I booked with Noel Rodrigo leopards safaris 6 nights : 3 in Wilpattu camp and 3 in Yala Camp for an average rate per night of 372 USD for a "single mobile tent" including the safaris games, food and drinks. So for Wilpattu National Park, the expérience was very good with a very good guide and i saw 6 leopards in 6 games. For the camp, i wasn't so enthousiast as i never imagine that for 372 USD per night, the bathroom won't be ensuite but outside of the tent. Also the tent was old with many problems with the zips to close the tent. And for toilets, shower you have to go out and i am not sure it's very safe at night as we are on leopard land and wild animals are unpredictable. Also i had a medium size monitor lizard in my tent and i don't fear a lizard but i know perfectly cobras and snakes can follow the scent of the monitor heading them inside my tent. So this old tent with a lot of holes allowing animals to enter weren't safe and also be obliged to get out at night can be a danger and it's very unconfortable. So i didn't like the camp and i wanted to cancel Yala Camp as it was the same bad confort for expensive rate. So this camp is over-rated and they have to change the tents for ensuite tents. If i come back to Wilpattu, i will book a normal hotel - might be around 50 USD and i will book separately the safari jeep and i will be much cheaper
If you are looking for luxury, this place won’t be for you. This was the final leg of our honeymoon in Sri Lanka and after experiencing luxury, this was the perfect way to bring us back down to earth !
If you are looking for a truly authentic experience of living and experiencing the Sri Lankan jungle, you simply will not find better.
Our host was Passi who was phenomenal. From the second we arrived until the second we left, he, his amazing staff, and the jungle provided us with an experience we will never forget and treasure.
So, on arrival we were greeted with a traditional Sri Lankan lunch, the food was incredible, more than you could possibly eat, and as soon as we had finished we headed off to the jungle so as to waste as little time as possible.
The safari was magical, both in the evening and all day (a full 12 hours!!) the following day. We saw a leopard, a very rare jungle cat, a bear, multiple birds and reptiles, deer and buffalo and were chased by an elephant. Because of Passi’s incredible knowledge however (he is one of only 2/3 other fully qualified naturalists in the country) we felt incredibly safe and informed as to different species, behaviours, habits etc and left the jungle with significant more knowledge of Sri Lankan wildlife than before we entered.
The accommodation is basic, which we loved, but again if you are after luxury, you won’t find it here (purposefully by the camp). We enjoyed an outdoor shower, an outdoor toilet, a very basic but perfectly comfortable tent, and enjoyed our two night stay listening to the sound of the jungle as we slept. Passi is available 24 hours via a “jungle phone” should he be required to move a snake or anything (they can’t get into the sleeping quarter of the tent BTW!) which gives a sense of reassurance, if needed.
The staff are so nice at the camp, they arranged for a candle lit dinner for us under the stars ok both evenings, we had celebratory drinks and chatted under the fire. When we had to leave at 6am the following day they had even gone to the trouble of boiling us some water (has to be done over a fire!) to allow for an early shower, and prepared a hearty breakfast.
I cannot praise Passi and the rest of the camp highly enough. If you’re going to Sri Lanka and you are planning on a safari in either Wilpattu or Yala, you simply have to experience this.
The Wilpattu camp was delightful and so much care was taken by the staff to make our stay easy and enjoyable. Cool towels were handed to us as soon as we stepped into the camp.We dined under the stars by paraffin lamp with the rangers and other guests and ate some of the very best food of our whole Sri Lanka/Maldives trip. Myself and my 14 year old son stayed only two nights but did 3 safaris and saw so much. This is glamping. Very clean and comfortable zip up tents each in their own well appointed pitch and outside toilet and shower attached. All well lit by paraffin lamps all night. It felt like a great adventure. We were up at 4.45am (tea coffee fruit and snacks available) for the first safari of the day to get the best spots to see animals, then greeted with delicious breakfast on our return to camp. Nothing seemed too much trouble.
The Safari itself was very organised and the rangers were all very respectful of the animals and had expert knowledge to share throughout the Safaris. They are passionate about the wildlife and I now follow them on Instagram to keep up with the playful lives of the two beautiful leopard cubs we were lucky enough to watch! Before we said goodbye my son was invited to plant a mango tree...a lovely touch. Everyone here is totally dedicated to protecting and preserving the National Parks and it's a joy to be a part of it for a couple of days. We saw so many amazing animals and such beautiful landscape at Wilpattu that I want to return one day. Thank you for everything.
My wife and I just spent three days at Noel's Leopard Safari's in Wilpattu, as a disclaimer this is the second time we've stayed with Noel but the first in Wilpattu. Firstly as a Safari spot it's different to it's more popular cousin, Yalle. The area is bigger and the animal concentration is a little lower but what you lose with more regular wildlife spotting you make up with more peace and quiet, a larger are to explore and different animals to see. We were lucky (or perhaps skill - thanks Piysuh and Sam) to see leopards, sloth bears, an elephant, jackals, mongeese and numerous beautiful birds.
As far as Noel's outfit goes - these guys are the best, the guides,like Yalle, love their jobs and most other operators seemed to just have one driver/guide, whereas Noel's team always goes out with twice the eyes and expertise! Piyush was our main guide and he obviously loved the animals, large and small. He took me snake and insect hunting in the camp at night, even after pretty much working a 18 hour day! We also spend a full day in the park on one day which meant while it's a lot of driving you can spend more time in further out the way places. Honestly if you want to really learn about behaviour and the lives of the animals and plats you have to use these guys, having a guide in the main seats with you is a must.
The food was again amazing, some of the best we've had in Sri Lanka (though come on guys, put more spice in my curry!!). You definitely won't lose weight on this holiday. The staff are all lovely and while the accommodation is rustic (which it is meant to be) it's lovely sleeping in spacious tents with all the sounds of jungle around you. If I had to be critical I do think some of the tents need replacing (ours had dodgy zips) but I think this on it's way this year though.
Simply put we had a magnificent time and will be back, the staff make the visit and it's lovely spending so much time in the wild. My understanding is that there is only one other operator comparable to these guys and even they fall short. You pay for what you get and if you really are keen to get to know the parks (and don't mind being pampered in the process) look no further.
Having done several safari holidays in Africa and India, the guides at Wilpattu were superb and comparable with any others I have experienced. The camp location is very authentic and surrounded by vegetation with a stream therefore lots of birdlife. The food was varied, always excellent and I had chance to have a cookery session with the chef which was great. The NP has a vast range of scenery including woodland and water with numerous opportunities for animal and bird sightings. Be prepared to get up early for the chance to be the first vehicle into the park ! Definitely early to bed and early to rise. The hospitality can not be faulted. Would happily recomend but don't expect luxury