22 day safari

Prices from

£3850

Excluding international flights

Tour Highlights

  • Whale and dolphin spotting in Kalpitiya and Trincomalee
  • Cultural and historic tours of off the beaten track Jaffna
  • ‘Elephant gathering’ in Minneriya and bird watching at Sinharaja
  • Safaris in Yala and Gal Oya National Parks
  • Hill country train ride and trekking in Badulla district

Magical North East with the Elephant Gathering and Leopards of Yala

Although we have of course visited Sri Lanka multiple times before, it will be our first visit to Jaffna and the famous port of Trincomalee which is a whale watching hotspot in the ‘summer’ season. In August the sea conditions will be at their best on the north east coast and we can take advantage of this with both whale watching, snorkelling and diving opportunities. Jaffna will be an intoxicating mix of culture, food and history and we will also try to gain an understanding of how the north is rebuilding itself after the long conflict which causes so much devastation and suffering for the local Tamil population.

After filling up on culture, history, marine life and some coastal R&R, we focus on elephants, first with ‘the gathering’ at Minneriya where depending on recent activity we may in fact find the biggest herds at Kaudulla, Minneriya or Hurulu National Parks.  Then onward to Gal Oya with a wonderful diverse choice of activities, we will take a night time drive in the buffer forest, a morning guided walk and a boat safari hoping to catch sight of elephants as they ‘snorkel’ their way across the huge lake.  The route to our campsite at Yala for more elephants and of course the leopards, takes us via the hill country, with a train ride through tea country, treks to view the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, and to Ravana Falls, Little Adam’s Peak and/ or Ella Rock.

When to Go:
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Best time to visit -

AUG

Safari Style -

Small Group

DAY 1

ARRIVAL AT COLOMBO AND TRANSFER TO KALPITIYA

We will be met by our English speaking driver who will be with us for the entire tour. We will drive 3-4 hours north to the ‘Dolphin Beach Resort’ at Kalpitiya for our overnight accommodation. Rest of day at leisure

Accommodation : Dolphin Beach

DAY 2

DOLPHIN SPOTTING TRIP

If weather conditions are in our favour, we will head out on a private small boat safari, not too far from shore as we look for Dolphins. Species include, Spinner, Rissos, Bottlenose and Indo-Pacific Humpback (‘pink’) dolphin in the Alankuda-Kalpitiya waters. November through March is the best time of the year but some of the Dolphins are resident so we may be lucky. Rest of the day free to relax and explore Kalpitiya’s unique peninsula position

Accommodation : Dolphin Beach

DAY 3

TOUR OF JAFFNA FORT

This morning we transfer to Jaffna on the northern peninsula of Sri Lanka. After check in we take an afternoon tour of the Jaffna Fort. Built by the Portuguese in 1619, the Fort was then re-built and expanded by the Dutch to facilitate trading activities. This historic evidence indicates not only Jaffna’s strategic importance to Europeans, but its significance throughout Sri Lanka’s history.

Accommodation : Fox Jaffna

DAYS 4, 5, 6

IN AND AROUND JAFFNA

Our days will be filled with exploring Jaffna’s history, Buddhist and Hindu sites, fascinating islands, untouched beaches and more recent cultural projects. We visit Nallur Kandasamy Kovil temple, the Kadurugoda Viharaya stupas, Chunnakam market, St Anthony’s Church, the Kirimale Blessed Water Pond & Dambakola Patuna, where a sacred sapling from the Bodhi Tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment was brought to Sri Lanka. A boat trip is included to Delft Island and Nagadeepa Island, we take time for a local lunch in the Jaffna style (hands-on cooking and eating), and a simple rice and curry lunch on the island.

Accommodation : Fox Jaffna

DAY 7

TRAVEL ONWARD TO TRINCOMALEE

En-route, we will stop at Mulativu, a Northern coastal village which was one of the many villages severely affected by the 30 year Civil War. We will meet an ex-LTTE cadre who will tell of his childhood during the conflict and walk with us to the nearby fishing village where we will enjoy a traditional Sri Lanka lunch and learning about its preparation. After lunch we continue to Trincomalee and have the afternoon to relax on the beaches of the stunning east coast of Sri Lanka.

Accommodation : Anilana Nilaveli

DAYS 8 & 9

TWO FULL DAYS BASED IN TRINCOMALEE

We have many different activities we can focus on, one whale watching excursion is included. Trincomalee is the best place to catch a glimpse of the Blue Whale, also Sperm Whale and Spinner Dolphins can be seen. Fort Frederick was built by the Portuguese in the 17th century, within its grounds, the Grand Koneswaram Temple stands on Swami Rock cliff, a popular vantage point for whale watching. Manayaweli Cove is a popular spot for fishing and swimming, Marble Beach is surrounded by tropical forest, Nilaveli Beach is the departure point for snorkeling and diving trips to Pigeon Island National Park.

Accommodation : Anilana Nilaveli

DAY 10

THE ELEPHANT GATHERING

After breakfast we travel to Habarana, our base to find the bigger herds of elephants gathered around the lakes in Minneriya, Kaudulla or Huluru National Parks. An afternoon private safari depending on the Elephant Herds movements, encountering these giants at close range will definitely be an unforgettable experience. Apart from the Elephants, these parks often present sightings of bird-flocks such as painted storks, pelicans and little cormorants.

Accommodation : Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

DAY 11

NIGHT TIME BUFFER ZONE SAFARI AT GAL OYA

A longer but scenic drive to Gal Oya, where after some time to relax and refresh we will set off on a late evening jeep safari in to the extensive buffer zone of the park. Amongst other species, you can hope to see Jackal, Elephant, Nightjar, Wild Boar, Mouse Deer, Jungle Cat and Civet.

Accommodation : Gal Oya Lodge

DAY 12

MORNING WALK AND AFTERNOON BOAT SAFARI AT GAL OYA

Gal Oya encompasses the country’s largest inland body of water, the Senanayake Samudraya Lake. For a time this area was off-limits for tourists and this does mean that the area is (thankfully) under-exploited. A choice of guided birding walk or a hike up ‘Monkey Mountain’. With such an extensive body of fresh water, riddled with islands and surrounded by prime habitat, even a small chance for finding ‘snorkelling’ elephants during a boat safari is hard to resist!

Accommodation : Gal Oya Lodge

DAY 13

TRAIN TRIP THROUGH THE HILL COUNTRY

Early this morning, we check-out with a packed breakfast and make our way in to the Badulla Railway Station, where we take a train trip through the Hill Country to rejoin our driver at Haputale.

Accommodation : Melheim Resort Haputale

DAY 14

DEVIL’S STAIRCASE / BAMBARAKANDA FALLS TREKKING

The Devil’s Staircase and the Banbarakanda area is well known among trekkers for its challenging climbs and stunning views. These guided treks can be customized according to your fitness level and preference. The Bambarakanda Falls is the tallest waterfall in Sri Lanka, at a height of 263m, surrounded by pine forestsa with a natural pool complex at the base of the falls.

Accommodation : 98 Acres Resort & Spa, Ella

DAY 15

ELLA TREKKING AND NINE ARCH BRIDGE

You can do some easy hiking in the Ella town area and the railway tracks with your expert guide, along with some more challenging hikes to Little Adams Peak (1.5 hours) and/ or Ella Rock (3 – 4 hours). Later a hike to see the Nine Arch Bridge, a historical viaduct built in the British era of Sri Lanka.

Accommodation : 98 Acres Resort & Spa, Ella

DAY 16

TRANSFER TO YALA AND AFTERNOON JEEP SAFARI

This morning, check-out of your hotel and drive to the edge of the Yala National Park. Upon arrival at the buffer zone of the Yala National Park, meet with your camping team at the designated meeting point. After lunch, set out on your first game drive in Yala National Park. Yala consists of dry-mixed evergreen forests and scrublands along with open grasslands, water holes, brackish water lagoons and riverine forests. This park’s diverse habitat supports large numbers of mammals, such as spotted, barking and mouse deer, water buffalo and endangered sloth bear. This is also one of the best places in the country to see wild elephant and the rare leopard.

Accommodation : Ceylon Wild Safaris

DAYS 17 & 18

TWO FULL DAYS OF MORNING AND AFTERNOON PRIVATE SAFARIS

This morning you will have an early wake-up call at 5 AM with coffee/tea and light breakfast at 5:30. You will then depart at dawn for a 4WD jeep wildlife safari with expert guide. Among the many wondrous sites and experiences today our main goal: a glimpse of the magnificent yet elusive leopard. After lunch, depart by 3:00 for your afternoon safari (returning to your camp around 7:00PM this evening).

Accommodation : Ceylon Wild Safaris

DAY 19

FINAL YALA SAFARI THEN GUIDED BIRDING INSIDE SINHARAJA

The Sinharaja Forest Reserve has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The hilly virgin rainforest is part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests Eco region. Though comparitively small it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.

Accommodation : Blue Magpie Lodge

DAY 20

FULL DAY SINHARAJA EXPLORATION

Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the 20-rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. Reptiles include the endemic Green pit viper and Hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwing butterfly and the inevitable leeches.The most commonly found larger mammal is the endemic Purple-faced Langur.

Accommodation : Blue Magpie Lodge

DAY 21

TRANSFER TO COLOMBO AND VISIT TO TALANGAMA WETLAND

Chance for a final walk at Sinharaj before the transfer to Colombo. Later this afternoon we visiit the Talangama wetland; a great place to spot many species of endemic birds. Among the endemic and endangered mammals, the Purple-faced leaf monkey is the most noisy and visible around the lake, as well as the western purple-faced langur.

Accommodation : Taru Villas Lake Lodge

DAY 22

FAIRWELL AND FLY HOME

When appropriate transfer to Colombo international airport for your flight home

Pricing Info & Dates

Costs £3850 based on two people sharing and not including flights. Travel dates from 1st July to 31st August 2021

Includes:

  • £100 donation to the Tiger Trails Foundation
  • Modern AC vehicle with English speaking driver/ guide
  • All meals at Gal Oya and Yala/ half-board at Habarana/ breakfast only eleswhere (unless specified)
  • Dolphin spotting at Kalpitiya/ whale watching at Trinco
  • Scenic train ride Badulla to Haputale
  • Jeep/ boat/ on foot safaris at Gal Oya
  • Six Jeep safaris at Yala
  • Guided bird watching at Sinharaja

Excludes:

  • Cost of your international flights
  • Cost of applicable Visas and travel insurance
  • Gratuities to your drivers and naturalists

Animals in sri-lanka

What

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More stunning wildlife encounters

Recently returned from a trip to Sri Lanka & India. As always, our jointly planned adventures with Wildlife Trails produced another raft of good memories to enjoy. Whilst we have been to both ntries several times, all wildlife trips are uniquely unpredictable & different. It was our first time visiting Wilpatu NP in NW Sri Lanka and would recommend it. It is beautiful forest with plenty of lakes, so very picturesque. Great sightings of leopard, sloth bear, many prey animals & fabulous birds. We were also able to enjoy the company of our regular driver (who has become a good friend), thanks to the efforts of Wildlife Trails. In India we revisited Kanha NP & were rewarded with fantastic tiger sightings; the stuff of dreams. We never tire of these two amazing countries. It is always a pleasure to plan & fulfil our travel arrangements with Wildlife Trails. Satisfaction guaranteed for us through our shared wildlife interests, understanding of our preferences, incredible attention to detail & feeling like we are discussing it with friends rather that a travel company, making hopes become reality.

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We did a wildlife and cultural tour of Sri Lanka. We visited Uda Walawe, Yala, Mirissa, buduruwagala, dickwella, Rekawa Turtle Sanctuary, Galle, Kottawa Rainforest and Negombo. The wildlife htings were awesome, we saw everything we were looking for (leopards, whales, elephants, turtles) and one big plus - a Sloth Bear! The Buddhist sites were also really interesting as was the Fort at Galle. The weather was great, the people were really friendly and the accomodation was very nice. We had a really good holiday and we were sorry to have to leave Sri Lanka! I have used Wildlife Trails many times, every holiday has been great and we have always been priveleged to find the Wildlife we have been looking for. I will continue to use Wildlife Trails as they work hard to make the itinerary the customer wants happen, at a good price and in the time you have available for the holiday.

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