Gems of Sri Lanka

Highlights

  Wilpattu National Park
  Fish markets
  Sinharaja National Park      
  Amazing architecture 
  Glorious birding

Price is from £4,250.00 pp

A lot of us are already aware of the diversity of wildlife found in India, but what many do not realize is that Sri Lanka too is a biodiversity hotspot with 26 national parks and very high level of endemism – 16% of the fauna and 23% of flowering plants are endemic. This itinerary takes you to Wilpattu National Park along with Sinharaja Wildlife Sanctuary.

Key wildlife to look out for on this trip are tiger, leopard, jungle cat, rusty-spotted cat, elephants, wild dogs, sloth bears, gaur (Indian bison), wild water buffaloes and much more.

This program is not just about wildlife. We have interspersed it with cultural sites which includes many unique UNESCO world heritage sites.

Time to visit: All year round.

At a Glance

  • Price is £4,250.00 pp.
  • Group size is minimum of 2 people.
  • Duration is 11 nights in Sri Lanka
  • Accommodation is in either hotels or elite camps.
  • Price includes international and internal flights, transfers, accommodation, meals and activities stated in the itinerary.

Itinerary

Day 1: Negomba
The town is of historical importance, strongly influenced by Catholic Church. The narrow strip of land between the lagoon and the sea and many canals make for a good exploring. Negombo was one of the most important sources of cinnamon during the Dutch era, and there are still reminders of that period in history.

Accommodation: Heritance Negombo. Experience the charm of the island’s West Coast from such Negombo beach hotels, featuring everything from chic living spaces by the shore to indulgent spa therapies that revive and restore.

Days 2 – 4: Wilpattu National Park
Visit the fish market which is held every day of the week except Sunday and is a colourful place to observe the lives of this small but vibrant fishing community.

Travel to Wilpattu National Park which is the largest and the oldest National Park in Sri Lanka, it is relatively private as it does not attract the crowds that visit Yala National Park. The park is known for good sightings of the Sri Lankan leopard along with the sloth bear. Experience Wilpattu National Park to the full with a full day excursion with lunch by the lakeside so that you can maximize the time in the park.

You can also explore the surrounding area to the campsite on a guided walk with the lodge naturalist. These guided night walks often are fruitful for seeing jungle cats, fishing cats and rusty-spotted cats along with other nocturnal species such as civets and owls.

Accommodation: Mahoora Camp (Elite Tents). Mahoora Mobile Tented Safari Camps offer you the chance to experience an adventure which will dazzle, inspire and astonish. This is no ordinary campout; suite-tents with wall-to-wall carpeting with an en-suite bathroom, bespoke menus and paired meals, highly personalised service, intimate alfresco dining by the campfire and more.

Days 5 – 7: Polonnaruwa and Sigriya
Explore the city of Polonnaruwa, one of Sri Lanka’s ancient capital cities. The city itself is divided into new and old town with the impressively preserved ruins split into five main areas including ‘The Quadrangle’ (a.k.a. ‘Terrace of the Tooth Relic’), the Northern City group and the Rest House group (with the royal palace ruins of ‘Nissanka Malla’).

Visit the ancient city of Sigriya, a premier historical destination in Sri Lanka, designated as a cultural World Heritage Site in 1982. It is also proposed that the site should be named the eighth wonder of the world, indicating it is in the same league as other international wonders such as the Grand Canyon and Ancient Pyramids.

Translated as ‘Lion Rock’ into English, the name of the monument indicates the way in which visitors used to begin their final ascent to the top – through the open jaws and throat “giriya” of a lion “sinha”.

Discover Dambulla Rock Cave Temples (also known as “Golden Temple”) which consists of the 5 caves, containing over 150 images of Buddha. This place is worth visiting not only for the cave temple, but also for the beautiful view over the countryside we get from near the caves situated at around 150m above the road.

Accommodation: Wild Grass Nature Resort, Sigriya. The perfect getaway for travellers to rest, relax and unwind. Housing 8 luxurious villas spread out over 25 acres of untouched forestry, Wild Grass offers the most luxurious and an encapsulating immersion into nature.

Day 8: Sri Dalada Maligawa
Visit Sri Dalada Maligawa – famously known worldwide as The Temple of the Tooth, Sri Dalada Maligawa dates back to the 16th century, though most of the present buildings were built in the 19th century. Venerated as the most important object in the Buddhist world, the Sacred Relic of the Tooth of Buddha is enshrined at the Temple.

At several times throughout the day different services are held and with the large numbers of worshippers’ present, it is clear to see why Buddhists are so piously devoted towards the Sacred Tooth Relic.

Accommodation: Elephant Stables, Kandy. The hotel features a collection of 7 rooms and suites that uniquely combine colonial flavour and ambience with chic designer elements. The bedrooms feature some of the best interior design in Sri Lanka.

Days 9 – 10: Sinharaja National Park
This morning after breakfast we depart for Sinharaja National Park. Birding in Sinharaja is particularly interesting since it is home to 95% of the endemic birds of Sri Lanka!

From the calls of birds and the rumbling noise of the Gin Ganga River to the fresh air filtered by its ancient trees, the colourful species of frogs and the bright flowers, Sinharaja leaves you in awe of nature and how species have evolved to suit the environment. It is said that in Sinharaja one square mile may have higher biodiversity than the entire North American continent.

Most importantly, this area has a high concentration of endemic species.

In addition, it is home to several species of reptiles, such as green-pit and hump-nosed vipers, and some rare species of horned lizards. Also, a few elephants and leopards and many smaller mammals including the rusty spotted cat, purple-faced leaf monkey, fishing cat, mongooses and civets inhabit the forests of Sinharaja.

Accommodation: Boulder Garden Resort. There are 10 suites arranged in 4 rising tiers, linked by winding stone steps and deep corridors give a medieval ambience of rock walls, grilled windows massive timber beams and mirror-polished cement floors.

Day 11: Colombo
Early this morning explore one of the trails in Sinharaja. We will be carrying packed breakfast with us. Once in Colombo we have organized a short driving tour of the city.

Accommodation: Heritance Negombo (Super Deluxe Room).

Day 12: Flight home
Early this morning we transfer to Colombo airport and catch your international flight back home.

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