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  • Walking & Trekking
  • Big Cats
  • Wildlife Walks
  • Food

    • — Walk through paddies and tea plantations — Explore trails rarely taken by tourists — Visit the beautiful lakeside town of Kandy — Enjoy sunrise on Adam's Peak (seasonal) — Search for leopards in Yala National Park
  • 1

    Start Dambulla

    The group flight arrives at Colombo's Katunayake Airport and we transfer to our hotel at Dambulla (100mi/160km, four hours' drive). Those not flying with the group can meet us at the hotel or the airport in time for the transfer. Please be aware, if you are meeting the group at the airport for a transfer you might need to purchase a ticket outside to enter the arrivals hall. We make our way to the hotel in Dambulla (100mi/160km, four hours’ drive). Accommodation: Pelwehera Village Resort (or similar)

  • 2

    Visit Dambulla Caves, village walk towards Sigiriya; afternoon visit to Lion Rock fortress

    After breakfast, we visit the magnificent Cave Temple at Dambulla, one of the most impressive sights in Sri Lanka. There are colourful, well-preserved paintings and statues of Buddha inside, dating to the first century BCE. We then have a short, gentle, warm-up walk through villages and rice paddies and on towards Sigiriya, where we have lunch. In the afternoon, we visit the imposing fifth-century rock fortress, which rises 590ft (180m) from the plains overlooking the countryside with far-reaching views. The route to the top is up a series of steep steps and gangways. From the base, where a moat surrounds impressive water gardens, we ascend 655ft (200m) and pass an overhanging rock, under which superb portraits of indigenous maidens holding flowers and temple offerings still adorn the walls. Crowning the flat-topped summit are extensive remains of the King's Summer Palace from where there are breath-taking views of the countryside. The descent is much easier and we have a final 35-minute drive back to our hotel in Dambulla. Accommodation: Pelwehera Village Resort (or similar)

  • 3

    Drive to Illukkumbura; walk the Manigala Trail in the Knuckles Mountain Range

    The next two days takes us across the Knuckles Mountain Range. We start early with a three-hour drive to the start of our walk, where we begin with an easy descent past paddies and through the villages of Pitawala Patana and Etanwala. Descending to the river, we cross a small bridge and climb up through more farmland. Finally, emerging at the top of an escarpment, we are rewarded with great views of the countryside. An easy trail takes us along the escarpment to Manigala Top at 3,660ft (1,115m), the high point of today. Next, we descend to the Mahalakotuwa village area, which leads to the main road and then it’s a 20-minute walk to our campsite by the river where we can bathe in the cool, refreshing water. Accommodation: Camping at Knuckles with Eco Team (or similar) (Occasionally, we use an alternative campsite due to high water levels, which is about 40 minutes’ drive from Illikumbura).

  • 4

    Walk through forests to Meemure; transfer to Orutota

    We begin with a half-hour drive to the Narangamuwa Temple at Ranamuregama. Starting our walk, we pass paddies and coconut groves before we enter a heavily forested area. The trail climbs gently for an hour and then levels out before undulating though this lush forest. The only sound we can hear is the birdsong around us. Emerging from the forest in the village of Meemure, make sure to look back for a spectacular view of the Lakegala peaks. Passing farms growing pepper and other spices, we come to a small tea shop where we have lunch. After, we take a truck or rickshaws for a bumpy 90-minute ride to Corbett’s Gap, a much-loved viewpoint. Our bus meets us here for the 1hr 30min drive to our hotel at Orutota overlooking the Victoria Reservoir. Accommodation: Oruthota Chalets (or similar)

  • 5

    To Kandy; visit the Temple of the Tooth

    We enjoy a relaxing morning in the hotel garden and pool. Mid-morning, we have an 11mi (18km) drive to Kandy and the afternoon to explore. The town is located around a small lake and we can walk round to look for water birds and large water monitors. Later, we visit the Temple of the Tooth, which houses the most important Buddhist relic in Sri Lanka, the Tooth of Buddha, which was taken from the funeral pyre in India in 543 BCE and found its way to Sri Lanka in the fourth century. Hundreds of worshippers visit the temple each day and in July/August the most spectacular ceremony takes place. Accommodation: Hotel Suisse (or similar)

  • 6

    Ascend Adam’s Peak

    This morning, we drive to Dickoya (three hours), where we stay for two nights in a simple summer house with a wonderful view of the Castlereagh Reservoir. On a clear day, we can see the outline of Adam’s Peak in the distance. In the pilgrim season (December to May), we have the day to relax or you can take a walk around the lake (approximately 3.7mi/6km). We leave around midnight for the walk up Adam’s Peak (approximately 8.7mi/14km). This will take around four hours and we should reach the top with the many pilgrims at sunrise. In the off season (May to November), we spend the first day at Dickoya and can walk around the lake and we climb Adam’s Peak during daylight hours on the following day. (Day 6: B) (Day 7: B,L) Accommodation: Summer House Hatton (or similar)

  • 8

    Drive to Nuwara Eliya; optional walk to explore the town

    This morning, we have a wonderful drive through tea plantation districts to Nuwara Eliya. This was the favourite hill station during the British era, situated in the cool highland air. Known locally as Little England, it is dotted with British-style houses, hotels and a racecourse. There will be an optional walk into the hills around the town and also time to explore the bazaar. Accommodation: Windsor Hotel (or similar)

  • 9

    Early morning to Horton Plains; walk to World's End viewpoint; to Ella by train

    Today we drive to Horton Plains, a large plateau more than 6,560ft (2,000m) above sea level, overlooked by the second and third highest peaks in Sri Lanka. The scenery is beautiful and best explored on foot. We trek through the rolling grasslands, seeing forest and unusual wildlife, such as the sambar deer and purple-faced monkey, all the way to World's End, one of the most stunning sights in Sri Lanka. Here the ground drops 3,445ft (1,050m) to the plains below. We then catch the train from the highest railway station in the country; within two hours we go from 6,197ft (1,889m) to 3,599ft (1,097m). The train travels through the cloud forest into the tea plantations, the views are spectacular; we disembark at Ella. Accommodation: Hotel Country Comfort (or similar)

  • 10

    Morning trek to Ella Rock; Free afternoon

    This morning, we set out to ascend the iconic Ella Rock, the highest point in Ella standing 3,743ft (1,140m). The round trip to Ella Rock takes about four to five hours. Starting off gently with flat trail where you walk through farm land, passing by locals as they get on with their day to day life. The second phase is a gradual ascent to reach the top. You look out over the Ella gap, a deep valley connecting the city of Ella with the low country. The afternoon is free to explore the vibrant and busy Ella town. Accommodation: Hotel Country Comfort (or similar)

  • 11

    Drive to Yala National Park; afternoon game drive

    We now head south of the hills to Tissamaharama down the plains. On the way, we stop at Ella Gap where the most of the southern part of the island is in view and the shimmering silver of the ocean is visible on a clear day . We continue on our journey visiting the spectacular Ravana waterfalls, which is 82ft (25m) tall and one of the widest waterfalls in the country. We also stop at the Buduruwagala Temple, where we see seven statues of Buddha carved out of a rock that dates to the 10th century. Tissamaharama is our base for visiting Yala National Park – its open terrain was well known for elephants for many years, but recently the park has become better known as a place to spot leopards. The park, which is primarily shrub jungle with several salt and freshwater lagoons, has one of the highest concentrations of leopard in the world. We have a game drive in the afternoon. (Please note, the sanctuary may be closed for four to six weeks from September to October allowing the park authorities to check the animals. In this instance, we visit a nearby alternative, usually Udawalawe National Park). Accommodation: Chaarya Resort (or similar)

  • 12

    Walk around Yodakandiya Lake; transfer to the coast.

    This morning, we drive to the beautiful Yodakandiya Lake in Tissamaharama where we walk for approximately 3hr 30min (approximately 3mi/5km). This is an opportunity to see the day-to-day life of the local people plus a range of birdlife. In the late afternoon, we drive for approximately four hours to the coast and your beach front hotel. Accommodation: Insight Resort (or similar)

  • 13

    Free day to relax on the beach or optional activities including whale watching (November to April)

    We have a free day to relax on the beach or by the pool. There are also numerous optional activities including a boat ride through mangrove swamps to a cinnamon plantation or you can go whale watching off Dondra Head from November to April. This is one of the best places in the world for seeing blue and sperm whales. Accommodation: Insight Resort (or similar)

  • 14

    To Galle; transfer to Colombo

    We drive along the coastal road to the historic port of Galle, which dates to the 17th century and is now a Unesco World Heritage site. On the way, we stop at a small folk museum inspired by the local writer Martin Wickramasinghe. The museum is a typical house from the Koggala region and is set among beautiful gardens. We continue along the expressway to Colombo reaching our hotel in the late afternoon (the drive takes around two to three hours plus stops). Accommodation: Hotel Cinnamon Red (or similar)

  • 15

    End Colombo

    Today is the end of your journey. If you are travelling on the group flight we will have a morning transfer to the airport for the daytime international flight. The arrangements for those not flying with the group ends after breakfast. If you would like to continue the adventure with our post-trip extension to the Maldives or a beach stay in Ahangama, speak to your sales representative.

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