Ceylan Wild – Extended Tour

Despite its small size Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world whether in plants or animals and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Of the 91 species of mammals found in Sri Lanka Asian Elephants, Sloth Bear, Leopards, Sambar and Wild Buffaloes engages the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiast. Yet the rarest mammals of Sri Lanka are the Red Slender Loris, Toque Macaque, and Purple-faced Langur. Meanwhile the ocean around Sri Lanka is home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and lively Dolphins. Altogether 26 species of cetaceans rule the waters surrounding the country, making it one of the best locations for whale and dolphin watching. Sri Lanka is also home to a large number of endemic and migrant birds.

PLEASE NOTE:
Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo Sri Lanka will undergo daily maintenance work between the hours of 08:30 to 16:30 (8.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.) from the 5th of January to the 5th of April 2017. All flights scheduled to arrive or depart during these times will be affected and will be subjected to a schedule change. Please consult your airline or travel agent with regards to the changes and advise Ceylan Vacations as soon as possible so that we rebook arrival and/or departure transfers. Please note that during this time, your flight may change several times. So make sure to recheck your flight details several days prior to travel.







Highlights

  • Safari at Wilpattu National Park.
  • Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • The medieval city of Anuradhapura (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Elephant Ride
  • Safari at Minneriya Natioanal Park
  • Safari at Wasgamuwa National Park
  • Temple of the Tooth Relic (UNESCO World Heritage Site)
  • Cultural Dance Show
  • Udawattakele Sanctuary
  • A bathing experience at a picturesque waterfall
  • Tea factory and Plantation experience
  • Horton Plains National Park & World’s End
  • The Picturesque Ella Gap
  • Camping experience at Yala National Park
  • A religious ceremony in Katarama
  • Safari at Bundala National Park
  • Dolphin & Whale Watching Expedition (November to April)



Itinerary

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You will arrive at the Bandaranaike International Airport and be met and warmly greeted by your chauffeur guide and proceed to Chilaw. Located 65 km from International Airport, the coastal city of Chilaw ranks as a peaceful getaway in the area and also another fishing hub in the Island. Bearing features of European influence, Chilaw consists of a large Roman Catholic community. Those entering the city limits will be greeted by a beautiful statuette of Mother Mary built as a means of warding off all evil.

After spend the morning at leisure. Towards afternoon, you will visit Wilpattu National Park for a safari and then proceed to Anuradhapura. Afternoon Jeep safari at Willapattu National Park. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. This is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka and is home to Elephants, leopards, sloth bear, water buffalo and spotted deer and painted storks, white ibis, open bills, Whistling teals, spoonbills, cormorants and kingfishers. Apart from them serpent eagles, great racket tail Drongo, Malabar pied hornbills, crested hawk eagles & Sri Lanka jungle fowls are commonly seen. Both water monitors and mugger crocodiles can be seen in the willus. Also, Wilpattu is among the top national parks in the world renowned for its Leopard population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known. Thereafter proceed to Anuradhapura for over night stay.

After breakfast visit Anuradhapura (UNESCO World Heritage Site) Visit the ruins of the first capital founded in the 05th century BC here is found the largest number of ancient monuments of a great civilization. Buddhism found its first real home in Sri Lanka at Anuradhapura, and it thus contains some of Sri Lankan Buddhism’s most secret sights. The “Sri Maha Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, planted from a cutting from the original “Bo Tree” under which the Buddha received enlightenment, continue to draw thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from around the world. The pillars of the brazen palace which once had nine stories, the image of the Samadhi Buddha which is one of the finest pieces of Buddhists sculpture, the twin ponds, guard-stones and the moon-stones are amazing remains of a great civilization. There are also monuments such as Ruwanveli Seya Dagoba with its famous elephant wall from the 2nd Century B.C. and the Thuparama Dagoba from the 3rd Century B.C. Afterwards proceed to Habarana

After breakfast visit the Minneriya National Park and proceed on a safari. Minneriya National Park consists of 8890 hectares and consists of mixed evergreen forest, scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka's favorites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants. The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena) and a significant feature is the “Elephant Gathering” which happens between July & August when the tanks and other water sources around the area dry out. When this happens the elephants living in the surrounding areas gather at the Minneriya Tank that never runs dry. During this period you could witness around 300 wild elephants at a glance which is a truly amazing sight. Thereafter you will be given the chance to do an Elephant Ride on the back of a majestic elephant. You will ride through the jungle and also cross a river on an Elephant's back. This is truly an experience of a lifetime!! PM - You will climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site) which is known as the 8th wonder of the world. This rock fortress was built by King Kasyapa in the 5th century A.D. and was a royal citadel for more than 18 years. In a sheltered a pocket, approached by a spiral stairway, are the famous frescoes. The summit of the rock, with an area of nearly one hectare was the site of the palace and the outer wall was built on the very brink of the precipice. The UNESCO sponsored Central Cultural Fund has restored Sigiriya 5th century water gardens to their former glory.

After breakfast leave for Wasgamuwa and proceed on an afternoon Jeep safari at Wasgamuwa National Park The park consists of riverine forest, dry mixed evergreen forest, grasslands and wetlands. This park is famous as an elephant habitat. These elephants are known to be less habituated to people and are bigger in size and more wildish. Other than elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambhur, spotted and barking deer, wild boar and wild buffalo are also found here. Torque Macaque, Purple face leaf monkey and nocturnal slender Loris is also found in the park. Lesser Adjutant, Wooly necked stork, open bill, painted stork, Racket tailed Drongo, Yellow fronted barbet, Sri Lanka Jungle fowl & Spur fowl are among the over 100 species of birds found within the park. A point to note is that ecological research undertaken in the park suggests that the density of bears in Wasgamuwa is probably higher than anywhere else in Sri Lanka. The name Wasgamuwa may also derive from an ancient meaning as a gathering place for bears.

After breakfast proceed to Kandy. The Sacred City of Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of Sri Lanka’s most beautiful towns. This cool weathered hill station is Sri Lanka’s most visited place after Colombo. The main attraction of the town is the golden-roofed ‘Dalada Maligawa’. This is where the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha is enshrined. There are also many numerous shrines and temples in and around Kandy where you could see rare paintings, frescoes, and stone carvings. PM - Visit the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. It is located in the royal palace complex which houses the Relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site partly due to the temple. Also if time permits, you could witness a very interesting Cultural Dance Show.

After breakfast visit the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary which is a historic forest reserve on a hill-ridge in the city of Kandy. The sanctuary is famous for its extensive avifauna and is popular with bird watchers. The forest is also of religious importance as there are three Buddhist meditation hermitages and three rock shelter dwellings for Buddhist monk hermits. Thereafter proceed to Nuwara Eliya visiting the famous waterfall known as “Ramboda Falls” and a Tea Factory and Plantation. Ramboda Falls (109m and is the 11th highest waterfall in Sri Lanka) assures serenity and peace just by looking at it. Soak in the flora and fauna the Ramboda falls have to offer, which includes butterflies, wild boar, hare, deer, mouse deer and monkeys. If the weather is right, you could have a dip in the cool fresh waters which is a beautiful experience. Also you would visit a Tea Factory and Plantation where you would be educated on the production process of the world’s famous “Ceylon Tea” and also taste a factory fresh cuppa! Nuwara Eliya is set in the heart of The Tea Country and is a beautiful little town where the British succeeded in creating a replica of the English countryside with homes in styles from Georgian to Queen Anne. Well-kept lawns with hedges, an Anglican church, a famous golf course and beautiful parks give the place an air of nostalgia. Situated 6,200 feet above sea level, the air is cool and fresh. This is surely a retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city life. PM – Drive around the town and also visit Lake Gregory. It was built by the Governor William Gregory during 1872 – 1877 periods by utilizing water from the Nanu-Oya which runs across the town. It is about 91.2 hectares in extent. It was said to be used for water sports and for re-recreational activities during the British rule.

Wake up early morning and proceed to Horton Plains National Park with packed breakfast. Lying 6500ft above sea level, this is the highest and most isolated plateau consisting of wide patna-grass covered plains which is the haunt of many wild, yet harmless animals and the home to many species of birds. Bridle paths will take you to the precipice known as World’s End – a sheer drop of 1,050 meters. Waterfalls are seen and heard everywhere. The 4 ½ km trek to World’s End takes from 40 minutes to 1½ hours depending on how many times you stop to admire the view. You cross a small streams with lots of croaking frogs before passing across the grassland and then descending a few hundred metres through the forest. Then you return to the main path and a track drops down to a valley along which a 2km walk leads to a small forested escarpment. A climb and then a scrambling descent (very slippery for the last few metres so take care) take you to the picturesque waterfall named Baker’s Falls. After this 11 km trek you would return to the hotel and spend the rest of the day relaxing at the hotel.

Early morning visit to Ella Gap. Ella Gap is located in the central hills of Sri Lanka. On a clear day, you can see as far as the south coastal line, near the Hambantota coastline, through a gap in the mountains. Thereafter proceed to Yala and do a safari at The Yala National Park. The elephant is undoubtedly the best known attraction at Yala, seen in small & large herds. Herds of spotted deer are seen all over the park. Monkeys the pinkish rhesus and the grey faced Langur monkey, live and play on the tree tops and the ground below. Wild buffalo & wild boar could give a good surprise & the sight of a leopard sunning itself or drinking water at a water hole could be memorable experience. The peacock is easily the most famous of the birds at Yala. The painted stork, many varieties of heron, the spoonbill, the bee-eater, parakeets, and king-fisher & wood pecker are some of the birds can be seen in the park.

After spending the night at Yala National Park proceed Kathagama. PM – Visit the spectacular evening Pooja Ceremony in the Kataarama Temple. This is a Hindu and Buddhist temple complex dedicated to Skanda-Murukan also known as Kataragama deviyo. It is one of the few religious sites in Sri Lanka that is venerated by the majority Sinhala Buddhists, minority Hindu Tamils, Muslims and the Vedda people. It is a collection of modest shrines, of which the one dedicated to Skanda-Murukan, also known as Kataragama deviyo, is the most important. For most of the past millennia, it was a jungle shrine very difficult to access but today it is accessible by an all-weather road.

After early breakfast proceed to the Bundala National Park for a safari. The thorny scrub jungle is home to spotted deer, the rare pangolin and the playful grey langur monkey. A walk along the beach at dawn might reveal the unusual tracks in the sand of a sea turtle that had come ashore to lay her eggs during the night. The picturesque lagoons and inter-tidal mud flats are alive with flashes of brilliant colour as wintering birds arrive to rest and feed. This park covers an area of 6216 hectares and falls within the southeastern arid zone of Sri Lanka, with a general climate that can be classified as hot and dry. The terrain is generally flat with sand dunes bordering the coastline, and vegetation consists mainly of dry thorny scrublands and lagoons Proceed to Mirissa.

Early morning proceed on a Whale & Dolphin Watching Expedition at 0600 hrs. Sri Lanka is hot spot for Whale and Dolphin enthusiasts and is situated within the international whaling commissions protected zone in the Indian Ocean. Mirissa is in the hot zone in the south coast of Sri Lanka. Due to the calm seas, between November and April there is an outstanding window of opportunity for observing Blue and Sperm whales close to shore.

After breakfast Spend the day at leisure. Overnight stay at Mirissa

After breakfast proceed to the airport OR drop at your selected beach resort for extended stay.

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