Sri Lanka is a superb destination for wildlife enthusiasts. It is of course well known for Asian elephants, but perhaps less so for its leopard population which is the second densest in the world, its blue whale migration paths which run close to the south coast and also a huge endemic bird population. Conveniently 3 key wildlife locations in Sri Lanka – Yala National Park, Uda Walauwe National Park and Mirissa are clustered in the south east corner of the country. This makes for a great itinerary, including a nice stint on the beach.
From April – Oct, when the sea in the south is too rough for whale watching and Yala National Park can close due to drought, we can arrange a similar trip using Wilpattu National Park and Minneriya National Park with whale and dolphin watching in Trincomalee on the east coast.
Land at Colombo International Airport and meet your private English speaking driver. Your driver will transfer you to The Wallawwa. 20 mins from the airport where you can rest and acclimatise. The Wallawwa is a smart boutique hotel that has successfully combined traditional Sri Lankan architecture with stylish contemporary interiors.
After breakfast travel back to the airport to catch a domestic flight to Hambantota on the south coast. From there it is about a 2 hour drive to the northern edge of the national park.
We recommended a tented safari with Kulu Safaris for several reasons. Firstly, the team are superb with some very experienced and knowledgeable trackers. Secondly they access the park through the north gate, whereas most of the jeep enter to the south near the larger hotels. This means you can miss the morning crowds and hopefully throughout the day as you move round the park in an opposite direction. Finally the camp is great fun. It is very much camping, but in a comfortable way with gin and tonics in cut glass and delicious food.
Spend the next two days on safari in the park. You will do two safaris each day at varying times, with leisure time in between. While in the park you can hope to see elephants, leopards, crocodiles, wild boar, sloth bears, water buffalo, pythons, deer and a fantastic array of bird life.
From Yala National Park you can move on to Uda Walawe National Park. This small pretty park is a natural elephant corridor where you can see asian elephants in huge numbers. Uda Walawe is also home to an elephant transit camp where vulnerable elephants are rehabilitated before being reintroduced into the park.
The accommodation options are quite limited and basic in Uda Walawe, but Kalu’s Hideaway is comfortable. We will arrange two half day safaris for you in advance and then more can be arranged once there if you like.
End your trip with 4 nights in Mirissa on the south coast. While there you will enjoy a whale watching excursion, snorkelling in Unawatuna, an afternoon in the UNESCO Galle Fort and a boat trip on Koggala Lake which is teaming with wildlife including crocodiles, monitor lizards and birds. You will also have plenty of time to relax and enjoy the pretty beach in Mirissa bay.
All prices correct at the time of writing and based on the low season with 2 people sharing a double room. Please call us or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss prices for your exact dates.
Please remember this is a sample itinerary and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans. We can add or remove days and look at different places to stay.