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Leopard Trails

IN TWO LOCATIONS -YALA AND WILPATTU

Leopard Trails camps hark back to a bygone era of Ceylonese safari; one of elegant adventure and wild refinement.

With one in Yala, in the south east, and one in Wilpattu, north of Colombo, these are camps, well and truly, but camps unlike others you’ll find on the island. Beds are large, bathrooms are spacious and bars are well-stocked. This is camping in the loosest sense.

That slight indulgence, though, shouldn’t belie the passion these guys have for the island’s wonderful wildlife and its leopard in particular. That fascination and excitement is bound to rub off during your time in camp.

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The Rooms

The Leopard Trails tents channel an Edwardian-glam with classic teak safari furniture (collapsible bedside and writing tables) and queen-sized, Egyptian-cotton-clad beds.

Camps are far from huge; eight tents at Yala and just three currently in Willpattu. All tents have air-conditioning, great for the mid-day siesta. Each tent has a little verandah, the ideal spot for a post-safari, pre-dinner drink.

Both Yala and Wilpattu offer so-called ‘standard’ tents, while Yala also offers two even smarter.

There are six standard tents in all at Yala and three at Wilpattu. Prosaically-described as ‘standard’, these tents are large- more than big enough to swing a wild cat. The bathrooms have fitted wash basins, mirrors and private outdoor showers.

Set slightly apart from the rest of the camp, the luxury tents at Yale are even smarter tents and echo the styling of the rest of the camp but offer a little more space. The bathrooms are also slightly larger with twin wash basins and an indoor shower.

What’s to do

Leopard Trails is justly proud of its guiding team.

Collectively having studied and trained in Sri Lanka, the UK, Australia and South Africa, Jerome, Arran, Indika, Avijja and Dinal make wonderfully insightful and experienced companions for your journeys into the national parks.

Back from safari, guides also act as camp hosts, sharing their experiences of and enthusiasm for the island’s wildlife.

Location

Yala National Park sits in the south eastern rump of the island. Heading straight there from Colombo airport would be a 5-6 hour drive, though most will reach Yala having been inland first. Wilpattu is a three hour drive north from the airport as you skirt up the west coast.

Out for the evening

Time at Leopard Trails is of course mostly about being in the parks – seeing leopard, sloth bear, elephants and incredible bird life. At both camps you’ll be offered early-morning game drives and trips into the parks again in the early evening.

Time spent eating, drinking and sharing stories by the camp fire, though, is equally well-spent.

Food & Drink

At Leopard Trails, the jungle kitchens remain simple and authentic. At Wilpattu, a utilitarian contraption of welded steel and canvas serves as a kitchen. Racking and other facilities are built by the chefs themselves within a matter of days but this does not detract from the authenticity of the food made within its canvas walls.

Fresh curry leaves, freshly grated coconut and a host of different spices are married together in various forms to produce an endless array of colourful and fragrant curries and sambals.

The smell of frying spices starts to emanate from the kitchens as early as 7am and the unhurried labour intensive preparation continues throughout the day to prepare the best local food, not just for the guests but also for the hungry staff. It may seem counterintuitive but a diet of spiced foods complements the relentless equatorial sun. Spicy foods increase circulation and ultimately cools you down!

Families

Camp experiences are aimed at the whole family. The luxury tents offer that extra space for families and the excitement of wildlife spotting is one that is sure to be enjoyed by both little kids and big.

To and From

Properties to head to before or after your stay
at Leopard Trails…

Why Book with The Ceylon Guide?

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and we’re confident our prices are as low as anyone’s. We’d love to help you experience the very best of the island.