dune Camp Yala
On the unique sand dunes on the Gurugoda – Yala beach, we have taken the greatest care to ‘touch gently’. Glamping is what we offer – as a tribute to this unique stretch of beach: to ensure that our guests have an experience of a lifetime while minimally disturbing the rolling sand dunes.
All our luxury tents have been set up in existing open spaces surrounded by vegetation characteristic of this area between the sand dunes and jungle. Each luxury tent is pitched on a steady wooden frame. The tents themselves have been custom produced for each individual space, providing unprecedented light and breeze that will keep you comfortable during the hottest days and chilliest nights.
You will sleep on beds with fresh linen on thick mattresses and cuddly pillows – forget the itchy sleeping bag on an undulated ground, forget the creaking narrow camp cot. This is glamping after all!!
Toilets, the frequent restrainer of wanna-be-campers! You have nothing to worry here – toilets and shower area are attached to the tent but are airy, open and spacious while being secure and modern, equipped with perfect fittings. Its glamping after all!
Gurugoda, close to Ruhunu National Park, Yala. 15 minutes to the Park gate, 10 min. to Kirinda, the closest town.
Travelling from Colombo :
Back of Beyond Yala, can be approached from Colombo along the Southern Expressway and the southern coastal road (approx. 5 hours).
4 permanent tents for a maximum of 12 adults and children.
Custom prepared Sri Lankan and western meals will be served in the Restaurant. Tea, coffee and drinking water is provided free of charge.
Meal times and check in/out times:
Flexible depending on safari rounds and availability.
Includes naturalist / manager, chef and housekeeping staff.
Activities and excursions:
Sand dune and beach walks, turtle watching, Safaris to Yala (Ruhuna National Park) and Bundala National Park. Exploring the heritage sites of Sithulpahuwa, Kirinda temple, Tissamaharama etc.
Diklande East Estate, 30km ( 40 min) from the Katunayake International Airport. Travelling time from Colombo: approximately 1 hour's drive from Colombo city limits on the EO2 Katunayake Expressway. The entire stretch, other than for the last 0.5km village road, is very well surfaced.
Accommodation & Dining:
3 rooms for a maximum of 8 adults. All rooms have attached toilets with hot-water showers. Separate driver’s quarters are available at a nominal rate.
Custom prepared Sri Lankan and western meals will be served in the dining area. Drinking water and morning tea & coffee are provided free of charge. Alcohol will not be provided in our premises but guests have the liberty to bring their own.
Includes cook and housekeeper.
Activities and excursions:
Wander around a coconut estate, visit a local fair, try out a river bath, explore the fishing villages around Negombo, experience the vibrant Negombo tourist scene etc.
FACILITIES AND SPECIAL NOTES
In brief, we offer :
• Luxury tents with attached modern toilets, and open format
• Hot and cold water
• Linen, towels, tissue rolls, soap and shampoo
• Mosquito nets and natural repellents
• Fan cooled rooms
In-house cook and Sri Lankan and western menu options.
• We do not serve alcohol but permit our guests to consume their own at the premises
We care deeply for our natural and social environment, we try to our best to ‘touch gently’ (see our policy statement), so please bear with us as:
• Mobile signal strength is usually low as we are from civilization
• We do not sell bottled spring water
• Tents do not have electric air con, but have fans
• Water is from our personal well, please be mindful of wastage.
• No TV and other noise generating entertainment
• No swimming pool
( but there are plenty of varied activities to fill your stay so we guarantee you will not miss the TV or the pool.)
You are welcome to :
• Request for tea, coffee and safe drinking water
• Use our Wi-fi
Speak to us if,
• You would like our naturalist to accompany you on a beach walk.
• You would like us to arrange safari tours to Yala, Bundala or Lunugamwehera National Parks.
• You are on your honeymoon – we will make it extra special!
• You need to arrange a customised tour; around Sri Lanka or in the proximity of our lodges
Four luxury tents (two family tents for 4 and two twin tents), can accommodate up to 12 persons.
All our tents have been custom made to the particular clearing it occupies. We have concentrated on providing you with a safe and comfortable outdoor experience.
The handpicked high quality tent material keeps the heat and dampness out and the tent remains cool even during the mid-day heat. Each tent has large ‘windows’ and the front ‘door’ roll up flap enables perfect ventilation and the ‘outdoor feel’ without compromising on insect proof comfort. All tents are sealed with netting even when ‘windows’ are open. We need your support in ensuring your stay is comfortable – please keep the netting zipped.
All tents have permanent beds with fresh linen as you would expect in luxury lodges.
There are plenty of plug points for all your devices.
Kotiya (Leopard) Tent : (Sleeps 4 persons)
From the front deck and your bed, the endless blue of the crashing Indian Ocean and the rolling sand dunes are always visible. This incredibly spacious tent has 3 permanent beds (one king size double and 2 single). The large and completely ventilated modern toilet and shower is attached to the tent, and can be accessed in safety even in the night. There are plenty of plug points for all your devices.
Aliya (Elephant) Tent : (Sleeps 4 in two different units)
Inspired by the luxury camps of Africa, we created this ‘double room’ tent. Safety is combined with privacy with 2 permanent beds each in the two ‘rooms’. The shared modern toilet is in between with the shower area attached.
Nestled snugly in a clearing in the vegetation, the tent opens out to the dunes and the beach beyond. Don’t be too surprised if you hear elephants passing by or feeding in the jungle beyond.
Muwa (Deer) Tent : (sleeps 2)
Spacious and airy this tent has a twin beds, and if needed, there is space to add a temporary bed. The large and completely ventilated modern toilet and shower is attached to the tent, and can be accessed in safety even in the night.
Set on the high ground of a dune with vegetation to keep you cool, you look out over the rolling dunes from your bed. A restful outdoor space is created with a unique bamboo screen.
Kesbewa (Turtle) Tent. (sleeps 2)
Spacious and airy this tent has a twin beds, and if needed. The large and completely ventilated modern toilet and shower is attached to the tent, and can be accessed in safety even in the night. Set on the high ground of a dune with vegetation to keep you cool, this tent is situated close to the Aliya tent.
A big part the glamping experience is of course the meals in our shaded sea sand floor dining wadiya. We make sure everyone has a combination of the unfamiliar and exciting as well as ‘home-feel’ comfortable food to choose from. So we offer Sri Lankan traditional game-kama as well as contemporary dishes, international traditional and travel dishes. In keeping with the traditions of our Back of Beyond retreats, we use all fresh vegetables, fish and fruits. One of the best fishing habours in Sri Lanka is in the neighbourhood, so if you are a sea food lover – live it up!! Despite being a tented camp, the kitchen is modern and structured. But never fear… we love our camp fires – you will not miss out on that! Its Glamping after all!
Tents are offered on Bed and Breakfast, Half Board or Full Board basis.
We can also pack you a picnic lunch should you be going on a long dune walk, doing a full day safari, or spending the day exploring the historical sites of the South.
Yes, the reason there are so many accommodation facilities in this area is Yala - Ruhunu National Park. But the Dune Camp is different – this is really so. We would very highly recommend the SUNRISE AND SUNSET BEACH DUNE WALKS. There is something beyond magical to be sitting on a sand dune looking out to Antarctic as the sky throws up a pallet of colour, the Kuda Ravana Light House flicks itself on and off, and turtles suddenly bob up in the waves. And…the icing on the cake – the 3km stretch of beach is completely isolated. Not a single village, even inland. The only ‘life’ around you is certainly ‘wild’ – we have followed the tracks of not just innumerable birds and crabs but also elephants, leopard, sambhur, wild boar, jackals over the dunes and along the beach. So please don’t venture out without speaking to our Naturalist.
Warning: The sea is not suitable for swimming. Its open deep sea, the rocks cause further currents and crashing waves. Please refrain from swimming or even wading out to sea.
A safari in a National Park is of course a big part of a visit to this area.
Yala - In spite of being famous for having the greatest concentration of leopards in the world, Yala is much more than for leopard watching. Herds of elephants, lone tuskers, sloth bear, wild buffaloes, deer, sambhur, jackals, crocodiles, innumerable birds, butterflies, trees, landscapes…the list goes on. For the morning round, we recommend you leave the cottage by 5.30 am to be at the Park gate as it opens. The best time for departing for the evening round is around 3.00 pm. If you prefer to spend the whole day at the park, take a picnic lunch and break journey by the Menik Ganga.
Beyond Yala, there is the beautiful and much less visited Lunugamvehera National Park on the north west boundary of Yala National Park. Lunugamvehera is around 1hr away by luxury safari jeep.
If you are a bird enthusiast, Bundala National Park (40 min. drive) and Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary (1.5 hr drive) offer excellent sightings, especially during the migrant season.
For those interested in history and culture, there is much more to explore in this part of the island.
The Civilization of Ruhana goes beyond two thousand years but is eclipsed by the central Anuradhapura Kingdom. Ruhuna’s ruins are scattered everywhere, along the coast and inland. Within easy access are the well-known sites of Kirinda (approx. 15 min. drive), Sithulpahuwa (45 min. drive), Tissamaharamaya (20 min. drive) and Kataragama (approx. 45 min. drive) as well as the lesser visited ones of Yatala (approx. 30 min. drive), and Thelulla Dagabas (approx. 30 min. drive).