Get closer to exotic nature at the best camping sites in Sri Lanka

by | Oct 28, 2022

Star-struck has a more beautiful meaning when you are spending nights under the stars here in Sri Lanka. It is the ultimate glamping experience in the tropical wilderness, with fine dining and creature comforts to pair with. Treat yourself to rare sights and the sounds of the wild. So, get ready to commune with dramatic and stunning nature on the best camping sites in Sri Lanka.

Camping in Sri Lanka

Rainforests, national parks, beaches, tea estates, riverside spots – wherever you go in Sri Lanka, there’s a place for the canvas. You could be on safari, trekking, or exploring history by day and unwinding in a luxury camp by night. Sri Lanka’s unspoilt wilderness and its pristine beauty leave much to be discovered, especially under a starry night sky.


It is perhaps the most popular national park in Sri Lanka and offers you the highest chance to spot the elusive leopard. Extending inland from the dramatic southeast coast, the wilderness covers some 979 square kilometres. Yala National Park is home to a variety of ecosystems, including freshwater and marine wetlands. It is a great place to see the Sri Lankan elephant and leopard, as well as 215 bird species. There are multiple camp sites available in the park, including those operated by Leopard Trails and Jetwing Hotels. They offer both jeep safari adventures and glamping experiences.


It is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephants. There are around 600 to 700 Sri Lankan Elephants. Popular wildlife sightings of the Udawalawe National Park include the sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boar, common langur, jackal, toddy cat, the endemic toque macaque, and aquatic birds. Leopards have also been sighted. Mahoora Tented Safari Camps, Athgira River Camping, and Udawalawe Safari Camp are some of the providers operating inside the park. Mahoora Tented Safari Camps, Athgira River Camping, Udawalawe Safari Camp offer luxury camping experiences inside the park.


Belihuloya is situated at the nexus between dry and wet zones and the hill and low country. It takes its name from the Belih Oya, a river that flows through the area. The area is encircled by mountains and consists of semi-evergreen forests, montane temperature forests, tropical savanna forests, tea estates, and dry grasslands. It is an idyllic riverside forest camping site with lots of canoeing and trekking opportunities. The River Garden Resort offers a fantastic camping experience within its premises.


It is the hub for adventure sporting, especially white water rafting. It once was the filming location for David Lean’s 1957 Oscar-winning epic “Bridge on the River Kwai” on the banks of Kelani River. This forested hilly town is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. Activities here also include stream sliding, waterfall abseiling, jungle trekking, cave exploration, and river expeditions. You can also do a spot of birdwatching at the Makandawa Forest Reserve. Camping sites are operated by Adventure Base Camp, Borderlands, and Go Kitulgala.


Nestled in the lower central hills of Sri Lanka, with the Namunukula mountain range in its backdrop, Badulla offers sweeping mountain views. The city stands 2,230ft above sea level and is encircled by the Badulu Oya River. It is blanketed with tea plantations and spitted with waterfalls.

Knuckles Mountain Range

In the central highlands of Sri Lanka, rising above a thick green blanket of forests is the Knuckles Mountain Range. Its folds and peaks resemble the knuckles of a clenched fist when viewed from certain angles. A significant proportion of the country’s biodiversity is found here, with more than 34% of the island’s endemic trees, shrubs, and herbs only found in these forests. Nature lovers will enjoy every minute of their camp stay here, sighting spectacular wildlife at every corner. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Knuckles Forest Lodge and Camp Site, Sri Lanka Eco Camping, and Mahoora Tented Safari Camps offer a luxury glamping experience.


It is the largest national park in Sri Lanka and easily one of the best places for safari camping. It is 130,000 hectares in size and contains 60 natural lakes. These pristine waterholes with lush grassy banks attract wildlife, making it easier to spot them throughout the year. Wilpattu National Park is home to elephants and leopards, the sloth bear, sambar deer, crocodiles, mongooses, and water buffalo. Conditions are also ideal for bird watching. Endemic bird species of Wilpattu include the Ceylon grey hornbill, the Ceylon parakeet, the Sri Lankan jungle fowl, and the red-backed woodpecker. Luxury camp sites are operated by Wilpattu Safari Camp, Mahoora Tented Safari Camps, Leopard Trails, and Wilpattu Safari Holiday.

Horton Plains

These exotic moorlands above Nuwara Eliya in the central hills of Sri Lanka are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The undulating plateau rising above more than 2,000m is made up of 3,160 hectares of montane grasslands interspersed with forest and cloud forests.  It is a super biodiversity hotspot, home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna. Several endangered species, such as the western-purple-faced langur, the Horton Plains slender loris, and the Sri Lankan leopard, are seen here. These are also the largest and least disturbed submontane and montane rainforests remaining in Sri Lanka.

At World’s End, the Horton Plains plateau comes to n end suddenly, plunging 880m. The sheer drop forms a stunning escarpment. Early mornings, before the clouds roll in, are the perfect time to see the valley below.

Whether you want a moment of inspiration for some soul searching or a unique setting for a romantic proposal, camping in Sri Lanka can never disappoint. In the depths of the jungles, deep in the mountains, by the gushing rivers, or the by the sea, you will be thankful you chose to get up close to nature. And, once the campfire is roaring and the smell of gourmet cuisine fills the air, you would even prefer it to your stay at the hotel. Blue Lanka Tours offers a bespoke camping experience and designs your adventure just the way you want.