The Wonderful Wildlife of North East Sri Lanka

# Tailor-Made Tour

The Wonderful Wildlife of North East Sri Lanka

13 Days from £3070 per adult.
13 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Off The Beaten Track

Best enjoyed between mid-March and mid-April, this extraordinary itinerary concentrates on the fabulous diversity of wildlife to be found in north and eastern Sri Lanka, both on land and below the sea.

Your accommodation will be in a comfortable safari camp, a luxury hotel and a pleasant beachside resort.

In the company of your private driver cum guide and various local naturalist guides, venture out to look for leopards, search for sloth bears, marvel at monkeys, observe Asian elephants, snorkel on coral reefs and perhaps also swim and snorkel with humpback and blue whales off the east coast: perhaps the ultimate marine mammal experience, and, to the best of our knowledge, only possible here.

During a window of roughly one month, the seas off Trincomalee become becalmed, resembling a lake. The visibility is remarkable; up to 300 metres at times. Significant numbers of sperm whales and blue whales congregate here at that time, and we are exclusively able to offer boat trips offshore to snorkel and swim with these gentle leviathans.

This is a Sri Lanka wildlife tour like no other – please ask for details.


Price from £3070 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Arrive Sri Lanka

Arrive Colombo, pick up by private drive guide and transfer to Chilaw, on the west coast north of Colombo.

Staying at Anantaya. Includes Breakfast.

Day 2 - Wilpattu National Park

Transfer with private guide and vehicle to (approx 3hrs) to Wilpattu National Park. Arrive at campsite and settle in. Your driver will leave you for this section. Stay in spacious tents with raised beds and en suite shower rooms (not hot water, but you probably won’t need it). The food is delicious and the service impeccable.

Staying at Mahoora Luxury Camping. Includes All Meals.

Day 3 - Wilpattu National Park

Enjoy morning and afternoon private game drives by private jeep in Wilpattu National Park to look for leopard, elephant, wild buffalo, wild boar, fishing cat, sloth bear, sambar, spotted deer, land and water monitor lizards and hundreds of bird species including rollers, bee-eaters, fishing owl, adjutant stork, serpent eagle, grey and pied Malabar hornbills, jungle fowl and various kingfishers. Wilpattu, the largest and one of the oldest national parks in Sri Lanka, has nearly sixty villus - natural, sand-rimmed water basins that attract abundant wildlife. The park currently attracts very few tourists and remains wonderfully unspoilt.

On your daily game drives you stand a good chance of seeing leopard. At night, harmless snakes and slender loris, a gentle prosimian, can be seen in the trees around the campsite.

Staying at Mahoora Luxury Camping. Includes All Meals.

Day 4 - Wilpattu National Park

Enjoy further morning and afternoon private game drives by private jeep in Wilpattu National Park. Perhaps a night nature walk by torchlight too.

Staying at Mahoora Luxury Camping. Includes All Meals.

Day 5 - Wilpattu National Park

Another day of morning and afternoon private game drives by private jeep in Wilpattu National Park.

Staying at Mahoora Luxury Camping. Includes All Meals.

Day 6 - Minneriya

Spend the morning driving to Habarana and check in to your luxury hotel. In the afternoon, you will visit Hurulu Eco Park where wild elephants congregate during the wetter season. If you come during the dry season, from roughly July to September, you will instead visit Minneriya National Park, famous for “The Gathering” when hundreds of elephants congregate in the open to feed on the fresh grass which grows around the edge of the retreating tank (reservoir) which is the central feature of that park. Watching the antics of these pachyderms interacting with each other is an exceptional wildlife treat to savour for always.

Staying at Cinnamon Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 7 - Sigiriya

Today is set aside to visit one of the cultural wonders of Sri Lanka, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Sigiriya. Climb the ancient rock fortress which dates back to 477 AD. The most impressive facets of the unique complex are the water gardens, the frescoes of beautiful maidens, the mirror wall with ancient graffiti, the lion platform and the summit of 1.6 hectares, which was completely covered by buildings during the period of Sigiriya’s glory. Built by King Kashyapa, the “Lion Rock” is a citadel of unusual beauty rising 200m from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town and the base is ringed by a moat, ramparts and extensive gardens. The world-renowned frescoes (originally 500, of which only 19 remain today), in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway, are painted in earth pigments on plaster. The old stairway to the top led through the mouth of a crouching lion but today only the huge paws remain giving an indication of the massive proportions of the head. Remains of the handsome royal citadel are on the summit and several caves for meditation, audience platforms and baths complete the unique site.

In the afternoon there may be time for an OPTIONAL visit to the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa. Then return to your hotel.

Staying at Cinnamon Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 8 - Trincomalee

Drive with your private driver/guide to Trincomalee on Sri Lanka’s beautiful east coast. Closed during the civil war, this area has remained wonderfully unspoilt with a beautiful white sand beach. Nearby is Pigeon Island which offers some good snorkelling and from February to August sperm and blue whales and large pods of dolphins can be seen on boat trips and occasionally from the shore. Your private guide can on request take you to see the Hindu temple and old Dutch fort in the town before heading to the beach, and will leave you during your time by the sea.

Staying at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 9 - Trincomalee

Free day to relax on the beach or take (optional) snorkelling and whale watching trips – blue whales can be seen in season (March to August) on boat trips.

SPECIAL EXCURSION: If you come in the period around mid-March to mid-April, the wind normally dies and the sea off Trincomalee becomes very calm and flat. Visibility can sometimes reach an incredible 300 metres. On request, we can organise an optional, specially guided boat trip far offshore where blue whales and pods of sperm whales can often be seen. Either from the boat or in the sea, you can take advantage of the unusual clarity of the water to view the whales as never before: it’s as if you were in a huge aquarium with these gentle oceanic leviathans. If you stay aboard, you can see so the whole whale below, rather than merely a dorsal fin or tail fluke. Snorkelling with the largest creature ever to have lived on Earth must count as one of the ultimate wildlife experiences. Please ask us for details.

Staying at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Includes Breakfast.

Day 10 - Trincomalee

Free day. Optional: Perhaps visit Pigeon Island, a nature reserve with good snorkelling. During the boat trip to the island, pods of dolphins are often seen.

Staying at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Includes Breakfast.

Day 11 - Trincomalee

Free day to relax before the trip home.

Staying at Trinco Blu by Cinnamon. Includes Breakfast.

Day 12 - Dambulla - Colombo

Depart after breakfast for your long (6 hour) drive back to Colombo. Stop en route to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating from the first Century BC: the site comprises five caves and a picturesque facade carved into the side of a steep rock face housing ancient statues and paintings depicting the Buddha and his life. Arrive in the outskirts of Colombo in the late afternoon.

Staying at Tamarind Tree. Includes Breakfast.

Day 13 - Depart Colombo

Drive to the international airport 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

Whales off Trincomalee are best seen in March to August. The best months for the elephant ‘gathering’ are August and September. If you wish, a night could be cut from your camping at Wilpattu, to make it three nights. That will depend on how much you want to immerse yourself in the forest and search for hidden wildlife.

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

“It was a very good tour in every respect…Anyone fortunate enough to get [our guide] as their guide will have met an excellent ambassador for Sri Lanka. It was a perfect mix of culture and wildlife and overall a very good mix of hotels.

Mr I C - Dorset

Route Map

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Trinco Blu by Cinnamon: 8.617670, 81.217570
Cinnamon Lodge: 8.034573, 80.748821
Mahoora Tented Safari Camps: 6.310043, 81.390839