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Island

This is a tour which is ideal for those who maybe visiting Sri Lanka for the 2nd time and have covered most of the main wildlife parks. This is also ideal for a client who wishes to avoid large crowds and someone who prefers to have quiet moments with nature and the wilderness, and someone who likes to take the road less travelled.

IDEAL TRAVEL PERIOD

  • February to October
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Excursion Itinerary

Upon arrival you will be welcomed by your naturalist guide, with a warm welcome of “Ayubowan”, which is the Sri Lankan word for “May you Live Long”, which is the universal greeting across the island.

He will escort you outside where you will onboard the comfortable vehicle arranged for you. Journey to the Colombo (45 min drive), and check into your hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Accommodation

After an early checkout, head down the lowlands in the South, towards Udawalawe, (3 hours drive)

Upon reaching your destination check into your hotel. In the afternoon head out on a game drive into Udawalawe National Park.

Uda Walawe was declared as a national park in 1972 and was at one time, an area where destructive slash and burn chena cultivation was widespread. The area was declared as a national park with the intention of safeguarding the flora and fauna in the catchment area of the reservoir on the Walawe river. With ample water and rich nutrition from the scrub jungles and grasslands, Uda Walawe is a stronghold of the Asian Elephant and one of the best places to see them in the wild year-round. Grey Langur, Toque Macaque, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile and Spotted Deer are the other larger animals seen occasionally. Uda Walawe also has occasional sightings of Jungle Cat, an elusive medium sized feline. The park is an excellent biding destination too especially for dry-zone species and raptors. Changeable Hawk Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Black-shouldered Kite, Shikra, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Common Kestrel and Brown Fish Owl are some of the raptors regularly encountered here.

Return back to your hotel at dusk.

Accommodation

Early morning, head into Udawalawe for another game drive. The mornings would be best to focus on Jungle Cat, the elusive feline found in the park. Further keep an eye out for many rare species of birds which migrate and come only to this park and region such as the European Roller, Eurasian Bee Eater, Bayback Shrike and many more.

Return back to you hotel afterwards.

In the afternoon head out towards Lunugamvehera National Park which is located 45 minutes from the hotel. This is a relatively lesser known and seldom visited park. The wildlife will not be as habituated as in the more popular parks but the true wilderness experience is amazing, with chances of seeing elephant, sloth bear, and even leopard.

Return back to your hotel at dusk.

Accommodation

After breakfast, checkout and head back on the road, towards Kumana (4 hours drive),

En-route you will go through Lahugala National Park. Keep an eye out on both sides of the road for signs of elephant, species of owl such as Brown Wood Owl and if you are truly lucky a leopard maybe crossing the road.

En-route to Kumana National Park, you pass through Panama which has patches of jungles where herds of elephants maybe encountered. There is also a small lake where Mugger Crocodiles congregate, which is just by the roadside. Water birds such as Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Pied Kingfisher, Purple Heron and rarities including the Glossy Ibis can be seen here.

Upon reaching the gates of Kumana National Park, you will switch to a safari jeep and journey inside the park to reach your mobile camp located within the banks of the Kumbukkan Oya (river) , inside the park. Check in for lunch at this beautifully set up mobile camp. All facilities, with walk in tent, camp showers, mobile toilets have been set up for you. Enjoy freshly made lunch all made on camp with the capable chefs onsite. After some tea/coffee head out on your first game drive in Kumana. The last frontier seldom visited by anyone, this park is a true paradise and one of Sri Lanka’s best kept secrets. Home of the Leopard the islands apex predator you will explore the many game trails led by a seasoned safari guide/naturalists who will interpret the signs and tracks like a storyboard and showcasing the wonders of nature as you enjoy this experience. A unique subspecies from their mainland and African relatives the Sri Lankan Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya) is the largest leopard subspecies in the world. Feeding mainly on Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Sambhur Deer which you will also encounter while on safari, your naturalist will keep an eye on the ground for tracks and signs of their movement, as well as a sharp ear for the alarm calls of its prey which helps to pin point their whereabouts and movements. Also you might encounter the shaggy coated Sloth Bear a resident of these forests as well as the mighty Wild Asiatic Water Buffalo and the Sri Lankan Elephants among many other species of wildlife.

After an eventful game drive return back to camp at dusk. After freshening up you can enjoy some drinks by the roaring camp fire as you listen to the calls of the wild and discuss your days sightings and some unique wildlife stories of your hosts, followed by dinner and overnight stay.

Accommodation

Early morning wake up before dawn, and enjoy some coffee or tea at camp before setting out on your morning game drive. Keep an eye out of the elusive leopard who can be seen out in the open. Kumana is one of the few parks in Sri Lanka where you have the opportunity to have quiet and intimate leopard encounters, with less crowds and in most cases the sightings will be all to yourself. Enjoy witnessing the behaviors of these majestic cats, who are usually very hard to see in other countries in the Asian mainland and in Africa. Your safari drivers and naturalist will best understand the behavior of these cats and other animals and give you the best possible positioning of the vehicle for some amazing photographs and viewing.

Either opt to return back to camp for a sit down breakfast while wetting your feet in the river, as the table can be set in the river, or you can opt for a picnic breakfast which will give you more time to view wildlife as the morning hours are best for good game viewing.

During mid day your guides will also take you by foot to view some ancient caves located in the park, with inscriptions of ancient man. Kumana is an ancient land with many legends and stories. One of the most interesting is of the Nittaewo, your naturalist will explain the story of these mysterious “ape men” who were said to be roaming these areas hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Also the tales of the Lenama Leopards who were said to be more akin to a tiger and had a ferocious reputation.

Return back to camp for your mid day leisure, and lunch. Enjoy a cool dip in the river, soaking in the stunning views of jungle life.

In the afternoon head back into the park on your next game drive. The more time spent on game drives would give you better sightings.

After an eventful game drive return back to camp at dusk. After freshening up you can enjoy some drinks by the roaring camp fire as you listen to the calls of the wild and discuss your days sightings and some unique wildlife stories of your hosts, followed by dinner and overnight stay.

Accommodation

After one more morning game drive, checkout from the camp and head back out of the park.

Back on the road head towards Mahiyanganaya (4 hours drive)

Reaching your destination, check into your hotel.

At dusk, head towards Dambana which is located nearby to visit the indigenous Veddah tribe. Once a powerful and voluminous community, it has now shrunk to a couple hundred Veddahs or more, who nonetheless form an important part of Sri Lanka’s historical and cultural heritage. Said to preserve a direct line of descent from the island’s original Neolithic inhabitants as far back as 18,000 BC, the jungle village of Dambana is their primary place of refuge. Still maintaining a hunter gather lifestyle, they supplement their hunting by gathering wild honey. The tribal elders will relate their stories and their philosophy on conservation and living with nature. Thereafter under torchlight they would perform one of their traditional ceremonies paying homage to the forest deities.

Afterwards head back to your hotel for your overnight stay.

Accommodation

Early morning with a packed breakfast, head to Maduru Oya National Park, (45 min drive from the hotel).

Return back to hotel afterwards for some leisure time.

Designated a national park in November 1983, Maduru Oya National Park is designed to protect the immediate catchments of five reservoirs developed under the Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme. Providing a refuge for a wide variety of wildlife, the park is best known for its herds of Asian elephants. The most dominant physical feature of Maduru Oya National Park is the 8km long range of rocky mountains found towards the south-west of the park. The main species to be seen quite openly in the park is the elephant, and during the dry season from August-September one might see large gatherings of these giants in the open plains in the evening.

Early afternoon head back out to Maduru Oya National Park this time from a different entrance which will give a difference perspective of the park as well as better your chances on sightings., ( 1 hour from the hotel)

As with many of Sri Lanka’s water dominated parks, Maduru Oya enjoys a rich aquatic avifauna with painted storks, the white-bellied sea-eagle and grey pelican all present. As with the rest of the country, Maduru Oya holds areas of ancient cultural significance, namely in the form of ruins at Henanigala, Kudawila, Gurukumbura, Uluketangoda, Werapokuna and at several others places where one can find ancient Buddhist shrines, temples, dagobas, statues and hermitages from various eras in Sri Lanka’s long history. Early Brahmin inscriptions, believed to be ageing from the 1st to the 3rd Century BC have been discovered at Kandegamakanda.

Return back to the hotel at dusk.

Accommodation

Spend the morning hours at leisure. Go for a boat ride in the beautiful Sora Bora Wewa as the sun rises, or maybe ride a bike along the village tracks of Mahiyangaya.

Returning back to your hotel, checkout thereafter, and you will journey towards Wasgamuwa National Park. (1 hours drive)

Check into your hotel. After lunch set off on a safari into Wasgamuwa National Park, another beautiful and yet lesser known national park in Sri Lanka.

Lying at the foothill of the Knuckles mountain range is the Wasgamuwa National Park. Due to its remote location, the park is seldom visited and the crowds tend to stay way which gives you a tranquil wildlife viewing experience. Wasgamuwa is steeped in history and the plains in Yuda Ganapitiya is believed to be the site where King Dutugemunu fought and defeated the Chola King Elara in 161 BC. The Mahaweli river flows through the border of the reserve where there you get dense riverine forests with large trees. Elephants are the highlight and large solitary bulls along with small herds comprising of females and their young can be encountered on most days often at close range. Mugger Crocodiles and Buffalo can be seen around the numerous waterholes while herds of Spotted Deer and the occasional Jackal can be seen in the open plains. Wasgamuwa is also an excellent birding location where in addition to the resident dry-zone species including the endemic Sri Lanka Junglefowl and the impressive Indian Peacock, a large number of raptors including the majestic Black Eagle.

Return back to the hotel at dusk.

Accommodation

Set out today on maybe full day exploration of the park (or you can opt for a morning and evening game drive, but a full day would enable one to get a better perspective and experience the park to its fullest). A picnic breakfast and lunch and plenty of drinking water will be provided for your full day adventure.

Your naturalist will interpret the mysteries of this ancient land, and the open the storybook of the wild in this primeval wilderness.

The wildlife of the park may not be as habituated as those of more visited parks, but the beauty of Wasgamuwa is its solitude and tranquility, as very few visitors delve into these pristine habitats.

Research indicates Wasgamuwa has the highest density of Sloth Bear and there are occasional sightings of leopards though they are quite rare. Elephants are the true stars of the park, with some of the wildest and charismatic individuals found in the park.

Return back to the hotel at dusk.

Accommodation

After breakfast, head towards Wilpattu National Park.

Check into your lodge for lunch.

Afterwards, set off on your first game drive into Wilpattu National Park.

Popularly dubbed as ‘the land of the lakes’, Wilpattu National Park is famous for watching wildlife within its picturesque villus and dry evergreen forests. It is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park which re-opened in 2010 after being closed for nearly three decades due to the civil war. Wilpattu is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka for watching Leopard and Sloth Bear. Other larger animals seen regularly here include Elephant, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Buffalo are among the larger animals regularly encountered

Return back to the hotel at dusk.

Accommodation

Today will encompass a full day safari into Wilpattu National Park with packed breakfast and Lunch. The longer you spend in the park the better the chances of some captivating sightings.

Wilpattu is also an excellent birding location particularly in the winter months with over 200 recorded species including a variety of raptors such as Crested Serpent, Changeable Hawk and White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brown Fish Owl; the endemic Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Woodshrike and a large number of water birds and waders by the water’s edge near the villus.

Return on both days back to camp at dusk.

Accommodation

Early morning head out for one more game drive in Wilpattu National Park. Returning back to camp, once you checkout, head back on the road, and journey towards Makandura (3.5 hours drive)

Upon reaching your destination, check into your last stay of your journey.

After dark take you on a night walk to the nearby Dikkele Forest which is home to the rare RedSlender Loris. This variant is endemic to the island. These bizzare primates are strictly nocturnal and very rare to find. This location is one of the few places where they can be seen.

Accommodation

Today after you checkout, you will drive towards airport, where you will onboard your flight back home

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