Other Red Dot Sites: Maldives
The Sri Lanka Travel Specialists
This Sri Lanka Nature Trek is specially designed for ramblers, nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. We’ve hunted down eco-retreats and hotels situated in picturesque locations and created an itinerary that takes you through some of the island’s most memorable landscapes. Experience the wetlands and jungles of the North West and North central region, the magnificent Knuckles Mountain range, tea-covered hills of the central highlands; the awe-inspiring Adam’s Peak and rainforests of the south-western foothills. Of course, we are able to tinker with this itinerary if you wish.
Upon arriving in Sri Lanka, transfer to a convenient hotel close to the international airport. Relax and unwind after your flight, preparing yourself for the adventure ahead.
As you travel north, visit the Annaiwilundawa wetland sanctuary with its seven tanks are recognized as some of the most important habitats for both resident and migratory birds. These wetlands are also some of the most important nesting sites for water birds such as the Asian Open-bills, Painted Storks, all specie of Egrets, Little Indian & the endangered Great Cormorants, Spot-billed Pelican and Black-headed Ibis. This tour offers two grades of accommodation – and you spend the next two nights at a splendid rustic hotel which will give you a taste of Sri Lanka rural life.
Spend the next three days in the cultural triangle where a clamber up Mount Sigiyiya is a must for an active traveller. We recommend an early start soon after dawn to so you can be making your descent before the tourist buses arrive. Hike to the historic Aligala (Elephant Rock) jungle caves that date back to the 3rd century BC or the Kandalama Rock, with magnificent views of the surrounding wilderness, the reservoir and the Dambulla cave temple from the summit. Cycle through the wilderness and quaint rural villages.
Wake up early the next day, again preferably before dawn, armed with a picnic breakfasts, for a morning safari at Minneriya National Park best known for the biggest gathering of Asian Elephants. This 8,890 hectare park of dry evergreen forest, scrub jungle, grassy plains, is dominated by the Minneriya Tank. During the dry season from about August to September, herds of up to 150 elephants can be seen here. Explore Polonnaruwa’s ancient ruins. Polonnaruwa became Sri Lanka’s royal medieval capital in 1073 and remained the capital until the late 13C. Today, these ruins provide a fascinating insight into a sophisticated ancient civilisation.
The Simply Red option elects for another eco hotel – Galkadawala – for an enriching close-to-nature experience, while our Classically Red choice gives you the chance to indulge yourself for a while with the creature comforts of Kandalama.
Today you travel to the remote village of Laggala set within the Knuckles Conservation Range in the central hills. Stay the next three nights at Sir John’s bungalow – a welcoming guesthouse situated about 1,000 metres above sea level. Located within the district of Kandy and Matale in central Sri Lanka, the Knuckles Mountain Range consists of several mountain peaks and a wide variety of rare and endemic flora and fauna. Declared a UNESCO protected World Heritage Site, the Knuckles Conservation Range is a storehouse of rich biodiversity. Trek through dense forests, along rivers and waterfalls, past tea plantations and terraced paddy fields and visit some of the small rural village communities.
Much pleasure awaits you this morning as you head off to Dickoya in the central tea-growing highlands through a romantic landscape that stirs the senses. The highlands are a land of lush tea plantations, majestic peaks and rushing waterfalls. Stay two nights in a colonial-period planter’s bungalow set on an extensive tea plantation. Rest and prepare for the night time climb up Adam’s Peak. Visited by thousands of pilgrims from many faiths, Adam’s Peak is an enriching experience. The hike up to the peak will take approximately 2.5 hours. The climb is possible from December to April and best attempted at night where you reach the mountain top to see the sunrise and the breath taking views. The surrounding Adam’s Peak forest reserve is home to numerous species of birds and butterflies.
Journey to the western foothills of the central highlands. Both classifications of tour recommend that you stay two nights at the Borderlands Riverside Camp in Kitulgala. This is an area with tropical rainforests, winding rivers and an undulating terrain. Kitulgala owes its popularity to the Kelani River which offers exciting Grade 3 rapids for rafting. Rise to the sound of bird call and the gushing waters of the mighty Kelani; go white water rafting, canyoning or hiking.
Today you head back to the capital city of Colombo for your final night. Check-in to Villa Talangama, a luxurious villa set on a quiet lakeside, in the suburbs of Colombo. The villa setting is best described as a 'village in the city' surrounded by paddy fields, a lake and birds everywhere perched on the veranda, on trees, and on the buffalo that relax on the lakeside. The surrounding Talangama wetlands is a birder’s paradise with over 45 species of birds inhabiting this area including Purple Swamp hens, Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, White-breasted Water hens and Spotted Doves, along with the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkeys, water monitors and numerous species of butterflies.
Share a simple lifestyle with welcoming hosts in the rural splendour of Sri Lanka’s north-west coast. The Mudhouse is a secluded eco retreat nestled at the foot of the ancient Parmakanda Rock temple in the lightly-populated district of Puttalam. It is set amidst six acres of untouched wilderness, tranquil lakes and abundant fauna and flora.
Heritance Kandalama is a minimalist contemporary hotel cleverly designed by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s famous architecture guru. Bawa conceived this famous Sri Lankan hotel as 'an austere jungle palace’ located on the bund of an ancient 3rd century reservoir and captures the surrounding magical views from every angle
Sir John’s bungalow is a century-old planter’s bungalow that was opened for guests in May 2011 following a complete refurbishment by caring Sri Lankan owners. Nestled into the north face of the Knuckles, the bungalow is surrounded by picturesque mountains and the Knuckles wilderness
Mandira Strathdon is a colonial-style bungalow in the outskirts of Watawala just minutes from Dickoya in the south-west highlands. Flanked by three giant bamboo groves, it has a balcony terrace with spectacular mountain views and modern comforts. It sleeps 10 and can be booked in whole or part.
Borderlands camping is based in Kitulgala, a riverside village that offers Sri Lanka’s best white-water rafting experience. Accommodation is in tents and wooden cabins on stilts and built right over the river.
Jetwing Lagoon, 20 minutes' drive from thje international airport, spreads across seven acres of tropical gardens edged by Negombo Lagoon. Originally known as the Blue Lagoon, one of Geoffrey Bawa’s first architectural creations.
Set on a quiet lakeside where sights and sounds of nature reign supreme, Villa Talangama is a luxurious Sri Lankan home meticulously laid out from its architecture and furnishings to the caring service of its staff. This villa is an ideal last stop on your holiday itinerary, an alternative to Colombo city. The airport is about 75 minutes drive.
Would you like to sign up for the Red Dot Tours Newsletter ?