Sri Lanka Mammals | Carnivores & Small Felines – Special Interest Tour – 10 Day (Private Tour)

10 Days

Overview

This 10-day special interest tour in Sri Lanka focuses on mammal watching, particularly the country’s small and big wild cats. Starting with night drives and full-day safaris in Wilpattu National Park, guests will search for carnivores such as leopards, sloth bears, and mongoose during safaris, and species like fishing cats, rusty-spotted cats, civets, and other nocturnal animals during night walks and drives.

The journey continues to Sigiriya, where optional cultural visits to Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Temple are combined with night drives to spot more elusive wildlife, including the Grey Slender Loris in Dambulla.

In the Hill Capital Kandy, exploration includes Udawattekele Sanctuary and Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve. The tour then moves to Belihuloya in the intermediate zone for nature trails and night drives, focusing on the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), Eurasian Otter (Lutra lutra), Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata), and bats like the Black-bearded Tomb Bat, with a special emphasis on the elusive three cats during night walks and drives in the hills.

The tour proceeds to Yala National Park, renowned for its diverse wildlife, including leopards, sloth bears, and elephants. The final leg includes a safari in Bundala National Park and a visit to the historical city of Galle, concluding with a transfer to the airport.

You can download the complete list of mammals found in Sri Lanka [here]

Highlights at a glance

  • Wilpattu National Park: Experience multiple night drives and full-day safaris focused on observing Sri Lanka's leopards and small wild cats, along with other carnivores like Civets, including the endemic Golden Palm Civet.
  • Sigiriya: Enjoy optional cultural visits to Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Temple, complemented by night drives to spot nocturnal wild
  • Kandy: Explore trails in Udawattekele Sanctuary and Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve, with night drives in Upper Hanthana Forest.
  • Belihuloya: Immerse yourself in nature trails and night drives, exploring the dry zone forests of the hill country.
  • Yala National Park: Embark on morning and afternoon safaris for diverse wildlife sightings, including leopards, sloth bears, elephants, and the notable Golden Jackal (Canis aureus)
  • Bundala National Park: Begin your day with an early morning safari to observe migratory birds and both types of crocodiles, the Mugger Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus).
  • Galle: Optionally explore the UNESCO heritage city, Galle Fort, and other historical sites before departure.
  • Accommodation: Stay at various eco-friendly camps and hotels, such as Big Game Camp and River Garden Resort. Enjoy candlelight dinners under the stars, night walks, and delicious BBQs served by roaring campfires.
  • Guided Tours: Benefit from private guided safaris and walks for an exclusive and undisturbed wildlife experience.
  • Local Cuisine: Delight in traditional Sri Lankan cooking featuring a variety of local fruits and vegetables.

Itinerary

Welcome to Sri Lanka! 

This private tour, focused mostly on cats, mammals, and carnivores, allows you to enjoy the beauty of Sri Lankan wildlife at your own pace. Our guide will tailor this tour, especially the safaris and night activities, to your specific interests.

Upon arrival, your chauffeur will greet you and accompany you throughout the tour.

If you arrive in Wilpattu in the morning or early afternoon, you’ll have time to freshen up, enjoy lunch, and relax. The evening will feature a campfire, a candle-lit dinner under the stars, and a night drive through Wilpattu’s wilderness.

Wilpattu National Park is a prime destination for nighttime mammal watching in Sri Lanka. Renowned for its diverse wildlife, Wilpattu offers exceptional opportunities to observe various Sri Lankan mammal species in their natural habitat. Guests can immerse themselves in a range of wilderness activities amidst the park’s pristine surroundings.

Exploring outside the park at night provides a great chance to spot nocturnal mammals, including our top-listed species like the Fishing Cat, as well as others such as the Small Indian Civet, Ruddy Mongoose, Dusky Roundleaf Bat, and Black-bearded Tomb Bats. Seeing the Gray Slender Loris is highly probable during your stay at our Mahoora & Big Game Safari Camps in Wilpattu.

Though you may feel somewhat tired after the night walk and drive in the outskirts of Wilpattu National Park, we remain focused and rise early for full-day safaris.
Alternatively, you have the option to rest and embark on an afternoon jeep safari in Wilpattu National Park.

Our highlights in Wilpattu National Park include Sri Lanka’s small wild cats, along with the elusive leopard, sloth bear, and Asian Elephant. As the island’s largest national park, Wilpattu boasts a diverse landscape with natural lakes, shrubland, and dense forests. Safari drives offer sightings of Sambar Deer, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Mongoose, Mouse Deer, and Shrew. Mugger or marsh crocodiles are frequently spotted along the banks of villus and tanks, basking with their mouths agape.

Returning to the campsite, enjoy a chilled beer or glass of wine, followed by a BBQ dinner around the campfire. Take a moonlit walk or drive with our naturalist through the camp and its surroundings, where nocturnal animals emerge from their habitats. Keep your camera or torch ready to spot the elusive Pangolin, Loris, or Mouse Deer by their unblinking green eyes!

Dinner and overnight stay at Big Game by Eco Team Tented Safari Camp in Wilpattu. Late-night drives in nearby areas will be conducted every night after dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a morning jeep safari in Wilpattu National Park, you’ll head to Sigiriya, part of the Cultural Triangle.

Today, an optional highlight includes climbing Sigiriya Rock by early evening—a pinnacle of Sri Lankan cultural tourism. Giant sculpted lion paws greet you at the ascent’s start. Scaling 600 meters leads to the Lion Rock’s zenith, offering panoramic views fit for royalty. Explore remnants of ancient structures like gathering halls and sleeping quarters, marvel at the fading Sigiriya frescoes on the Mirror Wall, and stroll through once-elaborate gardens with intricate irrigation systems.

Beyond cultural wonders, wildlife enthusiasts can seek sightings of the impressive Shaheen Falcon and explore birding opportunities.

A night drive through Sigiriya and its surroundings promises possible encounters with Sri Lanka’s three small cats: the Fishing Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat, and Jungle Cat lurking amidst the jungle bushes. Additionally, nocturnal creatures like the Indian Giant Flying Squirrel, Small Indian Civet, Sri Lankan Golden Palm Civet, Eurasian Otter, Indian Pangolin, Grey Slender Loris, and Sri Lankan White-striped Chevrotain might grace your night drive in Sigiriya.

Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast at the hotel, you have the option to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple in the morning. This UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts impressive mural paintings and 157 statues, including a 47-foot-long statue of the recumbent Buddha. It is revered as a sacred pilgrimage site and the largest, best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Wildlife enthusiasts may also spot members of the endemic Toque Macaque monkey clan residing in the temple complex, offering a unique opportunity to observe their behaviors.

Later in the evening, you’ll visit Sam Popham’s Arboretum in Dambulla. The highlight here is the ‘Night Safari’ or ‘Night Walk’ through the wilderness trails, ideal for spotting the rare Slender Loris. For passionate nature lovers, exploring this man-made jungle is an unforgettable experience not to be missed.

Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast, you will drive to Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka. Optionally, you can visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy, the most venerated Buddhist site in Sri Lanka.

In the evening, embark on a trail through Udawattekele Sanctuary, renowned for its diverse wildlife including monkeys, birds, snakes, and other animals. The sanctuary hosts numerous bird species, including endemics, residents, migrants, and nocturnal species.

Experience a night drive through Upper Hanthana Forest, where you may encounter a variety of nocturnal species including the Fishing Cat, Civets, wild boars, and porcupines.

Breakfast, Dinner

With a packed breakfast from your hotel, embark on an early morning trail to explore Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve, a semi-isolated mid-country wet zone forest. It’s home to several troops of toque macaque monkeys, barking deer, wild boar , porcupines, civet cats , fishing cats, and even leopards. 

Return to your hotel and then drive to Belihuloya, another hill country destination on the southern slope of the central highlands. Check in at your resort overlooking the Belihuloya River and enjoy an evening nature trail along the river.

Back at River Garden Resort, dinner awaits. A night drive towards Non-Periel promises another highlight of your trip, offering opportunities to encounter Fishing Cats and other nocturnal animals in less inhabited areas. Spotting one of Sri Lanka’s elusive cats would undoubtedly be a highlight of the day.

Breakfast, Dinner

Depart for Yala after a morning nature trail along the river and breakfast at your resort in Belihuloya. The drive to Yala takes approximately 3 hours. Upon arrival, after a brief exploration of the campground, enjoy a delicious lunch. Later in the afternoon, embark on your evening safari in Yala National Park, known for its rich diversity of mammals in Sri Lanka.

After your safari, indulge in a BBQ dinner by a roaring campfire. Cap off your adventures for the day with a night walk along the borders of the park, where you can encounter some of the nocturnal residents of the jungle

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Yala National Park, although most famous for its leopard sightings, boasts a remarkably diverse population of mammals in Sri Lanka. During your safari in the park, you can expect to encounter Sloth Bears, Elephants, Crocodiles, Sambar Deer, Wild Buffalo, Eagles, Cobras, Peacocks, and more. The park’s varied terrain of rocky coasts, mountains, vast lakes, and plains provides a breathtaking backdrop for thrilling wildlife sightings. Your comfortable glamping accommodation, situated on the park’s border, also offers excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing.

You will embark on morning and afternoon jeep safaris in different blocks of Yala National Park, providing a diverse safari experience and enhancing your chances of spotting leopards. Block 5 of Yala National Park, less frequented by visitors and jeeps, offers a more tranquil safari experience with fewer disturbances.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Check out from the campsite with a packed breakfast and depart for an early morning jeep safari in Bundala National Park. Bundala is internationally recognized as an important wintering ground for migratory birds. In addition to birds, you can observe both species of crocodiles inhabiting the island. The estuarine crocodile, the largest living reptile today, resides in the lagoon areas and the estuary of River Kirindi Oya, while the mugger crocodile inhabits small freshwater lakes and the upper reaches of Kirindi Oya.

Following your safari at Bundala National Park, your next destination is Galle. Galle is a picturesque UNESCO heritage city that captivates with its many charms. Depending on your arrival time at the hotel, you can relax by the sea breeze or take a leisurely stroll into the city. Galle Fort, spanning 90 acres overlooking the ocean, is a highlight. Your chauffeur will gladly accompany you to explore Meeran Mosque, the Fort Lighthouse, the Dutch Reformed Church, restaurants, live music bars, and quaint houses along cobblestone streets. Galle also features a museum offering intriguing historical insights into its past, along with the Dutch Market and numerous spice shops to visit.

Breakfast, Dinner

After breakfast and check-out, we will safely transfer you to Bandaranaike International Airport, ensuring you arrive well in time for a hassle-free check-in and a safe journey back home or to your onward destination, concluding your unforgettable cat and mammal tour in Sri Lanka. The drive to the airport will take under 3 hours.

Sri Lanka bids you farewell, hoping to welcome you back again soon.

Breakfast

Includes / Excludes

Our Services Include

  • Accommodation in hotels listed below or of similar standards, including breakfast and dinner daily, and lunches on full-day safaris.
  • Transportation throughout the tour in an air-conditioned vehicle with a top-notch Driver Guide.
  • 1 Full-Day Jeep Safari & 1 Morning Jeep Safari in Wilpattu National Park, including night drives in Wilpattu.
  • Night Drive in Sigiriya.
  • Visit to Sam Popham Arboretum in Dambulla.
  • Visit to Udawattekele Sanctuary and Dunumadalawa Forest Reserve in Kandy.
  • Night Drive in Upper Hanthana.
  • Nature Trail and night drive in Belihuloya.
  • 3 morning/evening jeep safaris in Yala National Park.
  • Morning Jeep Safari in Bundala National Park.
  • All fuel, tolls, and insurance.
  • Driver guide's meals and accommodation.
  • Replacement vehicle in case of breakdown or emergency.
  • Service charges and all government taxes.

Our Services do not Include

  • Optional activities not mentioned in the program. (Please inform us if additional services are required; we will arrange them accordingly.)
  • Early check-in or late check-out (In Sri Lanka, check-in is usually at 14:00 hrs and check-out at 12:00 noon).
  • Lunches on days when full-day safaris are not scheduled.
  • Airfare and insurance fees.
  • Visa fees.
  • Anything not specifically mentioned in the inclusions above.
  • Optional tours or transfers.
  • Personal expenses such as table drinks, laundry, tips, telephone calls, soft/hard drinks, still/video camera fees (if applicable), etc.
  • Tipping for the local Driver Guide.
What happens after I confirm the tour?

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!

Will I receive a schedule with exact timings for my tour?

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.

Am I allowed to do any extra stops or visits?

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.

Am I allowed to do any changes to my itinerary during the tour?

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.

Will I need a visa?

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.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

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 play a significant role in daily life. It’s important to respect local customs and practices during your travels. Your guide or chauffeur will provide detailed information, but here are some general tips to keep in mind:

    • Dress Code: When visiting temples, ancient sites, or current religious places, wear clothing that covers your shoulders to your knees. Remove head coverings like caps or helmets, and take off shoes at the entrance. White clothing is generally suitable.
    • Photography: Some religious sites may prohibit or restrict photography and videography. Respect signage and ask your guide about specific policies.
    • Tattoos: Cover tattoos related to Buddhism, Hinduism, or Islamism in public places.
    • Smoking: Smoking is prohibited indoors, at workplaces, and on public transport.
    • Weather Preparation: Carry personal items suitable for windy, rainy, or warm conditions.
    • Night Activities: Night walks and drives depend on weather conditions and government regulations, which may vary.
    • Health: Use insect repellents and sunburn lotions. Avoid fruity-smelling lotions or perfumes during jeep safaris.
    • Wildlife Sightings: Animal sightings during safaris are subject to natural conditions and cannot be guaranteed.

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Sri Lanka Mammals | Carnivores & Small Felines – Special Interest Tour – 10 Day (Private Tour)
From USD1,990
/ Adult (Double/ Per Person)
From USD3,464
/ Adult (Single Person)
From USD1,736
/ Adult (Triple or More/Per Person)
From USD363
/ Single Room Supplement
  • Private Departure
  • We've taken every possible measure to ensure your safety and comfort during this tour.

    The hotels, tours, add-ons, guides, and chauffeurs participating in this program are meticulously vetted to uphold the highest quality standards, providing you with peace of mind throughout your journey. At any point during the tour, you will always be within reach of your guide or chauffeur, either physically or via phone, should you need any assistance while exploring independently.

  • Early Check-ins or late Checkouts could be organised upon your flight schedules.