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Wild Sri Lanka

15 days from £2985 per person

Sri Lanka is a wildlife enthusiast’s paradise. This tiny tropical island harbours an incredible selection of flora and fauna and is home to some of the finest national parks of the subcontinent. Starting in Kandy, where visits will be made to the Udawattekele Sanctuary and stunning Peradeniya Botanical Gardens then travel on to Gal Oya National Park – one of the finest reserves in the country. From here continue south and spend ample time in famous Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park and the little visited Sinharaja Forest Reserve before ending the journey in Galle to spot whale and dolphin.

Route: Colombo – Kandanegedara – Kandy – Gal Oya National Park – Yala National Park – Udawalawe National Park – Sinharaja Forest Reserve – Galle – Colombo

Itinerary Highlights

Sri Lanka is famous for its wildlife and Gal Oya is one of the island’s finest reserves. Set on Senanayake Samudraya Lake, there are few better places in which to see Asian elephant in the wild.

Bordering Sri Lanka’s south east coast, the leopard population of Yala National Park is known the world over. The reserve is also home to elephant, fishing cat, buffalo and over 100 species of bird.

The tropical rainforest of the Sinharaja Reserve offers a different wildlife experience to the island’s other parks. Home to rare reptiles, insects and amphibians the bird watching is also excellent.

Itinerary: Wild Sri Lanka

Today depart the UK on the SriLankan Airlines flight to Colombo. (N)
Arrive into Colombo and continue north by car to Kandanegedara and the Horathapola Estate for an overnight stay. Dating from the early 1900s, this grand plantation bungalow has been beautifully restored to offer both spacious and charming accommodation. Set amidst a lush rural landscape; spend the remainder of the day at leisure relaxing by the lovely swimming pool. (D)
Accommodation in Kandanegedara: Horathapola Estate (or similar)
This morning drive to Kandy. Capital of the highlands, Kandy is best known for the opulent Temple of Tooth and later visit the temple where Buddha’s tooth relic is housed. With its palaces, parks and gardens, Kandy is an attractive city. The centre of town is known for its early 19th century architecture and time is well worth spent exploring the colourful bazaar and interesting Kandy National Museum. (B)
Accommodation in Kandy: Cinnamon Citadel Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Kandy House (or similar)
After breakfast visit the Udawattekele Sanctuary. This forest sanctuary was once the reserve of the kings of Kandy and today is home to several endemic species of flora and fauna and over 150 different species of birds. In the afternoon travel outside of Kandy to the magnificent Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, a former royal pleasure garden but converted into its current form in 1821. With over 4,000 labelled species, Peradeniya is one of the finest botanical gardens in the subcontinent. (B)
Accommodation in Kandy: Cinnamon Citadel Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: The Kandy House (or similar)
This morning leave Kandy and drive west to Gal Oya National Park. Sri Lanka’s forgotten national park, Gal Oya was established in 1954. Relatively untouched and little-visited, the reserve consists of lush evergreen forest and open savanna and surrounds Senanayake Samudraya Lake which is dotted with islands and the country’s largest inland body of water. Gal Oya is the only place in Sri Lanka where safaris can be conducted by boat and is one of the best places in the world to see the Asian elephant in its natural habitat. (B/D)
Accommodation in Gal Oya National Park: Gal Oya Lodge (or similar)
Over the next two days explore the reserve in the company of an expert naturalist. Gal Oya is home to elephant, leopard, wild boar, deer, jackal, sloth bear, water buffalo, marsh mugger crocodile and over 150 different species of bird. There is a large elephant population here and a highlight of the reserve is watching them swim from island to island across Senanayake Samudraya Lake. Safaris are by jeep, boat or on foot and it is also possible to visit one of the last remaining Vedda communities – the forest-dwelling, indigenous people of Sri Lanka. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Gal Oya National Park: Gal Oya Lodge (or similar)
This morning leave Gal Oya and drive south to the famous Yala National Park. Established as a protected area in 1938, Yala is a large reserve with a mixture of habitats ranging from open parkland and dense jungle, to a myriad of flooded lagoons and high coastal sand dunes. This varied terrain supports a wide range of animal life and vegetation. Yala is also a base for visiting the ancient, and now abandoned, royal city of Tissamaharama. (B/D)
Accommodation in Yala National Park: Cinnamon Wild Resort (or similar)
At Yala there is an impressive variety of flora and fauna and today explore the reserve with your naturalist on morning and evening jeep safaris. The park is known throughout Sri Lanka for its elephant population and, naturalists believe, it supports the highest concentration of leopards in the world although sightings of this elusive animal remain rare. Other animals here include sambar, spotted deer, wild boar, jackal, monkey, sloth bear and crocodile. Birdlife is also abundant with over 130 species recorded. (B/L/D)
Accommodation in Yala National Park: Cinnamon Wild Resort (or similar)
Today leave Yala and continue by road to Udawalawe National Park. Mainly open parkland, the park is famous for its elephants which can be seen in herds of over one hundred. Udawalawe is also home to spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, wild boar, water buffalo and jackal whilst the birding is excellent with nearly 200 species recorded. In the afternoon take a jeep safari in the national park in the company of an expert naturalist. (B/D)
Accommodation in Udawalawe National Park: Kalu’s Hideaway (or similar)
Take a final early morning jeep safari before leaving Udawalawe and continuing to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. Sinharaja is the last viable area of primary tropical rainforest in the country and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The vegetation here is dense and later enter the reserve and undertake a guided trek with an emphasis on bird-watching. (B/D)
Accommodation in Sinharaja Forest Reserve: Rainforest Eco Lodge (or similar)
Today explore Sinharaja on morning and afternoon guided walks. Astonishingly over two-thirds of the reserve’s trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is also much endemic wildlife, especially birdlife where the reserve supports over 80% of the island’s bird species, as well as numerous butterflies, insects, reptiles and amphibians. Mammals, including the rarely seen leopard and more common purple-faced langur also call Sinharaja home. (B/L/D)

Accommodation in Sinharaja Forest Reserve: Rainforest Eco Lodge (or similar)
After breakfast leave Sinharaja and drive to the coastal city of Galle. Once the chief port of British Ceylon, today the city of Galle is divided into two parts – the modern, bustling centre and the historic, colonial fort. The charming old town was visited by Ibn Batuta during the 14th century and was subsequently controlled by the Portuguese, Dutch and British who finally captured the city in 1796. (B)
Accommodation in Galle: Deco on 44 Hotel (or similar)
Upgrade option: Amangalla Hotel (or similar)
Spend the morning whale and dolphin watching by boat from Galle harbour where it is possible to see the great blue whale, the largest mammal on earth. Whales and dolphins are most frequently seen from November to early April. Later return to Colombo. A former Portuguese trading outpost, the city grew under both the Dutch and British to become the commercial hub of the country and today is home to numerous colonial remnants and colourful bazaars. (B)
Accommodation in Colombo: Cinnamon Grand Hotel (or similar)
Today transfer back to Colombo Airport to catch the SriLankan Airlines flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
**KEY: N = No meals, B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

What To Do Next?

We design unique, tailor-made holiday itineraries to suit you, by combining your ideas with our knowledge and experience. Once you have an idea of what you’re looking for, or if you require some advice, please call us or complete the enquiry form online for a quotation.

What's included

  • International flights from the UK
  • Private car with English speaking driver-guide
  • Wildlife viewing with local naturalist
  • Hotel accommodation and taxes

What's not included

  • Any Domestic flights
  • Cost of visas
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature

Guide to Price

The above price is based on two people travelling together and sharing accommodation in low season. The price is only a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and date of travel. If you wish to travel with your family, friends or on your own we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements.

Sri Lanka Holiday Review

In all a wonderful and memorable trip and thank you again for organising everything and being so accommodating and helpful.

DL & ML - Sri Lanka - January 2018

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