 noon. The campsite can be accessed via the south coast and from the hill country. Introduction The Leopard Trails camp site is set bordering the Yala National Park and provides an experience of being one with nature without having to give up modern day comforts. Sleep in tents with ensuite bathrooms; dine on Sri Lankan and western cuisine and explore Yala’s untouched wilderness in a safari jeep with a picnic basket in hand. The camping experience begins upon arrival at the campsite around 12:00 noon. Guests are welcomed with a cool drink and invited to dine on a traditional Sri Lankan lunch. After a short rest, go on an afternoon game drive into Yala National Park. Once back at the camp around 6:30 pm, relax with a chilled fruit juice or a beer in the verandah of your own tent. At nightfall, guests meet around a bonfire and share their adventures and interesting animal sightings, followed by dinner and a restful sleep knowing that more adventure waits at dawn the next morning. Families are welcome at Leopard Trails and children are encouraged to learn of Sri Lanka’s exotic fauna and flora. The in-house naturalist is ever willing to share his knowledge of Yala’s wild elephants, sloth bear, mugger crocodiles, numerous species of migrant and endemic birds; and the endangered Leopard sub-species – Panthera Padus Kotiya that is only found in Sri Lanka. The Leopard Trails all inclusive package covers tented accommodation; two game drives per day in a customized safari game viewing vehicle accompanied by an experienced guide; snacks and drinks on game drives; breakfast, lunch and dinner at camp; water, fruit juices, soft drinks, tea and coffee; wine, beer and spirits; and all park entry fees. A minimum stay of two nights is recommended in order to fully experience this memorable camping safari.

Accommodation

Accommodation is in five spacious, waterproof tents which can accommodate up to 12 guests. Each tent is 8m x 3.7m in size and includes a bedroom, bathroom and a private verandah. Tent interiors are tastefully designed using locally sourced materials. The tents are furnished with queen-size beds made of Teak wood,bed site tables, luggage rack, and outdoor camping chairs in the verandah. Beds are fitted with eight inch spring mattress covered in Egyptian cotton bed linen. Coir carpeting is used for the floors. The ensuite bathrooms have open air showers; flushable commode and bidet spray; wash basin and mirror, and customised Leopard Trails bath products. Umbrellas and torches are also provided.At night, the glow of candles lights up your tent and industrial fans help to keep you cool. There are several plug bases inside the tent which can be used to charge laptops, digital cameras, phones and other small electrical items at night. Any valuables that need to be securely stored away can be handed over to the Camp Manager for safe keeping upon arrival.

Facilities

A separate Lounge Tent houses the dining area, lounge, bar and a small library. The lounge tent is well furnished with sofas and lounge chairs and has coir carpeting. Weather permitting, drinks are served around a campfire and meals are arranged outdoors under a starlit sky. Sri Lankan, Asian and Continental cuisine is served prepared with fresh village vegetables and locally available meats and fish. BBQ’s are arranged for larger groups. The in-house chef is happy to share his recipes with the guests and holds regular cookery demonstrations. Special dietary requirements are catered to with prior notice. The campsite is staffed with a camp manager, naturalist, housekeeping staff, and a night watchman that patrols the camp site at night ensuring guest security. There is also a doctor-on-call in case of a medical emergency.

For game drives, Leopard Trails uses customized safari game viewing vehicles that can accommodate a maximum of six guests. For serious wildlife photographers a maximum of four guests are recommended per vehicle. An experienced guide accompanies the guests on game drives. Excursions Yala National Park with a total protected area of 126,768 hectares is situated in the south east corner of the island and is home to the greatest variety of Sri Lanka’s wildlife. Its varying habitats which consist of scrub plains, jungles, rocky outcrops, fresh water lakes, rivers and beaches are home to many species of animals including sloth bear, herds of elephants, sambar, deer, crocodiles, numerous birds and the elusive leopard. Yala has two entrances – one from the Kirinda side and the other from Katagamuwa. The latter is less crowded and easier to access. Game drives are usually done at dawn around 6:00 am and in the afternoon around 3:30 pm when the wild animals come out to the waterholes and are more visible. A safari can take up to three hours. Transport around the Yala National Park is done in a safari vehicle complete with driver and expert guide/tracker.

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