Using stylish South African tents, both camps are located in two major national parks: Yala and Wilpattu. The campsites are made up of non-permanent structures, ensuring minimal impact on the parks, complete with comfortable king sized beds and a range of modern comforts and allowing privacy. The Yala campsite is situated in a picturesque location that makes the perfect base for your Noel Rodrigo's Leopard Safaris camping experience. This site has been specially chosen for its natural beauty and conveniently shaded areas of forest, which keep the temperature inside the tents cool and provide you with much needed respite from the sun. Many different wildlife species come to visit the camp and you can expect to wake up to the sound of tropical birdsong in the mornings.
Noel & Cecile Rodrigo
Your Hosts and The Team
“For us luxury is not in our facilities, but rather the experience of being close to nature and seeing wildlife in their natural environment—especially leopards. A leopard never changes its spots. Like human fingerprints, each one has a unique spot pattern.”
Full BioNoel Rodrigo, native of Sri Lanka, had been contemplating the land from the sky, high in the air on Sri Lankan airline, as a cabin manager for 25 years. Canvassing the world, complying with professional requirements of upper-standard and interfacing with travellers of all nationalities every day, he got attuned to many cultures and to a sense of company that made him part of a "global village". Yet, in 2006, Noel felt he should take a closer look at the villages and landscapes he used to know during his childhood, "no such thing like your home" especially when he remembered having gone to camps during his youth holidays... Passionate with wildlife, he decided to set up "Leopard Safaris", a small business with barely a team of 5 staff, who helped to operate even while Noel was flying. The business started successfully and Noel soon had to devote himself fully to his new venture. Two national parks are selected for the organization of safari tours in jeeps and tents, one in the north west (Wilpattu) and the other in the south east (Yala).
In contrast, the arrival of Cecile, born in northern Germany, owed nothing to predestination. She did attend universities in Köln and later pursued a master in finance in Leicester. After completion, in 2009, she decided to look for a three months internship in an NGO in Africa: however the minimum required was 6 months, so she had to look for alternative; thanks to a tip from a German NGO, she was recommended to search in Sri Lanka, while she had never visited Asia... love at first sight! Cecile decided to stay and to share the life, the passions and the lifestyle of Noel and his team: she found her business and finance skills to be readily applicable to the management needs of "Leopard Safaris" and she enjoys ever since, the country, its people, its climate and its natural setting. Leopard Safaris summarizes everything in two words: the camps are mobile, require driving and patience to observe the elusive leopard, a symbol for Sri Lanka which carries the highest density of this animal in the world, the biggest as well and which is the apex predator in the country, so it will have no need to take up its prey in the trees for eating!
The team is comprising experienced and educated naturalists and trackers, and Leopard Safaris offers the best chances to take extraordinary shots of this animal, but many other species can be observed such as elephants, sloth bears, red deers, crocodiles, water buffalos, nearly 200 birds species etc. While the mobile camps under customized South-African style tents are displaying many luxury items in the bedding, decoration, furnishings, cuisine, one should not expect the full amenities from a static brick and mortar hotel; the safari is real, fans are provided but no air-conditioning in the mobile tents, you can take hot showers, but from the reservoir and not from running water pipes; you should expect to get up early, to listen to the wildlife music at night and to enjoy bonfires as well as lanterns at night and zipping your tents properly to keep wild animals away from them. Wifi is provided, but you are recommended to limit its use and invest your time in the real adventure. Plastic bottles should be exchanged for metallic refillable ones; Leopard Safaris is following rather strict eco-policies and expects its guests to respect the same values, its "Green Mission". It relies on solar power, supports many local communities initiatives and conservation organizations such as Wildlife and Wilderness Conservation Trust's (WWCT) Leopard Project with logistics and finance and, last but not least helps the authorities to fight poaching. The meaning of "Commonwealth" is rediscovered here: 60% of the guests are British, another 15% come from Aussie...so there is ample room for you to change the statistics if you come from another place and if you wish to join the Common Wealth from another standpoint, you’ll simply participate in a tree-planting session. A major recommendation from Noel to memorize your stay: take your camera, long life batteries and an excellent zoom!
Luxury Lodge Tent (Yala only)
Facilities and Highlights
- Food is an integral part of a stay at Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris: traditional cuisine from locally courced produces - with vegetarian options
- All activities (safaris, cooking class, birdwatching, guided walks, star gazing…) will make you appreciate more Mother Nature.
GENERALTotal number of rooms: 13
Time zone: (GMT+05:30) Mumbai
Currency accepted: LKR
Credit cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard
Electricity voltage: 230V
Electricity plug type:
CONCIERGEYour concierge is ready to assist you with planning and completing your reservation, contact them on email@example.com
ACCESSBoth camps are located in the outskirts of Yala and Wilpattu national parks.
Airport: Colombo Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) – 260 km to Yala and 155km to Wilpattu
ADDRESSYala and Wipattu National Parks , Sri Lanka
Besides serving traditional Sri Lankan cuisine using seasonal vegetables and fruit that they buy from local farmers, Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris avoids plastic, and uses natural and recycled materials wherever possible including stainless steel and glass water bottles. Recently, they even built a wall in their lounge from empty wine bottles and clay instead of concrete. The eco-friendly concept camps’ decks and furniture were all made with either rejected timber or recycled wood, and their main source of power is solar. They use a solar pump to pump water to showers and to heat the water in the luxury lodge tent. The water for the mobile tent showers is heated manually on a wood fire. They also have a dual-battery system in the safari jeeps to allow the batteries to be charged while on safari. The power from those batteries is then used to run the kitchen’s freezers and refrigerators.
Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris financially supports the Wildlife and Wilderness Conservation Trust’s (WWCT) Leopard Project by donating a percentage of each guest’s stay to them. They also give them leopard sightings data. In addition, they help build a roof or playground, get electricity, sponsor school concerts, and get the children to participate in nature themed drawing competitions in the poorest schools. They also aid locals. Near the Yala camp there is an old couple that sells herbal tea to pilgrims from their run-down home and shop. Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris takes guests there to sample the tea. They also bought the couple roofing panels to replace their old leaky roof. Moreover, each year they donate a complimentary stay that is auctioned off at the Half the Sky Foundation’s annual charity auction.