4 best places for a Sri Lanka safari tour
The low-cost transportation and well-maintained road network of Sri Lanka make it easy to hopscotch across Sri Lanka’s rugged terrain, seeing mist-shrouded jungles, gloomy rainforest, green-capped mountains, exploring the largest wild animals habitats on Sri Lanka wildlife safari tours and lively city markets in one Sri Lanka safari tour.
A Sri Lanka safari tour can be booked in many forms as the multitude of wild creatures that you will encounter during the safari. From a luxury campsite to a remote bush camp escape, Sri Lanka offers a wide range of experiences that can cater to all taste and budgets. And like a leopard stalking on prey for a perfect snack, you will be rewarded for dedicating your valuable time to create the safari that is perfect for you.
Spotting leopards hidden in the thorn bushes in the Yala national park, spotting bear monkeys jumping in the canopy of mist-shrouded Horton plains, trekking through Sri Lanka’s largest rainforest. Foraging for one-of-a-kind goods at oriental markets the high diversity of the Sri Lankan jungle will charm and challenge foreign as well as local adventure travellers.
Sri Lanka has one of the best road networks in the region, which makes it is easy to reach the most important tourist places in Sri Lanka without any trouble. The newly opened highways of Sri Lanka has made travelling even easier, faster and cheaper than before. Having a private vehicle is the best way to hopscotch across Sri Lanka’s rugged landscape. Transport modes such as public buses and trains are also viable options but they tend to waste your time.
For the visitors of Sri Lanka that wish to see most of Sri Lanka’s wildlife on a single circuit, five destinations in the west, the south and Sri Lanka’s upcountry, in the middle, showcase a vibrant spectrum of adventures in an easily navigable, 6-days Sri Lanka tour.
6 days Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour in a nutshell
These 6 days Sri Lanka wildlife tour is a private tour, which means only the travellers of the particular group participate on the trip. Usually, Seerendipity tours organize private tours with a limited number of participants. There is a huge demand for private tours in Sri Lanka and more and more travellers opt for a private tour especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. Private tours give you many benefits such as freedom, privacy, comfort, flexibility on the trip itinerary while making the trip at your own pace.
This 6 day Sri Lankan adventure begins in hot and humid Colombo, which means the tour ideal for travellers, who stay in beach resorts on the west coast or travellers, who lands at the Katunayake international airport. In the latter part of the tour, the guests brush the southern and western coastal belt.
As the trip can be started at Colombo international airport, the traveller can start the trip right after landing at the Colombo international airport. However, a pick-up can be arranged from any other place in Colombo, west coast hotels or south coast hotels too. The trip includes all accommodation in star class hotels. The guests ar4e provided with private transport in an air-conditioned private vehicle such as a luxury car or a van. The tour package also includes 2 meals a day (breakfast and dinner) at the hotel.
Day 1 of Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour
Meet and greet by driver-guide and leave for Sinharaja rain forest. In the afternoon rainforest trek with our nature guide. Dinner and overnight stay in Sinharaja
Day 2 of Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour
After breakfast leave for Horton plains national park, En-route optional Whitewater rafting in Kitulgala. Reach the hill country resort toward the late afternoon and leisure in the hotel. Optional Nuwara Eliya sightseeing tour. Dinner and overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya
Day 3 of Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour
After breakfast leave for Horton plains national park and venture on the 4 hours trek. Later leave for Udawalawe national park. Dinner and overnight stay in Udawalawe
Day 4 of Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour
Early morning leave for a Udawalawe national park safari. The safari lasts between 3-4 hours. Later breakfast at the hotel and leave for Yala national park. Dinner and overnight stay in Yala.
Day 5 of Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour
Early morning leave for a full day safari at Yala national park. You will be provided with a picnic type lunch during the safari. The safari lasts 8 hours and we try to show you as much animal as possible such as leopards, bear, crocodile etc.
Day 6 of Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour
After the breakfast leave for Colombo, End of the trip.
What are the major activities on the Sri Lanka safari tour?
- Full day safari at Yala national park
- 4 hours safari at Udawalawe national park
- 4 hours jungle trek at Sinharaja rain forest
- 4 hours trek at the Horton plains national park
- 2 hours Whitewater rafting Kitulgala a(optional)
- Visiting Tea factory and garden (optional)
- Nuwara Eliya city tour (Optional)
- Visiting Ella waterfall
What are the major national parks included in the Sri Lanka wildlife safari?
- Sinharaja rainforest
- Horton plains national park
- Udawalawe national park
- Yala national park
Sri Lanka wildlife safari: visiting Sinharaja rainforest
Home to a large number of bird species, wild elephants, insect species and endangered butterfly species, this patch of forest, 2 dozen kilometres inland from the west coast beaches, located in the Sabaragamuwa province is a hotspot for a wide range of endangered species. Venturing through the dense foliage of the Sinharaja rainforest feels like looking back in time.
Sinharaja rain forest is one of the main tourist sites that you encounter on this 6 days Sri Lanka wildlife safari. The travellers will drive to the Weddagala entrance of the Sinharaja rainforest, which is the starting point for mots Sinharaja forest trekking tours, with our driver/guide. You will meet one of our nature experts here, who have in-depth knowledge about the rainforest and its Fauna and Flora and he escorts you deep into the jungle.
Drive to Sinharaja from Colombo
The 3 hours driver from Colombo to Sinharaja rainforest is easy and comfortable as the roads are in very good condition. The first to do on the list to trekking through the rain forest. The rainforest trek lasts between 3-5 hours depending on your interest.
Distance and duration of Sinharaja trek
The distance of the trek is about 3 km from the starting point of the Sinharaja main entrance, which can be hiked on your own, however, we provide a nature guide for your assistance and he also shares his knowledge about the Fauna and Flora in the forest. It is highly recommended to wear a pair of conformable hiking boots during the rainforest due to the rugged terrain. The forest floor can be muddy and there can be leeches in the forest, especially if you hit the rainforest during the rainy season, our nature guide provides you with the leeches’ repellent.
Accommodation in Sinharaja
Most accommodation facilities available in Sinharaja is basic, however, cleanliness and safety are guaranteed. Most of the accommodation facilities are managed by individuals and most of them have very limited capacity. On this Sri Lanka wildlife safari, the travellers will spend 1 night in a small and comfortable guest house. The guest house is located very close to the entrance of the Sinharaja rain forest and surrounded by lush green vegetation.
Sinharaja rainforest is one of the best places to spy on avian fauna species. A large number of bird species perch high in the rainforest canopy and occasionally seek refuge on the forest floor to pick up fruits, seeds and insects. The visitors can witness nearly a hundred bird species and there are many endemic bird species among them such as jungle fowl.
Sri Lanka wildlife safari: visiting Horton Plains national park
On the second day of the Sri Lanka wildlife safari tour, you will be heading to the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country, and visit one of the highest peaks on the island. 5 hours’ drive from Sinharaja on the upcountry highway takes you to Horton plains national park, which is one of the last remaining cloud forests on the island. Horton plains national park nestled in a plateau between the 2nd and 3rd highest mountain of Sri Lanka.
Sights of the national park’s lush tropical green forest, winding perennial streams, and earth cliffs mesmerize all its visitors. The national park is located deep in the remote areas of the mountain. The travellers traverse through the jungle about 5 km from the main road on a paved isolated road. The journey will end near the main entrance of the national park.
At the beginning of the journey, the travellers pass the small town and busy areas. After about a few hours the journey land escapes dramatically changes and the journey slower, due to the uphill journey. The most part of the trip is an uphill journey through the pristine tea plantations, peaks and valleys.
The travellers also greeted with few cascading waterfalls namely Devon fall and St. Clair’s waterfall. The sights are very attractive on this route with tea gardens and patches of forests with high mountain peaks in the backdrop.
The travellers need to purchase an entry permit at the visitor’s centre before heading to the main entrance. The trailhead is about 1 km from the visitor’s centre, our driver/guide take you to the main entrance of the park.
The travellers will hike through the forested area, grassland and some parts of the earth surface is muddy and therefore it is recommended to wear hiking boots. However, unlike in Sinharaja, you will not find leeches here.
When is the best time to visit Horton plains
Usually, the trek at Horton plains takes places around noon when the sun is shining at its best. Dense cloud accumulates in the high-altitude forest very frequently and they are hovering very close to the ground. The visibility in the park can be very meagre due to the mist. Therefore, it is highly recommended to start the trek in the midday, due to the heat generated by the midday sun, the mist evaporates, exposing the photogenic sight for the visitors.
One distinct and unique feature of the vegetation of the park is the gnarled, small trees. The highest tree in the park is not exceeding 3 meters, due to the constant chilly breeze, which brushes the crown of the trees.
Duration and distance of Horton plains trek
The traveller’s hike about 2 km before coming to the world-end, which is precipice with a sharp drop. The mountain drops all of a sudden, many hundred meters. The travellers can position themselves high above the precipices, which allows them to have a sweeping view of the tea gardens, vegetable gardens and patches of forests in the lower elevated areas.
This is the most popular viewpoint in the park. The breathtaking view over the below area from the world end creates, mind-blowing and unforgettable picture in the mind of every visitors of the park, however, the view can be obstructed due to the mist on some occasions.
To increase the adrenaline factor and the travellers can continue further on the massive circuit and see the baker’s waterfall and the rest of the jungle while completing the entire circuit that lasts around 4 hours.
The trekking through the park is comparatively easy, except in a few places, where the elevation of the trekking path changes abruptly. In some places, the travellers need to climb up on steep uneven steps and reach high altitude areas to continue further. It is due to the change in the elevation of the route. This trek is suitable for experienced and novice trekkers.
The duration of the rainforest trek lasts about 4 hours. The visitors can see many animal species such as massive structured sambar deer, wild boar, monkey and many avian fauna species.
Sri Lanka wildlife safari: visiting Udawalawe national park
Rolling down from Sri Lanka’s central mountain range, for 2 hours by road, in the southward direction takes you to the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The drive easy quite easy and interesting. The travellers are greeted with picturesque breathtaking scenery right from the beginning to the end. Cascading waterfalls, rice paddies, isolated un-crowded towns, small villages, wayside fruit and vegetable sellers, tea gardens, vegetable plots some of the things that travellers encounter on this travel route. Udawalawe national park is a perfect spot to become a wildlife explorer.
The origin of Udawalawe national park
Quite new to the collection of wildlife reserves on the island, which dates back to the 1950s. Udawalawe national park is a by-product of the Udawalawe development project, which was one of the largest development projects on the island. The abandoned countryside was largely neglected in the past and it was encroached by the jungle.
A large part of the jungle was cleared and farmers were settled in the Embilipitya town. The new settlement was equipped with all the essential facilities and amenities such as hospitals, schools, road network, telephone, pipe born water, houses and well lands for cultivation.
The wild animals lived in the area before new settlement all the animals were caged into the Udawalawe national park., Which has become one of the best places for Sri Lanka wildlife safari tours. The national park located few kilometres south of the hill country resort of Ella.
The turbulent past for wildlife
Wild animals on the island had a very turbulent past, especially during the British colonial era. The wild animals popular shrank very fast due to deforestation and hunting. Today the situation is much improved but deforestation continues in the guise of development.
Clearing of lands taking places in many parts of Sri Lanka under the guidance of politicians and government officers. Recently Many environmental protection groups have sought legal assistance to stop the destruction of Wilapattu national. The court hearing pertaining to it is still going on. According to the environmentalist, a portion of the Wilpattu forest is cleared and a large number of families were settled.
The elephant population on the rise over the last several years despite the grim past. However, the increasing elephant population creates some other complicated issues such as elephant attack on human as well as human attacks on wild elephants. The government authorities are still striving to find a reasonable solution for the elephant-human conflict over the last many years, but still not being successful.
Why should I visit Udawalawe national park?
Udawalawe national park is one of the best places to witness wild elephants in Sri Lanka, due to a large concentration of wild elephants. The national park is heaven for the wildlife enthusiast.
It is very easy to spot wild elephants at Udawalawe national park. It is easy to witness large herds of wild elephant in Udawalawe, sometimes the herds are consisting of many hundreds of elephants. The park has received a boost under the wildlife department, manages park tourism on a day-to-day basis. The goal of the state institution is to use the park to earn money for the country and providing jobs for the people in the area while maintaining a healthy and safe environment for wild animals.
Sri Lanka wildlife safari: visiting Yala national park
The Yala national park is a little bit different experience from the earlier mentioned wildlife reserve. Yala national park is one of the most valuable natural assets of the people of Sri Lanka. Spreading over 97880 hectares in the southern province of Sri Lanka, Yala is the 2nd biggest national park on the island. But it can become the biggest national park on the island if the devastation of the biggest national park (Wilpattu national park) continues in the future.
A large portion of the national park stretches along the southern coastal belt, near Hambantota. The beaches of the Indian ocean are an occasional breeding ground for sea turtles.
A large part of the national park is made of dry zone evergreen forest, which is not so dense as a rainforest. Large trees with big canopies mushrooms in the park, while keeping a healthy distance in-between for other small thorn bushes, creepers and small trees. This type of forest is ideal for carnivores like leopards, which helps them to catch a pray very easily.
Thick jungles, savannah type forests and grasslands with waterholes in between suitable for any type of wildlife. Leopards, elephant, crocodile, wild buffaloes, jackal, monkey are some of the common animals that can be spotted at Yala national park.