- Whale and dolphin watching
Venture onto the water in search of blue and sperm whales, and dolphins.
- See Sri Lankan elephants
Asian elphants roam free in Udawalawe
- The world's highest density of leopards
Look for leopards in Yala National Park
- For the full safari experience...
Spend three very special nights under canvas in the National Park
- Exotic flora
The Peradeniya Botanic Gardens near Kandy has a superb collection of orchids.
- All Inclusive
Discover Sri Lanka’s wildlife and go whale and dolphin watching
Sri Lanka is one of the best places in Asia to go wildlife watching! This island paradise boasts vast swathes of protected land where you can watch for wildlife including elephants, leopards, buffalo, monkeys and more on safaris. You’ll also take to water aboard a private chartered yacht to go whale and dolphin watching, scanning the waters for sightings of blue and sperm whales, as well as dolphins.
13 nights in hotels and 1 in flight
34 meals: 12 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners
- Free bar open 10am to 10pm on the tour
- Optional travel insurance underwritten by Great Lakes Insurance SE, UK Branch and additional cancellation rights on overseas holidays for over 50s, or a price reduction if not required (cover is subject to medical questions)
- Return flights and transfers
- Saga tour manager
- Welcome drink
- Sundowner drink in memorable location
- Use of audio headsets on all guided tours
- Porterage at all hotels
- Whale and dolphin watching aboard a private chartered yacht
- Botanist guided tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Peradeniya
- A Thevava ceremony at the Temple of the Tooth
- Tour a tea plantation in Nuwara Eliya
- Scenic local train journey to a hill station
- Visit the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe
- Game drive in Udawalawe National Park
- Dawn and dusk game drives in Yala National Park
- Guided walking tour of Galle
- Cookery demonstration
- Talk on Sri Lankan culture
Day 1 UK to Colombo, Sri Lanka
Depart on an overnight flight.
Day 2 Colombo to Chilaw
Receive a garlanded welcome then head to the locally rated 5-star Anantaya Spa Resort in Chilaw, a peaceful oasis with a mangrove-fringed lagoon on one side, and a sandy beach on the other. Relax in style and enjoy the tropical warmth and exotic birdsong as you stay on an all-inclusive basis. This evening look forward to an interactive talk on Sri Lankan history and culture, followed by dinner at your hotel. D
Day 3 Chilaw to Kandy
Pay a visit to a local Negombo fish market – expect noise and a pungent odour – then follow the snaking road up to the historic former kingdom of Kandy. Stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Cinnamon Citadel Hotel. This evening you’ll be treated to a special walk in the Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya guided by a botanist. Look out for orchids, the mighty cannonball tree, avenues of palm trees and free-range macaques. B, L, D
Day 4 Kandy
Learn about traditional Kandyan dancing and meet students of the art at Bellwood Dancing School. Afternoon at leisure. Perhaps wander down to Kandy Lake, which was created in the early 19th century by the area’s last ruler – he housed his harem on its island. There are masses of shops, and traders in the city and don’t miss the chance to browse a Sri Lankan supermarket, it’s a whole new retail experience. Later visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth to see the Thevava ceremony. B, L, D
Day 5 Kandy to Nuwara Eliya
Learn about Sri-Lankan gem production from a wholesaler, with insights into the mining and valuation of gem stones. You’ll also watch gems being cut and polished. Afterwards, head into the beautiful hill country, stopping to visit one of the great tea plantations, where the finer points of tea cultivation and production will be revealed. Taste a cuppa of the local leaf. Stay two nights at the locally rated 5-star Aaraliya Green City Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, a former colonial retreat with strong echoes of British rule. It’s cooler here, so expect log fires if temperatures drop. B, L, D
Day 6 Nuwara Eliya
Dubbed ‘Little England’, the temperate climate here attracted British colonialists, the buildings are pure colonial-era with the odd dash of mock-Tudor fantasy. Explore as you please. Alternatively join either an optional early-morning trekking expedition to Horton Plains National Park to see the spectacular view from World’s End and the sambar deer and purple-faced langur monkeys, or a colonial architecture tour. Later learn about the life of tea pickers on a village visit. B, L, D
Day 7 Nuwara Eliya to Ella to Udawalawe
Take a scenic local train ride through the highlands from Nanu Oya to Ella, then continue past the tea plantations that cloak the mountains on to Udawalawe. Stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Grand Udawalawe. B, L, D
Day 8 Udawalawe
Visit the Elephant Transit Home at Udawalawe, which cares for orphaned baby elephants with the object of reintroducing them to the wild. Dedicated to the welfare and conservation of baby elephants the Transit Home has taken care of some 250 orphans to date. Each baby has to be fed every three hours and on your visit today you will be able to see them being fed. This evening, look forward to your first game drive when you may see herds of Asian elephants. B, L, D
Day 9 Udawalawe to Yala
Head for one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest National Parks. At dusk hop in a jeep and head off on a game drive in Yala, which boasts one of the world’s highest density of leopards – keep your eyes peeled in the hope of spotting one – with no predators to fear here they are slightly less reclusive. Stay three nights, either at the locally rated 4-star Cinnamon Wild Yala in a jungle chalet on the borders of Yala National Park, or for the full wildlife experience, sleep on the borders of the national park under canvas at the locally rated 3-star Kulu Safari Camp, and dine by candlelight beside a blazing fire. All your needs are tended to; the tents are comfortable with beds, air-conditioning, and all essential bathroom facilities, plus you’ll be served delicious meals by candlelight beside a bonfire. This special stay at Kulu Safaris is available for a supplement. B, L, D
Day 10 Yala
Go on an early morning jeep safari in wildlife-rich Yala to try to spot elephants, water-buffalo, monkeys, and even crocodiles. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. B, L, D
Day 11 Yala
Spend the day as you please. Bird lovers might like to join an optional excursion to Bundala National Park which is home to over 200 species of bird, a number swelled by migrating species October to April. Alternatively you may like to join an optional evening game drive in Yala National Park. B, L, D
Day 12 Yala to Galle
Head for the former Dutch-colonial trading port of Galle for an in-depth tour of this atmospheric UNESCO-listed city. Stay two nights at the locally rated 5-star Tamarind Hill, a luxurious heritage hotel with an atmospheric colonial interior. B, L, D
Day 13 Galle-Mirissa-Galle
It’s an early start today as you take to the water in search of whales and dolphins. Sri Lanka is known for its cetacean population including sperm and blue whales and on this exciting excursion you will step aboard your private chartered yacht and had out into coastal areas where you will be able to watch for these awe-inspiring creatures. As you travel across the water watch for the pods of spinner dolphins that often like to accompany boats, keeping your binoculars to hand as you scan the waters for glimpses of whales and other dolphins. B, L, D
Please note: while we hope you will see whales and dolphins on your trip, sightings cannot be guaranteed. In order to maximise the possibility of sightings you will depart from your hotel at around 5am. This excursion is dependent upon the weather conditions at the time.
Day 14 Galle to Colombo to UK
Transfer to Colombo Airport for your return flight. B
Pre-holiday extension, including breakfast
Before your tour, stay at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel and Spa in the heart of Dubai (available only when flying with Emirates).
Alternatively, upgrade to the JA Ocean View Hotel, for a supplement.
Post-holiday extension, half board
After your tour stay two nights at Tamarind Hill, a heritage hotel.
Sri-Lankan Cultural Triangle
Pre-extension - Half board
Discover some of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous cultural sights including ancient Anuradhapura, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Polonnaruwa, and Golden Temple of Dambulla. You will join your main tour with the rest of the group back in Chilaw as per day 2 of the main itinerary.
This tour involves some long but rewarding journeys. If in any doubt as to its suitability, please speak to our Travel Consultants.
Wildlife sightings cannot be guaranteed.