The Kingdom Ecolodge: the place to spot elephants in Sri Lanka
It is 6 a.m. when we are awakened by the words “Look Elephants.” From our bed we see a brilliant sunrise that provides a beautiful silhouette of a group of elephants walking by less than 100 meters away. We quickly race to the waterfront where this magical and imposing group of elephants moves silently through the water. Doesn’t sound wrong does it?
If you are going to Sri Lanka then an overnight stay (or several) at The Kingdom Ecolodge is an absolute must. No queuing in a safari park but spotting elephants from the comfort of your own bed! For us, the highlight of our trip through Sri Lanka.
Want to spot elephants without other tourists? With the assurance that the elephants have a fine and free existence? Where you wake up in the middle of nature? Then The Kingdom Ecolodge in Sri Lanka is a big fat tip!
In this article
- About The Kingdom Ecolodge
- The environment
- The elephant safari at The Kingdom Ecolodge
- Lodging at The Kingdom Ecolodge
- How to get there
- What Does The Kingdom Ecolodge Cost?
- What is included?
The Kingdom Ecolodge
The Kingdom Ecolodge is located in the middle of nature, just outside the famous Yala National Park. Because we had been told by several people that Yala National Park would be very crowded, we decided to look for an alternative and soon found ourselves at The Kingdom Ecolodge. We also decided to visit Willpatu National Park later in the trip.
The Kingdom Ecolodge is the ideal place for travelers seeking tranquility, nature and wildlife. As far as we are concerned, the best place in Sri Lanka to spot the wild elephant. But not just for wildlife, a visit to The Kingdom Ecolodge is an absolute must. The surroundings are stunning, the people incredibly friendly and welcoming, the atmosphere is top notch and the food is delectable.
Take a moment of rest or get out on the water
The Ecolodge consists of 30 acres and is located on a large lake. It is the pride of owner Dim. A Sri Lankan farmer who has made his dream a reality in this beautiful part of Sri Lanka.
Do not expect luxury, the lodge is simple but equipped with everything. Fruits and vegetables are grown ecologically and every evening you can enjoy a feast meal from their own garden. Helping out in the kitchen is allowed, so you can immediately upgrade your cooking skills.
In addition to a few open-plan accommodations, you will find several sitting areas and hammocks outside, and there is a general area/kitchen. The lodge has 4 rooms. As a result, the group is never very large, which is top for the atmosphere. So a big tip for solo travelers as well. You can also grab a canoe and take to the water. Swimming I would skip for a while myself since crocodiles also like to hang out here.
This is the place to escape the crowds and enjoy nature in its purest form. ‘
The elephant safari at The Kingdom Ecolodge
At the end of the day during sunset, the safari is scheduled. Temperatures begin to drop slightly during this time of day, increasing the chances of spotting elephants slightly. That’s what we come for, of course.
The jeep safari takes about an hour and you will stay on the edge of the official national park. This makes the safari not quite comparable to a “normal” elephant jeep safari in a national park. The chances of spotting elephants are a little lower, but if you do spot them you are often all alone and can stay with the jeep for a while to admire the group a little longer.
“After the first turn there is a huge group of elephants there including lots of inimical baby elephants”
After just 10 minutes, we are rewarded with a large group of buffalo and a breathtaking sunset. But of course we come for elephants. The surroundings alone are stunning and this is also an absolute valhalla for bird watchers. After hobbling in the jeep for a while, we suddenly see 2 elephants. 2 cozy freunden having a nice walk at a distance. My day already complete. After a while we decide to drive on, which turns out to be a top decision. Indeed, after the first turn there is a huge group of elephants including lots of inimical baby elephants. Our presence does them quite little and we continue to enjoy this spectacular view from the jeep for a while.
After a while, we decide to drive back. It is getting dark again and I must say that by now I am also looking forward to another ice-cold beer. We hobble back (don’t expect a smooth ride ;p) and while we think the day is already complete, there the next group of elephants is already waiting for us. In the middle of the road with zero intention of clearing it for us. We decide to pass quietly after a while anyway which some slightly less friendly giants are not entirely pleased with. With great noise and considerable speed, 3 elephants stormed toward the jeep. We both feel a lot of emotions in that moment! And yes there was also a little bit of fear involved ;p, but above all it was an incredibly fat experience. The message, by the way, was pretty clear. You are indeed bigger and stronger than us ;p The perfect cue to complete the safari.
Lodging at The Kingdom Ecolodge
Don’t expect luxury at the Kingdom Ecolodge, but with surroundings like this, you don’t have to. The accommodations are simple but fully equipped. For example, there is a nice outdoor shower and even a western toilet! You sleep in the middle of nature in the great outdoors. In fact, the room is semi-open with a large bed in the middle incl. mosquito net. Indeed, that means you can spot elephants from your bed. Believe me: will you! For example, we were awakened in the middle of the night by a group of elephants walking through the water. Wonderful to be able to admire this from your bed.
Because the lodge is spacious, there is more than enough privacy despite the open space.
How to get there
Traveling in Sri Lanka is often done by tuktuk or public transportation. But at The Kingdom Ecolodge, things are just a little different. After all, this place is in the middle of nowhere. When you make a reservation, the owner Dim will arrange a pick-up for you in Telulla. Although Telulla can possibly be reached by public transportation, we decided to arrange a cab from Tangallee. The bus trip would take almost 6 hours and we didn’t feel much like that this time. If you are with your own tuktuk then you can leave it in Telulla.
From Ella, it is somewhat easier to travel by public transportation. You can catch the bus to Wellawaya and from there a bus goes to Tellula. From tellula it is about another 30 – 45 minutes drive to the lodge.
What Does The Kingdom Ecolodge Cost?
An overnight stay at the Kingdom Ecolodge is not very cheap. We paid 110 euros per night per room. For solo traveler, it is slightly cheaper. Especially with other accommodations, this is a bit of a stretch. But, of course, you are paying for more than just an overnight stay. In fact, everything is included in the price. Not only breakfast, lunch and dinner, but also your pickup, the safari and you get to borrow the canoe for free and for nought. For a safari in Yala National Park, you will also easily spend 30 – 40 euros per person. Then the cost is actually not too bad.
This is included with an overnight stay at The Kingdom Ecolodge
For 2 people you pay about 120 euros per night:
- Overnight double room
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Jeep Safari
- Canoe tour
- Helping out in the kitchen
- Walk through the garden
- + an experience never to be forgotten! Priceless, of course.
We can really only conclude this aritkel with: DO IT! DO! DO! You don’t want to miss this. The absolute highlight of our Sri Lanka Trip.
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