The Wildlife Highlights of Southern Sri Lanka

15 Days from £3298 per adult. All trip details below can be tailored just for you
15 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Big Cat Safari
Birding

The diversity and quality of the wildlife attractions in southern Sri Lanka are really quite astonishing and this tour has been designed to include them all. Yala National Park is one of the best places in the world to see leopard; Mirissa offers superb sightings of blue whales and dolphins – we give you a comprehensive experience with a boat ride and an overflight; and Uda Walawe is famed for its impressive Asian elephant herds. Add five species of egg-laying marine turtles, the island’s last tract of virgin rainforest, plus the services of a private driver cum guide and comfortable, characterful accommodation throughout, and you have the recipe for the perfect Sri Lanka wildlife holiday, at a very reasonable price.

Itinerary

Price from £3298 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Depart London

Fly overnight from the UK to Colombo direct.

Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2 - Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve

Met on arrival in Colombo by your private driver and drive through coconut plantations, rolling hills and rainforest to Sinharaja. Rest of day free to relax and explore.

Staying at Boulder Garden. Includes Dinner.

Day 3 - Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve

Day for guided walking in the Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve with local naturalist guide plus your private guide. As the last remaining primary rainforest tract on the island, Sinharaha is very precious – indeed, it is the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka. It has pitcher plants and all of 57 endemic dipterocarp tree species in its lowland habitat, attracting the purple-faced leaf monkey, endemic hump-nosed lizard and many birds including the common birdwing, black bulbul, and the endemic white-faced starling, red-faced malkoha, Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Legge’s flowerpecker and spot-winged thrush.

Staying at Boulder Garden. Includes All Meals.

Day 4 - Sinharaja to Uda Walawe

Another private morning walk in the Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve. In the afternoon drive to Uda Walawe.

Staying at Kalu’s Hideaway. Includes All Meals.

Day 5 - Uda Walawe to Yala

Morning private jeep safari in Uda Walawe National Park with local guide plus your private guide. The park is surrounded by mountain ranges and is one of the few reliable water sources in the dry zone leading to sizeable herds of elephants and many waterfowl. In the afternoon, drive to Yala in the far southwest of the island.

Staying at Cinnamon Wild. Includes All Meals.

Day 6 - Yala National Park

Enjoy a thrilling day of morning and afternoon private game drives in Yala National Park. Yala has very high leopard densities, and they are well habituated making Yala one of the world’s best parks for spotting and photographing these magnificent cats. One may also see elephant, sloth bear, sambar, spotted deer, wild boar, stripe-necked mongoose, black-naped hare and several civet species. In the water holes live mugger crocodile, painted stork, lesser whistling teal, black-headed Ibis, Eurasian spoonbill and the rare black-necked stork. Palu trees dominate the monsoon forest vegetation of the park, Manilkara hexandra and thorny bushes dominate the thick undergrowth.

Staying at Cinnamon Wild. Includes All Meals.

Day 7 - Yala National Park

Enjoy another day of morning and afternoon private game drives in Yala National Park.

Staying at Cinnamon Wild. Includes Breakfast.

Day 8 - Yala National Park

Enjoy another day of morning and afternoon private game drives in the Yala National Park.

Staying at Cinnamon Wild. Includes All Meals.

Day 9 - Bundala and Tangalle

Morning private game drive in nearby Bundala National Park. Famous for its water birds, but also containing elephant, golden jackal, black-naped hare and macaques. Buffalo and deer can be seen there, as well as the island’s two species of crocodile. Continue to Tangalle on Sri Lanka’s beautiful south coast.

Staying at Ranna212. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 10 - Tangalle

A free day to relax and explore the sleepy beach area of Tangalle. In the evening, enjoy a guided excursion to Rekawa to watch turtles coming ashore to lay eggs. During the months of January through to July an astounding five species of turtle (Green, Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill and Loggerhead) can be seen nesting here.

Staying at Ranna212. Includes Breakfast.

Day 11 - Tangalle to Mirissa

Drive with your private driver to Mirissa the centre of Sri Lanka’s burgeoning whale watching industry and close to the historic town of Galle.

Staying at Mirissa Hills. Includes All Meals.

Day 12 - Mirissa Whale Watching

Enjoy an unforgettable morning spotting blue whales by boat. During the months of December to April the seas here are home to a large population of blue whales, giving very reliable sightings of the largest animal to have ever lived. Sperm whales are also seen frequently as well as large pods of spinner dolphins. There is a voluntary code of conduct amongst responsible operators to keep at least 100m from each whale [please encourage your boat captain to respect this]. Afternoon at leisure. OPTIONAL: In the afternoon, experience the thrill of flying over the whales in a light aircraft so that you can see their actual size from above, as well as Galle Fort in all its colonial glory [NOTE: This flight only operates on Saturdays and Sundays – please ensure Day 12 falls on a weekend if you wish to book this option].

Staying at Mirissa Hills. Includes All Meals.

Day 13 - Mirissa & Galle

In the morning, visit the nearby town of Galle to visit the old Dutch fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) with its well-preserved ramparts and plentiful grand colonial buildings. A free afternoon to relax and pack.

Staying at Mirissa Hills. Includes All Meals.

Day 14 - Colombo to London

An early start for your drive back to Colombo and check in for your flight home.

Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 15 - Arrive UK

Includes In-flight Meals.

Travel Info

Are Flights Included?
Yes

Flight Info:
Sri Lankan Airlines direct from Heathrow to Colombo

Area Specialist

Alan Godwin
specialist_alan-godwin

Yala can get particularly busy around leopard sightings – if you have already had a good sighting ask your guide to move on. You will find the rest of the park refreshingly empty and you may well stumble upon a leopard of your own.
If you are a beach lover, switch to the Weligama Bay Resort for Days 11 – 13.

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

[Our guide] was brilliant. Always on time and very helpful. All transfers were great. The bird watching trip was excellent and our guide was great at spotting birds. The elephant orphanage was also great.

Mr & Mrs J S - Hants

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Kalu’s hideaway : 6.416013, 80.846292
Boulder Garden: 6.514553, 80.385872
Mirissa Hills: 5.963824, 80.465111
Ranna212: 6.068355, 80.906581
Cinnamon Wild Yala: 6.259165, 81.405282