A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

Wildlife-spotting from city to coast

Sri Lanka may be an island, but its jungly national parks are home to some fantastic beasts, and we know exactly where to find them…
 

We can’t guarantee that once-in-a-lifetime leopard sighting, but we can customise your trip: just ask and the Smith24 Team will book your flights to and from Sri Lanka, upgrade your hotel room, arrange a meal in the bush – whatever you desire.
 

This 13-night trip is £2,989 a person (approximately US$3,856), based on two guests sharing.* 
 

To kick off your trip, contact the Smith24 team around the clock on:
+44 (0)330 100 3180 from the UK,
+1 800 464 2040 from the US.

 

Submit an enquiry

Highlights

Highlights

  • Stay in the best luxury and boutique Mr & Mrs Smith hotels throughout your trip
  • See a secluded waterfall cascade into Kandy’s green surrounds
  • Meet the indigenous Vedda tribe in Gol Oya National Park
  • Spot leopards on twice daily drives through Yala National Park
  • Wave at whales from the south coast

 

Need to know

Need to know

When to go
Sri Lanka’s weather is at its loveliest from January to March, when the rains have stopped, the sun beams down and the leopards in Yala National Park are on the prowl. You’re most likely to spot breaching whales from February through to April.

Getting there
International flights aren’t included in the package, so you’ll need to book return flights  to Colombo’s Bandaranaike Airport, the start and end point of your trip. Or, our team can save you the hassle and book them for you. All inland transport is by luxury, air-conditioned sedan with a private English-speaking driver; for longer transfers between destinations, you can choose to upgrade to a seaplane ride.

Packing tips

  • Trusty binoculars for up-close views of shy animals
  • Neutrally hued clothing for park stake-outs
  • A guide to exotic birds: to avoid anecdotes about ‘the one with the red-and-yellow feathers and the massive beak’ back home
A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

Day 1–3: Colombo

Before heading into the wild, get to know Sri Lanka’s dizzying capital Colombo. You’ll spend two nights here: enough time to wander through the city’s temples, sample street food by lively gathering spot Galle Face Green and marvel at idiosyncratic modern and colonial architecture.

Your beautiful boutique hotel is The Wallawwa, a restful, colonial stay with manicured green gardens and tranquil courtyards to relax in.

Your hotel…

Your hotel…

A warm welcome awaits at The Wallawwa, a centuries-old colonial manor house turned boutique stay. It lies close to the city, but when swimming in its sizeable pool, stopping to smell the jasmine in the garden or fanning yourself on the veranda, it feels like a quiet country home.

Smith Extra A 10-minute head massage for two

Day 1: For the first two days, guests are at leisure to explore the city, whether you want to see the flock of meditating Buddha statues (and the vintage Rolls Royce) at Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple or plunge into the madness of old quarter Pettah’s markets. 

We have the inside track on Colombo’s best restaurants so just ask if you need a booking, alternatively, the Wallawwa’s curries are excellent.

Day 2: Today, prep for your journey into leafier climes with a trip to the Muthurajawela Wetlands, just north of the hotel, where crocodiles and monitor lizards make the occasional appearance. The Smith24 Team can arrange this on request.

Day 3: After breakfast on the veranda, you’ll meet your driver for the four-hour drive inland to Kandy.

A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

Day 3–6: Kandy

Deep in Hill Country, former capital Kandy’s colourful houses and glittering lake are largely swathed in mountain mist; while here you’ll stay in a leafy enclave just beyond the city limits, in colonial country house Taylors Hill.

Your hotel…

Your hotel…

Boutique stay Taylors Hill has deftly captured a homely ambience with its collection of antiques and whimsical decor in each four-poster-furnished room. 

Smith Extra A signature spa product made with Sri Lankan cinnamon or a selection of local teas from the neighbouring plantation

Day 3: After a drive through tree-carpeted panoramic vistas, get settled into your quirkily cosy room. You’re left to relax today, so play a few games in the hotel’s billiards room, hop into the kidney-bean-shaped pool overlooking the hills or knockabout on the croquet pitch. 

Day 4: After a hearty breakfast, you’ll meet your experienced guide for a private trek to a waterfall close by. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife: civets, porcupines and mouse deer roam these parts and the skies are a’flutter with exotic birds.

Day 5: Today, you’re free to explore. If you need some inspiration, Smith’s in-destination team can plan a tour of Kandy by bike or foot, where you can stop at Buddhist relic-shrine the Temple of the Tooth. Alternatively, we can arrange a tour of Loolecondera Estate’s tea fields.

Day 6: Today you’ll polish off breakfast, pack your bags and meet your driver once more for the chauffeured transfer to Gal Oya National Park.

A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

Day 6–8: Gal Oya National Park

Less famous than Yala or Udawalawe parks, Gal Oya sits in the lesser-trodden east of Sri Lanka, on the banks of vast Senanayake Samudraya lake. While here, you’ll stay at Gal Oya Lodge, an impressively eco-friendly retreat set amid acres of forest.

Your hotel…

Your hotel…

Gal Oya Lodge sits within the National Park, so every effort has been made to make it eco-friendly and sustainable. Large comfortable bungalows are made of teak and mara wood, and bamboo, as are the locally crafted furnishings. Its at-one-with-nature setting, amid 20 acres of untouched forest will make you feel far away from it all too.

Day 6: Your new digs are a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Kandy, so shake off the road and settle in to your bungalow. You’ll stay here for two nights, enough time to get acquainted with your furred and feathered neighbours.

There are no planned activities today, but we recommend a safari drive, boat ride or cycle with one of the park’s knowledgeable naturalists. We can book you a private experience on request; take a boat tour and you may see elephants paddling in the lake.

Day 7: Today we’ve arranged for you to meet the Vedda, an indigenous tribe who live within Gal Oya’s borders. An English-speaking guide will lead you on a private tour to mingle with its members. Be inspired by their live-off-the-land ethos and the chief’s stories of how their ancestors survived in ancient times.

Day 8: Today, after a breakfast made with locally-grown ingredients, you’ll pack up and meet your driver for a chauffeured ride to your next stop, Yala National Park. 

A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

Day 8–11: Yala National Park

As the natural habitat of leopards, elephants, sloth bears and other photogenic critters, Yala’s greenery has been interfered with as little as possible. While here you’ll bed down in the kind of thatch-cladded huts local farmers used to fashion and snooze in: although the ones at Chena Huts are a little more luxurious.

Your hotel…

Your hotel…

Chena Huts adds a touch of luxury to traditional lodgings; these truly unique guestrooms are shaggily thatched domes with all mod-cons inside, including super-soft beds, a flatscreen TV and plumbed bathroom with a freestanding bath tub. Animals roam at will close by, and while a little distance is advised, the sight of wild elephants taking a sunset stroll through the dunes will stay with you long after you’ve flown home. 

Smith Extra A 30-minute massage for two; GoldSmiths get a signature dinner for two

Day 8: After the three-and-a-half-hour drive from Gal Oya Park, take a breather, sit on your hut’s terrace and check out your new home’s sublime south coast scenery. Then book your Smith Extra massage.

Day 9: Twice daily game drives are included. Start early for potential sightings of Yala’s residents. Keep your eyes peeled to spy deer, sloth bears, water buffalo, and mabe even an elephant or one of the park’s famed, yet lesser-spotted, leopards. 

Day 10: Today, you have two more chances to snap wildlife at play on two more game drives, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. In between, a naturalist from Chena Huts can take you on a tour of the terrain, on request.

Day 11: Pack your binoculars and take a lingering look at Yala’s natural beauty. Today, you’ll head to Tangalle on the southern coast, where your safari takes to the sea. 

A spectacular Sri Lankan safari

Day 11–14: Tangalle

Rich in biodiversity – with bird and turtle sanctuaries, wild swimming spots and a natural rock blowhole – Tangalle is the largest town in Sri Lanka’s Southern Province, and the next stop on your trip.

Gleaming white buildings and breezy bedrooms set beside a sapphire-blue pool and lush gardens: petite boutique hotel Maya is a lovely stop for your swansong stay.

Your hotel…

Your hotel…

You’re assured attentive personal service at boutique hotel Maya, which has just five suites set in the historic main house and its New Wing. Here, four-poster beds are romantically swathed in netting, the pool is ideal for lazy laps and the surrounding rice paddies make the surroundings wonderfully serene.

Smith Extra Dinner for two, plus a cocktail each

Day 11: Tangalle is a relatively fleet two-hour drive from Yala National Park. Your chauffeur will drop you at the door of Maya your new home for three nights, where you’ll be welcomed with cocktails. 

Day 12: Today a personal guide will take you on a whale-watching tour off the south coast. This is a serendipitous spot for sighting breaching whales, so bring your camera and a waterproof to protect you from splashing fins.

Day 13: If you want to spend your last full day in Sri Lanka reflecting on all you’ve seen and done, we can book a yoga session for you in the hotel’s gardens. Or, if you want to cram in as much sightseeing as possible, we’ll book you a tour to see the Mulkirigala Rock Temple or the famed Hummanaya blowhole, both spectacular in their own way.

Day 14: Today you’ll leave Sri lanka with fond memories of big cats and elephants and the beguiling beauty of the isle. Your driver will pick up you and your bags and take you back to Colombo for the flight home or on to your next destination. 

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Further adventures in Sri Lanka

Want to see more of this explorer-bewitching, naturally beautiful isle? Take a peek at our other luxury trips in Sri Lanka.

Terms and conditions

*The package includes all accommodation in Mr & Mrs Smith boutique hotels and local transportation with your own driver, and all applicable taxes.

  • International flights, visa fees, airport taxes or insurance.
  • Any items which are not mentioned as ‘included’ in the itinerary.
  • Any increase in government taxes.

General conditions

  • All prices are in GBP and are subject to change, depending on what time of the year you travel.
  • All prices are subject to any revisions to taxes or tariffs.
  • Best-price guarantee

    Found your stay cheaper elsewhere? We’ll match the price and give you a $75 voucher.

  • Smith Extra on arrival

    Enjoy extras such as a picnic lunch, champagne or spa treatments, on the house