Wildlife & Highlights

Wildlife & Highlights

    Tour Summary

    A wildlife lover’s treat, this tour lets you discover the leopards, elephants and hundreds of other species of wildlife that live in some of Sri Lanka’s best-protected national parks. On the way, explore the ruins of ancient kingdoms, take a stroll through a historical botanical garden, spend a day at a Dutch fort and visit a tribe of Veddas, the indigenous inhabitants of this island that have survived several hundred years

  • 14 Nights / 15 Days
    +13 Age
    Destination Wilpattu National Park, Anuradhapura, Ritigala, Sigiriya, Minneriya, Sigiriya, Kandy, Gal Oya, Yala, Koggala, Galle, Airport
    Departure 12/04/2019
    Departure Time 23:00 (24H)
    Dress Code casual
    Package Extras Tour Guide
    Activities Wilpattu national park safari, visit historical sites, Cave Exploring and Hiking in Ritigala, Visit Dambulla Cave Temple, Climb Sigiriya Rock Fortress , hot air balloon tour, Jeep Safari , Boat safari at Gal Oya, Jaungle Walkthrough with a Chief of indigenous tribe, Explore Beaches,
  • Tour Plan

    First Day

    Airport to Wilpattu

    Ayubowan! Once your Zelen Leisure Representative meets you personally on arrival, you will be introduced to your chauffeur guide and then begin your journey to uncover the wonders of this island.

    Visit, feel and discover. Feel the vivacity of this island nation, bask in this emerald isle’s intoxicating beauty and enjoy an extraordinary travel experience. Explore Sri Lanka’s golden beaches, the glorious history, the rich wilderness and the bustling cosmopolitans and be amazed!

    Transfer to Wilpattu

    On the way, you stop at a tropical pineapple shop and enjoy the taste of the juicy fruit. Then continue your journey to Wilpattu. Thick foliage is interwoven with shrubbery, streamlets and tanks that expand during the monsoons and contract during the dry season – the landscapes of the Wilpattu National Park reflect an ideal hideout for the varied wildlife species.

    Overnight at Leopard Trails, Camp.

    Second Day

    Wilpattu National Park

    Today with a packed breakfast proceed to experience a Jeep safari in Wilpattu National Park. Wilpattu National Park is the largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is home to many diverse forest types. It was one of the first parks to open in Sri Lanka, and thus has a rich heritage.

    Wilpattu National Park retains its status as a much-visited safari destination due to a strong prevalence of leopards. Though the present number of Sri Lankan leopards in the park is unknown, it is one of the preferred wildlife safari destinations to observe these big cats. Another highlight is the dense population of Sri Lankan Sloth Bears, a highly threatened sub-species of the sloth bear that exist only on the island.

    Overnight at Aliya Resort, Deluxe Room

    Third Day

    Wilpattu National Park to Anuradhapura.

    Today you will visit the Ancient capital Anuradhapura.

    Visit the sacred Bo Tree, which is the world’s oldest tree on record, and has been guarded by monks for over 2000 years

    The tree is said to have sprung from a sapling of the tree that the Buddha himself meditated under in India. In addition to this there are many other historical and religious sites found in Anuradhapura. It is beside this tree, a bless chanter will bless you for a great life and a tour.

    The Buddhist Amarapura Nikaya sect had its first upasampada (higher ordination ceremony) on a fleet of boats anchored upon it in 1803. The Buddhist Kothduwa temple is situated on an isolated island in the lake.

    For over 1000 years Sinhalese Kings with occasional South Indian interlopers ruled from the great city of Anuradhapura. It is the most extensive and important of the Sri Lankan ancient cities and today you’ll get to see it extensively. Anuradhapura was found in the 4th century BC and is famous for its Dagabas (Temples), Reservoirs, and beautifully landscaped gardens, the ruins of which still remain to this day. After the visit, transfer to Ulagalla.

    Overnight at the Ulagalla Walawwa, Ulagalla Chalet

    Fourth Day

    Anuradhapura to Ritigala

    After breakfast proceed to Ritigala.

    Located in the Anuradhapura district, deep within the thickness of the Ritigala Nature Reserve is the extensive, monastic Ritigala cave complex.

    The site comprises of some 70 caves, the ruins of the monastery lie atop the 766m hill that beholds a scenic view of the dry terrains that surround it. The architecture and the cave complex itself bear a certain mysterious nature owing to the long meditational pathways that open into the thick jungle and large stone-lined reservoirs.

    According to legends revolved around the origins of these mysterious caves, Hanuman (the monkey King of Ramayana – an Indian narrative) leapt to India to inform Prince Rama of Princess Sita’s whereabouts, from Ritigala. The reserve surrounding the caves is home to wild elephants, bears and leopards; the site was abandoned until it was rediscovered by British explorers in the 19th century.

    Afterwards, proceed to Dambulla Cave Temple. Located in the Matale district, Dambulla is part of the cultural triangle and is home to the world-famous Dambulla cave temples. The cave temples complex that lies atop a massive hill on the edge of the town is one of the eight UNESCO world heritage sites in the country and is renowned for its unique mural paintings and sculptures.

    Check-in and relax at your wonderful hotel.

    Overnight at Jetwing Vil Uyana, Forest Dwelling

    Fifth Day

    Day at Sigiriya

    After breakfast proceed to Climb the Lion Rock – Sigiriya Rock Fortress.

    The marvellous rock fortress of Sigiriya is a rare jewel among the many treasures in Sri Lanka. The site was the domain of King Kashyapa whose aim was to build an impregnable fortress and within it, a heavenly abode

    On the way to the top one can observe the famous Sigiriya frescoes of the buxom, wasp-waisted maidens bearing flowers, amidst the wilderness and ancient ruins. The smoothly glazed ‘Mirror Wall’ located a few steps away has sealed the expressions of ancient visitors, inspired by the vibrant frescoes. As you ascend you’ll stop for a stylish rest in a shade where your porter will serve you various tasty Sri Lankan delicacies

    This remarkable 5th-century archaeological site is made unforgettable by its dramatic setting. A moat, rampart, extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock and the frescoes of the ‘Heavenly Maidens’ of Sigiriya.

    Afterwards, proceed back to the hotel.

    Overnight at Jetwing Vil Uyana, Forest Dwelling

    Sixth Day

    Sigiriya to Minneriya and back to Sigiriya

    Early Morning, If weather conditions are positive, proceed to enjoy a hot air balloon tour.

    The best way to see the beauty of the area surrounding the cultural triangle is with a bird’s eye perspective and you can head right up towards the sky in a hot air balloon.

    Breath-taking aerial views are on offer from your quiet, peaceful vantage point. Because the wind moves the dirigible, each tour takes a different path and each tour is unique. All pilots are trained and licensed by the Sri Lanka Civil Aviation Authority and will brief you on the necessary safety precautions.

    Or Proceed to enjoy a local experience in Hiriwadduna Village. A leafy hamlet located in the North Central province of Sri Lanka – the village of Hiriwadunna offers another ideal opportunity for travellers to observe local rural life up-close.

    The tour through the village includes an excursion through the countryside, along mud-thatched village huts, flourishing paddy fields, streamlets, rivers and springs of crystal clear. The banana plantations in the village make up for an interesting visit. The tour also includes visits to the scenic reservoir in Hiriwadunna, which is crossed by a boat to reach a chena cultivation, where the travellers would be able to set their eyes on the scenic sights of the village atop a tree house built on a lone tree midst the cultivations.

    Visitors are also able to visit the local cottages where they can relish the taste of a hot cup of ginger-infused tea and witness skilful carvings made on old roots. Evening transfer to Minneriya National Park to enjoy a Jeep Safari.

    The park, nourished by an ancient man-made tank provides shelter for troupes of toque monkeys, sambar deer as well as leopards, elephants and bird-flocks including little cormorants and painted storks to name a few. It is also renowned for the ‘Sixth Greatest Wildlife Spectacle of the World’ – the amazing phenomenon of the ‘Minneriya Elephant gathering’ that occurs annually during August – September.

    Transfer back to your hotel and relax.

    Overnight at Jetwing Vil Uyana, Forest Dwelling

    Seventh Day

    Sigiriya to Kandy

    Morning at leisure

    Later, check-out and transfer to Kandy.

    Kandy referred to the hill capital, Sri Dalada Maligawa that houses the sacred tooth relic of Buddha remains the prime landmark. Apart from the ancient monuments, the delightful jumble of antique shops and the bustling market are places to visit.

    The areas to visit by Jeep are limited from Ali-wanguwa to Kossapola and from Mullegama to Kebellabokka. The main method of travel is by boat from the Bund of the reservoir to observe wild animals and birds in the open areas along the lake.

    Check-in to hotel and evening temple visit for pooja ceremony.

    Overnight at Kandy House, Deluxe Room

    Eight Day

    Kandy to Peradeniya to Kandy

    Early morning you will proceed for a Jeep Safari. En-route, you will have a lovely breakfast at a wonderful location.

    After breakfast, transfer to Peradeniya.

    Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, although its origins date back to the era of medieval times, bears a rich history punctuated by colonialism and industrial change.

    The splendour of the gardens, further uplifted by the river that flows through its fringes.

    You will be taken around the Peradeniya Gardens by an expert naturalist.

    Later, transfer back to the hotel and relax.

    Overnight at Kandy House, Deluxe Room

    Ninth Day

    Kandy to Gal Oya

    After breakfast, transfer to Gal Oya.

    Gal Oya, a path less travelled and an experience a traveller will fall in love with.

    This National Park declared in 1954 is 25,900 hectares in extent and covers most of the catchment area of the Senanayake Samudra

    The areas to visit by Jeep are limited from Ali-wanguwa to Kossapola and from Mullegama to Kebellabokka. The main method of travel is by boat from the Bund of the reservoir to observe wild animals and birds in the open areas along the lake.

    Check-in and relax at this beautiful hideout.

    Overnight at Gal Oya Lodge, Villa

    Tenth Day

    Gal Oya

    Early morning you will proceed for a Jeep Safari. En-route, you will have a lovely breakfast at a wonderful location.

    Proceed back to the hotel and relax.

    Boat Safari on Gal Oya Lake, which is the biggest in Sri Lanka. A great opportunity to observe the wildlife from the stunning Gal Oya Lake: including crocodiles, deer, elephants and many rare and endemic species of birds. This experience is the only one in Sri Lanka that enables you to spot wildlife from the water and to truly immerse yourself in the animals’ habitats. You may be lucky enough to see elephants swimming between islands or bathing at the lake’s edge. Today you’ll ride through the national park and embark on a boat. Cruising over the lake make sure to keep a sharp eye out for the wildlife!

    Overnight at Gal Oya Lodge, Villa

    Eleventh Day

    Gal Oya to Yala

    After breakfast experience, Sri Lanka’s indigenous inhabitants, the Veddas (‘forest-dwellers’) preserve a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic community dating from at least 16,000 BC..

    With the impending extinction of Wanniya-laeto culture, we stand to lose a rich body of indigenous lore and living ecological wisdom.

    We invite the Chief of Sri Lanka’s indigenous Vedda tribe to take you on a walk through the jungles of his ancestors. Enjoy nature as he brings the forest alive by explaining his tribes’ uses of medicinal plants, ancient hunting grounds, cave dwellings and an insight on how the hunter-gathers lived in the jungles of Gal Oya. Zelen Leisure and Gal Oya Lodge donate proceeds from this tour into a fund to support the local tribe in an ethical and community needs-based manner.

    On completion, proceed to Yala National Park

    Your accommodation today is a lovely campsite which serves AI, you will have a memorable dinner under a million stars and a bonfire.

    Overnight at Leopard Trails, Camp

    Twelft Day

    Yala National Park

    Enjoy an Early Morning Safari.

    Later, return to camp for lunch.

    Evening Safari.

    Overnight at Leopard Trails, Camp.

    Thirteenth Day

    Yala to Galle

    After Breakfast you will journey along the South Coast of Sri Lanka to the Historic city of Galle and stay at The Fortress, its architecture and interior inspired by the 17th Century Dutch Fort in Galle.

    Its Location in Koggala beach is sublime. Check-in and relax.

    Overnight at The Fortress Resort & Spa, Beach Room.

    Fourteenth Day

    Koggala to Galle

    After breakfast, proceed to enjoy a Galle City tour

    After settling in at the hotel take a tour of the old part of Galle city within the Dutch Fort built in the 17th century which has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

    A walk on the ramparts from Point Utrecht bastion to Flag Rock bastion will give you an excellent view of the ancient harbor which was known as Tar shish in the Bible. We will pass the District Court and the original entrance to the Fort en route to the Dutch Reformed Church built in the 17th century. The New Town to the north of the Fort was badly affected by the tsunami in 2004 and is the home of the famous International cricket stadium which has been re-built.

    Drinks and Dinner at a restaurant in the Galle Fort

    Overnight at The Fortress Resort & Spa, Beach Room

    Fifthteenth Day

    Galle to Airport

    After breakfast, proceed to Colombo International Airport to connect to your onward flight back home with amazing memories of this beautiful country!

  • Tour Route

    The resplendent coastline of Sri Lanka has plenty to discover; culture, food, wildlife and adventure. This tour lets you traverse across some of the island’s most charming coastal towns, where you will get to swim in the Indian Ocean, spot blue whales and dolphins, tuck into local cuisine, visit historical sites and unwind in luxury.