Tailor-Made

Sri Lanka Family Adventure Safari

An off-the-beaten-track family adventure into Sri Lanka’s central region. Spot leopards in Wilpattu National Park, explore ancient civilisations at the ruins of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, and get active in the lush tea plantations, with plenty of time to relax on the stunning white sandy beaches of the east coast.

Duration 15 days
Price From $4,886
When Jan - Aug
Destination Sri Lanka

Safari Overview

This remarkable trip takes you and your family across Sri Lanka beginning at the Horathapola Estate; a striking area where coconut, mango, pineapple and spices are grown. You will all then venture into the Wilpattu National Park (the biggest national park in Sri Lanka) where you can search for Asian elephants, birds and a whole range of other fauna and flora.

You will be able to speak to your personal guide to design your days specifically to your requirements; so if your son or daughter has a particular interest in birds or insects make sure you tell the guide who will then be able to keep an extra special eye out to keep both you and your children entertained.

What makes this trip extraordinary?

  • Discover ancient civilisations – visit the awe-inspiring Sigiriya Rock Fortress and explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa by bicycle.
  • Experience the landscape – wander around verdant tea plantations, drive through arid landscapes dotted with hydrating wewas.
  • Unique opportunity – visit rural villages and learn from the locals.
  • Wildlife spotting – explore the incredible Wilpattu National Park in search of the Sri Lankan sloth bears, Asian elephants and leopards.
  • Relax – spend some quality time in the shallower waters of the east coast.

Search for elephants and birds on this family adventure of a lifetime, tailored to your families requirements.

Day by day

Day 1

Arrive Colombo

You will be welcomed to Sri Lanka by your local guide who will take you to your hotel in rural Wadumunnegedara village. The Horathapola Estate is the perfect base for your first night or two, with gentle walks through the estate or relaxing by the pool followed by a delicious Sri Lankan curry, easing you in to the Sri Lankan pace of life.

Overnight: Horathapola Estate

Day 2

Horathapola

Today you have the day at leisure where you will be able to explore your stunning surroundings. Coconut, fruits, spices and rice are all cultivated on the Horathapola Estate. Take a stroll, a bullock cart ride or cycle to the nearby rural village where you can watch the production of kadju nuts, wire ropes or visit a kopra factory. Estate staff can help you discover village life unfolding at its own pace, away from tourist areas. You may want to visit the village temple and the local market where fresh produce grown in village home gardens can be purchased.

Overnight: Horathapola Estate B

Day 3

Colombo – Wilpattu National Park

Today you will be transferred to Wilpattu (approximately two and a half hours away from Horathapola). You will all check into the Leopard Trails safari campsite where you will stay for the next two nights. Leopard Trails is a respected wildlife company that has a thorough understanding and appreciation of the wilderness. Discuss your wildlife interests beforehand and whether it is birds, leopards or elephants the Leopard Trails team will personalise your game drives and take you on routes where you are more likely to see your favourite animals.

Day 4

Wilpattu National Park

Today you will explore Wilpattu National Park, the largest national park in Sri Lanka. It is home to many diverse forest types. There are over 30 recorded mammalian species inside Wilpattu. Apart from leopards and sloth bear there are also Sri Lankan elephants and spotted deer. Wetland bird species such as the spoonbill, whistling teal and the white ibis can also be found here. The park retains its status as a preferred safari destination due to a strong prevalence of the elusive leopard. Another highlight is the dense population of Sri Lankan sloth bears - a highly threatened subspecies of the sloth bear - that only exist in Sri Lanka. A typical day begins at sunrise, heading into the park for your morning game drive before returning to camp for a late breakfast. In the mid-afternoon you will head out into the park once more for more exploration, returning to camp at sundown.

Day 5

Wilpattu - Trincomalee

Today, after your morning game drive, you will be transferred east to the coastal port town of Trincomalee, a former British Naval Base from WWII. Your hotel for the next few days is located just up the coast in a wonderfully wild area.

Days 6-8

Trincomalee

You will have three days to enjoy Jungle Beach; the landscape and cultural heritage of this region are very different to other parts of the island. During your time here you will have plenty of time to relax on the beach and enjoy swimming in the sea as well as explore the old naval base of Trincomalee with its fort and hot springs.

Day 9

Trincomalee - Sigiriya

This morning you will transfer inland to the famed Cultural Triangle. The journey will take around 3 hours and on arrival you will have time to settle in to your eco-lodge. In the evening, you will have the opportunity to visit a local village and speak with the residents, learning about their way of life in this rural and arid location.

Day 10

Cultural Triangle

An early start this morning as you climb the Sigiriya Lion’s Rock Fortress in the cool of the day. The views from the top of this granite monolith are breath-taking, and the sheer skill, might and level of engineering that was required to build the fort is mind-blowing. After lunch and some time back at hotel to relax in the heat of the day, head to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa to explore this vast site of stupas, Buddha statues and Apsara figures. This was Sri Lanka’s second capital city and it dates back thousands of years. If you wish, you can even hire bicycles and explore the site on two wheels!

Day 11

Sigiriya - Kandy

This morning visit the cave temple complex of Dambulla, the site of exile for the ousted King Kassapa after his short reign atop the Sigiriya Rock. The site has over 80 caves dotted in the hillside, but only five are open to the public today. The caves are filled to the rafters with colourful frescoes and Buddha statues. This is also a good site for observing the cheeky antics of the endemic Toque Macaque monkeys, as they play havoc, testing the patience of the cave guards. After your visit, you will drive south to Sri Lanka’s second largest city, Kandy. You will have an opportunity in the early evening to visit the iconic Temple of the Tooth, for which the city is best known. Housing a relic of the Buddha’s tooth, the temple comes alive with a throng of pilgrims each day at 12pm and 6pm, when the tooth is removed from the vault and put on show.

Overnight: Elephant Stables B

Day 12

Kandy - Hill Country

Your day will begin with a visit to Kandy’s other emblematic spot, the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens, best known for its world-leading orchid collection. The garden is not only a botanists paradise, but also makes an excellent spot for taking a stroll and people-watching, as local families and lovers young and old come to embrace the beauty of the calm surroundings in the heart of the city. After your visit, you will be transferred to the train station to catch your steam train into the hill country. Old British steam trains are relics of the colonial period in Sri Lanka, and a journey on one as it weaves through the hills and tea plantations is a must do in Sri Lanka. Keep an eye out for birds or monkeys in the trees as you pass by. After an hour or two on board, you will arrive into your destination, at the Hatton Train Station, from where your guide will meet you and transfer you to your plantation hotel nearby. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore the plantations as you wish.

Day 13

Hill Country

Spend the day exploring the hills on foot or by bike. You will be taken on a tour of a local tea factory, learning how it goes from bush to brew. Here you will gain insight into the manufacturing process as well as an opportunity to taste the different grades of hill country tea.

Day 14

Hill Country - Kotugoda

Today you will transfer to Kotugoda for your final night at The Wallawwa. Located 15 minutes away from the international airport, The Wallawwa is an old manor house with architectural features including columns, courtyards and verandas. It has a history which dates back to the mid-17th century when it was owned by the head chieftain of Galle. This manor house has been restored retaining its old world charm with a lovely blend of luxurious comforts and styles.

Overnight: The Wallawwa B

Day 15

Depart Kotugoda

Today you will be driven back to the airport in time for your onward flight.

Trip Details

Dates and Prices

This is a tailor-made trip which can be amended to suit the exact needs of your family. Over the fifteen days you will be able to explore a range of beautiful areas of Sri Lanka; you will be able to create extraordinary memories of you and your children rambling through tea trails and exploring stunning beaches. Journey times between areas have been kept short and properties specifically chosen with recognition to their suitability and facilities for children and families.

About Tailor-made Safaris

A tailor-made safaris is one designed specifically for you, around your taste, budget, people travelling, interests and more. This itinerary is just an example and can be refined and changed to make it perfect for you

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