Luxury Travel to Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka: Into the Wild

Noel Rodrigo, the leopard man... Sri LankaAbout Noel

Noel’s taste for adventure started when he was a young boy. A keen sportsman, Noel spent much of his childhood exploring the great outdoors igniting his passion for Sri Lanka’s jungles and the unique wildlife found within them and what once started as a camping trip for friends, turned into a full-fledged metier.

Over the last 35 years Noel’s research, especially on leopards, has taken him all over the world leading expeditions into the jungle and assisting wildlife researchers with their work. In 2006, Noel decided he wanted to share all his knowledge and experience in a more professional manner so he set up his own venture, Leopard Safaris Camps, offering stylish accommodation, starlit dining and guided safari expeditions into the wildest parts of the island.

As travel writer Cynthia Rosenfeld wrote, “Only one man has spent 35 years amongst the world’s largest concentration of wild leopards. Noel Rodrigo along with naturalist guides he personally trained leads game drives into Sri Lanka’s most dramatic landscapes in the utmost comfort, just like his tented camps where elephants drink at the surrounding watering holes.”

Much of Noel’s knowledge of the island’s jungles has come from his other passion; off-roading. Winner of the prestigious 4×4 Challenge, Noel has also won the national motocross championships a staggering four times.


An Interview with Noel 

Why Sri Lanka? 
Where in the world would you get an island that is big enough to have the diversity in flora and fauna, the hot and the cold, the plains and the mountains, the beaches and the jungles, the archaeological sites of our ancestors and the heritage sites of our invaders? These changes are reflected in journey travel times of between only one and three hours. 

Surprising Sri Lankan fact? 
It has the highest density of leopards and the largest gathering of Asian elephants in the world.

By the sea or in the hills?
Definitely in the hills. In the Knuckles Range it’s possible to see leopards roaming in the wild.

Top thrill? 
Riding my bike off road or rally driving and listening to Queen at the same time. 

Top chill spot? 
Lounge bars in the camps. 

Favourite walk? 
Trekking in the Knuckles Range, near Kandy. 

Favourite drink? 
A chilled Lion Beer. 

Best place for a Sri Lankan rice and curry?
At a leopard safari camp, under the stars listening to the unique sounds of the jungle.

Favourite hotel? 
Ambalana Villa. 

Favourite garden? 
I love the tea planters’ bungalow gardens. If I had to pick one, I would choose Norwood. 

Best festival?
The grand Kandy Perahera in July/August every year. With so many elephants, dancers and drummers involved, it’s a multi-sensorial fiesta of giant proportions!

Is there a soundtrack to your Sri Lanka journey? 
Don’t worry by Bob Marley.

What do you never leave home without? 
My survival gear – it’s vital for when I go deep into the jungle! 

Piece of insider advice? 
Take memories away with you and leave only your footprints behind. 

Vital word or phrase? 
One life, live it!