This quaint estate provides traditionally-furnished accommodation located just an hour away from the international airport.
|15 Days||£3630||Jul - Mar||Sri Lanka||Tailor-Made|
This exciting safari starts by exploring some of the best cultural sights of Sri Lanka, including the imposing Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the intricate sculptures of the Dambulla cave temple and the Temple of the Tooth, said to hold one of the Buddha's actual teeth. Moving on to your leopard safari, venture into the forests of Yala National Park in search of leopards and other wildlife such as sloth bears, Asian elephants and crocodiles, before heading south for some relaxation on the secluded beaches of Tangalle.
Upon your arrival into Colombo International Airport, you will be met by your guide who will drive you to the Horathapola Estate (approximately 1 hour), your hotel for the night, situated on a 50 acre pineapple plantation. Spend the rest of the day relaxing at your hotel or exploring the plantation on foot.
Overnight: Horathapola Estate
Today you will be transferred to your hotel on the shores of Lake Kandalama, within Sri Lanka's 'cultural triangle'. The area is home to countless historical and cultural sites including the archaeological sites of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura, the ancient capital cities of Sri Lanka, the cave temples of Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. In the afternoon you will be driven to Minneriya National Park, where from the months of July to September you can observe 'The Gathering', when hundreds of elephants congregate on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir.
Formerly the fortress palace of King Kassapa who assumed the throne in 477 AD after murdering his father, little remains of the palace itself but foundations at the summit. The climb to the summit is not difficult and there are ancient frescoes to view in a sheltered alcove midway through the climb. Later this morning continue southwards to Kandy where you spend the next two nights at The Kandy House located 30mins out of town.
An early start this morning with a visit to the renowned Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a large ancient rock fortress and palace surrounded by a network of gardens and sculptures. The monolithic “Lion Rock” soars 180m from the formal gardens below. In the afternoon you will visit the ruins of the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, which became the second capital city of Sri Lanka following the destruction of Anuradhapura in 993.
Today you will head to Dambulla to explore the Buddhist cave temples, a complex of over 80 natural caves decorated with intricate frescoes and ornate Buddha statues, dating from the 1st century BC. From here, drive south through the tea plantations to Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka known for its botanical gardens and the famous Temple of the Tooth, which houses a relic of the Buddha's tooth. In the evening you will pay a visit to the temple to witness the unveiling of the tooth, before returning to your hotel for dinner.
Today you will board your train to the hill country, enjoying scenic views of the tea plantations as you wind your way down to Ella. You will be met at the station by your driver, who will transfer you to your hotel set amongst a 98 acre tea estate.
Spend the day exploring the scenic countryside around Ella, from climbing 'Little Adam's Peak' to enjoy the spectacular views from the top, to visiting the engineering masterpiece of the Nine Arches Bridge, also known as the 'Bridge in the Sky', one of the most iconic bridges in Sri Lanka.
This morning you will travel out of the hill country to Yala National Park on the southeastern coast of the island. The most well-known and second largest park in Sri Lanka, Yala has one of the largest populations of Asiatic leopard in the world and is also home to elephants, crocodiles and sloth bears. Upon arrival at your camp, settle in and enjoy a hearty meal before venturing into the park on your first game drive. Return to camp in the evening for your first night sleeping under the starlit skies.
Enjoy a full day exploring the national park, waking early in the morning for a game drive as the sun begins to rise, with your expert guide on hand to point out any wildlife sightings. Return to camp to rest and a late-morning breakfast during the heat of the day, before heading out on another game drive in the late afternoon.
After your final jeep safari in the park, you will be transferred along the south coast to the fishing town of Tangalle, renowned for its tranquility and white sandy beaches. The area is also an important turtle conservation area, with five species of turtle that can be found nesting year-round on the beaches in the area.
Spend the next two days relaxing on the stunning palm-fringed beaches and secluded coves around Tangalle, while staying at the colourful beach hotel The Last House. You can also venture into Tangalle itself, a pleasant fishing town with Dutch and British architectural influences, or visit the Mulkirigala Rock Temple which dates back over 2,000 years.
Today you will travel west along the coastal road to the historic fort town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of Galle. In the evening, enjoy a walking tour around the famous Galle fort, learning about the town's fascinating history.
Spend your final full day in Sri Lanka exploring the south coast and the town of Galle. Explore the cobbled streets and fort ramparts on foot, admiring the Dutch colonial-era mansions, museums and churches and the ancient mosques, or spend the day relaxing and unwinding on the beach.
Today you will depart Galle and be transferred north to Colombo in time for your international flight home.
Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our Sri Lanka wildlife safaris.