Spotting leopard in lush jungles, discovering hidden temples a la Indiana Jones and whale watching off the south coast, Sri Lanka is a perfect destination for wildlife enthusiasts, young and old.
- Track leopards from the comfort of a private vehicle at Wilpattu and Yala.
- Spend time in the company of expert naturalists learning about the island's ecosystems.
- Boat safari at Gal Oya National Park, home to swimming elephants.
- Walk with a Village Chief through the jungle and learn about the indigenous tribes.
- Hike towards Ella Rock for stunning views across the Knuckles Mountain Range.
On arrival in Sri Lanka, spend a restful night at the Notary House before starting your journey to the peaceful Wilpattu National Park where you check-in to Leopard Trails Camp. After an al fresco lunch, venture out on a game drive into the verdant jungle, home to sloth bear, colourful birds and the elusive leopard. What sets Wilpattu apart from other parks is the peace, space and tranquillity away from other safari vehicles.
The journey continues into the cultural heart of Sri Lanka, to visit some of the UNESCO heritage sites. Cycle around Anuradhapura, climb to the top of Sigiriya for a view to the Indian Ocean and enjoy a home-cooked lunch at a local village. In the evening, walk the night trail in search of the loris. You may also encounter the Eurasian otter, mouse deer, palm civet, collared scops owl and fishing cat.
Gal Oya National Park is surrounded by plenty of water and little islands making this the perfect environment for the wild elephant to roam. Spend time with the excellent in-house naturalists at Gal Oya Lodge and visit the Wildlife Research Centre in the grounds. The lodge team are actively monitoring the species surrounding the lodge, which include mouse deer, water monitor, and the endangered thick-tailed pangolin. They have exciting camera trap imagery that they will share with you.
A complete change of landscape is discovered as the journey moves north-west to the town of Ella. The air is cooler in this hill climate. This is a perfect hiking destination. Rise early to avoid the warmer temperatures later in the day and enjoy clear views of the valley and surrounding hills. Walk with a local farmer who will guide you to Ella Rock. Aside from trail hikes, Ella offers a fabulous tea experience. Spend time in the company of a tea manager and meet the local tea pluckers before partaking in a tea tasting session.
Elephants and Leopards of Sri Lanka
Leaving the hills behind, start the descent towards Yala National Park. Visit the Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home enroute to see an interesting project that helps orphaned calves survive in the wild. Spend two nights in Yala with three jeep safaris. Spend time looking for the leopard in Yala but also escape the crowds on day two by visiting the Bundala National Park, a place where the land, sea and wetlands meet. The picturesque lagoons are a wintering site for many of the island’s migratory birds.
Unesco Galle Fort
Galle Fort is a must see. Expect cobbled, fortified streets that have seen over 400 years of history, from Arab merchants to adventurous Portuguese and the industrious Dutch. Colonial homes are contained in an impressive rampart surrounding. Whilst in Galle you are a stone’s throw away from the largest mammal on earth.
One of the best places in Sri Lanka to see the blue whale between December and April is off the south coast. During a stay in Galle, travel an hour along the coastline to Mirissa Harbour to board a private catamaran.
Kaneliya Rainforest Reserve
Another fantastic excursion, close to the town of Galle, is to explore Kaneliya Rainforest Reserve. On foot visit this impressive rainforest with your wildlife tracker.
For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.