The Ultimate Island Safari

A two and half week wildlife viewing extravaganza emphasizing why Sri Lanka makes a strong claim to be ranked among the leading all-round wildlife viewing destinations in the world with a combination of staggering biodiversity, large terrestrial wildlife and marine wildlife along with diverse landscapes found nowhere  else in the world. This itinerary is best suited for traveling in the winter period between the months of November through to April, however, can be altered if planning to travel in the summer months.

Day 01: Arrival and transfer to Kalpitiya (3 ½ hour drive). Remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight at the Blue Whale Resort in Kalpitiya.

 

Day 02: Early morning, go dolphin watching, where pods of Spinner Dolphin are encountered. Venturing out deeper, one may come across aggregations of Sperm Whales. Afternoon, leave for Wilpattu (2 hour drive). Evening at leisure. Spend 02 nights at Hotel Sinharagama in Wilpattu.

Days 03: Full day safari to explore Wilpattu in search of Leopard, Sloth Bear and other wildlife.

Day 04: Morning, leave for Mannar (2 ½ hour drive). Spend the next two days birding at Urumalai beach for gulls and terns, and Vankalai wetland for migrant waterfowl and flocks of Greater Flamingo. Spend 02 nights at the Palmyrah House in Mannar.

 

Day 05: Early morning, birding around Vankalai and the Mannar saltern. You have the option of a day excursion to Kayts Island in Jaffna for Greater Flamingo and migrant waterfowl

Day 06: Morning, leave for Habarana (4 ½ hour drive). Afternoon, view herds of Elephants at the Hurulu Forest Reserve. Subject to water levels, the elephants may also be seen at Kaudulla or Minneriya. After dark, you have the option of looking for the nocturnal Grey Slender Loris. Overnight: Spend 02 nights at The Other Corner in Habarana.  

Day 07: Checkout with a packed breakfast and visit Polonnaruwa (1 hour drive) for a guided primate watching tour amongst the historic ruins. Afterwards, proceed to the Knuckles (2 ½ hour drive). Late afternoon, explore the Pitawala Pathana trek, where you can do some birding for highland species and endemics. Spend 02 nights in the Knuckles at Sir Johns Bungalow.  

Day 08: Full day exploring the Knuckles Ranges which is abundant in endemic species including a variety of lizards, amphibians and a mix of highland endemics.

Day 09: Morning, leave for Nuwara Eliya (4 ½ hour drive). Late afternoon, look for highland endemic birds and troops of Purple-faced Leaf Monkeys in Hakgala Botanical Gardens. Spend 02 nights at Galway Heights in Nuwara Eliya.

Day 10: Morning, visit Horton Plains for viewing highland endemic birds and lizards along with a scenic nature walk to the World’s End viewpoint and Baker’s Falls.

Day 11: Morning, leave for Yala (4 ½ hour drive). Afternoon game drive in Yala National Park for wildlife viewing with an added emphasis on leopards and sloth bear. Spend 02 nights at the Cinnamon Wild in Yala.

Day 12: Early morning and afternoon safaris in Yala for wildlife viewing.

Day 13: Morning, leave for Weligama, stopping en-route in Matara (2 hour drive) for a boat safari along the Nilwala River in search of Estuarine Crocodiles. Spend 02 nights at the 22 Weligama Bay Resort in Weligama.

Day 14: Early morning, go whale watching from Mirissa with an added emphasis on locating Blue Whales. Afternoon at leisure. After dark, visit Rekawa Beach to see nesting sea turtles.

Day 15: Morning, leave for Sinharaja (5 ½ hour drive). Late afternoon, birding in the outskirts of Sinharaja for lowland endemics and mixed species bird flocks. Spend 02 nights at the Rockview Hotel in Sinharaja.

Days 16: Birding in the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and its outskirts as well as the Morapitiya and Athwelthota forests in search of lowland endemics.

Day 17: Early morning, one last guided walk around the outskirts of Sinharaja. Late morning, departure transfer to the Bandaranaike International Airport (3 ½ hour drive).