Sri Lanka Wildlife

Example Itinerary

Overview

The beautiful island of Sri Lanka is blessed with a wealth of fauna, bird, amphibians and flora species. Home to the Sinhalese since the 6th century BC and steeped in the myths and legends, the island is a stunning fusion of ancient traditions and staggering natural beauty that is home to numerous species, from a high density of leopards, huge gatherings of wild elephants, incredible marine life and spectacular bird species. Beginning amongst the wetland marshes and mangroves of the Muthurajawela ...

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Meet the Expert

Speak to Shalmali to start planning your trip to Sri Lanka

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

How Tailor-Made Works

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Discuss your initial ideas with one of our experts, the types of things you want to see and do.

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Your expert will start designing your perfect trip. Within a day or two we'll send a suggested itinerary.

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At this stage you can still tweak anything from accommodation to experiences and dates, using our expert advice.

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Time to prepare for your trip, safe in the knowledge you'll be in the expert hands of local guides and drivers throughout.

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Relax and enjoy...through our partners you'll have support on the ground as well as 24-hour emergency assistance in the UK.

Example Itinerary

This is an example itinerary. Our experts have all travelled widely in the region and will be happy to tailor any of our itineraries to suit your tastes and budget, or build a trip from scratch.

Day 1 Arrive Colombo - Negombo

Flying into Colombo today you'll be collected at the airport and driven on to your hotel in Negombo, on Sri Lanka's western coastline. Located at the mouth of the Negombo Lagoon, the city provides the starting point for this afternoon's boat ride into the Muthurajawela Nature Reserve, where you will explore its wetland marshes and mangrove forests. Set within a rich area of tropical wetlands, the 7,000-hectare site is home to a staggering array of bird and animal life including herons, egrets, monkeys and estuary crocodiles.

Jetwing Blue Dinner

Day 2 Negombo - Kalpitiya: Snorkelling Trip

Drive to Kalpitya, a pristine and remote stretch of northern coastline, it is a marine biodiversity spot with pristine coral reefs providing a haven for different types of coral, reef fish, molluscs, manta rays, turtles and reef sharks amongst others. The region has wonderful dolphin (spinner, bottlenose and Indo-pacific humpback dolphins) sightings between November and March, alongside sightings of sperm whales which are more commonly seen, and even the rare blue whales. This afternoon take a short boat ride to one of the best snorkelling sites in Kalpitiya and enjoy some time in the tropical waters.

Dolphin Beach Breakfast

Day 3 Kalpatiya - Willpattu National Park: Jeep Safari

This morning you will be driven to Wilpattu National Park, in the afternoon you will be taken on a safari through the rich landscapes. It is the largest national park in Sri Lanka and is mostly dry, dense forest, meaning wildlife is more elusive but you will see fewer jeeps than you would see in Yala or Minneriya. You will drive through the forest on dirt tracks, stopping at watering holes and lakes. Hopefully you will see the splendid sight of an elephant having a cooling dip or a leopard having a drink. The park is home to a variety of flora and fauna including sloth bear, mongoose, buffalo, crocodiles and a myriad of birdlife.

Leopard Trails Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Willpattu National Park: In Search of Loris

Head out on an early jeep safari to see some more of the park’s wildlife. Later in the day take a guided bush walk, when exploring by foot it is possible to see the smaller things, experience the different sights and sounds of the forest and focus on the detail, you will also learn about the art of tracking the animals. As dusk falls listen out for the call of the loris, with an experienced guide you can then head out to try and spot these small, elusive creatures.

Leopard Trails Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Willpattu National Park - Polonnaruwa - Sigiriya: Historic Ruins & Primate Centre

Following a final jeep safari through the park, after lunch you'll continue on your journey. This afternoon visit the historic capital of Polonnaruwa, this vast collection of stupas, tombs and temples are set over a large area in distinct zones, explore each with your guide and learn about the ancient kings who ruled as well as their devotion to Buddhism. Move on to the Primate Research Centre, here, explore the work carried out to better understand the social behaviour of primates with a tour by one of the researchers. The colony of highly intelligent and socially active primates roam freely here. On the walk you will see three species; toque macaques, hanuman langurs, and purple-faced langurs.

Wild Grass Nature Resort Breakfast

Day 6 Sigiriya & Minneriya: Rock Fortress & Jeep Safari

Early this morning visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a 180m high geological formation which towers over the plains. At the top once stood an opulent palace, now the ruins remain where once there were gardens, ponds and aqueducts. Climb to the top to discover the ruins, stopping halfway up to admire the Sigiriya Damsels, a series of frescoes. Later this afternoon enjoy an afternoon's jeep safari in Minneriya or Kawdulla National Park searching for elephants, sloth bears, leopards and some 160 species of birds. Both are known for their high numbers of elephants, the choice of park will depend on local advice at the time as to where the elephants are.

Wild Grass Nature Resort Breakfast

Day 7 Sigiriya - Dambulla - Gal Oya National Park: Buddhist Cave Frescoes

The journey to Gal Oya today takes you by way of the UNESCO caves at Dambulla, where you'll find a remarkable collection of temples and statues that date back to the 1st century BC. Filled with images of the Buddha and sculptures of the Hindu gods, the caves have become an important pilgrimage site for countless thousands of worshippers. Sri Lanka is globally respected as a biodiversity ‘hotspot’, and a visit to the Sam Popham Arboretum in Dambulla is testament to this. Here you will see a fascinating array of the country’s wildlife, as well as insects, trees and plants, all on one protected and easy to access site. This is the island’s only dry zone arboretum and a source of great pride to the Sri Lankan environmentalists. Continuing into the mountains, your day's journey then ends in the jungles of Gal Oya National Park, a remote and beautiful wilderness area. Late today join one of the in-house naturalists on a night walk in the jungle in the hopes of seeing some of the nocturnal residents.

Gal Oya Lodge Breakfast, Dinner

Day 8 Gal Oya National Park: Boat Safari & Jungle Walk

Gal Oya is one of Sri Lanka’s least visited wilderness areas and home to the largest body of water in Sri Lanka, Senanyake Samudraya Lake. The lake is dotted with islands and the rest of the park is grasslands and forest. Lucky visitors may spot leopards, sloth bears and water buffaloes. Early this morning you will be taken on a boat safari to spot the unique and diverse species of birdlife and if lucky you may well see elephants swimming between islands or bathing at the lake’s edge. Return to the lodge for lunch before a unique experience heading out on a walk with one of the chiefs of the local Vedda village. The Vedda people are a forest dwelling indigenous community in Sri Lanka and on your walk you will learn how their ancestors have lived in the jungle over time and the techniques they have used for hunting and sustaining themselves. Later this afternoon explore the park on a jeep safari to see more wildlife.

Gal Oya Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9 Gal Oya National Park - Bandarawela: Through Tea Country

Set off driving through the mountains and tea plantations today taking in the spectacular scenery and stopping off to see waterfalls and views down to the plains. At the Ella Gap it is possible to see all the way to the sea on a clear day. Make a stop to see the Nine Arch Bridge at Demodara, the stone railway bridge stands at 30m high and was built in the early 20th century. Continue on to Buduruvagala, a Buddhist temple dating from the 10th century with 7 large statues including a large Buddha statue. Arrive at Koslanda, a lodge hidden away on an estate and set out on a nature walk. The walk will take you through the forest trails along the Nahavila Oya River and introduce you to pepper vines, wild coffee bushes and various trees. Giant squirrels and toque macaques are often seen and butterflies and birds fill the forests.

Living Heritage Koslanda Breakfast

Day 10 Bandarawela - Horton Plains - Uda Walawe: Grassland walk & Jeep Safari

This morning enjoy a visit to the misty grasslands of the Horton Plains, Sri Lanka's highest and most isolated plateau. Located some 2,000 metres above sea level, it provides an ideal spot for some captivating nature walks, with a wealth of birds and animals calling this grassland home. From here continue to Uda Walawe National Park for the night. In the late afternoon head out on a jeep safari to spot some of the park’s wildlife.

Mahoora Elite Udawalawe Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11 Uda Walawe: Jeep Safaris

Today you will experience morning and afternoon jeep safaris in Uda Walawe National Park. Situated around a reservoir in the south-central area of the island, the park is largely comprised of bush trees and grasslands, and home to wonderfully large herds of elephants, as well as several species of deer, wild boar, water buffalo and jackals. Spend the day exploring this peaceful area and admiring the array of flora and fauna, with an additional visit to the Elephant Transit Home.

Mahoora Elite Udawalawe Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12 Uda Walawe - Sinharaja Rainforest: Virgin Rainforest

After breakfast you will be driven to the contrasting environment of Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve, a World Heritage Site and the only remaining virgin rain forest in all of Sri Lanka. Sinharaja differs from the other parks in Sri Lanka as it is only possible to enter on foot, while there are larger mammals such as leopards, they are very rarely seen. There are various rare flora species, the canopy trees reach 45m and many of the species are endangered. There are also 147 recorded species of birds, the walking safari is a delightful way to escape the busy world and focus in on the plants and birdlife.

Rainforest Eco Lodge Breakfast

Day 13 Sinharaja Rainforest: See the Forest on Foot

Today you will explore the forest further with your expert naturalist guide, seeking out the different species of flora and fauna in the rainforest. There are different trails that take you through the reserve and through the different landscapes, some passing waterfalls and streams. It is possible to have a swim in one of the natural rainforest pools.

Rainforest Eco Lodge Breakfast

Day 14 Sinharaja - Galle: To the Coast

Head south to the coast and the historic city of Galle. Take in some of the coastal towns and beaches along the way including the village of Weligama where the stilt fisherman still use a 2m pole on which they stand to catch fish in the sea below. Once in Galle explore the historic Galle Fort, the largest European fortress left in Asia. Colonised by the Portuguese in the 16th century, it is still infused today with a graceful charm that perfectly encapsulates its European heritage and a wander through its meandering streets reveals a wealth of ageing colonial buildings.

41 Lighthouse Street Breakfast, Dinner

Day 15 Galle: Time to Relax

Your final day has been left to enjoy at your leisure. You may like to spend some more time in Galle or perhaps head to one of the nearby beaches to relax after a busy holiday.

41 Lighthouse Street Breakfast

Day 16 Galle - Depart Colombo

Drive back along the coast today towards Colombo. For those interested in Geoffrey Bawa you can stop along the way to explore his iconic country home and gardens - Lunuganga Estate. Continue on to Colombo airport in time to catch your onward flight.

Breakfast

EXAMPLE ACCOMMODATION

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Hotel Rating

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Accommodation listed here is intended as a guide only, to give you a taste of what we can do. Our experts can tailor any aspect of this itinerary and accommodation to suit your budget and tastes.

WHAT'S INCLUDED

16 days from £5,225

MEALS

As specified in the itinerary, sampling some of the country's finest cuisine.

TRANSPORT

Private air-conditioned vehicles with experienced, dedicated drivers.

ENTRANCE FEES

Tours and admission fees, including tickets specified in the itinerary.

EXPERT TEAM

Licensed English-speaking guides and a support team available 24/7.

ACCOMMODATION

As specified in the itinerary, using some of our favourite local properties.

WILD MILES

This tour will earn you 10828 Wild Miles

ACCOMMODATION

Ultra
The best of the best, the ultimate in luxury
Luxury
Outstanding service and facilities, giving you the 5* experience
Premium
Excellent standards offering a higher-end experience
Superior
Good quality service and overall comfort
Simple
No frills, basic accommodation, but often in the most exciting of places

Wild Miles Club

When you book a trip with Wild Frontiers you are awarded points, which are based on the return distance from London to the arrival city of your trip. Points are awarded for all our holidays, including both our escorted group tours and tailor-made trips. When you accrue points, you will qualify for the following discounts on all future bookings:

Blue More than 10,000 points 2.5% discount
Bronze More than 30,000 points 5% discount
Silver More than 45,000 points 7.5% discount
Gold More than 60,000 points 10% discount

This itinerary is aimed to give you an idea of what we can offer. The price shown above is per person, based on two people travelling outside of peak periods. As this itinerary is only a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit your interests and budget, your final price may differ.

Positive Impact of this Trip

Tree
Ten trees are planted per passenger on this trip
Community
Supports Wild Frontiers Foundation community projects
Wind Turbine
A contribution to renewable energy projects

WHEN TO GO

START PLANNING YOUR TRIP

Our team of experts have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help you plan your adventure of a lifetime.

WHY WILD FRONTIERS?

Meet the expert, Shalmali

Shalmali is our Indian Subcontinent expert, who has travelled extensively in the region.

Speak to Shalmali by calling
+44 (0)20 3944 6258

Early morning hike to Sigiriya rock, train journey from Kandy to Ella, walk with the Vedda in Gal Oya, visit a working tea factory, food walk in Colombo, leopard tracking in Wilpattu, visit Anuradhapura at night, best beach stay in Tangalla

OTHER ITINERARIES IN SRI LANKA

Check out our group tours in Sri Lanka

As well as private tailor-made trips, we also offer small group tours (max size 12) to Sri Lanka. Led by an experienced tour leader, travel with a group of like-minded people on one of our award-winning group tours.

View Group Tours in Sri Lanka