Combining pristine white sands with the wilds of Yala National Park, Wild Coast Tented Lodge is a whole new breed of wildlife experience. Fusing colonial splendour with contemporary innovation, it makes for one splendid adventure. Don’t let the 28 spectacular lodgings, trendy bar and sumptuous freeform swimming pool fool you though – Wild Coast is just as nature-orientated as it is luxurious. From falling asleep at night in a cocoon (yes, you read that correctly) to spotting local wildlife from the comfort of your private deck, you’ll do it all whilst enjoying fine Sri Lankan cuisine and top-notch service.
When we say ‘best of both worlds’, we really mean it here. There’s no need to choose between beach and safari with Wild Coast Tented Lodge offering up a dreamy combination of the two. Head out on immersive game drives into Yala’s quieter corners in the mornings before returning to a game of beach croquet and a picnic on the sands in the evening, watching dusk settle over the Indian Ocean. It’s a five-hour drive from Colombo, and slightly closer from Galle and the Tea Country, but no matter how long it takes, we can guarantee it’ll be worth it.
The walls may be made of canvas, but these are far from your ordinary ‘tent’. In fact, they are cocoons – warm and inviting with teak floors complementing dark leathers, freestanding copper bathtubs and silky-soft linens atop sumptuous four-poster beds. Clustered around water holes and with vaulted ceilings and panoramic jungle views, there’s wildlife to spot from the moment you wake up. Dotted along the beachfront, you’ll also find four more cocoons, each with their own private plunge pool. Whilst for those of you with the little urchins in tow? Wild Coast has an answer for that too with eight cocoons featuring adjoining ‘urchin’ tents, perfect for keeping the little ones entertained whilst still giving you that much-needed space for a bit of shut-eye.
Why we like it
Wild Coast Tented Lodge is undoubtedly a stunning property, but what makes it stand out is its focus on the wildlife around it. It’s not just about access to the best of Yala on a game drive, but what you learn from that game drive. With expert naturalist guides on hand to talk you through the Park’s incredible diversity of flora and fauna and workshops looking into the behaviour of native wild elephants – it’s a nature lover’s paradise. It’s also a leopard’s paradise, with Wild Coast featuring Yala’s first and Sri Lanka’s foremost leopard conservation station, with five full-time researchers dedicated to protecting this elusive animal.
All images courtesy of Tim Evan-Cook