Wild Coast Tented Lodge is adjacent to Yala National Park, renowned for its leopard population. This spectacular luxury tented camp is situated on a rugged, empty beach, overlooking the Indian Ocean.
The unique design sees the man-made structures blending seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, thanks to the use of carefully selected natural materials.
The use of arched fabric structures allows each of the 28 tents to take on the shape and color of the rocks and boulders that lay scattered nearby, whilst a clever layout in the shape of a leopard’s paw print alludes to the area’s most famous resident.
The open-air bamboo-clad Ten Tuskers bar and Dining Pavilion – designed to mirror the boulders scattered across the golden beach beyond – wrap around the resort’s enormous free-form swimming pool.
Guests can enjoy creative daily-changing menus of authentic Sri Lankan cuisine in the restaurant, as well as sundowner cocktails and picnics al fresco on the sand dunes, watching dusk settle over the Indian Ocean.
Leopards, bear and elephants are the highlight, but birds, small mammals and archeological sites make Yala a very dynamic park. Yala National Park is Sri Lanka’s second largest, and most visited park. Located on the southeastern tip of the country, it is bordered by the sea.
The area was declared a national park in 1939 and it occupies almost 1,000 square kilometers divided into five blocks each with its own vegetation and characteristics. The park’s vegetation features forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons and everything in between.
Although its 44 mammal species and 215 birds are all protected today, the park was originally a hunting grounds during colonial times.
What made Yala famous recently is research that indicated that it may have the highest concentration of leopards in the world (although this does not necessarily correlate with exponentially more frequent sightings).
Yala is also a public, national park and appeals to both local and foreign visitors and offers a different experience to that of a South African private game reserve.
Our talented team of rangers manage such parameters using their guiding prowess to track animals, avoid crowded areas and deliver an entertaining and detailed narrative – from the smallest critters, flowers, and birds, to the larger, more celebrated species – to deliver a world-class wilderness experience.
Our Cocoon tents brings to mind an anchored airship. A space that travels from one place to the other and stations temporarily at one location. When it departs, it leaves no footprints.
Inspiration is also drawn from the tents of historic military campaigns, especially the concept of a mobile, elaborate interior filled with specially designed, sometimes eccentric dismountable campaign furniture made for travel.
The intention is to suggest an atmosphere of antique futurism, a pre-digital era with a mechanical mind frame that evokes a bygone era of luxurious travel.
The interiors fuse expedition chic with contemporary design innovations, from freestanding handmade copper bathtubs to sumptuous four-poster beds. Teak floors and canvas walls complement dark leather touches and repurposed metallic hardware for an eclectic and design-led aesthetic.
Four secluded beach facing Pool Cocoons offer private plunge pools, whilst a further sixteen Cocoons, in clusters of four, are dotted around watering holes designed to attract a variety of birdlife and amphibians, which can be viewed from each Cocoon’s outdoor viewing deck.
The family area Cocoons sport an adjoining twin-bedded 20m2 Urchin tent, perfect for kids and young adults, and offering privacy and space for parents and children alike.
The 55 sqm Cocoon Suite boast soaring vaulted ceilings, offering jungle views from the double-height double glazed facades. A four-poster king-sized bed and a spacious bathroom is centered around a free-standing handmade copper bathtub.
Its décor is a combination of expedition style and contemporary design, highlighted in natural colours and premium materials, from teak floor to dark leather details.
The private outdoor viewing deck overlooks a watering hole designed to attract a diverse array of fauna and flora, perfect for early morning bird-watching. The Cocoon Suite offers a most glamorous camping experience.
Cocoon Pool Suite
The 55 sqm Cocoon Pool Suite boast soaring vaulted ceilings, offering jungle views from the double-height double glazed facades. A four-poster king-sized bed and a spacious bathroom is centered around a free-standing handmade copper bathtub.
Its décor is a combination of expedition style and contemporary design, highlighted in natural colours and premium materials, from teak floor to dark leather details. The Cocoon Pool Suite boasts its own private plunge pool.
The most exclusive rooms offered, there are only four of its kind at Wild Coast.
Family Cocoon Suite with Urchin
We offer 8 Family Cocoon Suites, comprising a 55 sqm Cocoon and an adjoining (about 5m away) twin-bedded 20 sqm Urchin, offering privacy and space for parents and children alike. The Urchin is enchanting for older kids, ideally aged 8 and above.
Like the Cocoon the Urchin is uniquely designed to tickle the senses and trigger the imagination. The two single beds in the Urchin are even suitable for adults. An additional futon can be added for a 3rd child in the Urchin.
Two Dome-shaped pavilions house the Ten Tuskers bar, restaurant and library, crafted from a woven grid shell bamboo structure clad in reclaimed teak shingles. Large, arched openings and high vaulted ceilings create a strong sense of space and welcome ocean breezes.
The pool winds itself between the restaurant and the bar, which are connected by a bridge. The Ten Tuskers bar serves an array of signature cocktails with local ingredients. The restaurant features gourmet safari cuisine with a Sri Lankan flair.
Or dine romantically in our beautiful natural beach garden under a star-studded night sky.
The Dining Pavilion
The dome shaped restaurant focuses on sculptural elements made of coated mud brick that incorporates niches for tables and seats. To counterbalance the simplicity and weight of the mud brick, copper highlights are added throughout.
Above the tables organically shaped copper shades resemble floating rocks. Breakfast features a wide array of traditional Sri Lankan & international breakfast favourites.
Lunch is a la carte with perennial favourites with a wild coast twist, comfort food, healthy options & more. Dinner is a wondrous affair featuring unique fare inspired by nature and the freshness of local produce.
Ten Tuskers Bar
The Ten Tuskers bar is alongside the pool and faces the ocean. It is crowned by a large bamboo chandelier under which our bartenders turn out handcrafted cocktails featuring hyper local ingredients.
The leather and copper accented teak seating is the ideal spot to indulge in a board game or a post dinner liqueur. A wide selection of included wines and spirits are on offer. The croquet pitch is adjacent to the bar so refills of Pimms are readily available!
Cook your own lunch
The Wild Coast Lodge version of the Sri Lankan cookery class – a more hands-on introduction to Sri Lankan food. Guests get to mix their own spices, season their ingredients and cook their own lunch, under the watchful eye and instruction of one of our Chefs.
The experience is not a typical “demo” but an interactive learning on how to make some of our favourite and most popular dishes. However, it is safe to say that guest ability behind the stove will not obstruct an exquisite Sri Lankan “rice & curry” lunch from being presented to guests.
Sundowners and Dune Dining
Post evening game drive cocktails and canapes takes place in our beautiful beach garden overlooking the ocean. The sand dunes are the perfect spot for a picnic or a gourmet candlelit meal.
No two days in the jungle are ever the same – hence we say goodbye to another special day in the wilderness with a cocktail at sunset with our complimentary “sundowners”. Dune dining juxtaposes the harmony of flavours and spices on your plate with the drama of dining privately on a wild coastline.
Jungle Afternoon Tea
Taking the art of wilderness dining to a new level, our afternoon tea experience in the jungle is truly special. Our team will pick a beautiful spot near a river, by a waterhole or with a scenic vista.
Guests descend from their vehicles, stretch their legs and indulge in some exquisite creations from our pastry kitchen. Our rangers may scour the area for some foot-prints and possibly piece together some animal movements from the previous night.
You just might learn how to identify the age of an elephant from studying its footprint – with a well-jammed scone in hand no less!
We have a collection of yummy, interactive and immersive culinary experiences for kids with a local twist, tailored for various age levels.
Kids enjoy making the local favourite “coconut and treacle pancakes”, or coconut and cinnamon cookies. For older kids, more complex items such as the classic Sri Lankan “Chocolate Biscuit Pudding” is a fun challenge with a local touch.
The Spa at Wild Coast Tented Lodge
The Sanctuary Spa at Wild Coast has four treatment rooms, set in funky elephant shaped pods. The wide-ranging menu offers classics like Balinese massage alongside more unusual offerings like the Ceylon Spices Herbal Compress Massage.
Our spa team prize two Sri Lankan ingredients, Ceylon tea and cinnamon, which are used liberally in our products.
The excitement of game drives at Wild Coast Lodge is ideally balanced by the soothing treatments offered at the Sanctuary Spa. Its comprehensive menu includes exotic products which comprise of cinnamon and tea known for their health benefits.
Sip on a cocktail whilst reading your novel in a shaded pool alcove. The large freeform infinity pool radiates outwards from the dome-shaped bar and restaurant pavilions, so there’s a covered portion that’s always cool and shady.
The open-air portion is fringed by a lawn that’s scattered with sun loungers, all of which face the ocean. The pool is saltwater and has a shallow end. The pool offers shaded alcoves with jacuzzi jets next to the bar, to sip on a cocktail whilst reading your novel.
Wild Coast Tented Lodge provides enriching experiences in an environment of health and comfort, and an atmosphere of ecological luxury that respects nature and engages local communities.
In the midst of beautiful natural surroundings, you will feel like a discoverer, regain your ability to wonder and recharge your imagination and senses.
The Library is every naturalist’s dream office. It features a big central timber display case surrounded by shelves of books, specimens, fossils, shells, dried plant samples and preserved animals in specimen jars.
Guests will feel like adventurers here examining the specimens or studying about local wildlife. At the same time, it’s a place of retreat. A large screen TV with a selection of nature documentaries and movie classics is available.
The paw print of a leopard stalking through the site. The tents have been positioned around 5 large clay lined ponds which have been positioned to represent the paw print of a leopard stalking through the site.
The four Pool Cocoons look towards the beach but each of the inland tents has a cantilevered deck looking out over the pond it shares with its neighbours, to allow guests to enjoy their own safari experience from the comfort of their room.
Each water hole is lined with locally sourced clay, tiered to provide different water depths and access locations for the wildlife. The ponds are fed with the recycled waste water from the lodge to ensure nothing goes to waste.
Stone cairns and driftwood positioned in and around the water bodies provide a diverse range of habitats for the endemic freshwater fish and crustaceans that colonize them (and eat the mosquito larvae).
The tiered access points allow wild boar, elephants and buffalo to come to the waters edge. Nesting trees have been planted around all of the ponds to encourage Peacocks, Bea eaters and Pelicans to visit the ponds.
Wild Coast Lodge redefines “safari” as a holistic wilderness experience. We are blessed with diverse habitat, ecology and scenery across the five sectors of the Yala National Park Complex and Bundala National Park which is a Ramsar Wetland.
We aspire to showcase the entire spectrum of nature – while leopards play a leading role in our theatre of the wild, they are not the only actor on our stage – from our geology, botanical diversity, critters, mammals, birds and reptiles.
But that’s just part of the story. Steeped in the jungles of our surrounding national parks are remnants of civilisations past, and ancient jungle monasteries, archaeological sites and places of worship that date back to mythical eras of the gods
Guided Bush Walk
Our guided bush walk, in the company of a qualified and trained Wild Coast Lodge ranger, is our signature experience. A bush walk is, without a doubt, the most immersive and interesting way to appreciate the wilderness.
Bushcraft is the art of reading the signs of the jungle – taking what would appear to be random pieces of information to the untrained eye and stitching them together to bring the wilderness to life.
During the walk, our ranger will find, identify and interpret footprints, droppings, animal sounds and bird calls, even broken branches, etc., in a safe yet fascinating manner.
Guests also get the chance to observe wildlife at a safe distance, intimately. The art of “bushcraft” is as old as time, but the combination of loss of wilderness habitat around the world and wildlife experiences being increasingly based on jeep-safaris makes the dying art of bushcraft increasingly valuable.
Wild Coast Lodge is delicately and uniquely placed within the jungle on a protected buffer of Yala National Park.
Keystone species including elephant, leopard and bear roam through our lodge, as do smaller mammals and critters in abundance. The combination of our ranger’s knowledge and the ability to walk makes for the quintessential wilderness experience.
We strive to redefine game drives by taking a holistic approach to the wilderness. Leopards, bear and elephants are the highlight of the Yala National Park complex. Our game drive experience differs from that of a South African Private Game Reserve in that we operate in a public national park.
However, our passionate rangers are experienced, knowledgeable, have an eye for detail and are well-versed in how to showcase the entire spectrum of biodiversity found in our jungles.
They are also adept at interpreting the signs of the wild to deliver a fascinating narrative to make our game drives a distinct experience. For safari vehicles, we work with the local community, and all drivers and vehicles have been vetted for skill, quality and guest safety.
Our game drives include refreshments, and we are happy to arrange picnic breakfasts or lunches too. Rates include one game drive per night’s stay. However, we’d be happy to add more game drives, bush walks, and excursions to culturally significant sites – please find descriptions of such experiences and respective pricing.
Rural Bike Exploration
Guided by one of our rangers, explore the nearby village of Kirinda which sits between the Yala and Bundala National Parks. Kirinda is a small fishing town with a vast expanse of rice fields, lakes and quaint village life.
A bicycle ride through the village gives an authentic and fascinating perspective to the charm and scenic beauty of Sri Lankan rural life. Kirinda also straddles a lot of forest area which is home to wildlife, especially birdlife on its Bundala flank.
Imagine ending a day with sundowner in-hand while overlooking a rice-paddy and a forest nearby, while waders (shorebirds) scour the shoreline of a saltern before nightfall.
Visit to Jungle Monastery – Sithulpawwa
Sithulpawwa is an ancient Buddhist monastery, believed to date back to 2nd century BC. The monastery straddles a collection of rocky outcrops and caves deep in the heart of Yala National Park.
There are said to be hundreds of caves and shelters within and around the complex, that have housed monks (for centuries) who came to the site to further their education as well as to meditate.
The solitude and serenity of the monastery carry a quiet, calming spiritual vibe and confirms its original name which was “hill of the quiet mind”. It is natural to find yourself mentally travelling back in time to imagine what life was like during the era of Sri Lankan kings 2,200 years ago.
A visit late afternoon is best – the light is particularly magical on the forest below and the cool breeze brings with it the chatter of birds readying for the night, giving a gentle reminder of the wild location of this monastery.
Guests are accompanied by one of our rangers. The drive to and from the site also snakes through the National Park and animal sightings (elephant, deer, wild boar, and even leopard on rare occasion) are common.
Sithulpawwa is now becoming more popular with local pilgrims. We advise guests to avoid visit during Buddhist holidays or school holidays when the site is crowded.
A sacred pilgrimage town revered by Buddhist, Hindu and indigenous Vedda people, with an Islamic Mosque within its temple complex. Kataragama is a temple complex dedicated to Buddhist guardian deity “Kataragama deviyo” and Hindu War God Kathirkamam.
It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and the Vedda people. As such, the Kataragama festival (middle of each year) is visited by the rich, poor, and all religions alike.
It is a spectacle of sound, light, faith and fervour Guests can visit Kataragama at any time of the year and are accompanied by WCL personnel, who will guide and provide a narrative on the layout, the history, customs and practices.
Enroute to Wild Coast – Mankada Pottery Centre
Mankada is an initiative of the MJF Charitable Foundation, and was set up to support and empower marginalised communities living on the periphery of the Udawalawe National Park in southeastern Sri Lanka.
The MJF Foundation has trained, equipped and mentored the community in its transformation from unskilled labour to craftsmen with the associated benefits to quality of life and income.
Mankada produces one of a kind handmade terracotta kitchenware, replicas of animals, pendants, mugs, teapots, tea bag holders and a variety of beautiful and original craft.
The art is inspired by the Udawalawe National Park in the vicinity, home to many species of fauna and flora, especially elephants. A typical Sri Lanka lunch can be arranged for Resplendent Ceylon guests. A worthwhile visit to positively impact communities through tourism.
Exclusive Birding Experience
Spend a morning in the company of one of our rangers (a birding specialist) in Sri Lanka’s foremost national park for bird watching. Bundala National Park’s wetland and saltern habitat is home to a large collection of resident birds, as well as migrants that visit every winter, from waders to raptors.
Our ranger will provide an interesting narrative by guiding you on the individual species that are visible as well as an overview of how individual birds are identified, about behavioral and migration patterns, and also give a description of the wetland ecosystem as a unique and important habitat. Our aim is to open the magical world of “birding” to you and convert you into an avid “birder.”
Sightings of other key species such as elephant, crocodiles, wild boar, buffalo, spotted deer, and terrestrial birds can be expected. A picnic breakfast at a scenic location in the park caps off the morning!
Enroute to Wild Coast – Udwalawe Elephant Transit Home
En route to Wild Coast Lodge from Ceylon Tea Trails, stop midway at the Dilmah supported Elephant Transit Home (ETH) at Uda Walawe National Park which cares for orphaned elephants – many of whom are calves.
The ETH undertakes an effective rescue and rehabilitation program that takes in and looks after orphaned elephant calves with minimal human contact and returns them to the wild when they are old enough.
In addition to providing support through improved infrastructure facilities and utilities, Dilmah Conservation has established a comprehensive Elephant Information Centre to help raise awareness and knowledge on these impressive species and the threats that they face.
Feeding times to target are 12 noon, 3pm, 6pm.A visit “behind the scenes” to meet the vets caring for injured animals can be arranged with prior notice outside peak times.
Our Junior Ranger program introduces multiple aspects of the joys of the wilderness to kids of all ages. A feature experience is Camping 101 (targeted at ages 10 and above). Guided by a Wild Coast ranger, kids will learn how to set up a campsite – pitching a tent, build a campfire, and safety measures they must take.
Our Junior Ranger program trains kids with the art of bushcraft. The program features multiple options. The longest and most comprehensive is a 3-day course (covering animal identification, footprint identification and tracking, and animal groups characteristics) with a certification.
“Specialist” certification includes training kids on their favourite animal (such as an elephant specialist) or even a “Junior Tracker” certification aimed at spoor interpretation. Or simple bush walks guided by our ranger is fun too.
JANUARY – FEBRUARY
The Northeast monsoon is nearing its end and morning game drives are chilly (approx. 18-23 C) – so bring a shawl! We increase our birdwatching runs to Bundala National Park to view migrant birds escaping European winters.
Yala hosts several migrants too. Leopard sightings on trees or on rocks are more common due to the weather. More frequent herbivore sightings make for fun game drives.
MARCH – APRIL
The inter – monsoonal period begins around this time, featuring unpredictable showers, (which is very welcomed by the rain to the park).
Migratory birds that (some who visit all the way from Siberia!) stay through April to see out winter in Yala and Bundala National Park. This is also an excellent time to see elephants in their herds as well, and common for bull elephants in musth searching out females who are receptive to mating.
MAY – JUNE
Yala is most beautiful through June and the months leading up to it as the park is lush and green after the rains, but just starting to dry out enough for animals to congregate at water-holes.
Historically, we’ve seen more young (deer fawns to leopard cubs) post rains. Also, the Palu (Manilkara Hexandrian) tree bears fruit which leads to an increase in sloth bear sightings (a guest favourite!) as they love feasting on Palu fruits. Temperatures range from 30 – 36 C.
JULY – AUGUST
The effects of the dry season are seen from July through September as the park starts to dry up and water holes start to reside.
The park becomes quite dusty. August brings with it hot winds from the Arabian Peninsula, accelerating the drying process. We start venturing into Block 5 and Lunugamvehera National Parks. Temperatures range from 30 – 36 C.
SEPTEMBER – OCTOBER
Block 1 of Yala closes from the beginning of September until the 1st of November due to the dry season and other sectors of Yala such as Block 5, Lunugamvehera and Bundala National Parks are visited.
These three areas are excellent for sighting elephants and as it is the start of the migratory season for birds coming in from western Europe and Siberia, an array of waders such as sandpipers and several species of ducks and forest birds such as Indian Pittas and Bee eaters can be seen.
NOVEMBER – DECEMBER
Block 1 reopens in November and intense inter-monsoonal showers spark the first bursts of green after the drought. Animals are more relaxed (hence better sightings) after the rest from park closure and low visitation in November.
Sightings of leopards, sloth bears and even the the shy and critically endangered pangolin become frequent and confident as vehicle volume is low. Peak visitation kicks in mid-December. Temperatures range from 28 – 34 C.