Each member of the team was handpicked by Noel for their experience and expertise. Personalised service is our forte and we will always cater to the requests of our guests’ individual needs, no matter how large or small. Our aim is to make you feel comfortable, informed and at home in Sri Lanka’s wildest destinations.
Noel Rodrigo, founder
Noel Rodrigo known as the Sri Lanka’s ‘Leopard Man’, is extremely passionate about nature and wildlife, and has dedicated most of his life to exploring the great outdoors, traversing Sri Lanka extensively, researching wildlife and leading expeditions.
Having worked as a cabin manager for Sri Lankan Airlines for 25 years – a job that took him across the world – Noel gained an in-depth understanding of the service industry. This has allowed him to develop his Leopard Safaris in accordance with international standards and ensures his company is the best in the field.
Noel takes a hands-on approach at the company by leading and guiding his team to give customers an unforgettable and unique safari camping experience.
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Cecile, head of marketing and finance/naturalist/wildlife photographer
Hailing from Germany, Cecile studied business administration on a prestigious course at the University of Cologne, as well as Finance at the University of Leicester in the UK. In early 2011 she came to Sri Lanka when she met Noel and decided to spend the rest of her life with him in the wild.
On her first visit to the camp she witnessed a leopard killing a crocodile, a rare and life-changing experience that sparked her interest in wildlife. She decided to stay in Sri Lanka and join the team. She is the head of bookings, administration, finance, marketing and project planning at our head office. Cecile also puts her artistic talents to good use by hosting wildlife art classes at camp for kids on request.
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Sajith (Saj), camp manager/naturalist/wildlife photographer
Sajith spent his early years in the company of a wildlife and snake enthusiast who took him on numerous trips to Yala National Park, so it is no surprise that he has developed a keen interest in Sri Lanka’s wildlife and the island’s great outdoors. Superlative local knowledge, keen eyes for spotting wildlife and an enthusiasm that’s positively infectious makes Sajith an excellent member of the team. He is responsible for overseeing the camps and leading game drives.
Sajith has just completed his Field Guide Level 1 qualification with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa and is an active member of the Young Zoologist Association and the World Wildlife Federation. Additionally he is our wildlife photography expert. His passion for wildlife can be seen in every picture he takes and if you would like to get some insights into the interesting world of wildlife photography, or just get a few tips, Sajith would be happy to teach you!
Dhanushka (Dhanu), camp manager/naturalist/wildlife photographer
Since his early childhood when his uncle introduced him to Sri Lanka’s national parks Dhanu dreamed about working in an organisation that dedicated itself to wildlife. He began working in sales and marketing on the Solomon Islands, but his passion for Sri Lankan wildlife soon encouraged him to return to his homeland whereupon he quickly joined the Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris team.
Dhanu’s superb knowledge of our National Park, his love of the outdoors and wildlife makes him an ideal and enthusiastic nature guide. He absorbs any gaps in his knowledge by avidly reading wildlife books, and is especially knowledgeable on Sri Lanka’s “Big Three”, the leopard, elephant and sloth bear.
Sameera, naturalist / host
Since Sameera was young, he was passionate about wildlife and tried to spend as much time as he could by doing camping around the country and watching wildlife. This passion was so strong that he decided to study natural science and zoology as a main subject to learn more about those topics.
“Being in the jungle and to learn about jungle and wildlife is my hobby, but now it became also my job which I love”.
Sameera has a lot of experience in the Knuckles mountain range, where he feels at home surrounded by the Sri Lankan flora and fauna.
Piyush, naturalist / host
While growing up in New Delhi, Piyush realized early that his true nature could not be found in the bustling streets of the Indian metropolis, but more in the dense jungles of Asia. After different wildlife related jobs in his home country Piyush packed his bags to follow his passion and explore the wild national parks of South East Asia.
After more than 5 years, his trip which was supposed to last about three months, has still not ended. His travels were marked by engagements such as working on a turtle conservation project in Penang National Park, volunteering in the prestigious Singapore Zoo and finally spending 3 years as a naturalist in the Vietnamese Nam Cat Tien National Park. While looking for a new terrain to explore, he found his new home in Sri Lanka. His fearless and curious nature, as well as his seemingly unlimited knowledge about insects and reptiles, make him an irreplaceable part of our team.
Darshana, head chef
Dharshana started his carreer as a chef 10 years ago. He has joined Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris about 3 years ago, and has since cooked delicious local food for our guests.
Cooking is his life. He loves food as much as he loves cooking. All his delicious food that he makes is coming with lots of experience and love for his work, which is not only work for him but also passion. „My ambition is to cook for our guests and give them the best ever food in Sri Lanka they can experience“
He also loves being in nature and therefore likes his job here where he can stay in a camp surrounded by nature.
Claudia, bookings and reservations
Originally from near Stuttgart in Germany, Claudia is our expert for bookings and reservations. Back in her country of origin she began an education as management assistant in hotel and hospitality. In coping and thriving in her new working environment it was not long until she made it to a position in hotel management.
When her mother lived here in Sri Lanka, Claudia visited her several times. She instantly fell in love with island life and not long after she decided to stay. She complemented our team in our head office in April 2017. Her experience and reliability helps the whole team to execute the daily operations effectively. In case of booking with us, Claudia will be the first person in contact.
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