Being blessed with mother nature, the sri lankan big five is one of the most sought after experiences by the wildlife enthusiasts. Scattered within 25330 square miles, this 7 days trip would cover sri lankas big five; leopard, sloth bear, asian elephant, blue whale & sperm whale.
Witnessing the splendour of blue whales and sperm whales in their natural habitat off the southern coast: inarguably one of the best locations in the world to spot these beautiful mammals of the ocean – is an experience words can barely describe!
Shared jeep safaris in the yala & udawalawe national parks with some of sri lankas finest naturalists, will enable you to observe sri lankan leopards, sloth bears and asian elephants, besides so many other wondrous animals including nocturnal species in these two national parks.
This wonderful small group wildlife holiday in sri lanka offers cosy accommodations situated close to nature, setting the stage for a truly wanderlust experience, close to wildlife like you never before would have experienced!
Ideal for – Wildlife enthusiasts who are looking for a dash of culture as well. Recommended for Solo Travelers / Couples / Friends / Families with kids and teenagers / Groups consisting of friends and family.
Highlights at a glance
- Explore the world’s best park for Leopards, Yala National Park, with multiple safaris.
- Discover the diversity of Wilpattu National park with multiple safaris.
- Meet the giants of the forests - the Sri Lankan elephants - as you explore Udawalawe National Park.
- Stay at Tented Safari Camps bordering the National Parks in Sri Lanka and experience guided safaris, candlelight dinners under the stars, night walks and delicious BBQ served by roaring campfires.
- Take in the ancient engineering marvels of the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress at sunset & then bravely climb the Pidurangala Rock to witness a glorious sunrise.
- You will also be witnessing the biggest Asian Elephant gathering.
- Join devotees at the Dambulla Cave Temple.
- Stay in the historic city of Kandy, a Unesco World Heritage site, and witness age-old Buddhist rituals.
- Experience some exciting White Water Rafting in Kitulgala, in class 2 to 3+ rapids.
- Explore the eclectic streets of the Galle Fort, a Unesco World Heritage site.
- Go on a Boat Safari to see the largest mammal on earth, the Blue Whale* or experience the Ceylon Cinnamon Trail.
- Experience regional culinary specialities and engage in culinary lessons with specialist chefs.
Welcome to Sri Lanka! Your first destination – Negombo. This will take about 25 minutes and depending on your arrival time, you can decide how you want to spend the rest of the day.
This coastal city is a bustling place, with historical buildings and churches reflecting colonial influences. Negombo has a canal system that weaves an interesting route around the city and a lively fisherfolk community with a daily bustling fish market that attracts people from near and far. And of course it’s an enchanting beach that will always beckon you.
An early morning start will see you heading to the fish market to watch the day’s catch coming in, experience the process of wholesale fish trading and also to learn about the process of drying fish. Afterwards you’ll be heading to Wilpattu.
Among things to do in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu National Park is a multi-faceted treasure: on your afternoon jeep safari, you will get a sense of this sprawling landscape: from low scrub forests, wetlands to tall ebony and milla trees, and its iconic lakes – getting its vernacular name which means ten lakes. “The Land of Lakes” is the biggest and 2nd oldest Wildlife Park of Sri Lanka. Look out for its wildlife, especially the elusive Sri Lankan leopard and numerous birds.
An early morning start on your wildlife tour of Sri Lanka will see you set off on a full-day safari with packed breakfasts, lunches, and refreshments. This excursion is focused on visiting the numerous lakes in this Park, as they afford the best sightings of Leopards, Sloth Bears and other inhabitants of the jungle. At the end of the safari, a delicious BBQ dinner under the stars awaits you at the campsite. After dinner, you will set off on an exciting night walk where you will get to know the nocturnal wildlife and even possibly catch sight of the elusive Slender Loris!
After breakfast you’ll be heading to Sigiriya, which is part of the Cultural Triangle. Today will be your day to climb the Sigiriya Rock by early evening – a highlight of Sri Lanka tourism. The remains of gigantic sculptured lion paws will greet you at the start of the climb. You will ascend 600 feet to reach the zenith of the Lion Rock where you will be struck by the panoramic view and vantage point for a king. The foundations of what once housed a gathering hall, sleeping quarters – remain to be admired. There is the Mirror Wall which features the Sigiriya frescoes that are unfortunately fading. On descending, you will enjoy walking by once landscaped gardens with their own irrigation systems.
Veiled in the early morning chill and mist, you will head out to climb the Pidurangala Rock. At its zenith, you will be drawn by the unique view of Sigiriya’s ‘Lion Rock’ and the surrounding pristine splendour of the forest. Another treat for you to explore here: the remains of a monastery dating back to 2 BC
Then, we’ll head for the Minneriya National Park. Annually, in August/ September during the dry season, wild elephants migrate from Wasgamuwa National Park to Minneriya National Park in search of food and shelter. It’s a wanderlust dream to see over 350 majestic mammals, migrate across the expansive parks.
A short drive after breakfast will bring you to the Dambulla fruit & vegetable market which is a massive hub for fresh produce trading. After touring the market and sampling various produce, you will head over to the Dambulla Cave Temple. You can explore the 5 sacred caves of this World Heritage Site and also climb Dambulla Rock to enjoy the panoramic views.
A scenic drive will get you to Kandy. When you reach Kandy, your first port of call will be the Temple of the Tooth built in the 16th century, a prominent temple where Lord Buddha’s tooth lies; surrounded by artistic murals and paintings capturing the journey of Buddhism. You will find the daily rituals ‘pooja’ held amidst drumming and chanting, very intense and colourful – attracting many worshippers daily.
Your first stop after breakfast will be Kitulgala. Kitulgala’s climate is humid throughout the year making it an ideal destination for white water rafting. You will love the thrilling adventure on the white water sections of the Kelani River – great for both beginners and professionals. Prior to the two-hour river run, you will be given instructions on paddling techniques and river rescue procedures. And then it’s an adrenaline-rush adventure, paddling down the waters, in class 2 to 3+ rapids. Then we’ll be heading to Udawalawe for your overnight stay.
After a solid night’s rest, your naturalist will take you for a morning birding trail to catch the avifauna around the camp vicinity before breakfast. You will have some post breakfast rest.
Afterwards you’ll be taken to a cookery demonstration of a typical Sri Lankan lunch: prepared in clay pots giving it an authentic taste – followed by tucking into it for lunch!
Then we will head to the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe where over 50 elephants are being cared for, before being released to the wild. Next: an evening Guided Jeep Safari at Udawalawe. After dinner under the stars, you will be taken on a night drive at Udawalawe National Park to observe the nocturnal behaviour of elephants.
Bird watching in Sri Lanka is quite a rewarding experience and the camp’s resident naturalist will take you on a morning birding trail, which will culminate just in time for breakfast. Then on the way to Yala you’ll head to the famous Kataragama Temple for a pooja. In the evening you will be taken on your evening safari of Yala National Park. A delicious dinner by a roaring campfire awaits your return from the safari, and your adventures on this day are capped off with a night walk along the borders of the Park, to meet some of the nocturnal residents of the jungle.
Today will be an early start as you’ll be heading to Bundala National Park. The rich birdlife and serene surroundings make Bundala a real paradise for birders. These wetlands are home to nearly 200 bird species, including several species of migratory waterfowl. After returning to the campsite you’ll be taken to a cookery demonstration of a typical Sri Lankan lunch: prepared in clay pots giving it an authentic taste – followed by tucking into it for lunch! Then you will head out on an afternoon safari in a private jeep, along with a professional and experienced naturalist and tracker.
You will have another early morning start, on your Full Day Guided Safari at Yala with a picnic breakfast. Camouflaged by trees and bush, the residents of the park will make their way to watering-holes in the morning – and this is an ideal time to catch sight of three of the island’s Big Five: the Elephant, Sloth Bear and of course the Sri Lankan Leopard. But just as wondrous are the spotted deer, mongoose, and birdlife, such as the white bellied sea eagle and the black necked stork.
The next stop will be Galle. Galle is a picture book UNESCO heritage city that will mesmerise you with its many charms. Depending on what time you reach your hotel, you can relax here with the sea breeze, or venture on a walk into the city. Galle Fort itself spans 90 acres overlooking the ocean. Your chauffeur will be happy to accompany you and show you the Meeran Mosque, the Fort Lighthouse, the Dutch Reformed Church, restaurants, live music bars and quaint houses on cobblestone streets. Galle boasts of a museum you may like to visit, that offers an interesting historical insight of its past. There is also the Dutch Market and numerous spice shops to see.
If your tour is from November to March, you will leave early by 6-6:30am to go whale watching from the Mirissa harbour. This is an exciting adventure when you may sight Blue whales and Bottle-nosed dolphins. If you are travelling from April to October, you will go on the Galle Cinnamon Experience; an interactive tour which gives you a sense of a cinnamon farmer’s life – visiting a beautiful, working cinnamon estate.
Rest of the day is free for you to explore on your own.
We’ve reached the end of your 13-night holiday to Sri Lanka and it is time to depart. Your chauffeur will take you to Colombo Airport in time to catch your departure flight.
- 13 nights accommodation. HB at all hotels.
- Transportation in an Airconditioned Vehicle with an English Speaking Chauffeur throughout the tour including Airport Transfers.
- Jeep Safaris in the above mentioned National Park in a Private Jeep including the entry permit costs & government tracker fees.
- Entry Permits to all the sites, temples, museums & monuments mentioned in the itinerary.
- Costs of all experiences, community visits, hikes and village walks mentioned in the itinerary.
- Service charges at the hotels & current applicable taxes by the Sri Lankan Government.
- Any International or Domestic flights.
- Any Visa fee or ETA fee. (Electronic Travel Authorization)
- Christmas & New Year Eve dinner supplement. (24th & 31st December)
- Perahera Supplement at Kandy Hotel during the Perahera Period.
- Any additional beverage or food.
- Early Check-in or Late Checkout Charges at Hotels.
- Any tips to the staff.
- Any expense of personal requirements telephone, laundry, hotel extra bills etc.)
- Any additional expenses , other than mentioned in the inclusions list above.
When it comes to the accommodation, all the reservations are subject to availability at the time of confirmation, and as soon as we have received the payment, our Tour Operations Team will take in charge of your tour and proceed with the reservations. In case a hotel mentioned in your itinerary has no availability, we will find you an alternative. No changes will be done without your approval!
We will make a rough day-by-day schedule for your tour, but won’t set you exact timings for each and every activity – unless there is a an activity which start at a specific time. Since you will be traveling by private vehicle, with a knowledgeable driver-guide, we want you to have your part in decision making. With the help from him, you may tune the schedule to your rhythm.
Along the destinations included in your itinerary, you are free to take as many stops as you want to. When it comes to additional visits and destinations that are located out of the original route, the extra kilometers will be taken in consideration. For your journey, we will calculate a total mileage that is sufficient for the whole tour and mentioned in your itinerary. If this limit is exceeded, we will charge a supplement according the extra mileage.
We’ll do our best to accommodate the programme in your needs and wishes, if something urgent occurs during your tour. In a situation that requires changing the accommodation, the cancellation policies of the hotels concerned are to be taken on account.
Since the 1st of January 2012, all travelers must be in possession of a visa when arriving in Sri Lanka. Citizens from Singapore and The Maldives are the only exempt. Visitors can apply for the official Electronic Travel Authorization (visa) via www.eta.gov.lk, or upon arrival at the airport. There is a small fee to pay, and you must have at least six months left on your passport at the time of travel to obtain one.
MasterCard and Visa are widely used and accepted by many local shops, restaurants and hotels, but it’s always better to double check. Other major cards such as AmEx and DinersClub are accepted often also.
The important stuff
Sri lanka is a nation where religion and culture occupy an important place in the day-to-day lives of the local people. It is important to be aware of the customs and practices that are particular to the location you are visiting, so here are a few general tips to keep in mind during your travels. Your guide will assist you with more detailed information.
- If you plan on visiting any temples, ancient or current, you should wear clothing that covers your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Head coverings such as caps or helmets should be removed and shoes must be taken off at the entrance. White coloured clothing is generally a good choice to go with here.
- Some religious places do not allow photography or videography without prior permission and some may not allow it at all. Refer to signage or ask your chauffeur guide about the policy or protocol. Dont try to photograph or take videos without permission. If you have any tattoos associated with buddhism, hinduism or islamism, its best that you cover them completely in public places. Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces and on public transport.
- If you have any tattoos associated with buddhism, hinduism or islamism, its best that you cover them completely in public places.
- Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces and on public transport.
Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. We have had such an excellent trip.
The safaris in Yala and Udawalawe were a wonderful experience.
We have many memories to take home and we saw so many wildlife. Chauffeur Guide were knowledgeable.
The Big Game safari Camps were excellent, best service we have ever had.
Attention to details very welcoming and food very good.
Name: Mark Foyn
Completed Tour On: 21.04.2023