Frequently Asked Questions
KumbukRiver is a one-of-a-kind eco resort offering unique accommodations and a lifetime experience that offers a truly remarkable and authentic Lankan experience. The eco resort is made famous by its centerpiece the Elephant Villa, which is a spectacular elephant-shaped eco-lodge.
It really is not! However, many visitors insist in coming even for one night in order to experience visiting what’s known as an eco resort that’s on the world’s top 10 most unusual hotels.
If you wish to experience Sri Lanka unplugged in its most virgin, rural and eco setting, this one is for you. KumbukRiver is nestled in a beautiful, nature enclave on the banks of a lively river in a secluded part of the northern edge of Yala, in the Buttala Division.
For families, couples, singles and friends, there’s plenty you could do. While some prefers to enjoy the solitude that nature offers, others pick from a host of activities which are listed on our website. If you’d like to plan your activities please talk to us.
It’s in Sri Lanka’s south-east, in Okkampitiya, Buttala, on the northern edge of Yala National Park and on the banks of Kumbukkan River which meanders through the Park to its final destination – the Indian Ocean. The other side of the river is the Buffer Zone of the Park.
From Ella to KumbukRiver is about 55kms, Hambantota about 100 and from Colombo about 260kms. Please do keep in mind that Sri Lanka is an island and plan your destinations in a circular route – going up towards Sigiriya from the airport, then down to Kandy, and to Ella, KumbukRiver, Yala and the Southern beaches and back to Colombo or the same route the other way.
It is ok if you are willing to brave fatigue and long travel time – at least 6 hours or more depending on route, time and stoppages. While we appreciate some guests coming all the way to Sri Lanka just to stay at KumbukRiver, we strongly recommend you consider seeing the rest of the island and coming to us as suggested.
Geographically it is right on the edge of the Park but the closest Gate to the Park is about 40kms on the Buttala-Kataragama Road (Galge & Yala West Entrances). Katagamuwa Gate which also connects to Block 1 is a further 30kms. While most guests come to the resort as it is on their bucket list or because of its uniqueness, for others whose primary intention is to visit the Park do not mind coming the country mile because of the resort’ significance as a destination by itself.
Check-in is at 2:00pm and check-out 11:00am. We’d be happy to welcome you early, pending your room getting ready. Please, please, plan to come latest by 5:30pm – remember this is the wild. We’d be more than happy to advice you on travel time from different local destinations. Please leave adequate time to arrive early. If you are coming for one night, there’s all the more reason to arrive early so you could enjoy the resort.
There’s Whatsapp – sporadic and in pockets, internet on some phones, too. But you may want to discover the incredible feeling of going off the grid just once, enjoying life like never before and getting in touch with your loved ones and inner self.
It’s all good for 100kms – until the last 3kms when the tarred road gives way to concrete and then gravel road. It is motorable and during monsoon weather may throw up rough terrain. On a water-clogged, muddy day, we’d be happy to come fetch you in a tuk-tuk or a mini tractor, in the true spirit of adventure.
Considering the challenges of the remote location, unique constructions and more than tough maintenance, as well as, the fact that all of the efforts are in running just a handful of income-generating accommodations, the resort has, for long, run on losses but since of late turning things around. Considering all, we really shouldn’t be compared with any other – yes, we are unique with our own incredible challenges and should actually be priced higher but we are doing our best to make it what it is. Every little thing here is a big task when you considering the logistics in putting it together. So, if you spot a shortcoming, please bear with us. You will also feel fulfilled that by staying with us, you are not only getting an authentic and rare experience but also contribute to a bigger cause belonging to a far-reaching sustainable rural development mandate.
We do not operate a large kitchen but an authentic farmer’s kitchen. Even though we serve a smaller number of guests and operate in a rural outpost, we do our best to offer a variety of food options including authentic local dishes and international. Most provisions are sourced out locally and are fresh.
If you have any question or issue, please immediately getting in touch with our Reservations Office. If you find it difficult to make an online reservation please contact us.
You may want to smoke in your private areas but the nature would prefer you didn’t – that you breath the pure freshness of a forest and let others, too.
There are excursions into the deeps of the area belonging to Yala – which is right across the river. During dry parts of the river Elephants may even be spotted from the vicinity of the resort with some even venturing into the resort especially at night. However, if you are taking the morning safari to the park, you need to leave early as you need to travel a considerable distance – 45 mins to 1 2/1 hours based on your choice of Gate.
We can help you book your safari including the jeep and even arrange transport from the resort to the park gate for which you have to pay your tuk-tuk or van driver. We do not charge a commission from you or the driver but only offer a genuine service.
KumbukRiver is an invitation to leave the rest of the civilization behind just once in your life. Once you get to the resort, you are in a forested area and back to the nearest village is about 2kms and town, 5kms. These too are very rural outposts. If you want the more touristic, urban spots on the island, this isn’t it. So, it’s best you become at one with nature – be lost in true serendipity. Considering our off-the-beaten-track location, you may have little choice but to order your meals at the resort.
Yes, if you plan to arrive for lunch or dinner and would like to have your meal ready, we can help you in advance. Talk to your Host or Reservation Office. Please remember that once meals are ordered you may be billed even if you don’t arrive in time for your meal.
While most reservations are booked and paid online, we may be able to help you with payments on arrival by card or in cash – in USD or Rupees. For on-location F&B and Activity bills, you may pay by card, USD or in Rupees.
We are sorry. No pets are allowed.
Strangely, there’s hardly any in this pristine forest eco resort. But there may be few, sometimes. However, you may want to bring along a lotion especially as you may get bitten by river flies on the riverfront, that, too in some spots. Keep in mind, this is the wild; while it is quite safe even for children, you must always respect nature and be cautious.
It’s known as the “Responsible Choice”. It’s an open debate that Block 1 is over-visited with reports of over 400 jeeps in the park on a single day. While Palatupana and Katagamuwa were known for better sightings, increasingly there’s a debate on that, too. Meanwhile, the Galge Entrance which is much less-visited due to its location is getting better ratings. Sticking to regular early entry into the parks may not offer you the ideal chance to spot animals. For example, in some months, when there’s morning fog, it is better to enter the park after 8:00am and you may just spot animals including leopard. However, please take note that whatever the entrance, popular or not, there are good sightings and then there’s none – this is a wildlife park not a zoo! We wish you all the luck!
Yes. In fact, our participatory tourism programme offers you great insights and opportunity to make a difference as part of your holiday based on availability. While we do not seek financial contributions or otherwise, if you’d like to learn more about our conservation and development mandate, please speak to us.
Please don't hesitate to contact us.