Discover Sri Lanka
While on tailor-made safari tour in Sri Lanka, Patrick and Daisy enjoyed their stay in the special Kingdom Eco Lodge.
The Kingdom Eco Lodge
“Do you want to drive straight to the camp? Or should we take a short detour to a nearby lake where elephants come to drink?” This is how farmer Dim begins all his tours, as he takes his guests in an open jeep to his farm in southern Sri Lanka.
But don’t worry, at Dim’s farm you won’t have to get your hands dirty or scoop up any cow manure. It is your vacation after all. At the Kingdom Eco Lodge, you have a chance to escape the crowded tourist sites and be surrounded by nothing but nature and, with a bit of luck, a herd of elephants.
Watching Elephants by the lake
The open plains, red soil and dry bushes remind you of southern Africa. Though you won’t find any lions or zebras here, this is the land of the wild elephant. On your way to the farm, Dim likes to take his guests on a short detour by a shallow lake where birds cool down in the fresh waters and storks and pelicans float in the rippling water. A little further on, buffaloes take turns dipping their nose in the refreshing pool. Then emerging from the herd of buffaloes is an elephant. Gracefully, one leg after the other, he treads toward the lake until he’s knee high. With his long trunk, he sprays the water onto his back. What an amazing up-close encounter with a wild elephant.
The Kingdom Eco Lodge
At the ecolodge, you will not have a luxurious room with minibar or flatscreen, but you will enjoy your night stay in an open room made of mud and palm leaves in a breathtaking and natural environment. The room design allows you to enjoy the beautiful squeaking sounds of the wood from blowing winds as the room has no doors or windows. The bathroom is also uniquely designed with open roof. From the comfort of your bed, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the surrounding natural habitat and, if you’re lucky, even witness an elephant or two wander by as you wake up.
Dim is the owner and founder of the Kingdom Eco Lodge. For years, he has worked in the travel and tourism industry. While working as safari driver and accompanying both budget and high-end visitors, he became concerned with how many visitors were not getting the local and authentic experience of Sri Lanka. “I began to see that all those travellers weren’t seeing the real Sri Lanka. That had to change.” He believed that there was a better way to do it, with an alternative travel experience by a local expert. He decided to change course, give up his job and buy a piece of land in the middle of nowhere. As city boy, he up and moved to a remote area where he began his own farm.
One morning at his farm, Dim watched a large herd of elephants as they majestically walked past his house. “This is the real Sri Lanka I want visitors to experience.” He built a traditional guesthouse together with his friends. “All building materials were locally sourced from the natural environment. The walls are made of mud, the beams from fallen trees and the roof from weaved palm leaves. This is the traditional way people used to build their homes”.
Good for the environment
With everything that he does, Dim makes sure he takes the environment into account. Electricity is generated from solar panels and rainwater is collected for the land. The water for the shower gets pumped uit of the well in front of the house. “We are still working on installing a water filtering system so that the tap water will also be drinkable and we can ban plastic bottles.” All of the food is homemade and the ingredients are taken from the farm as much as possible. “Papaya, mango, banana, coconut, pumpkin and eggplant. All of it is grown here. Any food we don’t have, I trade with the locals here.
Discover Sri Lankan cuisine
For the best authentic experience, you should stay at least two nights in The Kingdom Eco Lodge. This way you will have ample time to relax in a hammock next to the farmhouse. Afterwards, you can explore the surroundings with Dim. En route, Dim shares his vast knowledge by identifying and showing you the local plants and wild animals you encounter. You then finish off your tour on the top of a large rock with a scenic view overlooking the open plains just as the sun is going down. Those who would like to can help in the kitchen with preparing the evening meal. Don’t expect a calm dinner, because at any point you might get called to come watch an elephant nibbling on some trees outside.
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