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Sri Lanka Wildlife & Adventure Holidays

Sri Lanka is an island teeming with an abundance of flora and fauna and it is often regarded as a nature lover’s paradise. With our exciting adventure holidays in Sri Lanka, you will have the opportunity to enjoy all the experiences of this rich country.

day Location/Route duration Overnight
Day 01 Arrival and transfer to Kalpitiya Two nights in Kalpitiya Value: Dolphin Beach
Signature: Aarya Lagoon
Day 02 Kalpitiya Last night in Kalpitiya Value: Dolphin Beach
Signature: Aarya Lagoon
Day 03 Kalpitiya to Sigiriya Two nights in Sigiriya Value: Fresco Water Villa
Signature: Heritance Kandalama
Day 04 Sigiriya Second night in Sigiriya Value: Fresco Water Villa
Signature: Heritance Kandalama
Day 05 Sigiriya to Kegalle Two nights in Kegalle Gasnawa Estate Bungalow
Day 06 Kegalle Last night in Kegalle Gasnawa Estate Bungalow
Day 07 Kegalle to Mount Lavinia One night in Mount Lavinia Value: Berjaya Hotel
Signature: Mount Lavinia Hotel
Day 08 Mount Lavinia to airport for departure
Elephant Orphanage

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Established in 1975, with the noble intention of providing care for orphaned elephants, today it serves as a nursery and a captive breeding ground for Asian elephants. Countless visitors from all over the island and the world visit this charming attraction throughout the year.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Built by King Kasyapa (477 to 495 CE), the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress stands as a testament to the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s glorious past. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it features stunning boulder and water gardens and world-famous frescoes. At the summit, you’ll find the ruins of the king’s palace and a breath-taking view of the surroundings.

Whale Watching

Did you know? The waters off Sri Lanka’s south and west coasts are along the annual migration route of the Humpback, Sperm and colossal Blue Whale. Towns such as Mirissa, where our excursion begins, are considered global hotspots for whale sightings. The best time to catch a glimpse of these gentle giants of the sea is between December and March.

Set off on your whale watching adventure at 06:00am in the morning with a snack of a selection of nibbles and beverages while you scan the waters for your prize. Keep an eye out for playful Spinner Dolphins, a common sight. You will be out at sea for around four to five hours. An onboard washroom will be available for your use.

White water Rafting – Kitulgala

Conquer the cascading rapids in Kitulgala, Sri Lanka’s premier white-water rafting destination. Located in the island’s wet zone, the town lies on the scenic banks of the Kelani River. Navigate your way along a 6.5 km stretch, past the river’s seven, grade two and three rapids. Catch your breath, with a leisurely swim in the slow-flowing waters between the falls.

White-water rafting can be enjoyed throughout the year, but the months from May to December are ideal. Seasoned rafters may prefer the monsoon season when the waters swell significantly. Sessions last two hours and take place in the morning and afternoons.


A warm welcome to Sri Lanka! Your guide from Holidays by Design will be present at the arrivals hall to greet and assist you to your vehicle.
You could change your currency before departing the airport as this may come handy during your holiday. Banks are open 24 / 7.

A pleasant drive to Kalpitiya with less traffic on the road at this hour along the western coast through coconut plantations and rice paddies will take you to your hotel in approx. 2.5 hours.

Check into your hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure unwinding from your journey!

Should you wish to take a stroll on the beach or explore the area around the hotel, the vehicle will be at your disposal to do so or you may simply relax and enjoy a beautiful sunset by the pool! Meals served on a half board basis in Kalpitiya.

Local attractions: Music Festival at Palagama Beach (Mar 2018 –tickets to be booked in advance).

Day 02
Kalpitiya x
Bordered by the pristine beaches on one side and the murky waters of the lagoon on the other, Kalpitiya is a town famous for kite surfing and whale watching. Dotted with mangrove swamps and bar reefs, it’s the ideal place to head to, to catch a glimpse of dolphins playing around in the ocean waters!
Rest stops will be made along the way. You will be cycling along the main road that runs to the end of this peninsula, through fishing communities, small towns, coconut plantations and a stretch that will take you where the ocean lies on one side and the lagoon on the other.
Cool off with a swim in the turquoise blue waters of Kalpitiya Bay at the end of your ride. Seafood snacks and refreshments will be arranged at Calpenty. A special seafood lunch will follow.
This afternoon you will stroll through Kalpitiya Town, visiting the Dutch Fort & Church. The entire experience should take approximately 1.5 - two hours. Enjoy a refreshing cup of fresh ginger tea (a local favourite accompanied with a bread bun) at a Cadjan roofed hut before you head back to your hotel.
Rest of the evening at leisure before dinner.

This morning with an early start after breakfast, we will set off on a cycling expedition in and around Kalpitiya – you will be cycling for up to 30 km, which will take you approximately two-three hours with stops for photographs.

Day 03
Pidurangala x
Initially served as a royal monastery, the Pidurangala rock offers breath-taking views of the Sigiriya Rock at the summit. With a few steps to ascend to the peak, approximately 15 minutes of climbing, pass the large horizontal statue of Lord Buddha, you’ll be blessed with magnificent views, making the climb well worth it! Return to your hotel for dinner.

After a leisurely breakfast, you will make your way to Sigiriya (three hours). A scenic drive that takes you through a rural countryside of dry zone vegetation stretches of forest, cultivation and irrigation tanks. En route you will pass through the salt farms in Puttalam. Feel free to ask your guide to make a quick stop if this is of interest to you.

Settle into your hotel, rest and relax from your journey.

This evening you will set off on the sunset hike to the Pidurangala rock – the hike up to Pidurangala is about one km each way and should take you no longer than two-2.5 hours for the entire experience. The elevation gain would be a little less than 150 meters. Once at the top, enjoy a stunning sunset and a mesmerizing 360 view of the surrounding landscape.

Day 04

An early start today is recommended to beat the warm weather. You will set off on a 20-km cycling expedition through the adjoining village into the Jungle, which will take two 2.5 hours through a landscape of paddy fields, country roads, little villages & irrigation tanks. An authentic Sri Lankan lunch will await you at a local home.

This afternoon you will proceed on a game drive to one of the National Parks in the area either the Minneriya National Park, Kaudulla Eco Park, depending on where the elephants are detected on the day as they keep moving between these parks.

During their migrations between the various parks when water levels dry up, as many as three hundred or more come to the irrigations tanks ever-receding shores to drink, bathe, socialize and feed on the fresh grass that grows up from the lake bed as the waters retreat. Other mammals found in the park include a small number of leopard, sloth bear, sambar, spotted deer and macaque and purple-faced langur monkeys. The park boasts an enormous variety of bird life too.

You will return to the hotel late evening for dinner.

Local attractions: a tour of the ancient dagobas beautifully lit up at night is a surreal experience - no crowds and very tranquil / exotic cocktails at Graffiti Bar – Jetwing Vil Uyana / afternoon hike to the Aligala Caves / spend the evening with the locals at Purangama Village / visit the animal rehabilitation center at the Heritance Kandalama.

Day 05
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage x
A haven for the Asian elephants that have been rescued from the wild, due to numerous causes, Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a must-visit for animal lovers. The orphanage is also said to be home to the largest number of captive wild Asian elephants. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to watch these majestic beasts bathing in the Ma Oya River twice a day.
Continue on to your destination (approx. one hour drive) – a restored plantation bungalow, which is over a hundred years old. Spend the afternoon at leisure or explore this 150-acre rubber and cashew plantation.

Enjoy a late leisurely breakfast this morning before you make your way to Kegalle. Notice the changing landscape from dry zone to wet zone vegetation and larger towns that serve the farming communities of this area.
Your drive takes you to the Pinnawala Elephant orphanage (Approx. 2.5 hours’ drive). Lunch at Pinnawala

Day 06
Bible Rock x
Bible Rock is the rectangular-shaped rock that can be seen on the horizon of the island. Rising approximately 2,618 feet above sea level and towering over the misty mountains, Bible Rock is one of the island’s most notable and iconic landmarks. Return to the bungalow and spend the evening at leisure. Meals served on a full board basis in Kegalle.

An early start today, with light snacks and tea before you head out for the hike up Bible Rock. This will be a half a day’s experience and will take you 1.5 hours each way, with an elevation gain of 390 meters in three km.

Day 07
Kithulgala x
Made popular for its whitewater rafting in recent times, Kitulgala is on the banks of the Kelani River originating from the Adam’s Peak mountain range. The stretch for rafting will take about an hour and a half to complete and extends for approximately 6.5 kilometres, with rapids between grades two and three. Visitors are treated to an amazing adrenaline rush, with seven rapids to tackle, followed by a refreshing swim in the river to complete your experience.
Proceed to Mount Lavinia, settle into your hotel and spend the rest of the evening at leisure!
Colombo x
Colombo is the commercial hub of the island connecting several parts of the country, such as the north, south, east and hill country by a fine system of roads and railways. The heady mixture of Asian anarchy, colonial charm and modern progress defines its impressive character. Towering skyscrapers, retail stores, parks, restaurants and bars coupled with sacred shrines of the major faiths and religions can be found in this vibrant city.
Local attractions: the Navam Perahera (1st Mar 2018 – tickets should be pre-booked) / Food Festival – Hotel Fairway (first weekend of every month) / Nelum Pokuna Art Street / shopping at Barefoot Gallery & Jazz Brunch every Sunday / seafood dinner at the Ministry of Crab / street food at Galle Face Green / authentic Sri Lankan meal in the beautiful setting of ‘Thunapaha on the Edge’- Waters Edge Hotel / Japanese cuisine at Nihonbashi or at the Dutch Hospital.

You leave after breakfast and will make your way to Kitulgala for your last adventure in the countryside – white water rafting before you proceed to your final destination - Mount Lavinia.

Your drive takes you through a rural countryside providing you with a glimpse into village life in this area. Your white-water rafting expedition covers seven rapids in a distance of five km and will take you less than two hours based on the water speed and conditions. Your rafting experience will be followed by lunch.

Day 08

We will take you to the airport, to arrive two-three hours before your flight home.

Add on

  • A list of a few activities you may want to add on to your experience.
  • In and around Kandy – Visit a spice garden / Peradeniya Botanical Gardens / hike into Udawatte Kelle Sanctuary/ Garrison cemetery / Knuckles Mountain trek / The Three-temple loop / cooking demonstration.
  • In and around Colombo– Tea tasting in Colombo / night cycling tour of the city with a street food dinner / diving to explore shipwrecks in Mount Lavinia


What to Pack!

  • Socks – as footwear must be removed when visiting places of worship. You could be walking on heated paving, gravel or cement. Also, shoulders and knees should be covered.
  • Footwear – choose comfy shoes - sneakers, sandals or similar.
  • Shawl – to cover your shoulders or dress up!
  • A sweater or light jacket if you plan to visit the Hill Country.
  • Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, travel umbrella or lightweight raincoat.
  • Notes:
  • [liList]
  • All drive times are approximate and subject to road conditions
  • Alcohol is not served on “poya days” (full moon) and other days prohibited by the Government.
  • The standard check-in time is 14:00 at hotels.
  • The standard check-out time is 11:00 from hotels.
  • Gratuity: tour guides & drivers are tipped at the end of the tour.
  • Online visa application link:
  • Purposeful Tourism: Your support: 1 USD from every booking supports a cause.
  • Holidays by Design terms and conditions (
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