Wildlife observation, rainforest exploration, action, and adventure activities, with plenty of fun with sun, sea and sand makes Sri Lanka a perfect family holiday spot in Asia.
Sri Lanka fulfils all conditions to be a first-class family holiday destination: Holiday packages of Sri Lanka are affordable compared to other Asian holiday destinations. But the most important reason why this tropical island so popular as a holiday destination for all travellers in the world is plenty of fun-filled activities on the beach, adventure, mouthwatering Asian cuisines, and wildlife encounter.
A network of National parks, wildlife sanctuaries and safe passage between them Known as “Elephant corridors” provides a very safe environment for wildlife that delights animal-lovers of all ages. However, it is not that much easy to spot animals and birds in the jungle due to their elusive behaviour, usually, the children have no patience to find them – unless you have an idea where to look.
Udawalawe elephant orphanage and conservation centre is a grassroots elephant conservation operation located next to the Udawalawe national park, occupies on land between Udawalawe wildlife reserve and Udawalawe Lake. The conservation centre is under the management of Sri Lanka wildlife conservation department and it is maintained by the funds allocated by the government. The elephant orphanage is a conservation centre and a research centre that acts as a safe house for sick, orphan and old animals.
The elephant is declared as an endangered and protected animal in Sri Lanka since 1975, the population of the wild elephant is shrinking day by day due to many reasons such as human-elephant conflict, Habitat loss, killing the animal for tusks etc. However with the opening of Udawalawe and Pinnawala conservation centres as well as making them a protected animal has created some positive picture with the existence of this Asian jumbos. Despite the many hardships for the animals, they have been able to maintain a high population in the wildlife reserves during the last several decades, numbering more than 5800 elephants.
At Udawalawe elephant orphanage the visitors can see a large number of freely wondering wild elephants in different ages. The best time to visit the orphanage is the feeding time, during the feeding time, a large number of animals is gathering to get their milk portion. The orphanage of Pinnawala has created an impressive result by rescuing thousands of orphans, sick and old animals since its inception in 1995.
From the main entrance of Udawalawe national park, which is about 1 km from the orphanage, local jeep drivers and guides organize Udawalawe jeep safari for visitors, it allows the visitors to have an up-close introduction to groups of elephants residing here. The elephants are wild, but they are harmless as long as the visitors stay in a jeep or other vehicles, and more importantly, the jeep drivers have a good idea about where the animals are roaming, so the children can easily see the elephants grazing in their natural habitat.
Along with elephants, the kids can spot many other animal species such as Jackal, wild boar, deer, monkeys, mongoose, monitors, snakes, wild buffaloes, crocodiles, a large number of avian fauna species. Perhaps you can even spot a leopard and bears; however, it is difficult to spot those varieties at Udawalawe national park.
To see other species of indigenous animals, visit the Belize Zoo. This unique 29-acre facility provides a home for animals that have been orphaned, injured or rescued from captivity. Kids get to look at the wildlife that is unlikely to be spotted elsewhere, including big cats like jaguars and ocelots, as well as the Belizean national animal, Baird’s tapir. The bonus is that the zoo is relatively porous, meaning that alongside the resident wildlife, you will also come across creatures that have come in from the surrounding jungle, such as agoutis, iguanas, snakes, squirrels and jungle birds of all sorts.
Action and adventure
Most travellers don’t forget to explore the rich historical attractions, lush green forests and wildlife reserves. This may not seems exactly a family vacation, but the fact is kids also love a bit of adventure, perhaps they like adventure more than adults. Most of the adventure activities available on the island may not suitable for babies and toddlers however they can easily accommodate kids as well as teenagers.
Usually, the safari camps provide all meals, safari jeeps and safari tours as well making it very convenient for travellers. Most of those properties offer many activities such as jungle walking, river kayaking, safari, along the border of the wildlife reserve. The activities are organized and conducted by well trained and experienced staff making it safe for travellers at any age. Guides are well educated and knowledgeable, therefore the travellers can gather a lot of information about the fauna and flora and the tours will be very engaging for travellers of all ages.
Safari camps and private jungle lodges are available for travellers along the border of most wildlife reserves; most of them managed by private companies and prior reservation is required to seal your spot. However few safari camps are available within the border of wildlife reserves, they are owned by the government and under the purview of wildlife department of Sri Lanka. Reserving those wildlife camps are difficult due to the high demand and travellers need to reserve such properties well in advance. The on-site accommodation with the availability of tree houses or bathe in an outdoor shower while swimming in a natural pool is also perfect for families and available on the island. The best thing about family holidays is that kids less than 6 years stay and play for free.
Sun, sea and sand
Being an island Sri Lanka boasts clean and sandy beaches suitable for beach holidays at any given time of the year. Sri Lanka is s perfect spot for all kind of saltwater activities; it is a distinct advantage for the island in the race to be a family-friendly holiday destination because kids like to hang around the beaches. Surfing, windsurfing, boating, kayaking are some of the lightweight thrilling adventures for older kids. The activities such as snorkelling are offered to kids that are at the age around five or six years, enabling them to explore the rich underwater world of Sri Lanka.
There are many family-friendly beach resorts along the west and southern coast of Sri Lanka; however, Bentota is the biggest seaside resort town and most popular for beach holidays in Sri Lanka with a wide range of activities, large number of places to visit and a large number of hotels in all budget categories. The unique location of Bentota beach with salt water on one side and river water on the other side is ideal for most water sports available on earth. Many water sports centres have set up their office along Bentota River giving easy access to the delightful ground for travellers of all ages.
Most resorts also offer hours of entertainment for in-house kids with their animation team, these ‘animation staff offers many interesting activities for kids like children’s yoga sessions, nature walks, cycling tours, and many other activities suitable for little people. As the day winds up, families can take refuge in a beach cabana or a bungalow that built in a way to hug the cool breeze of Indian Ocean, providing perfect settings for a sound sleep of little ones and caretakers.