On arrival transfer to Mount Lavinia and enjoy a group dinner hosted by your tour guide. If your flight gets in earlier in the day, you could get a tuk-tuk into Colombo or Negombo to do some shopping. Stay: Mount Lavinia. D.
After breakfast, drive through stunning scenery to Nuwara Eliya, set 6000 feet above sea level and filled with tea plantations and lush rolling hills. Stop off for lunch at Kitulgala where the ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ was filmed. Enjoy a brief stop at St. Clair’s and Devon waterfalls before arriving in beautiful Nuwara Eliya where you will stay for two nights. This afternoon you’ll enjoy a city tour of Nuwara Eliya. Stay: Jetwing St Andrew’s. B, L, D.
After an early departure you’ll arrive at Horton Plains with a picnic breakfast. The plains are undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka’s best eco-tourism venues and nature reserves characterised by rolling hills, montane forest and grasslands. It is home to an array of wildlife and is ideal for bird watchers with over 87 species, 14 of which are endemic. In the park you’ll enjoy a guided walk up to ‘World’s End’ to admire the beautiful views and may spot deer, elk, giant squirrel or perhaps a leopard. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure, including a wonderful afternoon tea out on the lawn. Stay: Jetwing St Andrew’s. B, D.
After breakfast, continue to Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most visited park, where you will experience a jeep safari. Here you can spot wild elephants, spotted deer, jackal and sloth bear. Yala National Park also has one of the highest densities of leopard in the world, so with a little bit of luck you may spot one! Your hotel for your stay in Yala is the Cinnamon Wild, which is located in the buffer zone between the park gate and the fences. It’s the closest hotel to the park, so an ideal base for you to explore from. Stay: Cinnamon Wild. B, D.
This morning head out into Bundala National Park on another jeep safari with an experienced naturalist. The park is in the Hambantota district and has a hot and dry climate. The terrain is generally flat with sand dunes bordering the coastline but the biodiversity within the park is immense. A total of 383 plant species have been found within the park including six that are endemic to the area and seven which are classified as endangered. Early mornings are a great chance to see a selection of wildlife that is usually hidden away when temperatures soar during the day. This afternoon you will return to Yala National Park for another chance to spot those elusive leopards. Stay: Cinnamon Wild. B, D.
Transfer over to Udawalawe, another of Sri Lanka’s famed National Parks. Enjoy lunch at Athgira, a local restaurant serving Sri Lankan specialties just across the road from the Elephant Transit Home, your next port of call. Here you’ll find a collection of orphaned elephants being cared for before being released into the wild. There is a small museum area to visit and you’ll also get a talk from one of the carers. Do bear in mind that as these elephants are to be released back into the wild this is a non-interactive visit of approximately half an hour. Stay: Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort. B, L, D.
After breakfast you’ll transfer to the Rainforest Eco Lodge in the Sinharaja rainforest in Deniyaya. The only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja rainforest offers guests the chance to walk amongst beautiful flora and fauna. Each layer of the forest has its own inhabitants, and with any luck you’ll spot some of them during your excursions into the wild. With the chance to see species from colourful, fluttering butterflies to graceful Sambhur deer and the purplefaced leaf monkey, no two excursions are the same. This afternoon you will enjoy your first trek into the rainforest which will be between an hour and an hour and a half with the hotel’s naturalist. The next two nights will be spent at the unique Rainforest Ecolodge – a wonderful sustainable lodge with just 16 comfortable chalets that have breathtaking views of the forest canopy and tea estate. Stay: Rainforest Ecolodge. B, D.
After breakfast you will once again enter the forest on a guided trek, this one being between two and a half to three hours. Prior to the trek you’ll enjoy a talk from the naturalist on what you might see. This afternoon is at leisure to relax at the lodge, learn about what you’ve spotted on your walks, or if you’re feeling energetic, getting out into the forest on another walk. Stay: Rainforest Ecolodge B, D.
Today you will leave for Galle, an ancient fortified city with a wonderful Dutch fort. Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. If you are extending your stay in Sri Lanka lunch will be at the Lady Hill Hotel before continuing on to your chosen beach hotel via a turtle hatchery. B, L.
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