For those seeking a more adventurous, but still very comfortable, option close to Yala National Park, you can’t do much better than the Kulu Safari Tented Camp. Accommodation itself is in spacious and well-specced safari tents that have been imported from South Africa, with en-suite facilities. The tents are raised off the ground and have either a deck or verandah on the front, from where you can take in the wonderful view across the lake into the park. The camp have some kayaks as well, so there’s also the chance to go out onto the lake to get a quite different take on the traditional Yala safari! Food is excellent here, and rates usually include all meals and a range of drinks too, so there aren’t bills to be settled on check-out.
One of the main advantages of staying with Kulu is the location, just outside Kataragama some way to the north of the main Yala entrance. This means that you can get into an area of park that is usually much quieter than the at times hectic tracks close by the main entrance, increasing chances of leopard sightings. Finally, the quality of the jeeps and trackers on the game drives is several notches above what most other providers offer. Jeeps are modern 4WD that are very comfortable and powerful enough that no high-revving is needed to get through the tracks, and the drivers are very professional, obviously showing great respect to the animals and the park itself.
Whilst there are many cheaper options close to Yala, we think that Kulu is unmatchable in terms of the experience it offers.