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“Under the stars on the wild side” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Kulu Safaris Sri Lanka

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Kulu Safaris Sri Lanka
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka   |  
Hotel amenities
Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
60 helpful votes 60 helpful votes
“Under the stars on the wild side”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

This was our first experience of both safari and a tented camp so we were unsure quite what to expect. From our arrival to departure Manju and his team looked after us wonderfully. When we arrived in the camp after a long (bumpy) trip down from Hatton we were met with cool drinks and a wonderful rice and curry lunch set up on the sandy beach overlooking the river. It was wonderful to be able to cool our feet whilst sipping a beer and tucking into such superb food (still don’t know how they did that from that little kitchen!). Yala is beautiful and a real pleasure to visit in its own right. We were therefore more than happy to see even the everyday animals such as alligators, wild buffalo and peacocks in their natural setting. On the basis this is not a zoo we had not set our expectations to see leopards or bears. In the event, thanks to the knowledge and skills of Manju and his team we saw leopards on 3 of our 4 drives as well as sloth bears and elephants (our personal favs).

Arrival back at the camp the evening drive was greeted with a very generous g&t followed by another excellent meal under the stars. Our evening was made when wild elephants came down to the opposite side of the river to drink and we had our first chance to try (a very acceptable) arrack with Manju. No problem getting up with the cup of tea at 5.30 the next morning before another game drive followed by breakfast served in the river. We were introduced to the resident sea eagle that had been rescued by the team when he fell from his nest- as a result of their efforts he now has the best chance possible of returning to the wild. Just one other couple joined us for the second evening resulting in a very congenial supper (thank you Julie and Chris).

The care and thought that went into preparing for every aspect of our stay was impeccable. The tent was spotless, washing facilities were good and the bed comfortable. Food was excellent and plentiful. The enthusiasm and friendliness of the team was exemplary. The setting in which the camp is sited is totally private and quite stunning. In the end we saw over 30 species of animal and reptile and many more species of bird. Yes it is expensive but for us it was worth every penny. We have some wonderful memories of a truly magical experience. We would return without hesitation.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 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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32
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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
Roskilde, Denmark
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2012

I was on a business trip in Sri Lanka for a couple of weeks and decided I wanted to spend my two weekends seeing the wildlife. I didn't know much about what possibilities there were, but after looking around and sending a couple of mails, Kulu Safaris ended up being my choice.

The first weekend I was the only tourist in the camp (this didn't matter much though it felt a little weird), and the second weekend I shared the camp with a British couple and a colleague who decided to join after hearing of my stories from the first weekend.

The location of the camp was absolutely wonderful; pulled back from the normal routes which meant you didn't hear anyone else and just down to a stream/small river which gave great views of wildlife coming down to drink while sitting and having our meals. The meals were all of very high quality and there was lots of it. The service was also top-quality, and our guide Manjula was very friendly and was constantly ready to do anything to make our stay more pleasant. The accomodations were also above expectations; large tents with confortable beds, not something you consider part of "camping".

The variety of animals were also very good with several leopard sightings and elephants, but also crocodiles, birds, wild boars and even a bear. The cars we drove around in were also good and comfortable, everything considered.

I would at any time recommend Kulu safaris if you want to see some of the Srilankan wildlife. Granted; they are not the cheapest but the price is highly justified when looking at the quality of the service, camp, food and guides.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Chorley, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2012

We spent two magical nights camping in Yala with Kulu and can honestly say it was the experience of a lifetime with a multitude of memories that will stay with us forever! The game drives were amazing. We were lucky to see leopards on 3 out of our 4 drives. And although we have traveled extensively to see wildlife around the world, we have never been anywhere as good as Yala for the huge variety & sheer volume of wildlife sightings.
And we cannot praise Kulu highly enough for delivering such a spectacular service!
Manjula and his team looked after us with an attention to detail that we have never experienced elsewhere and we cannot thank them enough.
The location of the camp was beautiful, with the beach & wonderfully warm river outside our spacious tent, and the wonderfully comfy beds to get a good nights sleep at the end of the amazing days.
And the dining experiences were unbeatable. Tables set in the river for breakfast & lunch, or set on the beach under starry skies for dinner. Large quantities of superb food, and whatever you wanted to drink to wash it all down. Sitting in the very warm river with an ice cold beer was a new first, and chatting with Manjula in the evenings with a bottle of wine and a few glasses of very good Arrack will stay with us forever.
We truly can't describe what an incredible experience Kulu provide, and so all we can say is, don't let the cost put you off. It is worth every single penny! Just book with Kulu Safaries for your own experience of a lifetime!
Thank you so much to Manjula and all his team in Yala, and to Dinushka for all her help with making the booking, and especially for her help when we were experiencing a few snags actually getting to the main gate to start our safari. We can't wait to come back and do it all again!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

Forget about Sigiriya, forget about Dambulla and the beaches where you cannot swim most time of the year round: Kulu Safari is the absolut highlight in Sri Lanka. I have been with Kulu Safari six times (twice in Uda Walawe and four times in Yala). The tented camp is of high standard with details that are faboulus. The tents are of high quality and everything has a personal touch: is it the lace on the linen, is the Italian coffee in the morning, or the jungle shower. Only the kerosene lamps they had earlier are badly missing. Mark and Manjula are very professional and organised. Javana - the owner - even speaks some Swiss German. Premasiri runs the camp like a first class operation in the field. The jeeps are also high standard, not what you might else get in the National Parks. Since you are staying in the camp you can get ahead of other tourists visiting the park. My further recommend to stay one morning just on the camp ground. Being in midst of this beautiful park you have all the wild life passing by (except for crocodiles). Once even a leopard checked the camp out.
It is pricey, but once you are there and realise what you are paying for, you will consider it a more than worthy. Have fun!

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Rochdale, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2012

The 2 nights that we spent at Yala National Park with Kulu Safari’s was the best experience of our holiday. It was fabulous, the location of the camp was beside a lovely stream and beach which provided a place to relax and view wildlife close up including white bellied sea eagles nesting in the tree above our tent. We stayed in a tent which was very comfortable with a queen sized bed and space to sit out with easy chairs overlooking the stream with sounds of the jungle adding to the experience and we were lucky enough to see a multitude of fantastic birds, elephants, spotted deers, wild boars, monitor lizards, crocodiles and 2 leopards on our twice daily safari’s. We were woken early each day with tea or coffee and on return from the early morning safari, breakfast was served on tables placed in the shallow stream, so whilst having a tasty breakfast, the water flowed and fish swam around our feet! Lunches were served on the beach under shady trees and dinner was served beside the stream with lamp light, all food and drink was plentiful and excellent . Our safari jeeps were comfortable and able to cope with the difficult terrain, we were driven by Manjula who was fantastic and very knowledgeable about the birds, insects, flowers, trees and animals within the park. The experience was wonderful, and definitely one which we would highly recommend and love to repeat.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Malta
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 30, 2012

If you love animals, this is an experience you will never forget.

Don't expect the leopards to be around every corner, but in 3 days we saw 7 leopards and even more crocodiles, elephants etc. up close.

What sets Kulu Safaris apart, is that the staff is very helpful and prepared for EVERYTHING. They allowed me to charge the battery of my camera on the jeep's engine and even set me up with a better zoom lens -- the animals in my pictures are now in close-up!

The camp setting is amazing. When not in the jeep, we spent most of our time in the river.

You will not go hungry either. The food is delicious and varied -- at every meal you have multiple options to choose from. It's like being in an all-inclusive 5-star hotel, but better, because you're alone or in a small group, with your feet in the river, and only nature around you.

The beds in the tents were more comfortable than any hostel I slept in. The toilet/shower are private per tent.

We loved it so much, we extended our stay with an extra night on the spot.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belgium
Top Contributor
66 reviews 66 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2012

It was the monkey calls, it's always the monkeys. The mood in the vehicle had become lethargic, but now everything changed the tension was electric. Our guides listened, more calls, we began to reverse past one dirt track- nothing to see, to the next dirt track. There she was a fully grown female leopard, scent marking the trail. We followed her, she went off the track to a rocky area to drink at a pool and then moved off. No, she's back again, we followed her for more than 10 minutes - a wonderful sighting. We were the only jeep- a major advantage of Kulu who are deep into the reserve and can reach parts of the reserve not reachable by jeeps coming in from the gate. On our first drive we saw a sloth bear up close, but on this occasion we shared the sighting with 30 other vehicles not the best experience.
We stayed with Kulu safaris (KS) for 2 nights. We were met at the gates of Yala and taken to the camp 18 kilometres away, by the banks of a river. The tents are of a high quality, with external shower and toilet- but don't expect a South/East African set up- this is camping. What you can expect is excellent food (hats off to the team for producing this) and a wonderful location- breakfast sitting with our feet in the river, dinner on the beach of the river with flares- unique and wonderful experiences. Good Australian wines, G&T's etc. We also took the opportunity of a walk around the camp area with one of the Kulu team- in the apace of an hour we spotted more than 15 specioes of bird- white bellied sea eagle, grey headed fish eagle, stork billed kingfisher, flycatchers, indian pitta....The level of service delivered by the KS team is quite remarkable- of a very high standard.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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
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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