Best safari accommodation in Yala National Park

Of Sri Lanka’s 22 national parks, Yala is the most famous. Located in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is home to the island’s richest concentration of wildlife, including substantial elephant and leopard populations. It should come as no surprise then, that Yala is a popular safari destination. Here, we look at the best places to stay when on safari in Yala...
Cabin interior of Chena Huts. Photo: Chena Huts
Cabin interior of Chena Huts. Photo: Chena Huts


Chena Huts

Located next to a beach where sea turtles lay their eggs, the Chena Huts provide luxury accommodation in 14 large huts. The thatched-roof huts, which are inspired by traditional Sri Lankan farming huts, boast private swimming pools, balconies and sea views. Inside, the rooms are outstanding. Both comfortable and spacious, they feature large ceiling fans and freestanding baths, providing the perfect environment for you to relax in after your safari. You can even spot wild animals, including boars and elephants, from the comfort of your hut. Winding wooden walkways connect the huts to each other, and to the restaurant, which serves a delicious á la carte menu. Chena’s safaris are excellent as well; the jeeps are comfortable and the guides exceptionally knowledgeable.


Relaxing at Chena Huts. Photo: Chena Huts


Wild Coast Tented Lodge

28 arched-fabric structures called Cocoons – each incorporating elements of Dutch, English and Sri Lankan design – make up the Wild Coast Tented Lodge. These unique huts have been designed to look like boulders, and blend seamlessly into the natural landscape. See an aerial photo of the camp and you’ll notice that the huts have been arranged in the shape of a leopard’s paw print, which is a nice touch. The camp itself is located on a pristine spot of land between Yala National Park and the Indian Ocean. Each luxury tents is kitted out with air conditioning and a coffee-making machine. Wild Coast Tented Lodge’s open-air bamboo-clad restaurant looks out over the Indian Ocean; there is also a free form pool for guests’ use. All in all, the Wild Coast Tented Lodge offers unique, luxury accommodation and fantastic safari excursions in to Yala National Park.

 Bedroom at the Wild Coast Tented Lodge. Photo: Wild Coast Tented Lodge


Jetwing Yala

This eco-friendly luxury hotel is located just outside Yala National Park, among 38 acres of well-kept woodland and private beach. The Jetwing offers two types of accommodation: choose between smart, modern rooms, or tented villas for those seeking a more authentic safari experience. The tents are set away from the main resort, and look out over the Indian Ocean. Daily jeep safaris leave early in the morning. Keep your eyes peeled in Yala: Sri Lankan elephants, sloth bears, leopards and mugger crocodiles abound once you enter the park. Should you wish to explore further, the town of Kirinda is nearby, with its idyllic beach and ancient temple.


Swimming pool at Jetwing Yala. Photo: Yetwing Yala


Leopard Trails

Set with the boundaries of Yala National Park, Leopard Trails is a firm favourite with safari enthusiasts. They’ve taken the traditional safari experience – a huddle of khaki tents located in the wilderness under the stars – and turned it into a luxury once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The luxury tents are air conditioned and furnished with antique equipment, and sit in a harmonious clearing amongst the scrub. Gourmet Sri Lankan dishes are served under the stars each day, accompanied by classic cocktails and hand-selected wines. The safari guides live in the wilderness all year round, and their knowledge of the park is unparalleled.

Luxury tent at the Leopard Trails Camp. Photo: Leopard Trails.


Kulu Safaris

Guests at Kulu will be educated on local species and wildlife conservation before setting out on safari, helping to generate a deeper appreciation of their experience. Kulu have been imparting their knowledge and expertise of Sri Lanka's national parks with international film crews for over a decade now. Safari routes are also customisable, so if there is a particular animal that you’d love to catch a glimpse of, just tell the staff and they can design your experience around it. Kulu adhere to several eco-friendly policies, including using solar energy for light and a ban on the use of plastics. The camp location has been specially selected for its seclusion amongst the wilderness: the camp is located near the Katagamuwa entrance to the park, which is a less congested, more private area. Tents at the camp are custom-made in South Africa,and are spacious and well equipped, and feature air conditioning.


Kulu Safaris excursion. Photo: Kulu Safaris


Noel Rodrigo's Leopard Safari

Located on the edge of Yala National Park, near the Katagamuwa entrance, Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safari is well positioned for exploring both the park, and the nearby town of Kataragama, famous for its sacred temples. The camp’s founder, Noel Rodrigo, has been passionate about wildlife since he was a child. Noel set up this tented camp back in 2006, and placed great emphasis on sustainability and conservation. As well as taking great care not to harm trees or plants at the camp, the camp also participates in a countrywide reforestation project. Accommodation is in traditional safari-style tents, which are available in double, triple, twin or family sizes, making Noel Rodrigo’s another great option for family safaris. The kitchen serves meals made with almost exclusively organic produce, including a tasty jungle barbecue for dinner. Stay at Noel Rodrigo's as part of Insight Guides' Wild and Wonderful Sri Lanka trip.  


An interior at Noel Rodrigo's Leopard Safari. Photo: Noel's Rodrigo Leopard Safari.


Ready for your Sri Lanka holiday?

Add a stay at any (or all!) of these hotels to any of Insight Guides' existing Sri Lanka itineraries. Alternatively, talk to our local experts in Sri Lanka today, to plan a trip from scratch, to suit your travel style, interests and budget.


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