- Sinharaja Forest Reserve - One of last remaining areas of virgin rainforest, great birdlife
- Uda Walawawe National Park - Far more open scenery giving more panoramic views and large population of elephants
- Yala National Park - famous for its Leopards but also worth visiting for the incredible landscapes
Day 1: Depart on a choice of flights to Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Day 2: Arrive Colombo. Private transfer to Galle for 2 nts
Day 3: Private tour of Galle's UNESCO walled town
Day 4: Private transfer to Sinharaja Forest Reserve for 2 nts in the Rainforest Eco Lodge
Day 5: Sinharaja Forest Reserve walking tour, one of Sri Lanka's last remaining areas of virgin rainforest
Day 6: Private transfer to Udawalawe National Park for 2 nts at Kalu's Hideaway
Day 7: Elephant Transit Home private guided tour & Udawalawe National Park jeep safari
Day 8: Private transfer to Yala National Park for 1 nt. Afternoon private Jeep Safari
Day 9: Private Yala NP Safari. Transfer to your choice of south or west coast beach hotel for 4 nts
Days 10-12: 4 days to relax and enjoy your seaside setting.
Day 13: Private transfer back up to Colombo in time for your flight home.
Day 14: Arrive home.
Day 1: UK Airport / Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Colombo. Direct flights are with Sri Lanka Airlines from Heathrow, otherwise there are a range of one stop options with such airlines as British Airways, Qatar and Emirates.
Day 2: Arrive Colombo - Private Transfer to Galle
On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred straight down the west coast to the historic town of Galle. On arrival check-in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. The rest of the day’s free to recover from the journey and Galle is very easy to explore under your own steam. Watch sunset from the fort walls and then enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants that dot the atmospheric streets.
Day 3: Galle (B) - Morning Private Guided City Tour
Galle is the best example of a European built fortified city in South and South-East Asia. Where the mighty walls once held back invaders they now hold back modern Sri Lanka and its accompanying traffic, noise and life. As soon as you pass through the walls it’s like someone’s turned down the volume and transported you back to Europe.
This morning your private guide will take you on a walking tour of the town, learning a little of its history and exploring the narrow low-rise streets whose Dutch period villas have been converted into beautiful boutique hotels, galleries, shops, restaurants and cafes. There are several museums as well as the Dutch Reformed Church and the Arab Quarter. Finish in time for lunch and the afternoon’s free to further explore under your own steam.
A popular afternoon tour is to explore the coast and rural interior by bike following flat local paths and quiet lanes. A gentle introduction to Sri Lanka involving just over an hour of cycling that’s easily added to any itinerary.
Day 4: Galle (B) - Sinharaja Forest Reserve
The adventure starts this morning as you head inland with your private guide 3 hours cross country to the Sinharaja Forest Reserve. More of a tour than a transfer, the drive will take you off the main tourist trail and so be all the more enjoyable for it. The last 10kms is along a narrow road up into the hills and gives you an early insight into what a special place this is. On arrival check-in to the Rainforest Eco Lodge for 2 nights.
The setting is superb in one of the island’s most beautiful locations rich in endemic birdlife and tropical forest. Set on a hillside looking out towards Sinharaja’s UNESCO Biosphere it offers easy access to one of Sri Lanka’s last remaining areas of virgin rainforest. A sense of adventure and engagement will definitely help get the most from your stay, a must for bird-watchers. Afternoon free to immerse yourself in your new environment.
Day 5: Sinharaja Forest Reserve - Guided Day Walk (B / L)
Sinharaja's upland landscape, with rolling ridges and valleys of dense forest, threaded with streams, pools and rivers, is a perfect refuge for birds. The climate is hot and wet, ideal for leeches and exotic tropical birds, including 18 of Sri Lanka's 20 endemic rainforest species such as the Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-eared Bulbul and Blue Magpie. Sinharaja is also famous for its unusual mixed feeding flocks, usually dominated by Greater Racket-tailed Drongo and the Orange-billed Babbler. Wildlife also includes Purple-faced Langurs, Toque Monkeys, wild pigs, Mouse and Barking Deer, and very rare sightings of leopards and Fishing Cats.
This morning join a local tracker for a private guided tour of the rainforest. The exact tour can be adapted to suit your interests and energy levels, but the guide will help you understand what makes Sinharaja so special and point out the wildlife, birds, plants and trees that thrive here. If you go for the day the walk will also include Kekuna Ella and Pathan Oya, 2 of the many waterfalls that dot the forest. Lunch will be a simple picnic. Back at the hotel before nightfall.
Day 6: Sinharaja Forest Reserve (B) - Udawalawe National Park
Staying in such a unique environment we’ve left this morning free so you can enjoy the natural forest setting and perhaps explore further along a choice of trails that lead out from the property. If you’d prefer to leave this morning the tour can be adapted.
Check-out at lunchtime and continue east with your private guide 3 hours towards Udawalawe National Park. The scenery soon starts to open up and becomes dotted with villages and paddy fields interspersed with coconut plantations. On arrival check in to Kalu’s Hideaway for 2 nights, a lodge like hotel on the banks of the Walawe River. Evening free.
Day 7: Udawalawe (B) - Elephant Transit Home & Udawalawe National Park Jeep Safari
This morning leave the hotel and travel a short way past the Udawalawe Reservoir to the Elephant Transit Home. On the way keep your eyes out for the “beggars”, adult elephants from the park who skirt the reservoir and beg for food over the fence.
The Elephant Transit Home is sponsored by the Born Free Trust and was established in 1995 with the primary objective of the rehabilitation of orphaned baby elephants and their release back to the wild. There’s no riding or real interaction with the babies, just the pure joy and anarchy of feeding time. The elephants are largely free to wander around the grounds of the home and because it’s just across the lake to the national park it’s a much easier transition when they’re ready to join the herd.
Back to the hotel for lunch at own expense then re-join your guide for a late afternoon safari through the beautiful scenery of Udawalawe National Park. Udawalawe National Park covers an area of 31,800 hectares and was declared a protected sanctuary with full national park status in 1972. Surrounded by mountain ranges, the terrain of the park is a mixture of grassland, which of all Sri Lanka’s wildlife reserves, best rivals the Savanna of Africa and shrub jungle. Teak plantations, water holes and two important factors make this park special, the large Udawalawe Reservoir and the Walewe River, which ensure a supply of water for the fauna within. Internationally renowned for its large herd of elephants, the park is also known for several species of deer, wild boar, buffalo, jackal and very rare sightings of leopard.
Day 8: Udawalawe (B) - Yala - Private Jeep Safari
After breakfast check-out and transfer with your private guide south east to Yala, Sri Lanka’s iconic national park. The wide flat coastal plain soon changes to the harsh scrubland that epitomizes the “Dry Zone” around Yala, on arrival check-in to your choice of accommodation for 1 night.
Time to settle in and enjoy lunch (own expense) then join your private guide for an afternoon jeep safari. First established as a hunting reserve Yala has come a long way as now established as the place to see leopards. Yala is unique within Sri Lanka because of the range of habitats it offers from dense to scrub jungle, open savannah to semi-arid areas, rock pools, ravines and fresh water lakes strewn with prominent rocky outcrops, all bordered by a snaking coastline.
It’s not just about leopards; the park is teeming with an incredible variety of wildlife, including elephants, buffalo, crocodiles, sloth bears and diverse tropical birdlife. Back at the hotel as the sun sets.
Day 9: Yala (B) - Morning Jeep Safaris - Transfer to Beach
Up early this morning to re-enter the park and enjoy another 3 hour safari through Yala. Hopefully you spotted a leopard yesterday, but if not fingers’ crossed today. If you’d like to spend longer here there’s the option to upgrade the tour to a full day tour. This is the best way to escape the crowds as between 12 and 4 you’ll have the park largely to yourselves, although you will park up to enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch.
Back to the hotel for a late breakfast and then the touring section of your holiday ends as you’re transferred out to the beautiful coastline and 4 nights (or more / less) nights on your choice of beach on the south or west coast.
If you’re interested in birds, on the way to the beach you could spend the afternoon in Bundala National Park, a park off the main tourist trail that’s also good for crocodiles, wild boar, mongoose, monitor lizards, monkeys and elephants.
Sri Lanka boasts an incredible range of resorts and hotels and so we’ll offer a selection of suggestions that we hope will fit the mark. If you’ve time a 5 minute conversation can often help us refine the choice to fit in with the style, budget and position you’re looking for.
Days 10-12: Beach Days (B)
3 full days to enjoy your beachside location and perhaps explore a bit further. Dolphin and whale watching tours are particularly popular off the south coast, as is a visit to Galle.
Day 13: Beach (B) / Home
Day free until your airport transfer and overnight flight home.
Day 14: Arrive home
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas International airport departure taxes if payable locally
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Galle
Beautifully preserved, this impressive walled city offers an enthralling insight into Sri Lanka’s colonial past.
Hotels in Sinharaja Forest Reserve
This reserve is one of the island’s last remaining areas of virgin rainforest. Great bird watching.
Hotels in Udawalawe National Park
One of the most beautiful parks centred on a large lake around which elephants and other wildlife thrive.
Hotels Around Yala National Park
World famous for its leopard population, Yala is Sri Lanka’s number one wildlife destination.
Hotels on the South Coast Beaches
The continuous ribbon of bays offers a wide selection of hotels from large developments, through hideaway luxury resorts down to colonial style villas. The most popular beach destination during our winter months.
Hotels on the West Coast Beaches
The West Coast boast as string of established beach resorts that offer a fantastic range of luxury beach hotels with good water sport facilities.