Discover the best wildlife experiences Sri Lanka has to offer, travelling to three of its national parks. Visit the oldest, the biggest and the least-visited national park. Along the way, see some of Sri Lanka’s best-known cultural attractions.
You will be met upon arrival at Colombo’s international airport and transferred to nearby Horathapola for your first stay. Horathapola provides you with a snapshot of an idyllic rural Sri Lanka.
A full day at leisure to enjoy Horathapola. Staying on a 50-acre plantation estate, there are a number of local activities on offer here. Rise early to go bird watching, spotting as many of the local species as you can. You can take a guided walk through the coconut trees and paddy fields, or visit the nearby village. Later, you may wish to relax and enjoy the afternoon by the pool or learn about Sri Lankan cooking by helping prepare lunch or dinner at your plantation stay.
Drive to Wilpattu National Park, the largest of Sri Lanka’s parks and popular due to its high prevalence of leopards. Wilpattu is also home to a diverse range of other wildlife, including the highly threatened Sri Lankan sloth bear, elephant, spotted deer, water buffalo, sambar and mongoose. A number of wetland bird species are also found here including garganey, pintail and whistling teal. Spend the next two days exploring this amazing ecosystem on guided game drives.
Depart this morning for the ancient city of Anuradhapura. Anuradhapura is a sprawling complex and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Visit the sacred and ancient grounds of Anuradhapura with its rich collection of archaeological treasures dating back over 2,000 years. Afterwards, visit the Ritigala archaeological site and discover its long meditational pathways winding through thick jungle. Continue onto Sigiriya and check into your hotel
Visit the magnificent Rock Fortress of Sigiriya, also known as Lion Rock – one of Sri Lanka’s biggest attractions. The site was the domain of King Kashyapa whose aim was to build an impregnable fortress and, within it, a heavenly abode. Make the effort to climb about 1,200 steps and see the beautiful cave frescoes during the climb, as well as the panoramic views from the top of the rock. Afterwards, visit the rock formation of Pidurangala located just a few kilometres north.
Morning at leisure before setting out on a jeep safari to either Kaudulla or Minneriya National Park where you can see elephants in their natural habitat. Encountering these giants at close range is an unforgettable experience. Both parks also present sightings of bird-flocks such as painted storks, pelicans and little cormorants as well as toque macaques, sambar deer, buffalo and crocodiles.
Drive to Kandy today. The charming, easy- going capital of the hill country, Kandy once served as the country’s capital of the Sinhalese kingdom until its fall to the British in 1815. With the lovely centerpiece of Kandy Lake, Kandy is a big city that still retains touches of its colonial history in its buildings. Visit the Buddhist Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha.
Explore Kandy today by bicycle. Mounting the older Sri Lankan style of bike, take a guided cycling tour along the small lanes and back roads of the city. Meet the local people carrying on the traditions of the Kandyan Kingdom, from the keeper of the Buddhist temple to the lady selling coconuts, and discover some of the local cottage industries.
Drive to Gal Oya National Park, the only place in Sri Lanka where safaris are conducted by boat, giving you an opportunity to observe animals as they come to the water’s edge to drink. Gal Oya is also the country’s least-visited park, and here you will stay at the only lodge near the park. Spend the next three days exploring Gal Oya by boat, jeep and on foot, guided by genuine wildlife researchers and enthusiasts. Take the opportunity to visit the lodge’s research centre and learn about the animal studies and wildlife research being conducted on site.
Continue on to Yala National Park. Your stay for the next two nights will be at a luxury campsite ideally located in the buffer zone of the park, near the Block 5 gate – the lesser-frequented entrance to Yala. This is Sri Lanka’s oldest and most-visited wildlife reserve and is home to herds of elephants, wild boar, wild buffalo, crocodiles, sloth bears, monkeys and other animals. Its most famous residents, however, are its leopards
Drive to Galle, one of the best-preserved colonial-era cities in Southeast Asia, and a UNESCO World Heritage City. A leisurely day to relax at your hotel or you can take a walk and enjoy the views of the sunset from the ramparts of the fort
Discover Galle Fort today with a guided walking tour. See the city’s key sights and meet some interesting local characters along the way to find the true heart of Galle. The afternoon is at leisure and you may wish to spend some time visiting Galle’s modern cafes and restaurants, small boutiques and galleries. With its almost-car- free cobbled streets, the city is a pleasant place to explore on foot.
Transfer to Colombo for your international departing flight
"Amazing trip! Sri Lanka is now a country we would definitely like to go back to and explore further. Thank you so much for all the work you did in putting the trip together for us. It was a great mix of places for us to get a good feel of the country." Elizabeth and Leigh - January 2018
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