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    See Sri Lankan elephants
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    The world's highest density of leopards
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    Exotic flora
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Discover Sri Lanka’s wildlife

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 creep out on dawn and dusk safaris. Spot elephants, leopards, buffalo and endangered sloth bears, see monkeys haunting the ruins of ancient cities and sacred temples, catch wild pigs snuffling in the undergrowth and hear exotic birdcall.

Including...

11 nights in hotels and 1 in flight 

32 meals: 11 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners 

Excursions and visits
  • 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


View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK to Colombo, Sri Lanka

Plane wing over the clouds at sunset

Take Saga's UK door-to-door travel service to the airport and fly overnight to Colombo.

Colombo Colombo District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 2 Colombo to Chilaw

A Sri Lankan coconut plantation

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 overnight on an all-inclusive basis. D

Please note: 2020 departures will stay at the locally rated 4-star Suriya Resort in Waikkal instead.


Day 3 Chilaw to Kandy

Blooming orchids in the Royal Botanic Gardens of Peradeniya

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. The hotel is built on the site of the ancestral home of Dunuvila, a minister to the former King of Kandy, and stands on the outskirts of town. 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

Kandy Kandy District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 4 Kandy

Temple of Tooth

Learn about traditional Kandyan dancing and meet students of the art at Bellwood Dancing School. The afternoon is 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

Kandy Kandy District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 5 Kandy to Nuwara Eliya

A Sri Lankan tea plantation

Learn about Sri-Lankan gem production from a wholesaler, then 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 4-star The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya, built in 1891 in the style of a Tudor manor house and former home to the British Governor of Sri Lanka, Sir Edward Barnes. There are two restaurants, a bar, coffee shop, indoor heated pool, gym and a billiard room. It’s cooler here, so expect log fires if temperatures drop. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. All 154 rooms have a satellite television, mini-fridge, tea and coffee-making facilities and a hairdryer. B, L, D


Day 6 Nuwara Eliya

A purple-faced langur

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

Nuwara Eliya Nuwara Eliya District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 7 Nuwara Eliya to Ella to Udawalawe

Ride the scenic train to Ella

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, although please note that this train ride, and seats on the train, are subject to availability. Stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort. This environmentally friendly hotel occupies a seven-acre site close to the Udawalawe National Park. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, gym and outdoor swimming pool. All 53 air-conditioned guest rooms  have a satellite television, telephone, minibar, kettle, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi. B, L, D

Udawalawe Sabaragamuwa Disctric Sri Lanka Asia

Day 8 Udawalawe

Asian elephants in the Sri Lankan forest

See orphaned elephants being fed at the Elephant Transit Home at Udawalawe. The Foundation works with the orphans to prepare them for being safely returned to the wild when they are around four years old. Look forward to your first game drive this evening when you may see herds of Asian elephants. This is an area of undulating country, open grasslands and reservoir, meaning that elephants are relatively easy to spot. It's also an important habitat for birds and wild cats. B, L, D

Udawalawe Sabaragamuwa Disctric Sri Lanka Asia

Day 9 Udawalawe to Yala

Keep your eyes peeled for leopards

Head for one of Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest National Parks. In the evening 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

Yala Hambantota District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 10 Yala

Yala National Park

Go on an early morning jeep safari in wildlife-rich Yala to try to spot elephants, water-buffalo, monkeys, and even crocodiles. B, L, D

Yala Hambantota District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 11 Yala

Pheasant-tailed jacana

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, and you can join an optional evening game drive. B, L, D

Yala Hambantota District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 12 Yala to Galle

The UNESCO-listed city of Galle

Head for the former Dutch-colonial trading port of Galle for an in-depth tour of this atmospheric UNESCO-listed city. Galle is a quiet town with an old-world atmosphere and a long history, and it's said that King Solomon sent his merchant ships here many years ago. The town sprung up around the harbour and the fort, which was captured by the Dutch in 1640. The fort became an archaeological reserve in 1969 and is arguably the best-preserved Dutch fort on the island. A short walk from the town centre, it is well worthwhile taking time to explore the historic ramparts. Stay overnight at the locally rated 5-star Tamarind Hill, a luxurious heritage hotel with an atmospheric colonial interior. B, L, D

Galle Galle District Sri Lanka Asia

Day 13 Galle to Colombo, Sri Lanka to UK

Plane wing in the sky at sunrise

Transfer to Colombo Airport for your return flight and included UK VIP door-to-door travel service home. B


Please note

This tour involves some long but rewarding journeys. If in any doubt as to its suitability, please speak to our Travel Consultants. 

In 2019 this itinerary varies slightly.


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