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“Paradise defined: leopard sightings galore and glamping at its best” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kulu Safaris Sri Lanka

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Kulu Safaris Sri Lanka
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka   |  
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Dubai, United Arab Emirates
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Paradise defined: leopard sightings galore and glamping at its best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2011

We've just returned from a wonderful 2 night trip in Yala national park. The kulu team led by Mark and Stuart looked after our two families superbly. Their service levels could not be faulted. We enjoyed having hot showers and flushing toilets, tents impeccably serviced every time we were out for a drive, comfy cosy beds and family tents that meant our 2 children (4 and 6 years) were in the same tent. The staff were incredibly children friendly from catering to food allergies, playing with them around the camp and toasted marshmallows on a camp fire. The food served was glorious and in unique surroundings (breakfast table laid out in the river was memorable) I had to check out their incredibly organised kitchen facilities just to see with my own eyes how they managed. It has certainly brought our own expectation levels of comfort and food served on our future camping trips.

The highlight of the trip was of course the game drives. We saw 9 leopards (2 mums with a cub each) with one literally walking right past our car, elephants (incl mum and calf), buffalo, bears, jackals, boar, eagles, mongoose, monkeys, deer.... An amazing variety of animals all explained very well by our knowledgable staff. The gin and tonics awaiting us after the drives was a special touch and always welcome!

I would not hesitate to recommend kulu safaris to anyone wanting to experience the wild side of Sri Lanka in style. Team kulu, thank you for the memories.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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108 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (13)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 25, 2011

If you love to see wildlife this is the place-11 Leopard sightings!!

We stayed at Kulu Safari’s for 3 nights, with the hope that everyone does, to see a leopard. The drive from the main gate to the camp along the river is about 30-45 minutes through the park. The tents are set up on the elevated river bank overlooking the river and its beach, with enough room between them for privacy. The tents have a sleeping area with a bed, a little table with a thermos and two drinking glasses of filtered water. Also, there is the first section where there is a little compact shelf area, rods to hang up your clothes and towels. They also provide you with a flashlight at night. Outside the tent is a sitting area with a couple of chairs and a table. A few feet away from the tent is the toilet and the shower. At night they have burning torches which not only help you to see your way, but keep the mosquitos away. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. They have a gin and tonic waiting for you after your afternoon game drive, and for us coffee after the morning drive. I especially liked the first morning when they set the table up in the middle of the river and served breakfast. What was more amazing is watching the elephant drinking in the river while you are having breakfast. There isn’t much to do between game drives but sit back and relax. This lead to some interesting wildlife viewing. The grey monkeys are on the opposite side of the river, while the brown monkeys play in the trees overhead. The big monitor lizard will walk right in front of you down the path, all the ever slow. We did see a snake, but was told that was rare. He wasn’t poisonous at all and when we tried to get a closer look he slithered rather quickly the other way. Many small lizards about, but one of the highlights was sitting there watching an elephant walk between the tent next to us, down the beach and across the river to the other side. The other highlight one night was eating on the beach and hearing something. Turn on the flashlight, only to see four adult and two baby elephants splashing in the river not 50 feet from us. Only downside it was pitch black so no photos.
Seeing all this wildlife so close to camp is not only exciting, but one can’t help to wonder what happens at night. Although there were sounds of the peacocks all night long, nothing gets into the tents. The zippers are really tight in the sleeping area, so not bugs or any other night creature can get in. The downside is the tents get warm. I highly advise you ask the staff if they will unzip the windows, makes a big difference.
We were lucky enough to have the place to ourselves the first two nights, which mean game drives to ourselves also. We had a wonderful driver, guide and park tracker with us. The first night we didn’t see any leopards, but since we were new all the other animals kept our attention. The next morning our wake-up call comes at 5am and we were in the jeep by 5:30 ready to go. The first water hole granted us what we came to see, a male leopard walking along the back bank. We were the only vehicle there. We saw four more leopards that morning and each sighting, we were the first vehicle there and had the viewing to ourselves for at least 5 minutes. We saw leopards on the rest of our four drives and were always the first ones there. Even if for only a minute on a couple. I am amazed at how the guide, tracker and driver could spot leopards in the distance, and under the brush where it took me a few seconds to find after they pointed to exactly where they were. In addition to leopards, we saw jackals, many species of birds, water buffalo, many peacocks (two with their tail feathers open), elephants with babies, wild boar, mongoose and a cobra.
Because of the staff and the location of camp, I could have spent another night there. With no cell service or internet connection it truly makes you relax. The most important thing is they have a way to charge your camera batteries so no missing any leopard photos. If I ever get back that way, I will definitely be staying again. Highly recommend Kulu Safari’s.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2011

We stayed at Kulu camp for 4 wonderful nights, we were a bit worried 4 might be too many, but we were very pleased we did book for this period.
The camp is fantastic, so well set up and in an amazing location on the river inlet with a little beach. The tents were immaculate, everything you need actually and all so clean, each time we went out they were cleaned and tidied up.
The staff here are quite fantastic, the chef is a star, serving up the best food we have eaten in a long time and coming from Dubai that is high praise! All the meals were very well thought out and carefully considered, any requests were made without any hassle.
The guy who looked after us day to day, Manjuka, was so professional, he made sure we were safe, but that also we got maximum enjoyment from each day we had at the camp. We were just treated like royalty!!! They really made our time fun, we had time to relax too. Swim in the river, laze on the little beach.
Most importantly we saw loads of wildlife, so many animals, and birds, incredible. And without that awful contrived feeling that you can get on a safari.
We had a very experienced tracker the first 2 days, and he cares so much about the animals and was as delighted as we were at finding them.
The driver. Kumar, was superb, not once did I feel unsafe, the vehicles are sturdy and fantastic off road.
This really was the best part of our entire trip and when we left I really missed it, I missed all the people who had looked after us so very well.
Anyone thinking about doing this, just get on and book it, do not miss this wonderful place!

Room Tip: Not applicable
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  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hants, UK
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2011

It is in the most amazing location on a wonderful warm river. The tents were nice but you were not in them for long as you were up at 5 every morning for a wonderful safari then another safari in the evening. We saw many amazing animals and had a fantastic time and all the staff were very nice.

Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
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London
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2011

I'd been asked to come to Kulu and film a piece on Yala and everything was wonderfully geared up towards a safari. This is African standard safari in Sri Lanka. I have travelled extensively in SL and not experienced this level of professionalism in every way: The best, most comfortable jeeps (which is SO important), proper beds in the sturdy South African made tents, a high security awareness in case of animal visitors at night, flawless service, a great bbq and lots of it and a very high likelihood of leopard spotting in the wild. We saw some other great tuskers and a good range of other animals, but let's face it, leopards are why people come to Yala. We had an incredible sighting one as a cameraman you hope to have - footage here http://www.marmalade-productions.co.uk/ - but the other group who were here at the same time saw 10 leopards over two days. These things aren't guaranteed, but this is probably as close as you are going to come. I've heard some people say it's pricey, but you get what you pay for and this is not aimed at backpackers. Very good.

Room Tip: All tents are as good as each other - no pool in Yala National Park, but you can swim in the river...
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hong Kong, China
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
46 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 3, 2011

My wife and I did a 3 night stay with Kulu. It was wonderful, the only negative being our first night was hot hot hot. I compounded that by not opening the tent flaps.

The guys really do well to make things very comfortable. The food is very very good; the dhaal is divine by the way. When you step foot off your safari drive someone is there waiting with an icy gin and tonic. When you get woken in the morning for your drive, your coffee/tea is dropped off at the same time. The meals are also served in interesting spots around the camp - including 'in' the river. Rather than just feeding and sheltering and driving you around, its little things like this that sets is apart.

The game drives are great and the drivers/guides are quite knowledgeable. More importantly, they are also respectful of the area - stopping to pick up liter for instance. It was great to see these guys are not just slamming people through without any regard for the impact we place on the park.

The accomodation is 'rustic' I guess would be the word; you are in a tent after all. That said, you can get a hot shower by asking for hot water and there is always the river to drop into to cool off. Its not a permanent tented area with air con like say Mombo Camp in Africa or the Four Seasons in Chang Rai but it isn't marketed that way either.

Highly recommended - but if its warm, do yourself a favor and get the guys to open your tent flaps all the way.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Liverpool, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2011

Firstly I have to mention that this is our third trip with Kulu this year and that the danger is that you may go once and like us become addicted.

Secondly I would advise anyone reading this and considering booking a trip with Kulu that they should stop thinking and book it. At first considertion it does seem a bit expensive but is more than worth every penny especially when you consider the alternatives.

On our last trip we were very lucky to have the campsite to ourselves and the excellent staff did everything to make it a very special trip for us. The food as always was fantastic, the leopard sightings were incredible and we particulary enjoyed sharing our lunch with an elephant. Manju did a great job and we loved it.

I can't wait until we are able to go again.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kulu Safaris Sri Lanka

Address: Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Phone Number:
Location: Sri Lanka > Yala National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 30 Specialty Lodging in Yala National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kulu Safaris - The Pioneers for mobile tented camping safaris.Deep in the jungle away from the hum drum of everyday life is the opportunity for man and nature to reconnect – the way it used to be. This opportunity has been made possible by Kulu Safaris Sri Lanka.In Sri Lanka Kulu Safaris redefined the concept of camping in the National Parks with mobile tents which allow you to immerse yourself in the wild with all the comforts that modern civilization can give you.As you go on sightings of elephants, leopards, bears and birds along with your own professional naturalist you can rest assured that you will have delicious cooking, a comfortable tent and even hot and cold showers when you get back to camp.Our mobile camping experience combines five star luxuries with natures wildest. Our spacious tents come fully equipped with hot and cold water showers, toilets and a huge bed to relax in. Cosy lounge chairs at the entrance to your tent provide you with the space to unwind and relax to the sounds of the great outdoors. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Kulu Safari Company Hotel Colombo

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