Leopard, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Wildlife of Sri Lanka



12 Days

Prices Start from

£6,995pp (ex. flights)

Embark on a wildlife journey of Sri Lanka’s varied national parks seeing the landscape through the eyes of expert guides. Spot leopard in lush jungles, whales breaching off the coast and lake swimming elephants – Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts.

Over 12 days visit four national parks offering a wonderful chance to experience the wealth of wildlife and birdlife on offer in Sri Lanka. Explore by foot, boat, jeep or bike before ending with some time on the coast. Dotted with leisurely wanderings through ruined ancient cities and staying in hotels offering a sense of place, this holiday suits the most curious traveller with a fascination for nature and wildlife.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Crested eagle eagle preying in Sri Lanka National Park. 1

Wilpattu NP

Home to sloth bear, leopard, birdlife and elephant in one of Sri Lankas oldest national parks.

Elephant, Gal Oya National Park, Sri Lanka 2

Boat Safaris

Witness wild elephants swimming while crocodiles bask on the shores of Gal Oya Lake.

Whales, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka 3

Coastal Sri Lanka

Explore historical Galle and spot whales between November and April.

Leopard, Yala National Park, Sri Lanka 4

Leopard Sightings

Spot leopard and support conservation efforts in Yala National Park.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Sri Lanka on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1

    Colombo (The Wallawwa)

  • Day 2

    Colombo - Wilpattu National Park (Leopard Trails)

  • Day 3

    Wilpattu National Park

  • Day 4

    Wilpattu National Park - Sigiriya (Vil Uyana)

  • Day 5


  • Day 6

    Sigiriya - Gal Oya National Park (Gal Oya Lodge)

  • Day 7

    Gal Oya National Park

  • Day 8

    Gal Oya - Yala National Park (Kulu Safaris)

  • Day 9

    Yala National Park

  • Day 10

    Yala National Park - Thalpe, Galle (The Why House)

  • Day 11

    Thalpe, Galle

  • Day 12

    Galle - Colombo

Day 1

Colombo (The Wallawwa)

On arrival, transfer 30 minutes to your accommodation.

Day 2

Colombo - Wilpattu National Park (Leopard Trails)

Transfer approximately three hours to Wilpattu National Park – home to birds, sloth and, if lucky, leopard.

Day 3

Wilpattu National Park

Spend the day based at your camp, enjoying game drives with expert guides within Wilpattu National Park.

Day 4

Wilpattu National Park - Sigiriya (Vil Uyana)

After a final game drive transfer approximately two and a half hours to the Cultural Triangle and Vil Uyana, stopping to climb up the impressive giant rock fortress of Sigiriya.

Day 5


Explore the former Sri Lankan capital of Polonnaruwa and Minneriya National Park. Minneriya is well known for the elephant population and migration during the summer.

Day 6

Sigiriya - Gal Oya National Park (Gal Oya Lodge)

Transfer approximately four hours to Gal Oya National Park, home to a lesser visited region of Sri Lanka and particular worthwhile for birds, lake safaris and elephants.

Day 7

Gal Oya National Park

Spend a peaceful day discovering hidden Vedda villages, birds and spotting elephants while travelling on the lake by boat.

Day 8

Gal Oya - Yala National Park (Kulu Safaris)

Leave the peace of Gal Oya behind and transfer approximately three hours south to Yala National Park.

Day 9

Yala National Park

Full day of leopard safaris, exploring with the specialist camp guides. Time can also be spent walking from the camp or canoeing on local rivers. Yala is a diverse and fascinating park.

Day 10

Yala National Park - Thalpe, Galle (The Why House)

After a final game drive transfer approximately two and a half hours to the south coast. Home to The Why House and long stretches of beach.

Day 11

Thalpe, Galle

Spend the day relaxing and visiting Galle which is home to stylish restaurants, historical architecture and fort walls. Spot whales between the months of November and April.

Day 12

Galle - Colombo

Transfer north along the coast for around two hours, arriving into Colombo for onward travel.

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Gray Langur in Pottuvil, Sri Lanka 308758148
Gray Langur

Sri Lanka's National Parks

Sri Lanka is home to some beautiful National Parks covering diverse landscapes, ranging from dry plains to wetlands and two annual monsoons plus a wide range of altitudes, gives Sri Lanka a range of biodiversity normally found across an entire continent.  The picturesque lakes of Gal Oya are perfect for elephants, crocodile while Yala offers the best chance of spotting leopard. Sri Lankas oldest National Park. Wilpattu is predominantly made up of lush forests peppered with lakes and all are home to a wealth of wildlife from sloth bear to Asian elephant and abundant bird life.

Sri Lankan male leopard
Male leopard


As Sri Lanka’s only large predator, the leopard thrives in the countries national parks. With a population of up to 800, Sri Lanka offers a real chance of spotting this elusive and endangered cat. Good guiding with a sensitive approach is how to view leopard, offering a positive impact and support to conservation efforts.

Sperm Whale, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka
Sperm whale

Marine Wildlife

Between the months of November and April the waters around Sri Lanka are home to whale species including sperm, humpback and Brydes minke. Blue whale can also be seen off the south coast of the island, when the waters there are rich in krill. Add to this large pods of dolphin plus five of the seven sea turtle species being regularly found along the coast.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Kulu Safari Yala £££££

  • Sri Lanka
  • Tented Camps

Kulu Safaris offer comfortable accommodation with a minimal ecological footprint while experiencing a definitive wildlife experience.

View Property

Gal Oya Lodge £££££

  • Sri Lanka
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Gal Oya Lodge offers environmentally responsible tourism from a nine roomed wildlife lodge, set on 20 acres of private forest. There is two bedroom villa perched at the highest point of Gal Oya Lodge, which has the most breathtaking views and works well for families.

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Vil Uyana £££££

  • Sri Lanka
  • Wilderness

Surrounded by paddy fields and forest, Vil Uyana has 25 individual villas on stilts. Connected by wooden walkways and decked with wooden floors, each villa has a pitched rattan and bamboo ceiling and a sloping thatch roof made of coconut palms. In-villa dining is available here, while a small spa offers a range of treatments.

View Property

Leopard Trails Wilpattu Campsite £££££

  • Sri Lanka
  • Safari and Wildlife Lodge

Leopard Trails is an experienced mobile camping company that operates a campsite within the buffer zones of Wilpattu National Park. Leopard Trails prides itself on providing an adventurous camping holiday amidst the wilderness without having to give up modern-day comforts and personalised service. 

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The Wallawwa £££££

  • Sri Lanka
  • Boutique

The Wallawwa is a small, boutique hotel 15-20 minutes drive from Colombo international, in the peaceful Sri Lankan countryside. A charming former old manor house, the Wallawwa is set in elegant gardens and built with columns, courtyards and verandas. The rooms look out on to a central courtyard with a pond, there is a super restaurant serving Asian food, a spa and a large swimming pool. The Wallawwa is a perfect start and/or end to a Sri Lankan itinerary.

View Property

How does this holiday make a positive impact?

Gal Oya Lodge have installed a wildlife training and research facility on site which is used by in house naturalists and local conservation organisations to monitor and protect wildlife within the park. The WWCT began research here in 2017 in a bid to understand how leopards and other wild cats use patch rainforest and corridors such as Gal Oya.  

Kulu Safaris Yala is powered by renewable energy, generating around 70% of their power from solar panels. Their fully organic waste management system turns organic matter from the hotel into usable fertiliser for their gardens.

Teardrop Hotels, of which The Walawwa is a member, have created their own charitable foundation CARE which supports local community causes. Your stay here will contribute to providing food, medicine and reading glasses to low-income families across Sri Lanka. The charity has strong ties to a local orphanage and helps some of the older children find work, with one currently being trained to work at the Wallawwa.

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £6,995 Per person

When to travel

Sri Lanka in January

Sri Lanka benefits from generally good weather all year round and experiences a tropical climate with the best and most popular to visit being during our winter months, from January to April.

Sri Lanka in February

Visit the Southern and Western coast of Sri Lanka to experience the hot and humid climate in coastal areas or visit the mountainous regions for cooler temperatures with less humidity.

Sri Lanka in March

In Northern and Central Sri Lanka, temperatures will start to rise, and these regions will become more humid with March being generally a dry month for Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka in April

Overall, April is a very good time to visit Sri Lanka, with most of the island experiencing high temperatures and lots of sunshine, all before the first monsoon rains of the year begin in the South.

Sri Lanka in May

From May to August, the country experiences the first of its two annual monsoon seasons in Southwest Sri Lanka. Therefore, during these months it is best to visit Northeast Sri Lanka including Batticaloa and Passekudah.

Sri Lanka in June

Rainfall with continue in the South during the monsoon season whereas in Northern Sri Lanka, June is one of the best times to visit this area with a warm climate and high temperatures throughout.

Sri Lanka in July

In Northern Sri Lanka, the months of June and July are particularly good times to travel to the area, with minimal rainfall, particularly high temperatures and long days of sunshine.

Sri Lanka in August

Throughout the country, you can expect excellent climate conditions. August is an ideal month for those wanting to experience both the Northeast and Southwest regions of the island, typically quite unusual due to Sri Lanka’s monsoon seasons.

Sri Lanka in September

September will start to see the end of the monsoon season in the Southwest and whilst rainfall and thunderstorms are less frequent, are still likely across the region.

Sri Lanka in October

Prior to the monsoon season, rainfall is likely throughout the country and can sometimes be unpredictable, meaning disruptions in travel are likely.

Sri Lanka in November

From November to February, Northeast Sri Lanka will experience one of two annual monsoon seasons. Whilst most days will experience rainfall, it is a great time to travel to experience the lush, green countryside.

Sri Lanka in December

Due to the monsoon in the Northeast, it is best to visit the southwest coast of Sri Lanka prior to the second monsoon reaching this area in May. Experience high levels of sunshine, perfect for Sri Lanka’s beaches.

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