Sri Lanka Wildlife Wonders
Our Wildlife Wonders itinerary provides a sublime Sri Lanka safari and beach holiday by carefully working its way around the island’s most exhilarating national parks: Gal Oya, the Horton Plains, Yala, Uda Walawe and Bundula are all visited, before you wind up on a beach just a stone’s throw from the magnificent old fort in Galle. This exceptional safari tour of Sri Lanka masterfully combines seeing mammals and birds by 4×4, by boat and on foot.
With 26 national parks, 492 species of birds identified and 125 species of mammals, a tour of Sri Lanka is high on any nature lover’s bucket list. When it comes to wildlife holidays, Sri Lanka is clearly at the top of the food chain, above its often larger Asian neighbours.
As you break through the clouds as your flight descends to Colombo airport, you’ll catch a glimpse of a verdant tree canopy, contrasting with the sparking Indian Ocean. Emerging into the arrival halls, you will see your Yonder chauffeur-guide waiting to take on on the short drive to The Wallawwa, a tastefully restored ancestral home where you will relax after your flight.
Today’s destination is Madulkele Tea and Eco Lodge in the Knuckles Mountain Range at 1,000m above sea level. Here jaw-dropping views, rolling hillsides carpeted in tea bushes and mesmerising birdlife will immerse you in the natural world. From here you’ll go on an outing to Kandy to experience the lovingly kept botanical gardens and Sri Lanka’s most sacred site, the Temple of the Tooth.
Gal Oya National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s best-kept secrets. You’ll leave the rustic luxury of Gal Oya Lodge and go out on the vast lake by boat in the hope of seeing the Asian elephant swimming between the islands. You’ll also venture into the jungle in a Land Rover to get a different view of this spectacular habitat to a wide variety of mammals, reptiles and birds.
You’ll check in to Nine Skies, a converted estate manager’s bungalow overlooking the Demodara valley. From here, you have the Sri Lankan hinterland at your feet. You can trek from the front door to Mini Adam’s Peak or walk to the spectacular Nine Skies colonial era railway bridge. It is from here that you will visit the Horton Plains National Park and trek to World’s End.
The scenery dramatically changes as you arrive at the Cinnamon Wild in Yala National Park. The arid landscapes hemmed in by sand dunes and the Indian Ocean are home to Sri Lanka’s densest leopard population. You’ll hopefully also encounter elephants, sloth bears, jackals, crocs, deer and a staggering array of colorful birdlife.
On your way along the southern coast, you’ll go on safari in Bundula National Park, one of the few places in Sri Lanka where land, sea and wetlands meet, a combination that’s ideal wintering for migratory birds. After relaxing at sumptuous Villa Maya for a couple of days, you go on safari to Udawalawe National Park, home to Sri Lanka’s largest population of elephants.
The beaches to the east of Galle are amongst the best in Sri Lanka. The Frangipani Tree is a beautiful boutique hotel fronting the Indian Ocean. Here, you’ll become a lazy lounger, relaxing and savouring the fine hospitality. Historic Galle Fort is just a short drive, where you’ll go on a fascinating walking tour with our favourite resident historian. On your final day, your faithful chauffeur guide will take you reluctantly to the airport.
What you get for your money
This itinerary would typically cost from £3,600 per person staying in the specified hotels and having the services of a private chauffeur guide, excluding international flights. The costs can vary based on season, room type and board basis. All our holidays are tailor-made and can be created around your budget.