“A tented eco-lodge deep in the wilderness near the Yala National Park, where nature - and sometimes elephants - come to you”
The 3 tented rooms are surprisingly comfy. Custom-made in Sri Lanka, they’re elevated on flood-proof platforms a foot above the ground and separated from one another by palm-thatched screens. To the front of each tent is a sand-floored terrace furnished with a table and chairs. Fly screens are fitted to the ‘doors’ and ‘windows’, and blinds roll down for privacy.
Inside, the roomy sleeping areas (high ceilings meant we didn’t have to stoop) come with kingsize or twin beds topped with simple foam mattresses and proper bedding. You also get bedside tables, battery-powered lamps and torches, timber chairs, a table, clay water jugs, and a luggage rack where you can store your gear.
A zipped doorway to the rear of each tent leads to the bathroom, which is fitted with a raised throne-like loo, a sink, and a cold-water shower ringed by a curtain. The towels are thin but adequate, and a range of simple toiletries (including toothpaste, mosquito repellent, soap and shampoo) is provided.
The screens between the tents provide an element of privacy, however the furthest (tent 3) is the most secluded. Dozing off to the sounds of the forest was magical, and the temperature during our January visit was comfortable enough, although the absence of air conditioning or fans means that some might find the nights a little too warm for sleeping, particularly during the most humid months of March and April.
All meals are included in the rates, as well as soft drinks; wine, beer and other alcoholic drinks - chilled thanks to the camp’s efficient cool box - are also available for an extra charge.
We dined on hearty, home-cooked Sri Lankan cuisine, served in the lodge’s atmospheric mud-walled restaurant. Although the spice levels are toned down to suit less fiery palettes (unless you tell them otherwise), the dishes tasted very authentic. Most meals are vegetarian, and we surprised ourselves by not realising until the second day that we hadn’t eaten any meat; it was all too good!
For breakfast, we ate string hoppers (steamed rice-flour noodles) with dhal, and a zesty pol sambol made from pounded fresh coconut, chilli, dried fish and lime - a typical Sri Lankan start to the day. More familiar options include fried eggs, toast, exotic juices, fruit and wrapped triangles of soft cheese.
Lunches and dinners are always different, with a selection of dishes (perhaps creamy curries, milk rice, coconut roti and egg hoppers) beautifully served down the middle of your table. With a focus on fresh, local produce (nothing can be refrigerated or frozen), this is the place to try some of the island’s more unusual ingredients, including manioc, banana flower and snake gourd. For dessert, expect the likes of fruit salad and buffalo curd drizzled with kithul (palm honey).
Tree Tops Jungle Lodge can also cater for those seeking a more Western dining experience, and meat (often cooked on a traditional barbecue) is served occasionally. One night we tucked into vegetable soup followed by grilled chicken with rice, dhal and potato salad.
The hushed atmosphere, basic accommodation and jungle walks mean Tree Tops Jungle Lodge is not suited to younger children, and only those aged 12 and over are accepted. That said, outdoorsy teens will relish the sense of adventure, and an extra bed can be added to each tent for a charge (see Rates).
Teens (over 12)
Extra Beds Available