This small group tour is a superb introduction to the wildlife and beautiful scenery of Sri Lanka. A treat for animal enthusiasts, it offers the chance to see elephants and the elusive leopard as well as marine life on the island’s south coast. In the different national parks you will be guided by a naturalist who is an expert in the flora and fauna of their park.

• Colombo: 1 night

• Nuwara Eliya: 1 night

• Yala: 2 nights

• Udawalawe: 1 night

• Deniyaya: 1 night
• Galle: 2 nights

9nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE

This small group tour is a superb introduction to both the wildlife and beautiful scenery of Sri Lanka. A treat for animal enthusiasts, it provides you with the chance to see elephants and the elusive leopard in the wild in both popular and lesser-visited National Parks, and marine life on the island’s south coast. In the different parks you'll be guided by a naturalist who is an expert in the flora and fauna of their park.

• Chilaw: 2 nights

• Sigiriya: 2 nights

• Kandy: 1 night

• Nuwara Eliya: 1 night
• Yala: 2 nights
• Udawalawe: 1 night
• Deniyaya: 1 night
• Galle: 2 nights

13nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Colombo Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Sri Lanka.

Day 2: Colombo On arrival in Colombo transfer to your hotel where you will stay one night. This evening there will be a welcome dinner at Nuga Gama Restaurant at the hotel. During your meal you’ll get to meet your group and tour leader in a relaxed and social atmosphere. Approx. journey time: 1¼ hours; 25 miles. Stay: Cinnamon Grand (or similar). D.

Day 3: Colombo to Nuwara Eliya This morning it’s onwards deep into the island’s beautiful Hill Country. Drive to Nuwara Eliya, stopping for lunch at Kitulgala where the film The Bridge Over the River Kwai was filmed. This afternoon join a tour of the city of Nuwara Eliya. Set in a mountain valley some 1800 metres above sea level, it is surrounded by rolling hills covered in vast tea plantations Approx. journey time: 5½ hours, 112 miles. Stay: Jetwing St Andrew’s (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 4: Nuwara Eliya to Yala After an early departure you’ll arrive at Horton Plains National Park. The plains are characterised by rolling hills, forest and grasslands and are undoubtedly one of Sri Lanka’s best eco-tourism venues and nature reserves. It is home to an array of wildlife and is ideal for bird watchers with over 87 species, 14 of which are endemic. A three-hour trek over relatively challenging terrain takes you to the renowned World’s End precipice where you can enjoy incredible views over the surrounding countryside. You’ll then continue your journey south to Yala National Park, stopping for lunch en route. On arrival, spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the facilities at your hotel. Approx. journey time: 4½ hours, 105 miles. Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 5: Yala Today’s exploration takes you back into Yala National Park – a real highlight of the tour. It’s known locally as leopard country as it plays host to one of the world’s highest densities of leopards. Rise early for a morning 4x4 safari into the park before returning to the hotel where you can spend the rest of the day relaxing by the pool or on the beach. This evening head back into the park for another game drive. Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, D.

Day 6: Yala to Udawalawe This morning head back inland to another of Sri Lanka’s famed national parks – beautiful Udawalawe. Enjoy lunch at Athgira, a local restaurant serving Sri Lankan specialties, which sits just across the road from the Elephant Transit Home, the next stop on your tour. The transit home was established by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1995 as a rehabilitation centre. Here you’ll find a number of orphaned elephants being cared for before being released into the wild. Although you won’t get to interact with the elephants, this half-hour visit is a great opportunity to see the animals and discover the important and tireless work that’s done to get them back into the wild. Continue on for an afternoon safari in Udawalawe National Park. Lightly vegetated, the park is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to spot a variety of wildlife species including buffalo, elephants, and occasionally a leopard or two. Travel south to your hotel which is located approximately 10 minutes away from the entrance of the National Park. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 65 miles. Stay: Centauria Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 7: Udawalawe to Deniyaya Following breakfast, the tour continues onwards to your next hotel, a tranquil property that’s located close to Deniyaya, a village close to the edge of the beautiful Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This tropical virgin rain forest is the only natural UNESCO World Heritage Site and biosphere reserve in Sri Lanka and it’s an incredible place to experience endemic flora and fauna species. This afternoon, head out on a rainforest trek with a knowledgeable naturalist (1-1½ hours). The trails may be wet under foot so be sure to pack suitable footwear. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 59 miles. Stay: Rainforest Eco Lodge (or similar). B, D.

Day 8: Deniyaya to Galle Following breakfast, join a tour of Deniyaya during which you can learn about the culture of the local people and enjoy a brief visit to a local school. Later, begin your journey to the beautiful coastal city of Galle and on arrival, proceed to the Lady Hill Hotel for a lunch that will be accompanied by fantastic views over the city. A short introductory tour of Galle will follow, taking in the beautiful Old Town and its fortifications, before you return to your hotel for the evening. Approx. journey time 2¼ hours, 56 miles. Stay: Lady Hill (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Galle If you are travelling between November and April you’ll have the opportunity to join an unforgettable whale-watching excursion. This three-and-a-half-hour cruise departs from the town of Mirissa (approx. journey time: 1 hour, 29 miles), on the island’s south coast. The blue whales – the earth’s largest creatures – are the real draw off the part of this Sri Lanka coast, however you may also be lucky enough to spot orca, humpback whales, turtles and dolphins. For those travelling between mid-April and October the morning will be free to explore Galle at your own pace or enjoy the facilities at the hotel. Later, the group will travel along the west coast to the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project where they monitor sea turtle activity and conserve the local nesting sites. During the visit you will learn about the life cycle of the green and Hawksbill turtles and about the work that they carry out to protect the turtles. This includes collecting eggs, hatching the turtles away from predators and man-made dangers, releasing them back into the wild and ensuring the nesting beaches remain clear of any hazards. Return to Galle for your final evening and a special farewell dinner at your hotel. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 38 miles. Stay: Lady Hill (or similar). B, D.

Day 10: Galle Transfer to the airport (approx. journey time 2½ hours, 93 miles) for you return flight to the UK. B.


Stay longer

Sri Lanka beach 3 nights from £368, ref IO0795

Relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.

Maldives 3 nights from £482, ref IO0796

Relax in paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.

Day 1: UK to Chilaw Depart from the UK on your overnight flight to Sri Lanka.

Day 2: Chilaw On arrival in Colombo, travel north to the coastal town of Chilaw. There will be some free time this afternoon allowing you to relax by the pool. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, The Ocean. Approx. journey time: 2 hours, 53 miles. Stay: Anantaya Chilaw (or similar). D.

Day 3: Chilaw Your adventure gets off to a fantastic start today with a visit to the Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary, a unique eco-system of coastal landscapes, mangrove forests and man-made freshwater reservoirs. This is a haven for wildlife, especially bird species, both resident and migratory. Later, return to the hotel where you will have some free time to relax before your early start the following day. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 31 miles. Stay: Anantaya Chilaw (or similar). B, D.

Day 4 Chilaw to Sigiriya At 3:30am the group will depart from Chilaw and travel towards Wilpattu National Park, a real highlight of this tour. The country’s largest National Park was cut off for decades before reopening in 2009 giving it a real off-the-beaten-track feel. Visitor numbers are still generally very small as the wildlife gradually recovers, and much of the park is open for exploration. Although the density of wildlife is lower than that of the country’s southern parks, whatever you do see, you are likely to be in one of just a handful of vehicles present as you experience the moment. Enjoy a four-hour game drive from 6am (a packed breakfast will be provided) before travelling onwards to Sigiriya. Approx. journey time: 4¾ hours, 150 miles. Stay: Amaara Forest (or similar). B, D.

Day 5: Sigiriya This morning is free to relax at your hotel. Alternatively, you can visit the iconic Sigiriya Rock on an optional excursion. We recommend that you only embark on the ascent to the top if you are fit, healthy and do not mind heights as there are many steep steps and narrow walkways. This afternoon, head out on a game drive into Minneriya National Park, one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see wild elephants. Approx. journey time: Stay: Amaara Forest (or similar). B, D.

Day 6: Sigiriya to Kandy There’s an early start this morning as you travel south towards the breathtaking Knuckles Mountain Range of Central Sri Lanka (packed breakfast provided). Here you will set off on a soft-to-moderate three-hour hike into the hilly landscapes. Following the walk, continue south west to the city of Kandy where you will stay one night. Approx. journey time: 5½ hours, 115 miles. Stay: Cinnamon Citadel. B, D.

Day 7: Kandy to Nuwara Eliya Begin the day with a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. These beautiful gardens are home to a vast selection of Sri Lanka’s native flora as well as many exotic species and a renowned orchid collection. Following lunch in Kandy (payable locally), visit the Giragama Tea Plantation. Continue on to the pretty town of Nuwara Eliya. Approx. journey time: 2½ hours, 62 miles. Stay: Jetwing St Andrew’s (or similar). B, D.

Day 8: Nuwara Eliya to Yala
Depart early for this morning’s for a three-hour trek in Horton Plains National Park. Your destination is the renowned World’s End precipice where you can enjoy incredible views over the surrounding hills and the countryside beyond. We strongly recommend that only fit, healthy and active guests take on this trek due to its challenging terrain. Continue on southwards towards Yala, with lunch served at a local restaurant en route. Approx. journey time: 4.5 hours, 106 miles. Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Yala Today begins with an early morning game drive into world-famous Yala National Park. It is known locally as leopard country as it plays host to one of the world’s highest density of these elusive creatures. Late this afternoon there will be a further game drive in the park. Stay: Jetwing Yala (or similar). B, D.

Day 10: Yala to Udawalawe This morning, head back inland to another National Parks, Udawalawe. The first stop is the Elephant Transit Home. Although you won’t get to interact with the elephants, this short visit is a great opportunity to see the animals and discover the work that’s done to get them back into the wild. Continue on for an afternoon safari in Udawalawe. Travel south to your hotel which is located approximately 10 minutes away from the entrance of the National Park. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 84 miles. Stay: Centauria Hotel (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 11: Udawalawe to Deniyaya Today the tour continues onwards to your next hotel, a tranquil property that’s located on the outskirts of Deniyaya, a village close to the edge of the beautiful Sinharaja Forest Reserve. This afternoon, head out on a rainforest trek with a knowledgeable naturalist (2-2½ hours). The trails may be wet under foot so be sure to pack suitable footwear. Approx. journey time: 1½ hours, 31 miles. Stay: Rainforest Eco Lodge (or similar). B, D.

Day 12: Deniyaya to Galle Following breakfast, begin the journey to the beautiful coastal city of Galle and on arrival, proceed to the Lady Hill Hotel for lunch. A short introductory tour of Galle will follow. Approx. journey time: 2¼ hours, 56 miles. Stay: Lady Hill (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 13: Galle If you’re travelling between November and April you’ll have the opportunity to join an unforgettable whale-watching excursion from the town of Mirissa (approx. journey time: 1 hour, 29 miles). For those travelling between mid-April and October, the morning will be free to explore Galle at your own pace or enjoy the facilities at the hotel. Later, travel along the west coast to the Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project where they monitor sea turtle activity and conserve the local nesting sites. Return to Galle for your final evening and a special farewell dinner at your hotel. Stay: Lady Hill (or similar). B, D.

Day 14: Galle to UK Transfer to the airport (approx. journey time 2½ hours, 78 miles) for your return flight to the UK. Alternatively, if you are extending your holiday with a beach stay, you’ll be transferred to your chosen beach hotel. B.


Stay longer

Sri Lanka beach 3 nights from £368, ref IO0795

Relax after your tour with a short beach stay on one of Sri Lanka’s beautiful golden beaches.

Maldives 3 nights from £482, ref IO0796

Relax in paradise on your chosen Maldivian Island. Snorkel, dive or just dig your toes into the powder soft sand.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

If you have a particular interest in wildlife then this is the tour for you – there will be visits to fauna-rich national parks as well as unique wildlife-watching experiences.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)

• Average group size of 7 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests.

What to expect

• A range of safari vehicles, both uncovered and covered

• Bring long sleeves, trousers and sensible shoes for the rainforest

• The Knuckles Mountain Range and Horton Plains treks are recommended only for fit, healthy and active individuals

• A relatively high level of fitness is recommended

• The whale-watching excursion is available seasonally from November to April.

Accommodation on tour

The hotels have been chosen for their proximity to nature. In Yala we have chosen the Jetwing Yala, a popular resort that’s located on the beach and just ten minutes drive from the entrance to the national park. The Centuria Hotel sits on the shore of the Chandrika Lake while the property in Kalawana, Rainforest Edge, really lives up to its name.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £580

Is this for you?

If you have a particular interest in wildlife then this is the tour for you. There are also a handful of moderate treks, great for those seeking a relatively active holiday.

Good to know

• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)

• Average group size of 7 guests
• A maximum of 14 guests.

What to expect

• A range of safari vehicles, both uncovered and covered

• Bring long sleeves, trousers and sensible shoes for the rainforest

• The Knuckles Mountain Range and Horton Plains treks are recommended only for fit, healthy and active individuals

• A relatively high level of fitness is recommended

• The whale-watching excursion is available seasonally from November to April
• A number of very early mornings, including one 3:30am start.

Accommodation on tour

The hotels have been chosen for their proximity to nature. In Chilaw you’ll stay at the beautiful Anantaya Chilaw which is located between a river and the Indian Ocean. In Yala we have chosen the Jetwing Yala, a popular resort that’s located on the beach and just ten minutes drive from the entrance to the national park. The property in Deniyaya, the Rainforest Eco Lodge, has an unbeatable location that really lives up to its name.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £550

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

Jan 19; Feb 02, 16; Mar 02; Apr 06, 20; Nov 09, 23, 30

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Flexible arrival times

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £578 per person, ref IO0794.

Tour dates

2019 Jan 04, 18; Feb 01, 15; Mar 01, 22; Apr 12; May 03; Oct 25; Nov 08, 29; Dec 13

Included in price

• Quality accommodation

• Insightful local tour leaders

• Hand-picked itineraries

• Small groups and a relaxed approach

• Porterage and guide tips

• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £422 per person, ref IO0794.

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Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour

Why Kuoni?

This is a true wildlife tour which focuses not on the island’s main sights but its natural habitats and the animal species. It also goes beyond the renowned Yala National Park, with rainforest explorations, optional whale watching and soft trekking in the nation’s hill country. You’ll visit a rehabilitation home for orphaned elephants, join a trek into native rainforest and visit one of the most important turtle nesting sites in Sri Lanka.

Why Kuoni?

This is a true wildlife tour which focuses not on the island’s main sights but its natural habitats and wildlife. It also goes beyond the renowned Yala National Park, with a visit to a bird sanctuary and the once off-limits Wilpattu National Park, rainforest explorations and soft to moderate treks in the Knuckles Mountain range and the nation’s hill country. You’ll also join a trek into native rainforest and visit a turtle nesting site.

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Escorted Touring 2018/19