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Exploring Sri Lanka

Elephants, Leopards & Whales

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.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Colombo

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.

Day 2 - Fly to Yala National Park

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.

Day 3 & 4 - On Safari

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.

Day 5 & 6 - Uda Walawe National Park

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.

Day 7 - 10 - Mirissa & Whale Watching

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.

What's included?

  • Domestic Flights.
  • Road transfers and transport for the excursions mentioned.
  • 1 Nights Accommodation at The Wallawwa on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • 3 Nights Accommodation at Kulu Safaris tented camp on a all inclusive basis, including game drivers.
  • 2 Nights Accommodation at Kalu’s Hideaway on a half board basis.
  • 4 Nights Accommodation at Number One Mirissa on a bed and breakfast basis.
  • Two half day jeep safaris in Uda Walawe National Park.
  • Half day Whale Watching trip in Mirissa. Join in boat.
  • 2 hour Snorkelling Trip in Unawatuna with time in the Galle Fort afterwards.
  • Boat tour on Koggala Lake.
  • All hotel taxes and service charges .

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 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.

  • International Flights.
  • Excess luggage charges for the domestic flights.
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned above.
  • Gratuities for drivers or guides.
  • Personal allowances.
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