The Ultimate Sri Lanka wildlife Adventure
10 Nights/ 11 Days
Guaranteed fixed departures every month
Bears: Leopards: Elephants: Whales and so much more . . .
Sri Lanka - called “Serendib” - is the name that gave English speakers the word “serendipity.” One of the finest wildlife watching destinations in the world, it is varied as the island itself; ranging from elephants, sloth bears and leopards to marine life and a vast number of different birds. Sri Lanka is regarded as one of the best places in the world to see whales, including the mighty Blue Whale. This small group wildlife adventure will take you around the island exposing you to some popular wildlife destinations and some lesser known unique parks as well.
- Experience Sri Lanka’s Big 5: the Asian Elephant / Leopard / Sloth Bear / Blue Whale & Sperm Whale.
- Enjoy 6 ( 2 sunset / 4 Dawn ) 4WD Jeep safaris to spot elephants, sloth bears and leopards.
- Observe leopards and sloth bears during an early morning safari in ‘WIlpattu’ National Park.
- ‘Yala’ National Park – home to the highest density of leopards in the world.
- Discover Elephants and many species of birds in the lesser known National Parks of: ‘Maduru Oya’ and ‘Lunugamwehera’.
- Guaranteed sightings of large herds of Asian Elephants at the ‘Udawalawe’ National Park. This is a fabulous location for wild cats as well.
- Camp out in style in the natural wilderness of the jungles and savour a special BBQ by a roaring campfire.
- Polonnaruwa - the Sri lankan 12th century Kingdom, home to a large monkey population which was famously featured in Disney’s engaging documentary film ‘Monkey Kingdom’.
- Highest Altitude National Park in the country, ‘Horton Plains’ National Park. Home to Purple Faced monkeys and some rare endemic birds.
- Visit the Pangolin Conservation Centre and take part in research efforts for this highly threatened species.
- Guided night walks, sunset walks and a night drive.
- Services of some of the island’s best wildlife guides.
Explore the waters off the southern coast – the best location in the world to spot Blue Whales (Season is from November to mid April).
Day 1 - Arrival- Negombo
“ Little Rome’
- Arrival and transfer to Negombo
- Check in to the hotel
- If you have a morning arrival, there will be plenty to do and explore
- Overnight in Goldi Sand hotel (or similar star hotel) in Negombo (hotel check in time 2.00p.m.)
NEGOMBO - This expanding town is a historically interesting place strongly influenced by the Catholic Church and is often referred to as “Little Rome’. The town has several buildings dating back to the Dutch and Portuguese Colonial days. The lagoon at Negombo is famous for its harvest of lobsters, crabs and prawns. Fish auctions regularly take place on the beach and are worth a look, as are the many canals which meander through the area.
Day 2 – Negombo- Wilpattu (B+D)
Experience the ultimate night walk at the Big Game Camp Wilpattu.
- Breakfast at the hotel
- Welcome meeting at 10.00a.m.
- Checkout at 11.00a.m.
- We will make a few stops for lunch and nature / cultural encounters
- Check in to the Tented Camp
- Sundown Walk
- BBQ dinner at the Camp
- Guided Night Walk after dinner
- Overnight stay at Big Game Camp in WIlpattu
WILPATTU - The Wilpattu National Park is the largest and oldest National Park in Sri Lanka. It was widely regarded as the place to spot the Sri Lankan Leopard in its natural habitat. It is also home to endangered animals such as the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and the Sri Lankan Elephant. Many species of Owl, Tern, Gull, Eagle, Kite and Buzzard along with the Painted Stork, Sri Lankan Junglefowl and the Little Cormorant can be sighted at the Wilpattu National Park. Wetland birdlife includes: the Garganey, Pintail, Whistling Teal, Spoonbill, White Ibis, Large White Egret, Cattle Egret and Purple Heron. Due to the fewer number of visitors, the wildlife within the confines of the Wilpattu National Park has hardly had contact with humans. The animals are therefore often shy unlike those in Yala, making the need for an experienced guide even greater, one which Big Game Camp can provide. 4WD safari jeeps are the best way to explore the varied terrain of this Park.
Night Walk - A daytime safari in Sri Lanka might allow you to see a variety of animals that dwell in its National Parks, but for an incomparable adventure in wildlife viewing, nothing beats the thrills and excitement of a night walk. Our experts at the camp will lead you through a walk, that will bring you surprises in the shape of the Loris or reptiles on the lookout for prey, sounds and just the unique experience of seeing nature in the dark.
Day 3 – Wilpattu (B+L+D)
‘ Spotting the Sloth Bears ‘
- An early morning departure for a Full Day Safari At Wilpattu National Park
- Packed breakfast will be arranged
- Hot lunch served inside the Park
- Back to the Camp
- BBQ dinner and overnight stay at Big Game National Park camp in Wilpattu
- Guided Short Night Drive after dinner
Full day Game Drive at WILPATTU National Park - WIlpattu National Park has an important feature known as ‘villus’ which is a varied presence of wetlands which nourishes the Park’s animal and plant life, and therefore contributes to the balance and vitality of the biodiversity of the land and wildlife of the area. The Wilpattu National Park holds a large population of Sri Lankan Leopards, Sri Lankan Elephants, and other attractive wildlife of Sri Lanka. If you are visiting in May / June, you might even see Sri Lankan Sloth Bears eating fruit off the top branches of the giant Palu Trees which are scattered throughout the Wilpattu National Park of Sri Lanka!
We offer a unique Wilpattu safari with experienced drivers and naturalists, expert in all things wild. We are able to provide a complete hot lunch served inside the Park without returning to the campsite. This saves time and energy spent on travel time - giving you maximum benefit of your safari time.
Although you might be lucky to spot a Sri Lankan Leopard, Sloth Bear, or a herd of Sri Lankan Elephants in the wilderness during a dawn or dusk safari, you will have no clue as to their behavior after sundown, when all manner of things happen under the cover of darkness. A must for any night drive expedition is the use of Special Red Beam Torches, which will not disturb the activities of the animals during night time which gives you an unrestrained experience of a Night Drive. This activity helps the local communities to minimize the human elephant conflict as well.
Day 4 – Wilpattu – Polonnaruwa (B)
‘Discover the Monkey Kingdom set in the land of Sri Lanka’s 12th century capital’
- After breakfast, transfer to Polonnaruwa
- Check in to the hotel
- Sightseeing in Polonnaruwa
- Overnight stay at Deer Park hotel in Polonnaruwa
- Private screening of Monkey Kingdom
The Kingdom of Polonnaruwa was the Sri Lankan seat of power for the Sinhalese kings from the 11th century until 1310 CE. In recent times, the ancient city has been in the limelight due to the release of the Disney documentary movie “Monkey Kingdom” The film documents the life of a troop of wild Toque Macaque monkeys locally known as “Rilaw” while the entire set was based around the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa. The film highlights the variety of monkeys, their behavioural patterns and shows their historical association with Polonnaruwa which is an enlightening way of educating locals and tourists alike about understanding the need to conserve the monkeys.
Day 5 – Polonnaruwa- Maduru Oya - Nuwara Eliya (B)
‘Discover Elephants and wondrous Birds at the Maduru Oya National Park’
- With a packed breakfast, transfer to Maduru Oya National Park
- Safari at Maduru Oya National Park
- Transfer to Nuwara Eliya
- Brief visit to a Tea Garden / Tea Factory
- Check in to the hotel
- Overnight stay at Heaven Seven Hotel (or similar star hotel) in Nuwara Eliya
Maduru Oya National Park – The Park was designated in 1983 to provide a sanctuary for elephants and protect the immediate catchments of five reservoirs. Large herds of elephants roaming in the Park tend to be hidden by the seven feet tall guinea grass. The reservoir that spreads seamlessly reflects the clear blue skies and by evening it simmers to hues of pinks and purples. Our guests get a real-life experience; up close and personal with wildlife in this secluded Park.
Game drives let you explore your new home at the Maduru Oya National Park; to experience everything from an elephant roaming to the tall grass to an amazing range of indigenous and migrant birds.
The game drive takes you through a historical journey as well. A stop over at what is almost 3000 year old sluice gates built by ancient local tribes - will astound you. Cherish the moment sitting by the side of these historic monuments and savour a delicious picnic put together by our Chef. Journey further and you will come upon the Wildlife Museum set inside the Park. Ask your guide about the numerous and seldom related stories of the mammoths who roamed the Park; be astounded.
Day 6 – Nuwara Eliya – Horton Plains - Udawalawe (B+D)
‘Highest altitude national park in Sri Lanka’
- After an early breakfast, transfer to Horton Plains
- Visit Horton Plains National Park
- Transfer to Udawalawe
- Check in to the Tented Camp.
- BBQ dinner and overnight stay at Big Game Camp in Udawalawe
- Night Drive after the Dinner.
Horton Plains National Park - Horton Plains National Park is a key component of Sri Lanka’s most important catchment area. It is a highly unique ecosystem that homes a large number of endemic plants and fauna, representing the country’s wet and montane zones. Mount Totupolakanda and Mount Kirigalpotta can be seen in the north and west regions of the Park while the big World’s End is one of the Park’s main attractions. Baker’s Fall with its misty waters is another awe inspiring location within the sanctuary. The plateau at 2,100 m of Horton Plains makes for the highest tableland in the country. The climate within the Park is mostly rainy with an annual rainfall that exceeds 5000 mm, even though a short dry spell is sometimes experienced between January and March. The average temperature in the Park is usually around 15ºC.
A grassland fringed with patches of dense montane cloud forests is a characteristic feature of Horton Plains that supports high levels of endemism with 5% of the floral species being endemics of Sri Lanka. The Sambar Deer is most commonly seen in the Park, even though Slender Loris, Long Clawed Shrew, Montane Toque Macaque are among the other residents to be seen. The Park is also home to 12 species of uniquely endemic birds.
Night Drive - Udawalawe Big Game Camp
Due to the strategic positioning of our Camp next to an Elephant Corridor, we have arranged an exciting night drive for you mainly to observe the behavior of the Elephants in the night as well as to monitor the electric fence of the bordering village. We will start the drive from our campsite following dinner. After passing the first 500 metres, you will see the signboard ‘Elephant Crossing’, the starting point of the Elephant Corridor ( Wetahira Kanda Elephant Corrido). We will take you roughly 2 km along the Elephant Corridor. In this drive, we have recorded: Elephants, Water Buffalo, nocturnal Birds, Spotted Deers, Jackals, Civet Cats (formerly called the Ring-tailed civet), Golden Palm Civet Cats, Wild Boars, lizards, etc.
Day 7 – Udawalawe - Lunugamvehera – Yala (B+D)
‘Giants in Transit and in the Wild ’
- An early morning departure for the Morning Safari at Udawalawe National Park
- Visit the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home and witness feeding time at noon
- Transfer to Lunugamvehera
- Safari at Lunugamvehera National Park
- Transfer to Big Game Tented Camp in Yala
- BBQ dinner and overnight stay at Big Game camp in Yala
Udawalawe National Park - The Udawalawe National Park is situated covering areas in two Districts of Sri Lanka; namely Ratnapura and Moneragala. This is the largest conservation area in both districts and is home to the Walawe reservoir. Situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, the predominant vegetation type in the Park is scattered grasslands and thorny shrubs. The soil and climatic conditions are key factors for determining the major vegetation type in the Park. The period between May and September are special for Park visitors as they get the opportunity to come across herds of elephants even at midday. While the bird population in the Park is significant, their observation can be difficult due to the landscape’s tall grass. In contrast, the 20+ species of mammals and numerous reptile species can be sighted in the Park.
Elephant Transit Home Udawalawe
A refuge for orphaned elephants, presently there are 35 babies being reared in the Transit Home (Ath Athuru Sevana). The babies have minimum human contact so as to make the transition back into wilderness easier. Many of these elephants have been either orphaned, cut off from the rest of the herd or been tragically caught up in the ongoing conflict with humans and their boundaries. The elephants are eventually released into the wild and can start to integrate with other elephants in Udawalawe National Park. Feeding the calves with milk happens every three hours throughout the 365 days of the year. Public viewing of the feeding is permitted daily at 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Feeding times are always a great source of entertainment to visitors, as they witness the childish antics of the baby elephants rushing to get first to the giant baby milk bottles. A very worthwhile visit, both to watch the baby elephants learning to cope in a new environment, and more importantly, to see how the Asian Elephant needs to be protected.
Lunugamvehera National Park - The Lunugamwehera National Park is situated in both the Moneragala and Hambantota Districts. An annual drought is experienced by this dry zone Park that is dominated by gently undulating plains and rock knobs. The Lunugamwehera reservoir is a key feature of the Park and covers a significant amount of its area. Many stages of a forest in succession can be seen at Lunugamwehera where the floral diversity ranges from scrubs, thorny shrubs to grasslands. Shifting cultivation has played a key role in the emergence of this landscape pattern. The species richness of the Lunugamwehera National Park mainly consists of birds, mammals and reptiles. Specifically, 184 bird species, 43 mammals and 12 amphibians can be observed in this protected area
Day 8 – Yala ( B+L+D)
‘ Observe and photograph Sri Lankan Leopards in the Wild’
- After breakfast, visit a temple in the jungle: ‘ Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya’
- Back to the Camp for lunch
- Leave for Evening Safari at Yala National Park
- BBQ dinner and overnight stay at Big Game Camp in Yala
- Optional visit to the temple of the God Katharagama (who rides a Peacock as his vehicle)
Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya - Sithulpawwa Rajamaha Viharaya has also been called Chiththala Pabbatha “the hill of the quiet mind” in ancient times. Sithulpawwa is known as a location where thousands of Arhats lived at one time. According to folklore it is said that a novice monk called Thissa who has reached the state of Arhath lived here and later a stupa was built encasing his remains - thus this also is known as Tissa Thera Chetiya.
Sithulpawwa is located deep in the jungles of the Yala National Park, and is no stranger to wildlife such as elephants and leopards frequenting the area. Surrounded by only the sounds of wilderness and temple chants, a journey to Sithulpawwa is a peaceful escape that is befitting to its name.
We leave very early on this excursion as there is a very high probability of encountering leopards and elephants on the way.
Yala National Park - Yala National Park is situated in the south-east region of Sri Lanka and is the second largest National Park in the island, situated some 300 kms away from Colombo. It was in the early 1890s that it was established as a game sanctuary. The Park is located in a dry-zone area where the drought season is very long while the daytime average temperature can go over 30 degrees - not unusual for this part of the island. The Park land makes up most of the reserve but it also includes lakes, beaches, jungle area, rivers and scrubland. This variety in terrain provides an excellent range of habitat for wildlife. The largest concentration of leopards - an endangered species - are in this region although the chances of sighting are very low. About 32 species of mammals, 125 species of birds and many reptiles and lagoon fauna species have been recorded in this Park. The Yala National Park is famous among visitors as the best place to view large mammals within one territory.
Kataragama temple is a Hindu and Buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murugan also known as Kataragama deviyo. This is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the Buddhist, Hindus, Muslims and Veddah people. Thousands of devotees from Sri Lanka and other parts of the world visit this temple daily. According to legends, the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya was built by King Dutugemunu around 160 B.C
Kataragama deviyo is a guardian deity of Sri Lanka. A popular deity who is considered to be very powerful, a shrine dedicated to Kataragama deviyo is found in many places around the country. God Kataragama has six heads and twelve hands and hence known as Shanmukha('six-headed') and Dvadasakara ('twelve-handed'). The god's vahana (vehicle) is the bird peacock called Paravani
According to some legends God Kataragama originally lived in the Mount Kailash in Himalaya and had a divine consort by the name of Thevani. After settling down at Kataragama in south eastern Sri Lanka, he fell in love with Valli, a beautiful maiden princess who had been raised by the indigenous Veddahs. Till today the indigenous Veddah people come to venerate Kataragama deviyo at the Kataragama temple complex from their forest abodes. His relationship to the Veddah princess Valli is celebrated during the annual Esala festival.
Another legend about God Kataragama is that King Mahasen of the Kingdom of Ruhuna who built Kiri Veheta Buddhist Stupa in Kataragama in the 6th century BC, later came to be worshipped as a deity. In the Sinhalese tradition and culture, local kings, rulers and ancestors who did a great service to the country or community were ordained as deities.
Day 9 – Yala – Mirissa
‘Large flocks of Flamingos’
- After an early breakfast, leave for Bundala National Park
- Morning jeep safari at Bundala National Park
- Transfer to Mirissa
- Check in to the hotel
- Overnight stay at Esprit d’ici (or similar star hotel) in Mirissa
Bundala National Park - Bundala National Park is situated in the Hambantota District towards the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The Park consists of five shallow, brackish lagoons that are interconnected by channels and marshes as well as an adjacent coast. The Park is an important location as the last refuge of the greater flamingo in this part of the island. This aquatic habitat welcomes a range of flying winter visitors, who seek sanctuary in the Park for feeding and breeding, annually. Every water bird in Sri Lanka can be observed in this Park making it a spectacular destination for bird lovers. The sand dunes on the beaches are visited by nesting sea turtles. In addition, the Park is home to a range of threatened reptiles and mammals including elephants. Grass flats and forest scrubs are the primary terrestrial vegetation seen in the Park while blue green algae dominates the aquatic parts. Bundala is also the only National Park where you can see both marsh and estuarine crocodiles on the same safari drive.
Day 10 – Mirissa – Yagirala Pangolin Research Centre in Kalutara (B +L+D)
Pangolin - Save the ‘Scaly and Unique’
‘Spot Blue Whales and Sperm Whales’ – (Optional)
- After an early breakfast, transfer to Galle and Visit Galle Fort
Optional – Whale watching boat safari (Season: Nov - Apr)
- Transfer to Yagirala
- Check in to the Project Research Centre for lunch
- Programme briefing
- Site visit - Yagirala Rainforest /assist in invasive plant removal and replanting native trees (You can go for a river bath while here, as well)
- Take part in tracking sessions to locate radio-collared pangolins (this opportunity may not be available at all times) or Lights Off
- Dinner and overnight stay at Pangolin Research Centre
You need to be at the Mirissa Harbour by 6.30a.m. to go whale watching (Season is from November to April) in order to catch a glimpse of the majestic Blue Whale and Sperm Whale, two of Sri Lanka’s ‘Big Five’. Sri Lanka is located within the International Whaling Commission’s protected zone in the Indian Ocean while 26 of the identified cetacean species are found in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. Sri Lanka’s southern coast is among the best locations in the world to see Blue Whales and boasts the longest Blue Whale season which falls during their annual migratory route from the Horn of Africa to the Arabian Sea. In the evening, you will be taken to the archaeological and architectural heritage monument, the Galle Dutch Fort which was first built by the Portuguese in 1587 and then extensively fortified by the Dutch in the 17th century. Your overnight stay and dinner will be arranged at a hotel in Mirissa.
Pangolins are insectivorous mammals confined to the Afro-tropical and Indo-Malayan regions. They are also known as “Scaly Anteaters” because of their structure and food habits. These burrowing mammals predominantly feed on termites and ants. Pangolins are unique with a body covered with tough, overlapping scales. In the presence of danger, pangolins quickly roll themselves up into a tight ball. In fact, the name “pangolin” is derived from Malayan phrase “Pen Gulling” meaning the “rolling ball”, owing to this particular behaviour. Pangolins are solitary, nocturnal creatures and are known to be good climbers. Pangolin limbs are stout and well adapted for digging. Each paw has five toes, and their forefeet have three long, curved, claws used to demolish the nests of termites and ants and to aid with digging, nesting and sleeping burrows. Pangolins shuffle on all four limbs, balancing on the outer edges of their forefeet and tucking their fore claws underneath as they walk.
We have partnered with the Pangolin Conservation Project initiated by the Biodiversity and Sustainability Research Group of the Department of Forestry and Environmental Science of the University of Sri Jayawardenapura, to create awareness and to provide hands-on experience in conservation efforts towards this endangered species.
The primary focus of the project is to protect the Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) from poaching, hunting and habitat loss. The Pangolin Conservation Project has three focal points: Protection, Research and Education. This project is based in Yagirala Forest Reserve, a tropical lowland rainforest in the south-west of Sri Lanka.
Day 11 –Yagira Research Center in Kalutara – Negombo (B)
- After breakfast, we will take you to Negombo ( Check out time 10.30a.m.)
End of the tour from Kalutara or Negombo
Available Guaranteed Departure
Available Guaranteed Departures
10th Mar’23 to 20th Mar’23 : Available
10th Apr’23 to 20th Apr’23 : Available
10th May’23 to 20th May’23 : Available
10th June’23 to 20th June’23 : Available
** Solo travelers:- Single traveler can share with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip (based on availability) or pay the SGL room supplement.
Tipping – You need to consider tipping your guide/s + activity guides and service providers such as waiters in appreciation of efficiency and service you receive. You will get the tip recommendations from the tour confirmation.
Optional Activities - Whale watching at US$ 65 per person (Season from November to mid-April)
Other important information - https://www.ecoteam.lk/faq.html
Duration : 10 nights /11 days
Start/Finish city: Negombo to Kalutara/Negombo
Physical grading : 3 – Average
Hotels: 4 nights in hotels/ 5 nights in a Tented Camp and 1 night at Pangolin Research Centre
Meals included : 10 breakfast + 3 lunches + 5 BBQ dinners + 1 Dinner
Trip type: Small groups - Max. 16 – Average 4
Minimum age: 12 years old
Finishing point instruction: - Kalutara or Negombo. This will depend on your departure flight time and your next destination.
- If your departure flight is in the morning or afternoon, you will have to take a separate vehicle to go to the airport early morning ( group checkout time 10.30 a.m.)
- If your flight is in the late afternoon you will end the trip from Negombo
- If you extend the tour, you will have to get a separate vehicle to your new place and we will confirm the endpoint once we know your exact destination
All the additional transfers and accommodations will be arranged for a reasonable price on request
Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions
OUR RATES INCLUDE
- Accommodation DBL room sharing basis
- Meals as per the programme (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
- Arrival transport from the airport to the hotel in Negombo
- Transport for the group from Negombo on day 2 to Kalutara/Negombo on day 11
- Wildlife expert guide service (Driver guide for 4-7 pax and national guide for 8 pax and more)
- All applicable entrance fees to national parks and mentioned sites
- All Government Taxes are applicable
OUR RATES DO NOT INCLUDE
- Flight and visa cost
- individual transfers - transfers from Kalutara /Negombo on day 11 (We will arrange on request and cost will depend on your next accommodation place and departure flight time. If your departure flight is in the morning on day 11, you have to book a taxi from Yagirala)
- Additional meals and beverages
- Optional excursions/activities
- Personal effects for windy, rainy, warm weather conditions should be considered
- Insect repellents, sun protection creams, etc, are highly recommended
- Suitable casual clothing and footwear for outdoor activities
- Full payment with the confirmation
- 90 Days or more - US $ 200 Administrative Fee
- ·60 to 89 Days - 15% of the tour cost will be charged
- ·30 to 59 Days - 25% of the tour cost will be charged
- 14 to 29 Days - 50% of the tour cost will be charged
- 08 to 13 Days - 75% of the tour cost will be charged
- Less than 7 Days -No refund shall be given
- Day pack/bag (Used for daily excursions /safaris to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones)
- Small travel towel
- Waterproof backpack cover
- Windproof rain jacket
- Locks for bags
- Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
- Sun hat/bandana
- Waterproof clothes
- Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
- Binoculars (optional)
- Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
- Flashlight/torch -Headlamps are ideal ( available at camp sites)
If there are any changes in your arrival details, or if you require us to arrange departure transfer or any other additional nights accommodation and activity booking - you can contact your travel advisor or representative of our operation team
Emergency contact person during your tour
- Your travel advisor or your next-of-kin/nominee