Frequently Asked Questions
HOW SAFE IS THE KELANI RIVER/CAN YOU SWIM IN IT?
It is possible to swim in the river just below our observation deck, in fact a swim is a great way to cool down during the day, or brush away the cobwebs first thing in the morning. The water is surprisingly clear. However, the current can be deceptively strong therefore for your own personal safety you must advise a member of staff if you wish to swim and they will ensure you are supervised at all time. We take pride in the fact that we have the only internationally certified guides in Sri Lanka. We do not allow guests in the river after dark and children should never be allowed in the river without adult supervision.
WHAT ABOUT INSECTS AND WILDLIFE?
Borderlands is surrounded by jungle and consequently we do occasionally have some visitors to the camp, some more welcome than others, but most fairly harmless. We recommend that you use insect repellent as sand flies and mosquitoes can be a pest. You might come across exotic creatures such as giant millipedes, tailless scorpions, huntsman spiders – all are completely harmless. Snakes are a feature of the area and caution should be taken where treading. We also receive visits by local village dogs now and again – they are friendly, but do not encourage them to visit by feeding them.
IS THERE MALARIA?
No. Our camp and the surrounding area are malaria free.
DO YOU HAVE LEECHES?
We do not have leeches at camp, however during periods of rain the surrounding forests do. You can purchase leech socks at camp, otherwise they cause no pain or long term harm, and the solution is to pick them and flick them! Leeches in Sri Lanka do not live in the rivers, rather they are ground dwellers.
WHAT ARE YOUR BATHROOM FACILITIES LIKE?
We do not have en suite bathroom facilities, but our bathroom block is separated into male and female facilities. We do have hot water showers but we ask that showering is kept to a minimum time in order to conserve energy and be kind to the environment. Our bathrooms are clean and are modern and western. The water is safe for brushing teeth but do not drink the water, it is not treated. A refreshing alternative to a shower is a river bath – please inform a member of staff if you wish to bathe in the river, and where possible it is better to bring biodegradable products. We do not provide any toiletries for guests, however we do provide towels which you can use for river bathing.
DO YOU HAVE INTERNET AND ELECTRICITY?
The Long House is fully wifi’d and is free of charge to access. There are a few power points in the Long House, but as a rule we ask that you charge any electronics in your tents. We do not have a generator, so power cuts can be a fact of life during storms.
SHOULD I TIP?
We do not include service charge in our rates as we believe in leaving tipping to the discretion of our guests. However we do hope that if you have enjoyed your stay and feel our staff have looked after you well that you leave a tip. There is a tip box in the Long House, and tips are divided equally between all the staff, so everyone, from the guides to the kitchen staff, receive an equal share. Our staff earn a significant portion of their pay through tipping, so it is greatly appreciated. As a guideline we recommend leaving 10% of the cost of your stay.
DO I NEED TO BRING CASH?
We do have credit card facilities at Borderlands. The nearest ATM machine is a 10 minute drive, so please do bring enough cash with you.
HOW ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT?
There is a sound system in the Long House. Please feel free to attach your iPod so you can listen to your own music, but please be considerate to other guests we may have at camp when choosing what to listen to. In order to keep our neighbours happy we ask that music levels be kept to a minimum after 11pm. We have a campfire that you can roast marshmallows on at night as well as a deck perched over the river. We also have some games in the Long House for kids – please ask at the bar for the key to the games cupboard but please ensure that everything is handed back in the condition it was given to you for the enjoyment of others.
WHAT ARE YOUR TENTS LIKE?
All our tents have twin beds and have electricity inside and outside the tents. Each tent has a thatched roof and a terrace from where you can sit and relax and enjoy the river and the surrounding mountains. There is no need to bring towels as you will be provided with one during your stay. The tents have power points to charge electrical items such as laptops, phones and cameras. Please ensure that you keep the inside fly sheet of your tent closed at all times, as this will help prevent any unwanted wildlife visiting. For your comfort we ask that you keep shoes outside of the tents so that the tents are kept as clean as possible. There is no smoking inside the tents but you can smoke on your terrace if you wish.
WHAT IF I HAVE SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS?
Please advise us in advance if you have any specific dietary needs or restrictions and we will try our best to accommodate any requests such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc. Our chef receives high praise for his cooking.
WHERE IS BORDERLANDS?
Borderlands is located on the A7 Hatton Road, between the 38km and 39km road markers just past the village of Kithulgala (coming from Colombo). Our boathouse is on the side on the road and is well sign posted. The riverside camp is down the hill on a small path just next to the boathouse. We will provide a contact number of who to call prior to your stay and they will come and meet you on the road on arrival.
DO YOU PROVIDE ACCOMMODATION IF I HAVE A DRIVER?
We do not provide accommodation for drivers. However, we can provide suggestions for guesthouses for them to stay in. Local accommodation costs around Rs. 1500 per night and includes room and board at a clean and comfortable guest house. You may park your car at our car park. It is off road and away from traffic.
HOW MUCH DO YOUR ACTIVITIES COST?
Please see each of our activities for how much our activities cost. Our standard, and most popular package, is an overnight stay in one of our lovely river view tents which includes up two activities, and all your meals, including tea. This is currently $125 per person per night plus taxes.
HOW MUCH ARE TAXES IN SRI LANKA?
All of our activities are subject to a 2% National Business Tax (NBT), a 15% Value Added Tax (VAT), 1% Tourist Development Levy, and a 10% Service Charge (This acts like a tip for our staff).
WHAT SHOULD I BRING TO CAMP?
For river and water based activities you should bring a pair of water shoes, or sports sandals (Teva, Reef, Keen etc) with an ankle strap, or a pair of trainers/sneakers. We do not take anyone out on the river without adequate footwear. Flips flops/slippers are not adequate footwear on any of our activities, but are great for relaxing at camp.
A flashlight or head torch
For the river we suggest wearing quick dry shorts and t-shirts – since we are located in a
village please do not wear overly revealing clothes on activities
Waterproof camera – even waterproof cameras can get damaged, so we recommend you purchase one of our dry bags or pouches for extra protection
For those who wear glasses a glasses strap is a good idea
Hat with a visor for sun protection
Several plastic bags to keep wet clothes separate in luggage