Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour

Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour

Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour


From $1,585USD



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Sri Lanka’s wildlife is in the spotlight on this adventure

Visit an elephant sanctuary where orphaned babies are rehabilitated and released to the wild.

Search for the elusive slow loris on a safari through Sam Popham’s Arboretum.

Spot elephants, sloth bears, and maybe even leopards as you explore Sri Lanka’s renowned national parks.

Snorkel over the thriving reefs that lie off the coast of Pigeon Island.

The wildlife of Sri Lanka is one of its top draws for tourists, and the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour puts this country’s diverse animal population in the spotlight.

You’ll take Jeep safaris through the country’s renowned national parks, including Yala and Wilpattu. Here, canopies of birds fly above the trees and lakes that draw monkeys, elephants, and leopards to them.

Visit an elephant orphanage where calves are rehabilitated and released, then dive into the crystal waters off Pigeon Island to see the fish, dolphins, whales, and sharks that call this coastline home. You’ll even take to the trees to spot the elusive slow loris, a cute critter with huge eyes.

Are you an animal lover? This is the Sri Lankan experience for you!

Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrival in Chilaw

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You’ll be picked up at the airport and driven to the hotel in the fishing town of Chilaw. Spend the day relaxing after your travels.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Chilaw

Day 2 Wilpattu National Park Jeep Safari

Spend the morning at a local fish market, then head to Wilpattu. Hop on board a 4x4 safari Jeep and head into a fabulous national park. Drive along winding paths through different habitats that make the park unique. Wilpattu National Park's name translates into the “land of the Villus (Lakes).” The park contains numerous limestone depressions in the ground that hold fresh and brackish water. Driving along the sandy road of the park, keep an eye out for some of the island’s iconic wildlife. Leopards roam the sandy roads, sloth bears dig up the rain-soaked termite mounds, elephants enjoy the water plants in the villus and buffalo graze on the green grass.

Heading deeper into the park towards the western border, you’ll come across a unique stretch of shoreline where the sand is red in colour. If you’re lucky, you might spot a leopard.

Overnight Location
Campsite in Wilpattu
Breakfast, dinner

Day 3 Trincomalee

After a late breakfast and maybe an optional morning safari proceed to Trincomalee. Take a city tour, including a visit to Koneshwaram Temple. Whales, beaches, coral reefs, abundant marine life, old Dutch forts, and a historically significant Hindu temple can all be found in this city by the sea. Trincomalee is a port city located along the northeast coast of the island. During the months of April and March a large number of blue whales, sperm whales, pilot whales and dolphins pass though the deepwater canyons that run close to the shore.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Trincomalee
Breakfast, dinner

Day 4 Snorkelling at Pigeon Island and Loris Search

Optional: A boat ride will take you to an Island of magical proportions surrounded by pure white sand, seashells, and a large rock on which pigeons roost. The beaches resemble a bit of heaven while it offers ideal conditions for the curious snorkelers. Pigeon Island National Park is mainly a coral reef that harbors many vertebrates and invertebrates. The park supports over 100 species of coral and 300 coral reef fish. You can observe the juvenile and adult black tip reef shark as well as a variety of turtles such as the hawksbill turtle and green turtle. Holding true to its name, the island is an important breeding ground for the Rock Pigeon.

After snorkelling you will proceed to Habarana, where you will embark on a loris watching experience. Five decades ago, a British naval officer’s love for trees resulted in an arboretum in this island country. Built across seven acres at that time, it spread to over 34 acres after he gifted it to IFS (Institute of Fundamental Studies). Today, Sam Popham’s Arboretum is home to several species of birds, butterflies, dragonflies and mammals, including the rare, nocturnal slender loris, which is native to Sri Lanka and India. Use torches with relatively less obtrusive red lights to search for the loris. These arboreal animals have long slender bodies and big round eyes that shine in the darkness. Besides the loris, you might spot mouse deer, civet cats and rabbits too!

Overnight Location
Hotel in Habarana
Breakfast, dinner

Day 5 Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Minneriya Safari

Begin the day with a visit to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Sometimes called the 8th wonder of the world, this complex was used as a fortress and as a monastery. It is a true marvel of architecture, design, and art and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the evening, set off for an exciting safari at Minneriya National Park. June to September is the best time to visit the 8,890 hectare park when the lake that dominates the area dries out and the grasses and shoots push through. During this time it is possible to see herds of up to 150 elephants feeding and washing, as well as toque macaques, sambar deer, and leopards. The hungry bird flocks include cormorants and painted storks.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Polonnaruwa
Breakfast, dinner

Day 6 Monkey Research and Galoya

Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, is a research scientist who carries out detailed studies on the primate population in the area. The main focus of the study is the populations of toque macaques and purple faced and gray langurs. The monkeys are observed mainly inside the Polonnaruwa archeological site and within the surrounding forests. Interestingly, very different species live and thrive in harmony in and around the ancient ruined city of Polonnaruwa. Dr. Wolfgang Dittus and his colleagues have been studying these monkeys in the Nature Sanctuary and Archaeological Reserve for the past 37 years, making it one of the world's longest-running primate behavior studies.

Afterwards, proceed to Galoya. A small town hidden for many centuries, a visit to Gal Oya National Park is a must. The park found around the reservoir is a hotspot for Asian elephants and a wide variety of birds, out of which the Painted Francolin can only be found in this particular area.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Galoya
Breakfast, dinner

Day 7 Monkey Mountain and Boat Safari

If you’re feeling energetic this morning, you can take a walk up to the top of Monkey Mountain. Up top, dramatic 180-degree views over the large forested valley awaits. An early start allows you to watch the sunrise over the hills in the distance, observing the never-ending jungle canopy below. Return to camp for breakfast and take a dip in the stream running adjacent to the property. This could easily be the highlight of your tour as you embark on a boat safari to observe the majestic elephants and, with a bit of luck, you could also observe elephants swimming from one island to another on their routine search for greener pastures.

Gal Oya National Park in Sri Lanka’s eastern region is a stunning mountainous wilderness that is also home to the iconic Gal Oya Dam, the largest reservoir in the country. This vast body of water is a spectacular feature of the region and yet it still remains off the radar as a tourist attraction despite its captivating beauty. Gal Oya is known for its elephant herds that can be seen throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled. Crocodiles can also be spotted lazing along the banks and sliding silently into the water. There are many things to do in Gal Oya National Park, aside from taking jeep drives into the park in the morning or the evening. An experience unique to this park is to take a boat ride across the splendid reservoir as the sun goes down and look out for elephants swimming between the small islands.

Overnight Location
Campsite in Galoya
Breakfast, dinner

Day 8 The Tea Capital

Today you’ll drive to Nuwara Eliya. Visit a tea plantation and factory to witness the process of turning raw green leaves into the familiar finished product. Home to the world-renowned Ceylon tea, Nuwara Eliya is considered the capital of the tea industry. Be guided through the tea manufacturing process which will no doubt be an add on to your experience during your stay in the tea country.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Nuwara Eliya
Breakfast, dinner

Day 9 Horton Plains National Park and Train Ride

Leave after breakfast for Horton Plains National Park and walk to World's End and Bakers Falls.
This national park is on Sri Lanka's highest plateau over 2100m above sea level in the central mountains. It is a strange and tranquil region with an astounding variety of scenery – from misty mountains to grasslands, from marshes to ice cold streams, lakes, and waterfalls. Sri Lanka's best flavoured “high grown” teas are from estates in the surrounding areas. Two highlights are the spectacular view from World's End, where the plateau plunges almost 1000m in a sheer drop, and the beautiful “Bridal Veil” Bakers Falls. Distinctive flora with a high level of endemism, colourful butterflies, many rare endemic, resident, or migrant birds and several species of animal including sambhur, bear monkey, barking deer, giant squirrel, fishing cat, wild boar, hare and even a few very rare sightings of leopards are recorded.

Then proceed to the railway station for a scenic train journey to Bandarawela.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Bandarawela
Breakfast, dinner

Day 10 Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home and Optional Safari

After breakfast, leave for Yala. On the way, you’ll visit Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home. The Elephant Transit Home is an admirable initiative. Baby elephants that are injured or orphaned in the wild are brought to the Transit Home where they are cared for and rehabilitated in a natural setting. Once the elephants are old enough and strong enough, they are radio collared and released into the national park in small groups. The first group to be released into the park successfully reproduced in the wild in 2008!

After, head to Yala. If there’s time tonight, you can take an optional safari at Yala National Park.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Tissamaharama
Breakfast, dinner

Day 11 Safari in Yala

Transfer to Yala for a safari experience at Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most known national park. This park is popular for elephants, leopards, bears, crocodiles and wild boar. At 97,800 hectares in size, this is the second largest of Sri Lanka’s national parks. Its open undulating terrain made it famous for elephants for many years, but recently the park has also received much fame through publicity by National Geographic and the Discovery TV channels, which focused on a leopard research/conservation and identification project. Claims have subsequently been made that Yala National Park has the
world’s highest concentration of leopard per square kilometre.

This afternoon, you’ll proceed to Colombo.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Colombo
Breakfast, dinner

Day 12 Departure

The tour ends with a transfer to the airport. Safe travels!

Overnight Location

Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour Price and Dates

This guided wildlife tour of Sri Lanka is run as a custom tour for your group and the price depends on the number of participants.

Prices below are per person.

  • Guided Groups of 2-3: from $2,025USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 4-5: from $1,695USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 6: from $1,585USD per person
  • Guided Groups of 7+: on request

Please note that high season supplements might apply for the departures during peak season.

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Accommodation on the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour

This tour is based in 3 or 4-star hotels and camping sites. The rooms are generally deluxe and upgraded and the camps are very well-equipped.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
Rooms are double occupancy. You can pay a supplement of $480USD to have a private room in a hotel where possible. Solo travellers may be required to pay a supplement. Triple rooms enjoy a reduction of $70USD.

Anantaya Resort and Spa Chilaw

This resort overlooks the sea. The rooms feature private balconies, free WiFi, rainfall showers, and access to the spa and upmarket restaurant.

Big Game by Mahoora

These tented safari camps offer big beds, private washrooms, and tasty cuisine to their guests.

Trinco Blu by Cinnamon

With the Indian Ocean right outside your window, this upscale hotel feels like paradise. Enjoy the outdoor pool and the restaurants and bar.

Habarana Village by Cinnamon

Nestled into the trees, this resort offers warmly decorated rooms, some with lake views and soaker tubs. Relax in the outdoor pool or hit up the cricket, volleyball, tennis, and badminton courts.

Primate Research Centre

Stay right in the heart of a teeming wildlife habitat here. The rooms are simple and the wildlife on the property is incredible.

Wild Glamping Galoya

These beautiful huts can barely be called camping. Relax by the outdoor pool and admire the lush setting around you.

Blackpool Hotel, Nuwara Eliya

With a lovely view over tea and vegetable gardens, this refined hotel has sleek rooms, fireplaces, and access to the outdoor pool, tea lounge, and restaurant.

Orient Hotel, Bandarawela

You can’t miss this hotel’s bright blue exterior and pink rof. It’s more humble than others on this trip, but it still offers WiFi and satellite TV.

Kithala Resort

This romantic resort in Tissamaharama features modern amenities and is located in close proximity to local attractions.

Cinnamon Red in Colombo

This high-rise hotel has a city-view pool, stylish rooms, and a trendy rooftop bar where you can toast to the end of your adventures.

Hotels on Standard Tour

What’s Included in the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour?


11 breakfasts and 11 dinners are included.


Accommodations for 11 nights are included.

Transportation during the Tour

All personal and luggage transfers required by the itinerary are included. This includes pickup from the airport and departure transfers.

Also Included

  • Guide services
  • All entrance fees as required by program
  • Jeep safaris
  • Boat safari
  • Train tickets

Not included

  • Visas if required
  • Personal gear
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Meals not previously mentioned
  • Anything not mentioned as included

Optional Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the tour
  • Single occupancy upgrades where available
  • Snorkeling at Pigeon Island

Frequenty Asked Questions about Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour

How hard is the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour?

We rate this tour as a 1/5. This tour is relaxed, but you should be comfortable snorkelling and walking for some of the optional activities.

Do I need a visa to travel to Sri Lanka?

Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.

When is the best time to travel to Sri Lanka for this tour?

The best time to travel to Sri Lanka for this tour is May-September, as this is prime viewing season for many of the animals featured on this tour.

Are meals included on the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour?

11 breakfasts and 11 dinners are included.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory to have health and medical insurance to join this trip. Get your travel insurance.

How do I get to Colombo to start this tour?

Fly into Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB). You will be met by a guide here and driven to Chilaw, your first overnight destination.

Is the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour in English?

Yes, the guides are English-speaking.

Where does the Sri Lanka Wildlife Tour end?

The tour ends in Colombo, where you will be dropped off at the airport.

Do I need special vaccines to travel to Sri Lanka?

Check with your family doctor.

Are there any travel restrictions for Sri Lanka?

Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.


All tours on 10Adventures are operated by highly vetted local tour operators and guides.

Having local tour operators and guides means you get a more authentic experience, and your booking creates jobs in the local communities you visit.

Details of the local tour operator will be listed on your booking invoice. If you have questions about the local operator prior to booking, please click the “Ask a Question” button below.

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From $1,585USD



Hotels, Camps

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Tour Difficulty

We rate this tour as a 1/5. This tour is relaxed, but you should be comfortable snorkelling and walking for some of the optional activities.

Read about our scale for Tour Difficulty Ratings.

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