Release your wild side in Sri Lanka, with game drives in three of Sri Lanka’s best national park – Yala, Udawalawe and Gal Oya. Go trekking in picturesque Horton Plains, visit tea plantations, Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth and more on this unique 8 day tour.
Day 1 Colombo to Kalutara
Colombo – Kalutara. Upon arrival at Colombo International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel in the coastal town of Kalutara, just over 40km south of Colombo.
Day 2 Sinharaja Rainforest
Kalutara – Sinharaja – Udawalawe. After an early breakfast you’ll depart for Kalawana, to enjoy a trek in the Sinharaja Rainforest. Designated a UNESCO Nature World Heritage Site, this area of Sri Lankan tropical lowland forest spans 8900 acres and found within its lush green canopy is an abundance of wildlife including leopard, monkeys, birds and butterflies. Due to the dense vegetation, it is not always easy to spot the rare animals whilst trekking but there is the possibility of seeing a good number of endemic bird species.
From Sinharaja Rainforest continue on to Udawalawe National Park for your first game drive. Udawalawe National Park covers 31,800 hectares and was declared a protected sanctuary with national park status in 1972. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland (rivalling the savanna of Africa) and shrub jungle. Teak plantations, water holes and two important factors make the park special – the large Udawalawe Reservoir and the Walewe River, which ensure a supply of water for the fauna within. Internationally renowned for its large herds of elephants, the park is also known for several species of deer, wild boar, wild buffalo, jackal and the ever illusive leopard.
Overnight: Udawalawe National Park | Breakfast
Day 3 Udawalawe & Yala NP
Udawalawe – Tissamaharama. Before breakfast go in search of wildlife on an early morning game drive at Udawalawe National Park. On return to the hotel enjoy breakfast before travelling on to the pretty lakeside town of Tissamaharama (Tissa), which is ideally located for excursions to nearby Yala.
This afternoon enjoy your first game drive in Yala, Sri Lanka’s most famous national park, which is home to elephants, bears, crocodiles, wild boars and of course leopards. With 97,800 hectares of land, Yala is Sri Lanka’s second largest national park (after Wilpattu).
Overnight: Tissmaharama | Breakfast
Day 4 Yala & Gal Oya
Tissamaharama – Gal Oya. Before breakfast this morning head out on a second game drive in Yala National Park. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but more recently the park has received TV fame from National Geographic and the Discovery Channel which focussed on leopard research, conservation and identification projects. The park is now thought to hold the highest concentration of leopards per square kilometre. Areas popular with the leopard are rock strewn hillocks with dense shrub in which the animals hide.
After breakfast continue your journey to Gal Oya. Gal Oya is one of the best preserved and least visited national parks in Sri Lanka. It was established in 1954, primarily to protect the catchment area of the vast Senanayake Samudra Reservoir, which is the largest inland body of water in Sri Lanka. Rich in bio diversity and aquatic life, Gal Oya spans 25,000 hectares of dense evergreen forest, mountains, savannah and lake. During your time in Gal Oya you’ll enjoy a game drive and a boat safari, hopefully spotting some of the park’s large herds of elephant.
Overnight: Gal Oya | Breakfast
Day 5 Nuwara Eliya
Gal Oya – Nuwara Eliya. It’s another early start for a second game drive in Gal Oya before breakfast and travelling on to Nuwara Eliya. Often referred to as ‘Little England’, this genteel highland community has a vaguely British-country-village feel to it, with its colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens. This afternoon we take a leisurely drive through Nuwara Eliya before returning to your hotel.
Overnight: Nuwara Eliya | Breakfast
Day 6 Horton Plains
Nuwara Eliya – Kandy. This morning with a packed breakfast we leave for an excursion to Horton Plains for a trek to World’s End and the beautiful Baker’s Falls which takes about 2 – 3 hours. Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest plateau, 7200 feet above sea level in the central mountain country. It’s a very scenic region with an astounding variety of landscapes, from mountains to grasslands, marshes to trout streams. Sri Lanka’s best teas are grown in the surrounding areas. There are spectacular views from ‘World’s End’ where the plateau plunges a thousand feet in a straight sheer drop. This is excellent hiking country, with a cool climate, wonderful flora, colourful butterflies and many highland birds.
After your hike, travel on to Kandy, stopping enroute to visit a local tea plantation and learn all about the tea making process at the tea factory. The Hill Capital of Kandy was the last bastion of the Sinhala kings and is rich in history and culture. This evening visit the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic and enjoy a show featuring traditional Sri Lankan dance.
Overnight: Kandy | Breakfast
Day 7 Colombo sightseeing
Kandy – Colombo. After breakfast travel back to Colombo, stopping to visit the Royal Botanical Garden at Peradeniya en route. Sri Lanka’s largest city Colombo, is located on the west coast and draws together all the cultures, religions and influences of foreign lands, to create a fascinating blend of east and west, past and present. This afternoon take in the sights of capital on a guided tour, visiting the Fort area in the north of the city, famous for its government buildings and interesting shops, Independence Square, the stunning Gangarama Temple and more. Colombo has a great range of high quality restaurants serving tasty cuisine from around the world and wonderful shops to look around on your last night in Sri Lanka.
Overnight: Colombo | Breakfast
Day 8 Colombo
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.