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Wild Sri Lanka ... In Style!

Tour Code: LKA07

A deluxe 14-day holiday exploring Sri Lanka's wildlife and cultural highlights in the utmost comfort and style, plus an optional extension to Sinharaja Forest.

14 days from £3995(inc flights) Land Only Price: £3495 SRS: £1395 + an optional 3-day extension


We begin this tour with visits to the famous rock fortress at Sigiriya, the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa and then the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy. Whilst enjoying these cultural gems we’ll look for such birds as Brown Fish Owl, white-phase male Paradise Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and Layard’s Parakeet. We’ll then spend a day on the Horton Plains, where the bromeliad forests and moorlands are home to Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and birds such as the endemic Arrenga, before travelling to Yala National Park. Wildlife abounds here and each drive is likely to provide sightings of Asian Elephant, Spotted Deer, Sambar and often Leopard, as well as a profusion of birdlife. For the last stage of this holiday we head to Galle, where we’ll look for Blue Whales and other cetaceans.

  • Enjoy large numbers of wintering Siberian waders & Himalayan passerines
  • Stay in luxurious accommodation throughout the tour
  • Visit the Hill Country, Horton Plains & tea plantations
  • Look for endemic birds such as Hill White-eye & Yellow-eared Bulbul
  • Winter visitors include Blyth’s Reed Warbler & Pied Ground Thrush
  • Visit Yala National Park - one of the best places in the world to see Leopards
  • Tour includes two morning whale watch cruises to look for Blue Whales
  • Pantropical Spotted, Spinner & Striped Dolphins often seen
  • Extension to Sinharaja Forest, home to over 80% of the island’s endemic birds!
  • Led by expert naturalist guides

 

Food

All meals are included at Yala and Sinharaja. Elsewhere main meals are not included: allow £145.

Accommodation

A range of Sri Lanka's finest deluxe hotels and lodges, all with private facilities.

Leopard (Uditha Hettige)

Leopard (Uditha Hettige)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London.

Day 2/3 Sigirya.

Day 4/5 Kandy.

Day 6/7 Nuwara Eliya.

Day 8/10 Yala National Park.

Day 11/12 Galle.

Day 13 Colombo.

Day 14 Fly London.

A 14-day holiday in search of the rich culture of Sri Lanka, Leopards of Yala National Park, Blue Whales off Sri Lanka’s south coast, and wildlife of the Horton Plains (Sri Lanka’s highest and most isolated plateau), all enjoyed in the utmost comfort and style, plus an optional extension to Sinharaja Forest.

This deluxe tour combines the opportunity to enjoy wildlife-viewing in Sri Lanka’s finest national park and a quest to see Blue Whales, with visits to some of the country’s great archaeological sites. We have timed the tour to coincide with the large numbers of birds which visit the island during the winter, including waders from Siberia and passerines from the Himalayan region. We use some of Sri Lanka’s very best hotels and lodges for this new tour, so you can swap the cold of a British winter for wildlife-watching based in luxurious accommodation on this beautiful tropical island.

We begin with a glimpse of the island’s past at Sigiriya, famous for its towering rock fortress and ancient wall frescoes; and there’s an impressive panorama for those energetic enough to reach the summit. On the following day we visit the remains of the ancient capital of Polonnaruwa, where we may be lucky enough to find one of the resident Brown Fish Owls. We’ll be based for two nights at the luxurious Heritage Kandalama Hotel designed by Sri Lanka's famous architect, Geoffrey Bawa who conceived it `as an austere jungle palace'. Kandalama is luxurious and widely adored. The minimalist interiors and the building itself are cleverly designed to blend into the landscape without interfering with the tranquil surroundings. Bawa's design allows magnificent views of the ancient Sigiriya Rock, the surrounding mountains and the Kandalama Tank (reservoir). We’ll explore the forests surrounding Sigiriya’s famous rock fortress in search of some of the more retiring bird species and endemics. In particular we will hope to see the magnificent white-phase of the male Paradise Flycatcher, their tails like white streamers as they fly from perch to perch.

Travelling south through the island’s main spice-growing region we continue to Kandy for a 2-night stay at Cinnamon Citadel Hotel overlooking the Mahaweli River. Once the capital of an autonomous kingdom until captured by the British in 1815, Kandy marks our ascent into the picturesque Hill Country, and is surrounded by forests in which we should find such endemic birds as the charming Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and Layard’s Parakeet. We’ll then penetrate deeper into the hills to stay for two nights in colonial splendour at the Heritance Tea Factory Hotel near Nuwara Eliya, a favourite hill station of the British. This area is the heart of the island’s tea industry and we will visit one of the many estates en route from Kandy. Yet more endemic birds occur at this increased elevation, amongst them Yellow-eared Bulbul and Hill White-eye, plus such winter visitors as Blyth’s Reed Warbler and Pied Ground Thrush. We will spend one day exploring the wild expanses of the Horton Plains which epitomise the uniqueness of the Hill Country with its strange forests of stunted trees festooned in bromeliads, and stretches of moorland leading to the aptly named World’s End where a sheer escarpment drops to the plains far below. This is the haunt of the handsome highland race of the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and a great diversity of plants and birds including the endemic Arrenga, Blue Magpie and Sri Lanka Woodpigeon.

Descending to the arid south of the island we next visit a number of freshwater ‘tanks’ or lakes, crowded with birds, before reaching the endless palm-fringed beaches which characterise the Indian Ocean coastline. Our next destination is Yala National Park where in recent years diurnal Leopards have been a regular attraction, and we’ll make early morning and afternoon game drives in search of these iconic cats and the wealth of other mammals and birds that the park supports. Wildlife abounds in Yala and each drive is likely to produce sightings of Asian Elephant, Wild Boar, Spotted Deer, Sambar, mongooses, crocodiles and lizards as well as a stunning profusion of colourful birdlife. During our three days at Yala we will be staying at the very comfortable and luxurious Chaaya Wild Hotel just outside the park; with no fences to constrain the inhabitants it is by no means unusual to see a Wild Boar wander through the grounds or even to find an Asian Elephant browsing in the garden!

After many memorable experiences in Yala we next transfer to the comfortable Light House Hotel in Galle for a 2-night stay. From here we will enjoy two morning whale-watching cruises from a nearby port. Blue Whales will be our main target here, but we may also see Bryde’s and Short-finned Pilot Whales, plus Bottlenose, Pantropical Spotted, Striped and Spinner Dolphins which should provide a fitting finale to our Sri Lankan holiday. For those who wish to stay longer on this beguiling island, we recommend a post-tour extension to Sinharaja Forest. Over 80% of the island’s endemic bird species occur in the forest and resident species include the spectacular Blue Magpie, Red-faced Malkoha and Orange-billed Babbler; 60% of the trees are found nowhere else in the world, and most of the other flora and fauna has a similarly high level of endemism.

The start of the walk up Sigiriya Rock (Thomas Mills)Sigiriya fortress atop the rock (Thomas Mills)Sigiriya Rock (Thomas Mills)Dambulla Cave Temples (Thomas Mills)Dambulla Cave Temples (Thomas Mills)Dambulla Cave Temple (Rajan Jolly)Lake Kandy (Thomas Mills)Temple of the Tooth, Kandy (Thomas Mills)Toque Macaque (Thomas Mills)Traditional dancing, Kandy (Thomas Mills)Horton Plains National Park (Rajan Jolly)Rhino-horned Lizard, Horton Plains (Rajan Jolly)Chaaya Wild, our hotel in Yala National ParkDining area of Chaaya Wild, our hotel in Yala National ParkSpace to relax, Chaaya Wild, Yala National ParkTop Leopard spot in Yala NP (Thomas Mills)Yala National Park (David Allison)Indian Peacock (Chris Kehoe)Asian Elephant (Gerald Broddelez)Male Leopard (Rob North)Malabar Pied Hornbill (Colin Johnson)Leopards (Uditha Hettige)Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (David Allison)Calotes versicolor, Garden Lizard (David Allison)Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Yala National Park (David Allison)Ruddy Mongoose (David Allison)Sri Lanka Junglefowl (David Allison)Spot-billed Pelican, Yala National Park (David Allison)Asian Elephant, Yala National Park (David Allison)Changeable Hawk-eagle, Yala National Park (David Allison)Galle Lighthouse (Thomas Mills)Taj Airport Garden Hotel, ColomboTaj Airport Garden Hotel, ColomboIndian Leopard, KarnatakaSigiriya
M.B.
Surrey
The holiday truly delivered a diverse range of interesting attractions/activities. The leaders were truly excellent as guides and trip organisers. Any problem was dealt with straight away. The driver of our coach was similarly excellent.
H.E.
Devon
All the hotels used were wonderful - comfortable, with good service. The hotel at Sigiriya, the Tea Factory and the Boulder Garden will all live in my memory! A really well balanced tour with plenty of variety - some fascinating sights and a lot of information on history and culture as well as an abundance of birds and other wildlife. The guides were excellent, the company was great - it does always help to have congenial travelling companions! There were some amazing high points - our own personal Leopard sighting as we left the lodge on our second morning at Yala and a wonderful close encounter with a Sloth Bear later the same day! One of the best holidays I have had - and I have had some good ones!
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Mon 13th November 2017 - Sun 26th November 2017

YES

£3995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3495 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sinharaja Forest Reserve extensionMore info

Mon 8th January 2018 - Sun 21st January 2018

YES

£3995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3495 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sinharaja Forest Reserve extensionMore info

Mon 12th November 2018 - Sun 25th November 2018

YES

£3995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3495 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sinharaja Forest Reserve extensionMore info

Mon 7th January 2019 - Sun 20th January 2019

YES

£3995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3495 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sinharaja Forest Reserve extensionMore info

Mon 11th November 2019 - Sun 24th November 2019

YES

£3995

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £3495 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Tour extension: Sinharaja Forest Reserve extensionMore info

Visiting: Sri Lanka

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Tour Extensions

If you wish to prolong your holiday we offer the following extensions.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve extension

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Rajan Jolly
Operations Manager

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01962 733051

Tour Focus

Mammals

Tour Leaders

Tour Reviews

The holiday truly delivered a diverse range of interesting attractions/activities. The leaders were truly excellent as guides and trip organisers. Any problem was dealt with straight away. The driver of our coach was similarly excellent.
M.B., Surrey