Tailor-made Tour 12 days from £3397 per person

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  Places Visited: Galle, Mirissa, Yala National Park, Udawalawe National Park, Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Colombo

Leopard and elephant are Sri Lanka’s two signature species, and you’ll have ample opportunity to spot both on this two-week tour of the island, which has been specifically designed with wildlife and nature lovers in mind. The three most famous national parks – Yala, Udawalawe and Sinharaja –feature as prominently as you’d expect, along with a stay in the pretty coastal resort of Mirissa, from where whale watching cruises depart in search of blue and sperm whales. Throw in a spot of R&R on the beach at Galle, and a final day shopping and sightseeing in the capital, Colombo, and you have a recipe for a well rounded holiday with plenty of exotic animals and birds to admire.

Holiday Types

Wildlife Holidays


Suggested itinerary

Day 1

Fly overnight from London Heathrow to Colombo.

Day 2

On arrival (usually in the afternoon), you’ll be met by your TransIndus guide and driver, and transferred to Galle, on Sri Lanka’s southwestern tip, where you’ll spend two nights.

Day 3

Shake off any remaining travel fatigue with a day’s sightseeing in Galle and nearby beaches.

Jutting like a small peninsular into the Indian Ocean from Sri Lanka’s southwestern tip, Galle is a picturesque, colonial-era fortified town acclaimed as the finest of its kind in Asia. The 18th-century Dutch walls, bastions, ramparts and gateways form a charismatic backdrop for easy ambles around the narrow lanes of old town, lined with pretty colonial-style houses and mansions. A charming jumble of cafés and shops offer excuses to linger. The area also holds a number of fine beaches – you could well be staying in a luxury hideaway right next to one.

Day 4

Drive a short way down the coast to Mirissa for an overnight stay.

Backed by a dense stand of coconut palms, this small but beautiful gold-sand beach is especially pretty after dark when its lantern-lit waterfront restaurants get going, serving up some of the island’s finest seafood. It’s also the best place to go whale-watching in Sri Lanka, with majestic blue and sperm whales regularly sighted just a few miles out to sea.

Accommodation Options

Day 5
Yala National Park

Join a whale-watching cruise in the morning, before heading northeast of Yala National Park, where you spend two nights.

November–April is the whale watching season along this stretch of coast. Five species are regular visitors: Blue whales, Bryde´s whales, Sperm whales, Fin whales, and sometimes Killer whales, along with four species of dolphin. Marine turtles, Bluefin tuna and flying fish also put in regular appearances.

Accommodation Options

Day 6
Yala National Park

Enjoy a full day of game drives inside the park today.

When it comes to spotting Sri Lanka’s leopards, the dry woodlands and scrub of Yala National Park are unsurpassed. It’s the country’s oldest and most popular reserve, with varied landscapes ranging from forest, parkland, rocky outcrops, small lakes and lagoons to coastal dunes. Despite the prolific birdlife, herds of roaming elephants and chances of spotting the elusive sloth bear, most visitors come here to see the leopards. There are an estimated 35 of them – among the highest population densities anywhere in the world – and you’ll stand a much better chance of a sighting if you stick around all day. Crocs and elephant are also plentiful.

Day 7
Udawalawe National Park

Drive to Udawalawe for a two-night stay.

Dominated by extensive plains interspersed with occasional hills and rocky outcrops, Udawalawe National Park encompasses a tract of savannah grasslands interspersed with marsh and lagoons – an ideal habitat for around 200 species of birds, and the park’s 600 resident elephants. Other creatures you are likely to encounter include various wild cats and leopard, several species of deer, jackals, civets and boar. The nearby Elephant Transit Home cares for orphaned calves before their reintroduction to the wild.

Accommodation Options

Day 8
Udawalawe National Park

Enjoy a full day of game drives inside the park today.

Day 9
Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Drive across Sri Lanka’s southern Dry Zone to reach the Sinharaja National Park, the island’s last pristine tract of rainforest, where you’ll spend two nights.

In complete contrast to Udawalawe’s relative aridity, Sinharaja is damp, dense and extraordinarily fecund. Birders will relish the chance to watch mixed flocks foraging – a record 48 species have been noted feeding together on occasions. Several nature trails ranging from gentle walks to strenuous full-day hikes lend a wonderfully intimate if not soggy experience of this special forest. You’ll encounter numerous kinds of reptiles (21 of the island’s 45 endemics are present here).

Accommodation Options

Day 10
Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Join guided safari walks through the rainforest in the morning and evening.

Day 11

Drive up to the capital, Colombo, for a one-night stay; enjoy a guided tour of the city’s sights in the afternoon.

Despite a lack of formal sights, the city is a satisfying place to bookend an itinerary. The banking enclave known as ‘Fort’ ‒ the original Dutch and Portuguese hub ‒ is a curious blend of modern offices and 19th-century streets occupied by hotels and stores. Alongside it, Pettah is a busy market area dotted with churches and mosques. There’s more refined shopping ‒ and this is a great way to conclude a holiday ‒ at the dainty boutiques and upmarket shops of Kollupitiya and Bambalapitiy.

Accommodation Options

Day 12

Fly back to UK, arriving the same evening.

Tailor-made Tour 12 days from £3397 per person

What's included

✓   International flights from London
✓   10 nights accommodation
✓   All internal transportation and transfers
✓   English-speaking guides
✓   Breakfast daily
✓   Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary

Places and Experiences in this tour

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