Camping In Sri Lanka

Ramble deep into the wilderness regions of Sri Lanka for a night of camping where the calls of birds and animals play up the silence of the night or make a home for yourself at a Veddha village and immerse in the traditions and culture of the aboriginals. Camping in Sri Lanka is not limited to the forest floors but a host of diverse sites, ripe for a night out under a blanket of stars and amongst the enthralling arms of nature.

Caught between camping choices? Here’s a compilation of some of the top favourites and those lesser known yet still exquisitely beautiful.

Best Known For

The national parks:

  • A camper’s paradise. The second largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park lays out acres of dense vegetation and lakes; the distinguished home of hundreds of animals, birds and reptiles. Venture onto the Northern Province for the camping grounds of the Wilpattu National Park, marked for its abundance of flora and fauna or towards the Udawalawe National Park, the place to be to observe large populations of wild elephants and migrant bird species, amongst others. Whilst camping, witness nature at its finest, in its natural and un-spoilt setting at the Gal Oya National Park or opt for the enrapturing holds of the Kumana National Park, to which masses of birds, native and migrant journey to from far-off places to escape unfavourable conditions.

The forest reserves:

  • The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is one of the more picturesque and significant biodiversity hotspots of Sri Lanka; camp amidst a trove of natural majesty, sprung alive by the rippling sounds of water springs and the fauna that thrives within. Head West to the Kitulgala Forest Reserve, to its grounds of lush vegetation and picturesque mountains, with the Kelani River snaking through.

The mountain ranges:

  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka is a camper’s collective of self-made camping sites, scattered across the rocky plains in the vicinity of bubbling rivers and towering peaks; some of the famed are the Knuckles Mountain Range spanning 18,512 hectares at an elevation of 1,864 metres, Adam’s Peak which climbs a staggering 7,000 feet and the second tallest mountain in Sri Lanka, Kirigalpoththa. The Hanthana and the Namunukula mountain ranges are 2 more honourable mentions, the former consisting of 7 peaks with a maximum height of 3,800 feet and the latter being of 9 peaks, with its main peak reaching a height of 2,035 metres.

Sites of attractions:

  • Settle into the rocky, sloping terrains of Ella Rock; where panoramic vistas of the plains lying hundreds of feet below allures, decked in thick swirls of mist or the Bible Rock, rising roughly 2,618 feet above ground, with its rocky surface akin to a book. The lesser known yet equally captivating? Located in Dambana is the Veddha Village, where one can interact with aboriginals and learn more about their ways of life. Journey to the Wahawa Hot Springs in the village of Padiyatalawa where a camping experience amidst nature, rural village life and cultural norms await, with the highlight of hot showers from the springs itself.

Interesting Facts

  • Camping re-invented - ‘Sri Lanka Trekking’ offers canoe camping - where a tent is positioned on a platform that is placed across 2 doubled-up canoes as a form of floating accommodation.
  • Straying away from the conventional experiences of camping, outdoor adventure camps are designed around the objectives of building team-spirit and inter-personal relationships in the workplace and amongst family and friends. More details can be found at our listing for Outdoor Training and Motivational Exercise Progammes.
  • Glamping is an additional modernized version of the traditional camping experience, where luxury and nature are combined to offer one a more sophisticated means of camping. Glamping facilities are generally offered by hotels and resorts such as ‘Camp Leopard - Yala Safari Glamping’, ‘Wild Glamping Knuckles’ and ‘Glamping Ceylon’.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • Camping amidst the wilderness brings with it leeches therefore pack in some salt or leech repellents to ward them off.
  • One’s camping experience can be put together by professional camping facilitators as well including ‘Sri Lanka Eco Camping’, ‘Sri Lanka Travels’, ‘Sri Lanka Trekking’ and ‘Night’.
  • Other entities may offer camping facilities for purchase, a few of which are ‘Camping’ and ‘Adventure SEALS’.
  • A representative of the wildlife department should be present at the national parks at the times of visit for protection and guidance.
  • Be aware that some camping sites may require strenuous hiking on the journey towards it.
  • Dress appropriately in accordance with the conditions of the camping site or the trek taken towards it; the crisp, cool winds of mountainous areas may call for heavier clothing while the more open areas may call for lighter clothing to escape the tropical heat.
  • Check the weather forecast on the day of your camping experience to ensure that it’s not a day of heavy rainfall or storms.
  • Avoid littering. Make sure that a spare bag is carried along to store all the used food wrappers and drink bottles in for these sites are holy grails to a vast ecosystem of fauna of fauna.

From the traditional camping experiences amidst the folds of nature and motivational camps echoing the significance of teamwork to the more sophisticated means of glamping, the forms and options available for camping in Sri Lanka are limitless, each offering a diverse experience of its own. Conquered a daunting Central Highlands mountain or trailed across Horton Plains, the intriguing land of many attractions? Seal the deal further - experience the beauty of nature in its raw element, through the night. Set up camp on island ground.

Note: Listed are some of the popular campsites in Sri Lanka.

Location info

Yala National Park

Wilpattu National Park - Mannar

Kumana National Park - Ampara

Udawalawe National Park

Sinharaja Forest Reserve - Weddagala

Knuckles Mountain Range - Matale

Adam’s Peak - Peak Wilderness Sanctuary

Kirigalpoththa - Horton Plains National Park



Nature and Outdoors

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