Galway Forest Lodge MID A lovely forest hideaway, located a couple of kilometres outside Nuwara Eliya - its location is fantastic for birding and nature enthusiasts. Accommodation consists of 52 en-suite rooms, all with heaters and modern facilities. The hotel has a restaurant, bar and billiard room.also has spectacular views. Activities St Andrew's Hotel HIGH A classic colonial hotel located next to the golf course. This historic hotel has 52 spacious rooms and preserves the atmosphere of a bygone age within its wood-panelled bar and dining room, tea lounge and billiard room. Activities from the hotel include nature treks, pony rides, birdwatching and scenic tours.Yala National Park Yala National Park is Sri Lanka's oldest wildlife reserve, which is famous for having one of the highest densities of leopards in the world and some of the world's largest and most visible leopards. During morning and evening safaris you may also see elephant, sloth bear, sambar, chital, wild boar, striped-necked, brown and ruddy mongoose, black-naped hare, marsh mugger crocodile and several civet species. Birding highlights include the southern sirkeer, blue-faced malkoha, yellow-wattled lapwing, rufous-winged bush lark, thick-billed fl ower-pecker, purple sunbird, little minivet, white-rumped shama and rare black-necked stork.Yala Village Hotel HIGH Yala Village Hotel borders the park and sits beside miles of golden Indian Ocean beach. Accommodation is in rustic-style, spacious, air-conditioned beach chalets and jungle cabins with en-suite washrooms. A highlight of the property is an observation deck which offers panoramic vistas across the surrounding forest, beach and rocky outcrops (often frequented by local leopards). Bundala Lewaya/Kalametiya ReservesBundala Lewaya, recognised by Ramsar, and the Kalametiya Reserve are both important wetland areas on the south coast. They are home to almost all Sri Lanka's resident water birds, as well as countless migratory birds between November and March. Highlights include greater fl amingo, lesser adjutant and painted stork. Other common species are marsh sandpiper, intermediate and great egrets, brown-capped babbler, Asian openbill, Eurasian spoonbill, black-winged stilt, golden plover, little stint and curlew sandpiper. In addition, mammals such as elephant, chital, grey langur, water monitor and crocodile are often seen. Oasis Hotel HIGH The Oasis Hotel is in Hambantota, within easy striking distance of Bundala Lewaya and Kalametiya Reserves, and offers comfortable accommodation in 38 air-conditioned rooms spread throughout ten chalets; all with balconies and private bathrooms. Other facilities include a large swimming pool, jacuzzi, restaurant, bar and gym.95SUGGESTED ITINERARYDay 1 Depart UK for Colombo Day 2 Kandy, 2-nights, Hotel Suisse. Home to the famous Temple of the Tooth (D) Day 3 Visit the Millennium Elephant Foundation (BD) Day 4 Nuwara Eliya, 3-nights, Galway Forest Lodge. En-route visit Udawattakele forest (BD) Day 5 Horton Plains excursion, endemic birds and colourful butterfl ies (BD) Day 7 Yala National Park, 3-nights, Yala Village Hotel. En-route visit Ravana Ella waterfall (BD) Day 8 Jeep safaris and nature trails (BD) Day 10 Hambantota, 2-nights, Oasis Hotel. Bundala/Kalametiya safaris (BD) Day 12 Ratnapura, 3-nights, Ratnaloka Hotel. Udawalawe National Park jeep safari (BD) Day 13 Sinharaja Rainforest visit, pristine and little-visited (BD) Day 15 Negombo, 1-night, Goldi Sands (BD) Day 16 Depart for the UK (arrive same day) (B)SRI LANKA'S WILDLIFE HIGHLIGHTSSri Lanka is a perfect, good value destination for wildlife-lovers with some fabulous parks and reserves, great birdwatching and exceptionally knowledgeable guides. This itinerary takes in many of those parks. You can spot leopard, elephant and a myriad of bird species, including some of Sri Lanka's endemics, on plentiful included wildlife visits and safaris. TAILOR-MADEFact!Leatherback turtles come ashore to nest on the beaches near to Bundala Lewaya/Kalametiya Reserves, from April to June, and along the southern coast. Conservation projects are necessary to protect these delicate creatures. Or visit us on the web www.wildlifeworldwide.comASIA | SRI LANKALeopardsYala National Park is renowned as one of the best places in the world to encounter leopards. Sightings usually occur early morning and at dusk, with excellent photographic opportunities afforded by confi dent males, especially the young. We'll arrange your jeep safaris in the morning and afternoon, to give you the best chance of sightings of these enigmatic creatures - thought by some to be the largest leopards in Asia.Departure dates Daily, throughout the yearCost per person From £1915 (Jan - early Apr), £1845 (late Apr - Jun), £1995 (Jul - Aug), £1955 (Sep - Oct), £2020 (Nov - Dec), £2225 (Christmas) What's included Flights, transfers, meals as indicated, 14 nights hotel accommodation, guided activities
Udawalawe National Park Walawe Reservoir and Udawalawe National Park comprise open plains and hills located in south-west Sri Lanka at the foot of the prominent Kaltota Escarpment. The park is home to many elephants with herds of 50 to 60 often being seen at one time and there are numerous sambar, chital and wild boar. There is wonderful birdlife here including grey-headed fi sh eagle, black-shouldered kite, changeable hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, white-bellied sea eagle, shikra, common kestrel, brown fi sh owl and western marsh harrier. Centauria Hotel MID This is a simple hotel that lies on the edge of Chandrika Reservoir, just south of Udawalawe National Park. The hotel has 42 rooms in its main wing and eight rooms in four lakeside cottages. Rooms are air-conditioned, with en-suite shower rooms and lake-facing balconies. There is a swimming pool, café-bar and Ayurvedic centre.Sinharaja Rainforest If you have time, a visit to Sinharaja is a must! The forest is the last remaining primary lowland tropical rainforest in Sri Lanka, and home to many endemic plants, animals and birds, including some 139 varieties of Sri Lanka's 830 endemic trees. It is one of the few places that you can see the blue-faced leaf monkey and the Sri Lanka hanging parrot, plus a wonderful diversity of butterfl ies includes the spectacular blue morpho and bird-wings. Much of the birdlife is endemic including four eagles - rufous-bellied, crested serpent, black and mountain hawk eagle. Another wildlife coup is frequent mixed species 'bird waves', a real sight to behold.Ratnaloka Hotel MID Located about eight kilometres from the town of Ratnapura, a couple of hours drive from the World Heritage Rainforest Site of Sinharaja. The hotel has 53 air-conditioned rooms with en-suite facilities surrounded by gardens and a swimming pool shaded by cardamom trees. If you'd like to stay in the park itself, we can recommend a couple of options to suit different budgets - please ask us for details.Minneriya National Park The park is located a short distance north of Dambulla in eastern Sri Lanka. Sambar and Chital are commonly seen and birding highlights include the Sri Lanka grey hornbill and Sri Lanka jungle fowl. Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Dambulla Cave Temples are also nearby. Polonnaruwa's palaces and shrines are a World Heritage Site, home to troops of monkeys, whilst Dambulla Cave Temples house spectacular ceiling paintings. Sigiriya's citadel and ruins are the remains of great civilisations and in surrounding water tanks dwell many different water-birds. Chaaya Village HIGH OUR CHOICE Chaaya Village, in nearby Habarana, reaches across 13 hectares, and borders a spectacular lake. The hotel's cottages are inspired by local designs so they blend with the beautiful natural surroundings. Its 106 superior and deluxe rooms are en-suite with TV and mini-bar. It's a good place to stay for exploring nearby national parks and cultural highlights. For ultimate privacy, choose Kingfi sher Lodge, set in secluded grounds with stunning views of the lake and your own private chef on-hand.SUGGESTED ITINERARYDay 1 Depart UK for Colombo Day 2 Habarana, 2-nights, Chaaya Village (BD) Day 3 Minneriya National Park elephant gathering, 300 elephants along with many birds (BD) Day 4 Polonnaruwa, 2-nights, Primate Research Camp. Field visits to track monkeys (BLD) Day 6 Nuwara Eliya, 1-night, Galway Forest Lodge. Tea plantation visit (BD) Day 7 Yala National Park, 2-nights, Yala Village. Jeep safaris (BD) Day 9 Colombo, 1-night, Pegasus Reef Hotel. Optional Yala jeep safari (BD) Day 10 Depart for the UK (arrive same day) (B)PRIMATES, ELEPHANTS AND WHALESHelp research scientist Dr. Wolfgang Dittus track toque macaques and purple-faced and gray langur monkeys. During your stay at the project, you'll learn about his valuable studies and community conservation efforts. From June to September, you will also see the spectacular elephant gathering at Minneriya and, during the winter months, enjoy whale-watching and a bird safari. Please ask us for details of the winter itinerary; the summer itinerary is highlighted below.TAILOR-MADE96Many airlines fl y via the Maldives, so if you fancy staying on a paradise island then please do ask for our advice and suggestions - our sister company, Dive Worldwide, can offer you a diving holiday in the Maldives.Talk to an expert 0845 130 6982Departure dates Daily, throughout the yearCost per person From £1695 (Jan - early Apr), £1495 (late Apr - Jun), £1750 (mid Jul - mid Aug), £1660 (mid Aug - Oct), £1785 (Nov - early Dec), £1985 (Christmas) Tour extension If you'd like to stay longer at the Primate Research Camp (a week, two or more) we can arrange this - please ask us for detailsWhat's included Flights, transfers, meals as indicated, six nights hotel accommodation and two nights basic camp, guided activitiesFact!Minneriya National Park is famous for its huge herds of elephants, particularly from June to September when more than 300 gather on the receding shores of the Minneriya Tank. This gathering of elephants at Minneriya is an awesome spectacle which ranks alongside some of the better known wildlife spectacles in East Africa.