Wild Sri Lanka Grand Tour

Wild Sri Lanka Grand Tour

This Grand Tour will thrill wildlife enthusiasts wishing to immerse themselves completely in the stunning natural beauty and wildlife of Sri Lanka. Marvel at Sri Lanka’s Big Five, the Blue Whale, Sperm Whale, Asian Elephant, Leopard and Sloth Bear, with a stellar support cast of exotics such as the Grey Slender Loris and Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, and avian riches to delight bird lovers.

This exciting holiday is on offer only during March and April, as we search the warm ocean waves for Whales and Dolphins across the Western, Eastern and Southern coasts to do full justice to the cetacean bounty surrounding Sri Lanka.

We shall look for the island’s iconic land mammals and birdlife across two of its most popular National Parks, Yala and Wilpattu.

The World Heritage Site of Anuradhapura is ideal for observing the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and the Toque Macaque, along with several bird species and Hanuman Langurs.

Bird lovers will be able to spot many of the island’s endemic and other species across a range of habitats and climactic zones.

18 DAYS
FROM £3795
Idea
Themes:
Activity Levels
Mildly Challenging
WHAT'S INCLUDED
  • Activities and excursions as specified
  • Entrance fees/tickets for the above
  • In-destination transfers & transport
  • Accommodation & Meals as specified
  • English speaking guides
  • 24/7 support while you travel

Explore this itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sri Lanka
Arrive at Colombo’s International airport, where you will be warmly greeted and transferred to your hotel in Kalpitiya (3hrs). Remainder of the day at leisure in Kalpitiya.
Dinner
Day 2: West Coast Whales & Dolphins

You’ll have early morning start for your Whale and Dolphin cruise. On the West coast, the focus is on Sperm Whales, whose sightings are most frequent during March and April. Super pods of up to 50 Sperm Whales can sometimes be seen here.

The other big attraction of the West coast cruises is encountering Spinner Dolphins, often seen here in huge pods. Kalpitiya is also the most reliable places to see Bryde’s Whales, although sightings are not as common as Sperm Whales. If you are really lucky, you may also sight Orca or Dugongs here.

After your cruise, drive to Wilpattu National Park and check into your hotel for 2 nights.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 & 4: Wilpattu National Park

A full day safari is the best way to explore Wilpattu for keen wildlife watchers, and you’ll have two days of full day safaris in your exclusive safari vehicle.

Unspoilt and beautiful Wilpattu is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Far less visited than Yala, it offers a tranquil wildlife quest.
Wilpattu’s most famous residents are leopards and sloth bears. Chances of sightings are good, although dense foliage makes spotting them a bit harder at times.  It is also possible to see Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Asiatic Buffalo and Crocodiles. There are several species of butterflies, endemic birds, reptiles, snakes and amphibians to complement the big game.

Note: Vehicles on a full day safari congregate at the designated lunch point between 12-2pm, and enjoy a packed lunch.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Anuradhapura

After breakfast, drive (2 hours) to Anuradhapura, the site of Sri Lanka’s first capital. Anuradhapura is not just a World Heritage site of historical importance, but also one of the best places to see the endemic Toque Macaque and Purple-faced leaf Monkeys, along with troops of Hanuman Monkeys.

Enjoy an easy cycling tour of the archaeological site with your guide, who will help you discover and appreciate the best aspects of both history and natural history here.

Later in the afternoon, drive to Trincomalee (2 hrs) on the East coast and check in to your hotel for two nights.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 & 7: East Coast Whales

On both days, you will enjoy a morning Whale Safari.

After the cruise on the first day, the rest of the day is at leisure to relax at the hotel or explore Trincomalee’s colonial history. The Commonwealth War Cemetery will appeal to the history buffs, while beach lovers will be spoilt for choice with multiple pristine beaches nearby.

After the second cruise, drive to Sigiriya and check into the pioneering eco-property of Jetwing Vil Uyana for two nights.

At the hotel, join a night walking safari with the hotel’s naturalists to spot the Slender Loris who reside in the forested part of the property, a vital sanctuary for this beautiful and endangered creature.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Sigiriya & Dambulla

Visit the World Heritage site of Sigiriya and climb the famous rock fortress to enjoy grand vistas and a slice of Sri Lankan history.

This is followed by an optional visit to the Dambulla Cave Temples.

Rest of the day is at leisure at the luxurious hotel, where you will have another chance to join the night walking safari with the hotel’s naturalists to spot the Slender Loris.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Drive to Ella
98 Acres Resort & Spa, Ella, Sri Lanka

After an early breakfast, you’ll check out of your hotel and have a long drive (5 hrs) to the picturesque town of Ella.

Depending on the time available, explore Ella at your pace. Admire the scenic Ella Gap, the cascading mystical Ravana Ella waterfalls and the iconic Nine Arch Bridge. Walk along the railway track on the short trail. Or take the short and pleasant hike up to Little Adam’s Peak.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Explore Tea Country

You’ll take the Tea Train from Ella to Hatton, and enjoy spectacular scenery as the train goes through the lush undulating hills.

Go through dark tunnels on winding tracks, past tea bushes trimmed to perfection. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the tea pluckers’ harvesting tea leaves. Don’t forget to try some street food in the train.

Alighting at Hatton, you’ll be met with your driver and drive to the picturesque colonial town of Nuwara Eliya and the nearby Hakagala Botanical Garden.

Visiting photogenic viewpoints along the route, reach back to your hotel in Ella for the evening.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Horton Plains

This morning, visit the Horton Plains National Park.

These Montane Rainforests or Cloud Forests are noted for trees with gnarled and stunted growth not exceeding 15 meters in height.

Walk along the trails in the park, taking in breath-taking views from World’s End and visiting nearby Baker’s Falls. Search for endemic birds and butterflies with your naturalist guide.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Lunugamvehara (Yala West)

Enjoy morning and afternoon safari in the Lunugamvehara National Park, the western section of the larger Yala National Park.

The flora and fauna here is the same as in Yala’s more popular blocks, but there are far fewer visitors, providing a more serene wildlife experience.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Yala National Park

Enjoy a full day safari and explore Yala using your exclusive safari vehicle. Yala is Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife reserve, famous for having one of the highest densities of leopard in the world.

It also has a wealth of other wildlife, including Elephant, Sloth Bear, Sambar and Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Stripe-necked, Brown & Ruddy Mongooses, Black-naped Hare & several civet species. In the water holes you may see Mugger Crocodile, Painted Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great, Median & Little Egrets & the rare Black-necked Stork.

Note: All vehicles on a full day safari congregate at the designated lunch point between 12-2pm, right next to the sea.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14: Yala National Park

This morning, enjoy the last jungle safari of your trip in Yala.

Drive westwards to Mirissa (2.5 hours) and check into your hotel for the evening.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 & 16: South Coast Whales

An early morning start to embark on a whale watching trip on both days.

The chances of sighting Blue Whales are high in Mirissa, with both resident and migratory whales crossing from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea enjoying the warm waters off the south coast around Mirissa. Blue whales are seen relatively close to shore. Go further out to sea look for Sperm Whales. Dolphins are also spotted frequently in large shoals in these waters.

On the first day here, your afternoon is at leisure. The beach in Mirissa is excellent, and there are other beaches within easy reach along the coast to explore.

On the second day, you’ll drive to Sinharaja National Park after your Whale watching cruise (3 hrs).

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17: Sinharaja National Park

Sinharaja is the best location to see mixed species bird flocks which can sometimes include around 40 individual species. Explore lush rainforests with your expert naturalist, looking for endemics and other specialities.

Beyond birds, forest walks here often also yield good sightings of reptiles.

Afterwards, drive (3hrs) to Negombo.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 18: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your last day of your wildlife adventure. You’ll be driven to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Breakfast
Day 1: Arrive in Sri Lanka
Arrive at Colombo’s International airport, where you will be warmly greeted and transferred to your hotel in Kalpitiya (3hrs). Remainder of the day at leisure in Kalpitiya.
Dinner
Day 2: West Coast Whales & Dolphins

You’ll have early morning start for your Whale and Dolphin cruise. On the West coast, the focus is on Sperm Whales, whose sightings are most frequent during March and April. Super pods of up to 50 Sperm Whales can sometimes be seen here.

The other big attraction of the West coast cruises is encountering Spinner Dolphins, often seen here in huge pods. Kalpitiya is also the most reliable places to see Bryde’s Whales, although sightings are not as common as Sperm Whales. If you are really lucky, you may also sight Orca or Dugongs here.

After your cruise, drive to Wilpattu National Park and check into your hotel for 2 nights.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3 & 4: Wilpattu National Park

A full day safari is the best way to explore Wilpattu for keen wildlife watchers, and you’ll have two days of full day safaris in your exclusive safari vehicle.

Unspoilt and beautiful Wilpattu is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka. Far less visited than Yala, it offers a tranquil wildlife quest.
Wilpattu’s most famous residents are leopards and sloth bears. Chances of sightings are good, although dense foliage makes spotting them a bit harder at times.  It is also possible to see Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Asiatic Buffalo and Crocodiles. There are several species of butterflies, endemic birds, reptiles, snakes and amphibians to complement the big game.

Note: Vehicles on a full day safari congregate at the designated lunch point between 12-2pm, and enjoy a packed lunch.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Anuradhapura

After breakfast, drive (2 hours) to Anuradhapura, the site of Sri Lanka’s first capital. Anuradhapura is not just a World Heritage site of historical importance, but also one of the best places to see the endemic Toque Macaque and Purple-faced leaf Monkeys, along with troops of Hanuman Monkeys.

Enjoy an easy cycling tour of the archaeological site with your guide, who will help you discover and appreciate the best aspects of both history and natural history here.

Later in the afternoon, drive to Trincomalee (2 hrs) on the East coast and check in to your hotel for two nights.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 & 7: East Coast Whales

On both days, you will enjoy a morning Whale Safari.

After the cruise on the first day, the rest of the day is at leisure to relax at the hotel or explore Trincomalee’s colonial history. The Commonwealth War Cemetery will appeal to the history buffs, while beach lovers will be spoilt for choice with multiple pristine beaches nearby.

After the second cruise, drive to Sigiriya and check into the pioneering eco-property of Jetwing Vil Uyana for two nights.

At the hotel, join a night walking safari with the hotel’s naturalists to spot the Slender Loris who reside in the forested part of the property, a vital sanctuary for this beautiful and endangered creature.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8: Sigiriya & Dambulla

Visit the World Heritage site of Sigiriya and climb the famous rock fortress to enjoy grand vistas and a slice of Sri Lankan history.

This is followed by an optional visit to the Dambulla Cave Temples.

Rest of the day is at leisure at the luxurious hotel, where you will have another chance to join the night walking safari with the hotel’s naturalists to spot the Slender Loris.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9: Drive to Ella
98 Acres Resort & Spa, Ella, Sri Lanka

After an early breakfast, you’ll check out of your hotel and have a long drive (5 hrs) to the picturesque town of Ella.

Depending on the time available, explore Ella at your pace. Admire the scenic Ella Gap, the cascading mystical Ravana Ella waterfalls and the iconic Nine Arch Bridge. Walk along the railway track on the short trail. Or take the short and pleasant hike up to Little Adam’s Peak.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 10: Explore Tea Country

You’ll take the Tea Train from Ella to Hatton, and enjoy spectacular scenery as the train goes through the lush undulating hills.

Go through dark tunnels on winding tracks, past tea bushes trimmed to perfection. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the tea pluckers’ harvesting tea leaves. Don’t forget to try some street food in the train.

Alighting at Hatton, you’ll be met with your driver and drive to the picturesque colonial town of Nuwara Eliya and the nearby Hakagala Botanical Garden.

Visiting photogenic viewpoints along the route, reach back to your hotel in Ella for the evening.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 11: Horton Plains

This morning, visit the Horton Plains National Park.

These Montane Rainforests or Cloud Forests are noted for trees with gnarled and stunted growth not exceeding 15 meters in height.

Walk along the trails in the park, taking in breath-taking views from World’s End and visiting nearby Baker’s Falls. Search for endemic birds and butterflies with your naturalist guide.

Rest of the day is at leisure.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12: Lunugamvehara (Yala West)

Enjoy morning and afternoon safari in the Lunugamvehara National Park, the western section of the larger Yala National Park.

The flora and fauna here is the same as in Yala’s more popular blocks, but there are far fewer visitors, providing a more serene wildlife experience.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 13: Yala National Park

Enjoy a full day safari and explore Yala using your exclusive safari vehicle. Yala is Sri Lanka’s oldest wildlife reserve, famous for having one of the highest densities of leopard in the world.

It also has a wealth of other wildlife, including Elephant, Sloth Bear, Sambar and Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Stripe-necked, Brown & Ruddy Mongooses, Black-naped Hare & several civet species. In the water holes you may see Mugger Crocodile, Painted Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great, Median & Little Egrets & the rare Black-necked Stork.

Note: All vehicles on a full day safari congregate at the designated lunch point between 12-2pm, right next to the sea.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14: Yala National Park

This morning, enjoy the last jungle safari of your trip in Yala.

Drive westwards to Mirissa (2.5 hours) and check into your hotel for the evening.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 15 & 16: South Coast Whales

An early morning start to embark on a whale watching trip on both days.

The chances of sighting Blue Whales are high in Mirissa, with both resident and migratory whales crossing from the Bay of Bengal to the Arabian Sea enjoying the warm waters off the south coast around Mirissa. Blue whales are seen relatively close to shore. Go further out to sea look for Sperm Whales. Dolphins are also spotted frequently in large shoals in these waters.

On the first day here, your afternoon is at leisure. The beach in Mirissa is excellent, and there are other beaches within easy reach along the coast to explore.

On the second day, you’ll drive to Sinharaja National Park after your Whale watching cruise (3 hrs).

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17: Sinharaja National Park

Sinharaja is the best location to see mixed species bird flocks which can sometimes include around 40 individual species. Explore lush rainforests with your expert naturalist, looking for endemics and other specialities.

Beyond birds, forest walks here often also yield good sightings of reptiles.

Afterwards, drive (3hrs) to Negombo.

Breakfast, Dinner
Day 18: Departure
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your last day of your wildlife adventure. You’ll be driven to the airport in time to catch your return flight home.
Breakfast

Interested in this itinerary? It's great as is, but we'll be happy to tailor it for you.

Our prices do not include international flights unless explicitly stated.

The price shown is per person, based on two people travelling and sharing a room, outside peak periods. Prices may vary depending on the time of travel, and single supplements may apply.

Our Accommodation Ratings

Opulent: Exceptional, unashamedly the best of sheer luxury. (£££££)

Luxury: Outstanding levels of 5* comfort, hospitality and facilities. (££££)

Premium: Excellent levels of comfort and hospitality and a wide range of facilities. (£££)

Mid-Range: Good levels of comfort and hospitality, with a reasonable range of facilities. (££)

Simple: Clean and simple, no frills. Often in areas of natural beauty or near wildlife reserves. (£)