The Wildlife Highlights of Southern Sri Lanka

# Tailor-Made Tour

The Wildlife Highlights of Southern Sri Lanka

13 Days from £2698 per adult.
13 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Big Cat Safari

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. Sinharja National Park is the island’s last remaining sizeable tract of primary rainforest and protects a large number of endemic birds and reptiles; Yala National Park is the premier safari spot in Sri Lanka and one of the best places in the world to see leopard; Bundala is a RAMSAR wetlands reserve with an impressive number of water birds, many mammals and both species of Sri Lanka’s crocodiles; Mirissa offers reliable sightings of blue whales and dolphins by boat or, far better, by optional light aircraft overflight ; and Uda Walawe is famed for its impressive Asian elephant herds. Add 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.


Price from £2698 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Arrive in Colombo

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 Rainforest Edge. Includes Dinner.

Day 2 - 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 Rainforest Edge. Includes All Meals.

Day 3 - Sinharaja to Uda Walawe

Morning departure from Sinharaja and drive to Uda Walawe. Perhaps stop for a visit to the Elephant Transit Camp which helps rehabilitate orphaned and injured pachyderms. In the afternoon, enjoy a game drive in Uda Walawe National Park to see the elephants for which the park is renowned, and much more besides.

Staying at Kalu’s Hideaway. Includes All Meals.

Day 4 - 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 5 - 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 6 - Yala National Park

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

Staying at Cinnamon Wild. Includes All Meals.

Day 7 - 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 8 - Bundala

Morning game drive in Yala, then leave Yala for Bundala National Park. Afternoon game drive in Bundala. 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.

Staying at Lagoon Inn. Includes All Meals.

Day 9 - Bundala

Morning and afternoon game drives in Bundala National Park.

Staying at Lagoon Inn. Includes All Meals.

Day 10 - Bundala 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 11 - 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]. Optional: You could book a light aircraft overflight of the blue whales, a far better way to see them. Afternoon at leisure.

Staying at Mirissa Hills. Includes All Meals.

Day 12 - 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 13 - Depart Colombo

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

Includes In-flight Meals.

Travel Info

Are International Flights Included?
No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:
Sri Lankan Airlines direct from Heathrow to Colombo

Best Visited:
January to January

Area 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 excellent being knowledgeable, interesting, trustworthy and a good travel companion. I would unhesitatingly recommend him to your future clients. Yala was undoubtedly the highlight of the tour and from a wildlife point of view exceeded our expectations. My wife and I have had a thoroughly enjoyable two weeks in Sri Lanka. Everything ran smoothly and there were no major faults. Astounding scenery and wildlife, friendly people and delicious food.

We will certainly consider using Reef and Rainforest again. Thank you for putting together a wonderful itinerary which covered all our needs in the time available. A return visit to see other parts of the island will be on our list!

Dr A H - Derby

Route Map

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Kalu’s hideaway : 6.416013, 80.846292
Mirissa Hills: 5.963824, 80.465111
Cinnamon Wild Yala: 6.259165, 81.405282
Lagoon Inn: 6.200466, 81.194504
Rainforest Edge: 6.466114, 80.433111