Kulu Safari

Kulu Safaris, Yala National Park


Staying at Kulu Safaris at Yala National Park in Sri Lanka is like stepping into a different world. One where the rhythms of nature dictate the pace of your day and the wildlife is just a stone’s throw away. It’s hard to capture the essence of such an experience in words. But I’ll give it my best shot to share our four-day, three-night stay’s raw, unfiltered beauty.

A Bit About Yala National Park

The main base for Kulu Safaris is near Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s most acclaimed wildlife reserves. Yala boasts a diverse ecosystem that includes scrub, light forest, grassy plains, and brackish lagoons. It is especially famous for its high density of leopards, making it one of the best places in the world to observe these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Besides leopards, Yala is home to many elephants, sloth bears, sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boar, and a variety of birdlife, making it a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise.

The Kulu Safaris Experience

Kulu Safaris is a premier eco-tourism operator known for offering exceptional wildlife experiences in Sri Lanka. It is located to provide easy access to the country’s most famous national parks and nature reserves including Yala National Park. It is the perfect place for those looking to immerse themselves in the island’s rich biodiversity and spectacular natural landscapes. Even their name evokes adventure. Kulu means “wild and untamed” in the native Sinhala language.

Kulu Safaris is committed to sustainable tourism, offering eco-friendly accommodations and immersive nature experiences that emphasize conservation and respect for wildlife. Through their mobile camping options, guests can enjoy the serenity and beauty of Sri Lanka’s wilderness with minimal environmental impact, ensuring that the natural habitats remain pristine for generations to come.

Kulu Safaris offers a unique way to dive into this wilderness. They’re all about getting you up close with nature, but in a way that respects the environment. The camp itself feels like something out of a dream. Picture this: you’re sleeping in luxury tents that blend seamlessly into the surroundings, waking up to birds chirping and, if lucky, the distant roar of a leopard.

The days start early but trust me, it’s worth it. As the sun rises, you’re already out in open vehicles, breathing in the crisp morning air. The guides are locals who know Yala like the back of their hand. As we spent more time in the park with our guides, the level of respect the Kulu guides have from the other guides in the park became apparent. We were constantly amazed at how easily they spotted wildlife,  even the smallest lizard in a tree.


Wildlife Galore

The wildlife sightings are spectacular — elephants, leopards, and water buffalo! Each safari feels like a personal episode of a nature documentary. And the best part? It’s all happening in real time, right before your eyes. The thrill of spotting a leopard lounging in a tree or elephants grazing is indescribable.

Read more about the majestic Big 5 of Yala National Park here.

Our time in Yala National Park went so quickly but was breath taking:

  • Day 1 – Block 5 – Afternoon safari
  • Day 2 – Block 1 – Morning safari (we saw a leopard)
  • Day 2 – Block 1 – Afternoon safari
  • Day 3 – Blocks 3 & 5 – Full day safari (we saw a leopard)
  • Day 4 – Block 1 – Morning safari (we saw a leopard)
Leopard, Yala National Park

Beyond the Safari

But Kulu Safaris isn’t just about the game drives. It’s about the whole experience. The food, for instance, is a delightful surprise. Meals are a mix of local flavours and international dishes prepared on-site. Dining under the stars and sharing stories with fellow travellers add to the magic of the experience.

When not out in search of wildlife, you can relax at camp. You can relax on your veranda while taking in the views, go for a kayak on the lake or climb the treehouse for even better views.

We had dinner here on the lake one night
We had dinner here on the lake one night

The Vehicles

The open vehicles used for the safaris are more than just transportation—they’re your ticket to an immersive journey into the wild. Kulu Safaris uses a fleet of V8 Toyota Landcruiser 4WDs. These vehicles are specially modified for rugged terrains and optimised for wildlife viewing. Spacious and open-sided, they allow for unobstructed views, ensuring we don’t miss a beat of the action around us. But if it rains, you might get wet, so be prepared.

The V8-powered 4WDs enabled us to travel to park areas where other safari vehicles could not go. We got bogged once but quickly got out of the mud and were on our way.

Kulu Safaris Land Cruiser

The Tents

The tents are designed to blend into the natural surroundings, offering an authentic wilderness experience without sacrificing comfort. Each tent is spacious, featuring a comfortable bed and a private ensuite bathroom with eco-friendly toiletries. The decor is tastefully done, reflecting the local culture and the spirit of adventure that Kulu Safaris embodies. At night, the sounds of nature serve as a lullaby, enhancing the sense of being one with nature.

Kulu Safaris Tent
Inside our Kulu Safaris Tent


The culinary experience is a highlight, with meals serving as a journey through Sri Lankan cuisine and beyond. After your early morning safari, you will be hungry, and breakfast is welcome. Breakfast might include traditional Sri Lankan fare alongside fresh fruits and pastries. Lunches can be picnic-style, enjoyed during the safari, adding to the adventure or served in the dining tent. Dinners are more elaborate, with various dishes that cater to different palates, all prepared using local ingredients. The dining setup, often under the stars, creates a magical atmosphere where stories and experiences are shared among guests.

Kulu Safaris Lunch
Kulu Safaris Dinner

A Personal Touch

What sets Kulu Safaris apart is the attention to detail and personal touches throughout the experience. The staff goes above and beyond to ensure a fantastic stay, from the warm welcome upon arrival to the personalised service throughout the stay. With their wealth of knowledge and passion for wildlife, the guides enrich the safari experience, making each outing educational and exciting.

Their knowledge and understanding of the Yala environment meant we saw a leopard relaxing in front of us with no other vehicles nearby. We had this majestic animal to ourselves.

The Nitty-Gritty

Yes, the experience comes with a price tag, but when you consider what you’re getting, it’s worth it. The personalised service, the guides’ expertise, and the luxurious yet eco-conscious accommodations add to an unforgettable adventure.

Head over to Kulu Safaris website for more information.

But don’t take my word for it, read the reviews on Tripadvisor – Kulu Safaris.

A Few Tips

If you’re planning a visit, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pack light but pack smart. Think layers, as mornings can be chilly.
  • Don’t forget your camera. You’ll want to capture every moment. If you have a telephoto lens, you will definitely want to bring it.
  • Bring binoculars. Sometimes it’s not easy to get too close to the wildlife, so binoculars are a great way to see them in more detail.
  • Be prepared for early mornings. The wildlife waits for no one.
  • Embrace the unexpected. Nature is full of surprises.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, Kulu Safaris at Yala National Park is more than just a holiday. It’s an experience that connects you with the raw beauty of Sri Lanka’s wilderness. It’s about adventure, yes, but it’s also about reflection, about finding a deeper appreciation for the natural world.

So, would I recommend it? Absolutely. But don’t just take my word for it. Go see it for yourself. There’s a whole world out there in Yala waiting to be discovered. It’s an experience that satisfies the thirst for adventure and fosters a deeper connection with the natural world.

Pin It

Kulu Safaris, Yala National Park
Kulu Safaris, Yala National Park
Kulu Safaris, Yala National Park
Lisa Bundesen, The Middle Age Wanderer
The Author - Lisa Bundesen

I’m a 50 something semi-retired accountant, who along with my husband, Darren, has worked hard to have a great career and be financially stable.  Now it’s time to enjoy life more.

To enjoy life more, I’ve had to work hard to improve my fitness (I hiked the Inca Trail in my 40’s) and to keep fit to be able to do all of those things we want to do. That isn’t always easy because we also love to explore different cuisine and wine around the world and at home.

We travel as much as possible, both overseas and at home.  We call Australia home and find that there are so many places to explore here as well.

But the main reason we return home from our adventures are our two beautiful girls, Jazz and Indy. Oh and yeah we both have work as well!



5 Responses

  1. This looks like a dream vacation. When I think of Sri Lanka, safaris and wildlife don’t come to mind, but you have painted a totally different environment that I would love to visit and connect with. Your photos are absolutely stunning and made me put Kulu Safaris on my bucket list.

  2. We had a chance to spend a few hours in Yala a few years ago, and it was the most elephants I have ever seen in one place. Just fascinating. I would love to get back to Sri Lanka!

  3. We have yet to visit Sri Lanka yet. But we should surely think about a safari at Kulu Safaris at Yala National Park when we finally visit. Wild and untamed sounds great! Leopards are definitely on my list for my next wildlife experience (which is coming soon!). But I might need a bit more on the glamping side for accommodations for this pillow princess!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *