A 15 day private, guided journey taking in the outstanding biodiversity and wilderness of Sri Lanka. The island offers a great mix of big game, bird and marine life together with a remarkable geographical diversity of rainforests, grassland savannah, rolling green hills and a stunning coastline.
Including international return flights with Sri Lankan Airlines, private transfers, the services of English–speaking representatives and guides, and all accommodation on half board basis.
Seeing elephants swimming across the immense man-made Senenayake Samudra reservoir in Gal Oya National Park, trekking through the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and searching for the elusive sloth bear in Wilpattu and the leopard in Yala National Park.
Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Colombo.
Late morning arrival. Be met by our English-speaking representative at Colombo airport and be transferred to your hotel in Kalpitiya. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure and dinner at your hotel. Stay at Udekki Resort, Kalpitiya for 2 nights on half board basis.
Start your adventure with a morning of dolphin watching. See large pods of dolphins, usually the acrobatic spinner dolphins swimming alongside and diving under your boat, riding waves, jumping, spinning, twirling and jumping out of the water in a magical and unforgettable display. Return to your hotel and rest of the day at leisure. Note: the best time to watch dolphins is usually from November to April when the seas are calmer.
After an early breakfast set off for a morning boat trip across the pristine waters of the lagoon, watching the local fishermen hauling in their catch of the day as you head towards the sand dunes and salt-pans in the distance. Continue the day travelling on to Wilpattu National Park. Sri Lanka’s largest, and one of its oldest national parks, holds around sixty lakes and water basins, it’s also known as the Land of Lakes and a great safari location. Set off in a jeep to try and spot elephant, sloth, deer, crocodile and a large variety of birds, and if you’re lucky, a leopard. Afterwards journey on to Anuradhapura to check in to your hotel for a rest, dinner and overnight stay. Stay at Ulagalla Resort, Anuradhapura for 1 night on half board basis.
Leave Anuradhapura for Sigiriya, about an hours’ drive away. Check in to your hotel and enjoy a restful day before joining the Loris Night Trail tour. The elusive Grey Slender Loris, a nocturnal primate, can be found hidden in the scrubland beyond your dwelling. The loris scavenges for insects and berries above the trees on a moonlit trail that has been carefully designed for you to observe them in their natural habitat. You will be accompanied by the hotel’s resident naturalist on a silent walk over streams and bamboo bridges to the Loris information & conservation site, where your search may result in a close-up encounter if you’re lucky. Stay at Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya for 2 nights on half board basis.
Rise for an early breakfast and continue to Ritigala for a morning trek with a naturalist. The Ritigala Mountains are located southeast of Anuradhapura and holds some of the island’s most distinctive and mysterious ruins. The remains of this remote forest monastery and cave complex date back to the 1st century and are set on the slopes of the densely wooded mountainside. Return to your hotel and in the late afternoon, visit the Sigiriya rock fortress, again accompanied by a naturalist. Sigiriya is Sri Lanka’s single most dramatic sight. Near vertical granite walls soar above the canopy of the rainforest to the ruins of an almost impregnable ancient fortified palace. Having scaled vertiginous staircases attached to sheer rock walls, the rewards are unforgettable: spellbinding views of mist-wrapped forests, water gardens and cave shrines. Return to the hotel for dinner.
Leave after breakfast for the 120km, three and a half hour, drive to the pristine wilderness of the Knuckles Forest Reserve and check in to Wild Glamping where your spacious camping tent complete with modern comforts awaits. Stay at Wild Glamping, Knuckles for 2 nights on half board basis.
Pick up your packed breakfast and leave for the early morning trek in the Knuckles Mountain Range, a name given by the colonial British due to its resemblance of the knuckles on a clenched fist, whilst locally it’s known as Dumbara Kanduvetiya, ‘mist-laden mountain range’. Situated in Central Sri Lanka, this unspoilt area with its diversity of flora and fauna is perfect for nature lovers with over 130 species of birds and numerous species of mammals. Return to camp and enjoy a rest and dinner in the evening.
For the next two days your home will be a romantic lodge in the Gal Oya National Park, a 135km drive east. A rarely visited national park it surrounds the immense man-made Senenayake Samudra reservoir where the highlight is sightings of elephants swimming across from one island to the next in search of food. The park is also home to langur, toque macaque, sloth bear, water buffalo, deer, wild boar, leopard and exotic birds and with a little luck you may spot some of them on today’s late afternoon jeep safari. Stay at Gal Oya Lodge, Gal Oya for 2 nights on half board basis.
Enjoy an early breakfast before a 40 minutes scenic drive from the lodge to the lake to embark on a 2-3 hour boat safari, spotting elephants swimming between the small, picturesque islands, or bathing at the reservoir’s edge.
Continue your journey south to Yala National Park, one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and best known of its 15 national parks. Check in to your Jungle Chalet at Cinnamon Wild Hotel, where a few crocodiles have taken up residence in the little lake bordering the hotel, and you may find a herd of wild boar strolling past. Stay at Cinnamon Wild Hotel, Yala for 2 nights on half board basis.
Relax at the hotel in the morning and enjoy a late afternoon wildlife jeep safari through Yala National Park. The park borders the Indian Ocean and has a very diverse ecosystem with different types of forests, as well as savannah grassland, fresh and saltwater wetlands, waterholes and mangroves. Wildlife to look out for include elephants, deer, wild buffalo, wild boar, bear and monkeys, as well as crocodile, hundreds of species of birds, and with the park’s high density of Sri Lankan leopard there is a good chance you get to see one. Return to your hotel for dinner.
Today you will depart for Deniyaya and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve, UNESCO-listed as a World Biosphere Reserve as well as a World Heritage Site. On arrival check in to your eco lodge set on a former tea plantation on the Enselwatte Estate and where your chalet, designed using recycled shipping containers, features a floor to ceiling glassed wall for viewing the surrounding landscape. Stay at Rainforest Eco Lodge, Deniyaya (Sinharja) for 1 night on half board basis.
Rise for an early breakfast before setting out on a trek through the virgin, age-old rainforest Sinharaja. Out of the island’s three rainforests it contains the highest concentration of Sri Lanka’s endemic species of plants and animals, some of which are rare or endangered, including the purple-faced leaf monkey, small flying squirrel and the nocturnal golden palm civet. The birdlife is particularly abundant with the presence of up to 48 mixed species in some foraging bird flocks. Some of the rarer birds include the red-faced Malkoha, ashy-headed babbler and white-headed starling. Return to the lodge and then set out for the 85km drive to Tangalle. Check into the hotel and spend the rest of the time at leisure before setting out on a night time turtle watch at Rekawa beach (seasonal, April-September). Stay at Anantara Peace Haven, Tangalle for 2 nights on half board basis.
Set off early morning to Mirissa for a whale & dolphin watching expedition and during the season, November to April, blue whales are frequently spotted. Afterwards, return to your hotel and enjoy the rest of your last day on the beach or making the most of the hotel’s facilities.
Transfer to Colombo airport for your return flight to the UK.
Add a beach stay to your tour and make the most of the legendary white sand beaches of Sri Lanka.