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Chamintha

Leopard Safaris
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – best for wildlife outside Africa

Take a look at this incredible photo blog of a tiny island called Sri Lanka, just over three times the size of Kruger National Park, where some amazing wildlife safaris await you. The species diversity alone, makes Sri Lanka certainly one of the best destinations for wildlife outside Africa.

Elephants roam wild in srilanka

Safaris to spot wild Elephants can be done in several parks across Sri Lanka


ELEPHANTS

It doesn’t matter where in Sri Lanka you choose to travel, you can always fit in a safari to see Wild elephants in one of the main National Parks. And those baby Elephants can be oh so cute as they play under their mummy’s stomach.

Elephants safaris Udawalawe

Observing Baby Elephants in the wild can be so exciting

LEOPARDS

What are your chances of spotting Leopards in Sri Lanka? Quite high!! In fact, unlike in other parts of the world, the Leopard is Sri Lanka’s top predator and roams freely inside the National Parks.

Leopards in Yala

In Sri Lanka the Leopard is the top predator.

We love to visit Kumana National Park for uncrowded safaris and it’s so rich in wildlife, including some great Leopard safaris. And if camping inside a Park is your thing, there’s no better place for it.

Where to see Leopards in Sri Lanka

Leopards can be seen in Kumana, Wilpattu and Yala National Parks

SLOTH BEAR

Those cuddly creatures are so shy but let me clue you in…come during the months of May and June when the fruits they love (Palu) are in season, and you will stand quite a good chance to spot them roaming around inebriated.

Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka must be booked with responsible wildlife tour operators

The Sloth Bear of Sri Lanka

MONKEYS

You will see them everywhere in the island –  up in the hills of Kandy, throughout the cultural triangle, but inside Sri Lanka’s National Parks, especially in Yala, Udawalawe, Minneriya, Kumana, Kaudulla, Wilpattu and the rain forests of Sinharaja, you can observe different species and how they behave – we call it our Monkey Treks. It’s quite fun watching their antics even though this family of Toque Macaques are rather serious about something!

Monkey trek in Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya can be so fun

Monkeys can be seen everywhere in Sri Lanka

BIRDS

The last count of bird species was 500…and still counting! Incredible for an island this size. Every year, from November onwards, ardent bird watchers from across the world flock to Sri Lanka with their checklists, bird books, binoculars and massive zoom lenses to spot the 33 endemics.

Birding tours in srilanka

The endemic blue magpie can definitely be spotted in the Sinharaja Rainforest

WHALES AND DOLPHINS

Blue Whales the size of a bus, incredible pods of Dolphins and so much more can be spotted across the oceans of Sri Lanka, especially off the coasts of Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee where you can do boat safaris or even stay overnight on a Yacht.

Blue Whales in Mirissa

Sri Lanka is famous for its Dolphins and Whales

CROCODILES, DEER AND MORE WILD CREATURES

If you travel with a responsible wildlife safari tour operator who does not merely chase after Leopards for the entire safari, you will truly begin to appreciate the incredibly diversity of wildlife in Sri Lanka.

Crocodiles spotting on a wildlife safari

Watching crocodiles hunt can be fascinating

Watching Crocodiles hunt inside and outside water, can be so fascinating on a wildlife safari.

Responsible wildlife tour operator srilanka

Deer gather in large numbers inside the national parks

From the Spotted Deer, to Sambur Deer to the shy and elusive Barking Deer, these creatures give the first warning sign of a predator lurking close by. Our guest’s love to learn about these alarm calls!


 

Want to book one of the most captivating wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka? Just enquire from Ayu in the Wild. Our Guides love to tell you the most amazing wildlife stories ever!

srilanka beach vacations
family holidays in Sri Lanka

Sunny Side Up: Discover a Different Sri Lanka

Leave your winter jackets at home!! The heart wants what the heart wants, especially during winter. The snowy chills are times perfect for thinking about warm tropical holidays with the best of sun tans. Sri Lanka combines idyllic island vibes, tropical weather, delicious food, a culture of myriad colour and family fun, all in one, which makes the perfect getaway for your next holiday.

Family vacations in Sri Lanka with friendly locals

Meeting locals on a family holiday in Sri Lanka is fun

Check out what Rough Guides has to say about our tailor made family holidays!

FAMILY VACATIONS IN SRI LANKA WITH FRIENDLY LOCALS

At Ayu in the Wild, we believe in creating family holidays in Sri Lanka with a tailor-made itinerary that will let you experience Sri Lanka through the eyes of many locals. Our tour guides know their localities inside out! There’s truly no better way to see a country than to travel with locals as they guide you through the many nuances of each tiny village, each quaint nook and cranny of unexplored Sri Lanka.

From the start of your vacation in Sri Lanka, our guides will either host you fully throughout your holiday or give you enough space to set out on adventures of your own, stepping in when you decide that you need their assistance. Sri Lanka with kids FAQs

Beautiful Sri Lankan scenery on trekking tours and hiking adventures

The best scenery is seen on our trekking and hiking adventures in Sri Lanka

Planning to travel with toddlers, infants and teenagers? Our itineraries focus entirely on your curiosities and comfort. We accommodate families with kids of all ages, inspire the most unusual multi generational family holiday ideas and work flexbibly with you to create the ideal holiday itinerary that entertains and pampers. You decide the ideal mix of adventure and downtime and we will give you the insider access to Sri Lanka’s most unusual places and people!

CHILD FRIENDLY TREKKING, WALKING AND HIKING TOURS IN SRI LANKA

Starting with the exploration of quaint streets on a Colombo City Walk to experience its cultural heritage delightfully mingling with a cosmopolitan vibe, our tours take you on journeys across the island. From cycling along sleepy village roads, to  trekking and hiking adventures that lead you to the peaks of some of the most scenic mountain ranges of the country like the cloud forests of Horton Plains National Park, to lazing along the sunny beaches of Mirissa. Mix it with a trip to the wild side of untamed Ceylon with our family wildlife safaris and Junior Ranger activities in Udawalawe, Yala and Wilpattu. You’ll never hear “Mom, are we there yet?” on an Ayu in the Wild tour.

Family strolls on tropical beaches

Laze on the sunny beaches

VALUE FOR MONEY FAMILY HOLIDAY SPECIALS IN SRI LANKA

Special offers are up for grabs through Ayu in the Wild at a range of exclusive accommodation options that span from minimalist chic to the affordable luxury range of the Jetwing Beach Hotels in Negombo.  Or laze on the sunny beaches of Passikudah at Uga Bay or Maalu Maalu Resort and Spa. Go wild, in a truly authentic safari lodge in Back of Beyond Yala.  Tantalize your taste buds with delicious delicacies prepared by veteran chefs at signature dining venues and soak up rural kitchen spices with an authentic home-cooked meal prepared by a farmer’s wife in their thatched roof humble home.

multi generational family holiday ideas- Sri Lanka with kids

Immersing in our culture – Village Cricket or football match with local kids

BEST PLACES TO VISIT WITH KIDS IN SRI LANKA

Allow your kids to frolic around with local children and experience the warm hospitality of Sri Lanka that will make you feel at home. Take on informative tours in Sigirya and Polonnaruwa with our own twist where we draw resemblances to the Lion King and the Monkey Kingdom in the form of adrenaline pumping treasure hunts or cycle rides through ruins.

Discover Sri Lanka - Castle Rock from film location of Monkey Kingdom Polonnaruwa

Exploring Castle Rock from the film location of Monkey Kingdom

End your day with a delicious dinner served alongside your favourite brands of beer and wine while your little ones splash around in the pool to their heart’s content.

Join us on an epic adventure where we help you connect the “Inner you to Outdoor Sri Lanka”. Email: info@ayuinthewild.com

Unusual sights in Sri Lanka with kids

Insider access to Sri Lanka’s most unusual places and people

WHERE TO SEE ELEPHANTS IN SRI LANKA?

Responsible travel options srilanka
what to do in Sri Lanka

Please SAY NO to elephant back safari rides in Sri Lanka

Are you a responsible traveler? You may think its fun to take a ride on an elephant but did you know that the elephants need to be ‘broken’ in spirit to tame them enough so they become docile transport providers just for your entertainment?!

Wild Animals belong in the wild!

Wild elephants in Sri Lanka

Wild elephants in Sri Lanka

Did you know that baby elephants generally nurse for about two years, consuming about six gallons of milk a day? And in the wild, the calves tend to stay with their mothers until they are around 5 years! The trauma these calves go through when separated from their mothers who are taken away for entertaining us humans, is truly unbelievable. Many calves do not survive.

An advocacy group is fast gaining momentum in banning elephants rides in Sri Lanka and we at Ayu in the Wild Holidays completely endorse this effort. Could we please ask that you do too?

A responsible safari is where you see elephants in the wild, in their natural habitats playing, feeding, bathing without inhibitions.

Sri Lanka elephants

Elephants in the wild Sri Lanka

Many tour operators and hotels including 5 star lodges do promote elephant back safaris and rides in many parts of Sri Lanka. Many irresponsible options are offered in Habarana and Sigiriya, at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and near the Minneriya National Park where some operators even advertise ‘the best period for elephant back safaris’. Did you know that the elephants are tamed by being beaten, stung repeatedly by the ankus mahouts hook, have all four legs tied on a short rope for days on end and even starved – until they submit to orders! What you choose to ride on is not an elephant but a soul broken in spirit!

Please do not book elephant back rides in Habarana or elsewhere in Sri Lanka.sri lanka minneriya, habarana

Responsible Travel in Sri Lanka means booking experiences that respect the wildlife, culture and environment of this Biodiversity Hot Spot

Let them roam wild and free!

elephants of srilanka

Elephants of SriLanka


WILDLIFE – NOT ENTERTAINERS!

World Animal Protection is an organisation that is changing the world, together – with you!

Petitions take just seconds to support and can be incredibly powerful. Last year nearly 175,000 of you signed our (World Animal Protection) petition telling travel company Thomas Cook Group plc to end the sale and promotion of elephant rides and shows. The company listened, removing elephant rides and shows from its promotional materials, proving that together, we have the power to move global companies to protect animals.


Ask Ayu in the Wild Holidays about How You can be a Responsible Traveler in Sri Lanka 

Email: info@ayuinthewild.com or whatsapp us on +94 777 248 1100

srilankan food
Sri Lankan Food

10 Secrets of wonderful Sri Lankan food locals love!

We Sri Lankans love our food and there’s many secrets to our cooking. Every traveler to this tiny Indian ocean island nation is beguiled by Sri Lankan cuisine and every blogger loves to blog about it! Just check out the Sri Lanka Street Food Guide of Kathryn Burrington on her blog Travel with Kat

1.POL SAMBOL
All Sri Lankans love their ‘pol sambol’! The secret to adding a ‘zing’ of flavour to the pol sambol is to sprinkle some lime juice over it. Ask us to show you how you can prepare this delicious condiment which completes many Sri Lankan dishes.

2. HOPPERS
If you ask any Sri Lankan “Do you like Hoppers?” It’s very unlikely for them to say no except for the odd one or two of course! The secret to making a delicious hopper with a soft middle and a crunchy border is to have the hopper pan well greased and heated and add an egg to make it the perfect ‘Egg Hopper’

3. ACHCHARU
Sri Lankans love to make a ‘pickle’ out any fruit or vegetable they can get their hands on. Popularly known as ‘Achcharu’ is a street food which is a mix of sweet, spicy and sour. Season it will chili powder as much as you like if you can bear up the heat!

4. WATALAPPAN
Watalappan – that must-have dessert dish at weddings or parties is a delicious mix of coconut and egg custard oozing with yummy treacle. The balance to this extremely sweet mouthwatering dish comes from the dash of a spice mix of Cardamoms and Nutmeg.

Wattalapam Sri Lanka

5. JACKFRUIT CURRY
Have you tried Jackfruit yet? A seasonal fruit loved by the locals and it can be cooked in many ways. My favourite is the ‘Kiri Kos Curry’ cooked in coconut milk with local spices. If you want to make a delicious stew, you just have to cook it with some chunks of tender beef.

6. MILK RICE
Not a single auspicious event is celebrated in Sri Lanka without the staple ‘Kiribath’. The creamy Milk Rice can be enjoyed with a hot ‘lunu miris’ sambol and any curry of your choice or with a banana and some jaggery, if you have a sweet tooth. A healthy alternative? Cook with red raw rice instead of White and you’ll have a very nutritious meal on your hands!

7. ISSO(PRAWN) WADEY
A fond childhood memory of many children in Sri Lanka would be taking a breezy walk in the Galle Face Green while munching delicious ‘isso Wadey’- Lentil cakes topped with crispy prawns, eaten with a zesty sauce and crunchy salad. Yummmmm!

8. KOTTU

Do you know the king of all street food in Sri Lanka? If you hear a big din on a street corner like a set of large knives chopping up something, then its sure to be a ‘Kottu’! The greatest combination of this all-time favourite dish is the Cheese Kottu. Add some milk into it while making the Cheese Kottu and it would just increase the cheesiness.

9. LAVARIA
What’s a ‘Lavariya’? A popular traditional tea time snack of caramalised coconut wrapped in a stringhopper. It’s a delicious treat to have with a hot cup of tea at breakfast as well.

Basically stuffed my face with these! #lavariya #motherinlaw #homemade ????

A post shared by ????????????Hashini???????????? (@sindu3) on

10. CRAB CURRY
With Sri Lanka’s endless coastline, it’s hardly surprising that we locals love our seafood, the succulent crabs cooked in a thick curry sauce being a favourite. Don’t forget to add a generous handful of murunga leaves (drumstick  leaves) to the curry when cooking. Learning how to make a home-cooked crab curry can be one of the most mind blowing culinary experiences in Sri Lanka. Just ask us to book.

Wildlife Safari in Sri Lanka
what to do in Sri Lanka

10 Photos that will inspire you to visit Sri Lanka

There’s definitely more than beaches and temples to Sri Lanka. Ayu in the Wild has curated 10 photos that we think will inspire you to visit Sri Lanka soon!

1
It’s no secret that Sri Lanka is one of the top places to see wildlife outside of Africa! An amazing diversity of species, phenomenally high numbers of endemic species for an island this small and, get this, the two largest mammals on earth, the Elephant and the Blue Whale. So we never get tired of saying “In a tiny island called Sri Lanka, just over three times the size of Kruger National Park, some amazing wildlife awaits you”.
srilanka wildlife safari

2
Its an island of colour. From spices to sarees to Handwoven fabrics, the vivid colours of Sri Lanka is one thing you will never forget.

Any more colour in this shot of goods for sale in #BarefootCeylon #GalleFort and my iPhone camera might have melted.

A post shared by J U L I E T K I N S M A N (@julietkinsman) on

3
A train ride like never before through the misty hills of Sri Lanka will take you back to the times of old-fashioned train travel. Carriages that chug along, colonial styled railway stations, travelers milling around with gram sellers as if time must stand still. One of the world’s most scenic train rides from Ella to Kandy Sri Lanka connects our guests with a hotspot for Leopards and the revered Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Ask us about this tour.

Going around the bend in hill country. Train travel in #srilanka is the best way to see the country.

A post shared by Sherry Ott (@ottsworld) on

4
It’s in their smiles. You will always find a Sri Lankan in any part of the island who will look you in the eye and give their warmest smile like you are a long lost friend, even though you just met.

Sri Lanka smiles. #SL

A post shared by Sherry Ott (@ottsworld) on

5
Batiks have really come of age. See Fashion in a new light with the timeless Sri Lankan Batiks! Ask us Ayu in the Wild where you can be a proud owner of an authentic one of a kind batik clothing made just for you and even visit the artisans behind the fabrics.

6
Have you got what it takes to stay in a tree hut in Sri Lanka, a totally unique way to spend a few days on your holiday! Feel (and hear) the wind whistling around you as you sleep alfresco. Well not quite alfresco but it does feel like it when you see the stars, moon, the night crickets, and all those trees from your bed. Its the next best thing to tented camping on safari. Think glamping. Oh so exciting!

Eco Lodges Sri Lanka

Tree huts accommodation in Sri Lanka – a lovely escape into the wilderness

7
Kids know no boundaries! Meeting Sri Lankan kids has really touched the guests of Ayu in the Wild. No matter where our guests have interacted with kids, be it in their local schools, village, the family farm, their humble homes or a cricket ground, the Classrooms in the Wild initiative has been the highlight of their holiday in Sri Lanka.
Interaction with the locals in srilanka

8
There’s a drummer in all of us. Who wouldn’t get swayed by the vibrant rhythms of the traditional Kandyan drummer especially when you are on holiday with Ayu in the Wild and one of the most sought after drumming and dance teachers in the island is ready to teach you the art on a one-to-one session!
The Art of Drumming in srilanka

9
The silence of the rainforest. A tiny tract of land, Sinharaja the Biodiversity Hotspot, Sri Lanka’s most valuable piece of the island is home to some of the greatest diversity and endemic species on the planet. If you ever plan to visit Sri Lanka during your Christmas Holidays, count a birding trek in Sinharaja as a must-do!
Sinharaja Rainforest in srilanka

10
Show us one traveler to Sri Lanka who has not LOVED (and I mean mouthwatering, oh I can’t wait to eat another kind of loved) the famous Sri Lankan Hoppers for breakfast)?! Travel with Ayu in the Wild and you just may be lucky enough to have a cook-like-the-locals culinary experience to learn the art of making hoppers. Tailor-made holidays in Sri Lanka are what we do best!


Ask Ayu in the Wild Holidays about an experiential holiday where you leave feeling part of the culture and not just a visitor.

Trekking Sri Lanka

One of the Best Treks in Sri Lanka that no Guide Book has found (yet)!

Okay, so we haven’t made it yet to Lonely Planets list of 10 Best Treks in the World but we’re very excited about this fabulous 4 hour hike we found, far away in a remote corner of the North Central Province in Sri Lanka. A place where life is (still) simple, elephants still roam freely, many in the village still bathe in a beautiful, huge tank and the little corner store is where the day’s news gets distributed!

  • A hike is a wonderful way to meet locals with character!
trekking sri lanka

Character, history, local know how – an interesting local we met.

  • Visiting a local village home is a great way to learn about the culture
trek sri lanka

A village house where you will find the warmest welcome!

  • Sure! Visit the big local markets but don’t forget the village seller too!
Trekks Sri Lanka

A fruit seller in the village

  • The meeting point for the entire village
village walks srilanka

The spartan little corner store that just about stores everything the village needs

  • Walking Safari! Up close with troupes of Toque Macaque Monkeys.

walking tours sri lanka

This trek is perfect for those looking for a village walk, a day trek in Sri Lanka, or even as a family trekking holiday.


Ask Ayu in the Wild Holidays about treks in Sri Lanka or an experiential holiday where you leave feeling part of the culture and not just a visitor.

unusual places to stay srilanka
Best Accommodation in Sri Lanka

Our Pick Of The Most Amazing Sri Lanka Accommodation

Where do you want to put your feet up on a holiday in Sri Lanka?

In our travels across the island we have come across some truly special places to stay in Sri Lanka. (YES, we have actually visited ALL of them)! And we’re glad we have as our guests tell us they LOVE how we guide them to the right kind of accommodation. TRUST US, you won’t regret any holiday in Sri Lanka with this mix of accommodation!

 

Eco friendly Lodges, Tree Houses, Mud Huts in Sri Lanka

ecolodge srilanka

Our favourite Tree Huts in Sri Lanka! No place like it to get away from the digital world!

Be lazy. Or take a long bushwalk. Your tea is made. The staff can’t spoil you enough. Food is served just the way you like it. Your own private space to unwind. There’s a certain barefoot sophistication in this signature collection. Unique luxury with an earthy guise! Ask us about these Tree Huts

Eco lodges srilanka

Some of the most delicious Sri Lanka  cuisine dished out at an Eco lodge in Sri Lanka

Great food. Great staff. It’s totally Sri Lanka off the beaten track! If you need air conditioning, a pool, or freak out about a few bugs then this is not for you. But we love the warm, almost open-to-the-skies architecture, the unique locations and have experienced them all, first-hand.

srilanka yala accommodation

The last time we stayed at this Wildlife lodge in srilanka, elephants visited us!

Secluded lodges and huts. Set so close to nature reserves that wildlife visits you.Beautifully furnished and elegantly appointed. Shower spaces and toilets that are modern and creative. Some are just simple wattle and daub mud huts in some unique locations in Sri Lanka. Owned and managed by people who, love to keep the ‘wild’ side of the wilderness. Muted solar powered lighting or lanterns that blend with the darkness of the jungles. Mosquito nets and fans. Cosy open-plan dining spaces that let the outdoors in. Ask us about these wildlife lodges.

Unusual accommodation in sri lanka

Unique places to stay in sri lanka

Unpretentious and vernacular architecture. Some, with open sleeping decks that keep the spirit of adventure alive, even at night. Such an authentic touch of local finesse.

sri lanka accommodation guide

Escapism is this accommodation in sri lanka

Great alternatives to hotels and boutique resorts, live like a local experience or for a wildlife honeymoon in Sri Lanka. You’ll forget the clutter of the world outside!

Affordable luxury (4* to 5*)

Accommodation Guide sri lanka

Lodges and Bungalows that are luxurious yet affordable

Ask us about a wonderful range of Hotels and Bungalows that are 5 star in ambiance and service but are truly affordable.

Luxurious and intimate Boutique Villas , Small Luxury Hotels, Spa Resorts

luxury accommodation srilanka

Luxury beyond your imagination in Sri Lanka

It’s all about total pampering at the end of the day at these 5* to 5* plus living spaces.

Luxury Accommodation srilanka

Unique dining options and even more unique sleeping options, eclectic menus, personal butler service and every imaginable luxury you could conjure up. All set against the surreal landscapes of one of the world’s Biodiversity Hotspots with the charm of Sri Lankan architecture and discreet, personalized service. .

Sri Lanka Tented Safari Camps, Mobile Tented camping, Luxury Tented camping

tented camping srilanka

There;s nothing like camping deep INSIDE a National Park in Sri Lanka

The ultimate wildlife experience (not for the fainthearted) is where the campsite is located inside the best camping locations within National Parks with no boundaries between you and the wildlife. These Semi-Luxury Mobile Tented Campsites are set up just for you, with spacious ‘stand-up’ tents equipped with comfortable raised beds, mattresses, linen and separate tents for chemical flush toilets and showers.

Tented camping sri lanka

Listening to Bears roar in the distance – camping in Sri Lanka

When you leave, the campsite leaves. The wilderness remains untouched.Or you could choose Luxury Tented Campsites that are permanent campsites bordering a remote location and close to buffer zones. Ask us about tented camping inside Sri Lanka’s National Parks.

Luxury tented camping sri lanka

One of the most secluded campsites in Yala Sri Lanka

These are remote wilderness experiences with just the right modern comforts – equipped with pipe-borne water, attached toilets, luxury beddings and all the right trimmings! Ask us about luxury tented camping in Sri Lanka.

Luxury tented camping Srilanka

Al fresco dining is a wonderful experience on a camping holiday in Sri Lanka

At all campsites, fresh meals are prepared on site by a chef and dining under the stars (or sometimes by a river) is the perfect signoff to a wildlife safari holiday in Sri Lanka.

Comfort and Value Accommodation
B&B Sri Lanka
When you want to spend more on your experiences than on luxury, then this is our lead-in selection for comfort and Value. Not really in the extreme scale of budget or backpacker accommodation but more towards affordable and great value 3-4 * Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, Cottages and Home-stays – some with no-frills but hand-picked for their great local hospitality and cleanliness.

How to book the best mix of accommodation in Sri Lanka

Yes you can go to booking.com to try and get the best deals but if you have a rough idea of where you want to stay – think luxury, affordable luxury, good value accommodation or just plain over the top Small Luxury Hotels (SLH) of the World, just drop us an email. We have the connections to get to know their seasonal special offers too.


On a tailor made Ayu in the Wild experiential holiday you leave feeling part of the culture and not just a visitor.

srilanka wildlife
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Postcards from Wildlife Parks in Sri Lanka

Is Sri Lanka one of the world’s best wildlife destinations outside Africa? We say Yes! Our tiny island has Elephants, Whales, Leopards, Bear, Birds, Primates and more. Plus, it’s a biodiversity hotspot!And it looks like we have friends globally who agree.

Which Wildlife Parks to visit in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is just over three times the size of Kruger NP! There’s no denying it but with over 20 National Parks, Sri Lanka is top of the pick for wildlife in Asia. And why is this so? With two monsoons, a range of climates, altitudes and biodiversity that is usually not found on small islands, Sri Lanka has the right mix. Here are some picture perfect images from our National Parks to help you decide which Sri Lankan wildlife destination to visit.To pick which National Wildlife Park to visit in Sri Lanka, see Highlights of National Wildlife Parks, Sri Lanka

Elephants


wild elephants safaris srilanka

One of Sri Lanka’s most endearing wildlife sightings is to observe elephants in the wild with their young. Herds of matriarch led majestic elephants can be observed regularly in the following NPs:

  • Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks – The ‘Gathering of wild Elephants in the Minneriya National Park has been billed by the Lonely Planet as the world’s 6th greatest animal spectacle and happens from July to August each year.
  • Uda Walawe National Park – Guaranteed sightings of elephants in Asia
  • Wasgomuwa National Park – An uncrowded wildlife park with diverse eco systems
  • Gal Oya National Park – The only park to offer boat safaris to watch elephants on islands
  • Lahugala National Park – Sri Lanka’s smallest wildlife park, lies enroute to the east coast

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Minneriya and Kaudulla NPs – Visit Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya.
  • Near Uda Walawe NP – Explore Ella or safari in Yala National Park
  • Near Wasgomuwa NP – Hike or birdwatching in Knuckles mountains or visit Kandy
  • Near Gal Oya NP – Explore the mountainous homelands of Sri Lanka’s indigenous tribes, the Veddahs
  • Near Lahugala NP – Surf in Arugam Bay or visit Kumana National Park

‘Gathering’ of Elephants in Sri Lanka – by Nat Geo Wild

Leopards and Sloth Bear


leopard safari srilanka

Unlike elsewhere in the world, the Leopard is Sri Lanka’s top predator and roams freely in the wild, making it much easier to spot than even in Africa.

srilanka wildlife tour sloth bear

Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to photograph the Sloth Bear, especially during the fruiting season from June to September.

Which parks to safari in for Leopards and Sloth Bear:

  • Wilpattu National Park – Sri Lanka’s largest and most beautiful National Parks and Ayu in the Wild’s top pick for a safari in Sri Lanka
  • Yala National Parks – Sri Lanka’s most wildlife rich National Park and the most visited. The scrublands and rocks that reach the coastline are home to over 40+ mammal species, 200+ varieties of beautiful birds, the cheeky Toque Monkeys and Grey Langurs and many amphibians and reptiles
  • Kumana National Park – Great base for semi luxury tented camping in the heart of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife secret that straddles the east coastline.

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Wilpattu NP – Explore Anuradhapura or visit Kalpitiya seas to spot Dolphins.
  • Near Yala NP – Explore Ella, safari in Uda Walawe, Gal Oya or Bundala National Parks
  • Near Kumana NP – Surf in Arugam Bay or do a coastal drive to a beach resort in Paasikudah

Birds


birding tours srilanka
Yala National Park

Whether you’re an ardent twitcher, a serious ornithologist or an amateur birdwatcher Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best birding hotspots. The island is home to 33 endemic bird species and being the last stop for winter migrants, Sri Lanka stands at over 440+ total bird species. Best birding locations in Sri Lanka include;

  • Mannar: Prolific birdlife can be observed on this tiny slip of land with its many lakes and swamps up on the Northern shores of Sri Lanka which is one of the key entry points for winter migrant waterbirds and shorebirds. One of the best spots for Flamingos.
  • Sinharaja Rainforest – Sri Lanka’s last remaining virgin rainforest is best known for the mixed species feeding flocks or the Sinharaja Birdwave – one of the worlds longest studied birding spectacles
  • Horton Plains National Park – The cloud forests of Horton Plains in the Central Highland mountains of Sri Lanka are a phenomenal birdwatching site.
  • Bundala National Park – Just a short drive away from Yala NP, is wonderful especially for migrant shorebirds.
  • Along with the above, a serious twitcher should visit the National Parks of Kumana, Yala and Uda Walawe

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Mannar – Visit the Adams Bridge Islands, visit the Tantirimale historical site and stay en route to Jaffna
  • Near Sinharaja Rainforest – Drive down to the 17th century Galle Dutch Fort, book whale watching on a yacht in Mirissa, enjoy the south coast beaches
  • Near Horton Plains NP – Take a scenic train journey to Ella or Kandy, visit ‘little-England’ the hill country of Nuwera Eliya
  • Near Bundala NP – Visit Yala NP

Primates


primate tours srilanka

Sri Lanka is one of the best primate watching destinations in the world and offers specialized Primate Tours. Five Primates species are found in Sri Lanka – 2 species of Lorises and 3 species of Monkeys; the Purple faced Leaf Monkey and the Toque Macaque which are endemic to Sri Lanka and the Grey Langur.

Primates of Wild Sri Lanka – by Nat Geo Wild

  • Purple faced leaf monkey: Mostly observed in the Sinharaja World Heritage Site, Horton Plains National Park and in home gardens across suburban Colombo. Keep an eye out in Polonnaruwa and Wilpattu NPs too
  • Toque Macaque: The Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site is home to the world’s longest behavioural studies of Primates and a trek with the research staff is a must! They can also be observed in the National Parks of Wilpattu, Horton Plains and the Sinharaja Rainforest
  • Grey Langur: A healthy population lives among the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and they can be observed in the wildlife parks of Yala, Wilpattu and Minneriya.

Whales and Dolphins


Blue Whale safaris srilanka

Sri Lanka is the world’s top spot for Blue Whale encounters due to its deep waters and a reef close to its shores/ Sri Lanka’s waters count for 26 of the 86 Catecean species found worldwide including 13 species of Whales and 15 species of Dolphins.

  • Trincomalee: Peak season for Blue Whales is from March to April
  • Mirissa:90% strike rate for Blue Whales from December to April but do make an effort to book a responsible whale watching safari tour
  • Kalpitiya:A fabulous location for super pods of Spinner Dolphins, Brydes Whales and Bottle-nosed Dolphins

Other Wildlife in Sri Lanka not to be missed!


wildlife tour operator srilanka

The presence of large mammals, high rate of endemic species and phenomenal species diversity, Sri Lanka ranks among the world’s prime wildlife destinations. To see which parks to visit in any given month check out Sri Lanka Wildlife Calendar

Best beaches in Sri Lanka
Best beaches in Sri Lanka

Beach-time Sri Lanka – secret warm weather getaways!

Dreaming of a warm weather getaway that is more than just sun and sand? Take a look at these secret (and not so secret) beaches in Sri Lanka and some fun things to do.

Paasikudah Sri Lanka

To us, the beaches of the east coast in Sri Lanka are unmatched. From Trincomalee to the endless and quiet beaches of Paasikudah – often referred to as Pasikuda or Passekudah by travelers, in the east coast of Sri Lanka are a wonderful inclusion into any Summer Holiday tour from May to September.

Where to stay:

whale watching sri lanka

Private Whale Watching safaris in a yacht in Sri Lanka is way more fun than traveling in crowded vessels. Ayu in the Wild offers privately guided safaris in Kalpitiya, Mirissa, Galle and Trincomalee. The yacht can be booked in Pasikuda too for a sunset cruise and overnight stays.

sunset sri lanka

Some of the best sunsets can be seen in December along the west coast in Sri Lanka like in Yala, Galle and Mirissa

seafood sri lanka

Sri Lanka is a great foodie destination with some of the best seafood in the world.

Maalu Maalu beach resort sri lanka

Beach resorts in Sri Lanka don’t come better than Maalu Maalu Paasikudah. Book our 3 day specials Send enquiry to Ayu in the Wild Holidays.

Things to do if you are heading to an east coast beach in Sri Lanka:

  • Explore the cultural Triangle, Royal Kingdoms and ancient ruins
  • Climb the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, one of the seven World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka
  • See wild Elephants in the Minneriya National Park, one of the largest gatherings of Elephants in the world
  • Explore the world heritage site of Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s ancient capital home to beautiful stupas and statues
  • Visit the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy, home to the sacred tooth of Lord Buddha.
  • Visit the Wilpattu National Park, safari in Sri Lanka’s largest and most beautiful National Parks.

To book Email to inquire about safaris and local excursions in srilanka

Things to avoid if you are heading to an east coast beach in Sri Lanka:

While most East coast beaches are relatively uncrowded compared to those in the southern coast, do try to avoid purchasing any items sold by beach vendors as it encourages unsolicited attention to tourists. Avoid touching corals when scuba diving.

jetwing era beach galle srilanka

There’s a lovely selection of beach Villas in Sri Lanka ideal for week long getaways. This one is from Jetwing in Galle Sri Lanka.

Things to do if you are heading to a south coast beach in Sri Lanka:

  • Stay inside the 17th century Galle Dutch Fort
  • Visit the Lunuganga, the fantastic landscaped gardens of Sri Lanka’s famed architect Geoffrey Bawa
  • Visit the Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s most wildlife rich park
  • Visit the Sinharaja Rainforest or Kanneliya Forest to see some stunning birdlife of Sri Lanka
  • Go whale watching on a speed boat or yacht, one of the most responsible safaris in Sri Lanka

To book Email to inquire about safaris and local excursions in srilanka

Things to avoid if you are heading to a south coast beach in Sri Lanka:

Do not purchase any items sold by beach vendors as it encourages unsolicited attention to tourists. Avoid the touristy excursions promoted by Chauffeur Guides including, photographing Stilt Fishing and mask carving as you may be unnecessarily hassled for a contribution or purchase. Avoid the Yala National Park on weekends when its too crowded. Avoid whale watching on the modified fishing vessels that ply from the Mirissa Harbour as they are unregulated and harmful to whales. Avoid touching corals when scuba diving.

Blue whales and dolphins Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a great destination for Blue Whales and Dolphins. Take a private boating safari in Trincomalee, Kalpitiya or Mirissa with Ayu in the Wild Holidays.

kalpitiya srilanka

Kalpitiya is one of the secret warm weather getaways that most travelers to Sri Lanka miss. Its beaches are so, so secluded and the accommodation is varied – from air conditioned luxury beach tents to those oh so lovely thatched roofed cottages with just the right comforts. And you get to see super-pods of Dolphins and a host of marine life on private boat safaris from December to March.

maalu maalu paasikudah

(Photo by Maalu Maalu)

Its not only the night sky that sparkles on the beaches in Sri Lanka .

Dune dining sri lanka

(Photo Jetwing Hotels)

Dune dining quite literally ‘in’ and ‘on’ the beach in Sri Lanka is so romantic.

We have curated some wonderful beach villas, hotels and excursions that make up a complete Sri Lanka holiday. To book your Sri Lanka tour with beach stays that are interspersed with culture, wildlife great food and meeting locals, contact the Private Travel Designers at Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka for a Sri Lanka tailor made holiday just for you.

Sloth Bear Yala Sri Lanka
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Adventure Travel Blogger Laurel Robbins writes of her Wildlife Adventures in Yala Sri Lanka

Being open to ‘any’ wildlife adventure comes easy to this award winning Adventure Travel Blogger. Read how Laurel Robbins simply loved her safari “Most Captivating Wildlife Adventures in Yala, Sri Lanka!” 

“I knew my chances of seeing a sloth bear weren’t very high, and the odds worked against me.  That’s why I appreciate AYU in the Wild’s philosophy so much – appreciate what you do see, and be open for whatever wildlife adventures may come! Everyone goes to Yala to see leopards. I get it.  Leopards were at the top of my bucket list too. But if you just focus on leopards you will miss all that Yala has to offer and will leave disappointed if you don’t spot a leopard.”….say Laurel Robbins the award winning founder of Monkeys and Mountains who’s billed as one of the Top 20 Adventure Travel Bloggers of 2015.

Related Posts

More on Laurel’s Experiential travel with Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka.

Read why she’s ‘award winning’

Laurel Robbins the award winning founder of Monkeys and Mountains
Monkeys and primates srilankawildlife srilankaAsian Elephants srilanka


Ayu in the Wild Holidays – Sri Lanka’s unique experiential travel company