I had never really considered Sri Lanka as a safari holiday destination before, but I was...
The Adventure Company offers over 250 activity holidays to many destinations spanning every continent. We have many perfect destinations for your adventure travel, whatever your needs
Featured private group holidays
Fancy one of our fantastic adventures but only want to travel with people you know? Do it your way as a private group. We make private group trips for everyone, from big families to scouts and cadets.
- Activity Holidays – all action adventure
- Cultural Tours – lost cities & local life
- Wildlife Holidays – global wildlife encounters
- Trekking Holidays – peaks & summits
- Hands On Trips – conservation & your help
- Collection Trips – added comfort & style
- Astronomy Tours – eclipses & stargazing
- Expedition Cruises – polar experiences
- Photographic Holidays - photos for families
- Charity Holidays - do something amazing
- School Trips - exciting school trips abroad
- Northern Lights Tours - aurora borealis
- Private Groups - Create your own group
Feature adventure holidays
We’ve developed a range of dedicated solo holidays & solo travel packages; exclusively for people booking on their own. Around 40% of all our passengers are solo travellers.
Sri Lankan Discovery
Transport - Charterbus, boat, 4WD, train, bicycle, on foot.
Accommodation - Hotels and guesthouses (14nts).
Meals - 14 breakfasts.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
Arrive in Sri Lanka
Your trip starts just at your hotel jsut 5 minutes from the airport. There will be a note in reception which will explain where and when you'll have a short briefing about the trip ahead and you can spend the rest of your day taking a dip in the pool to acclimatise to the time zone and heat. Hotel - 1 night
The 'Dry Zone'
This morning, you will head inland. The journey will take approximately 4hrs. Long journeys are typical of travel in Sri Lanka -the area you will cover is vast, so this journey will allow you to become accustomed to road travel in Sri Lanka. On arrival, you'll have time to settle into your hotel.
In the evening, you will join local fishermen on their catamarans and watch while they cast out their nets and haul in their catch. Gliding along the lake which is dotted by lush lily pads and vibrant water lilies while the sun sets and casts a crimson hue over the area is a magical experience.
In the so-called ‘dry zone,’ north of the hill country is an area of fascinating lost cities. Here stand many Buddhist ruins dating from over a thousand years ago. A must on any trip to this area is a visit to the impressive ruins of 1000-year-old Polonnaruwa, a vast imperial city which became the capital of the occupying south Indian Chola dynasty, before being finally abandoned in 1288. UNESCO-sponsored restoration has carefully recreated the immense complex of temples, palaces and remarkable Buddhist sculptures. This is one of the best places to learn more about Buddhism, one of Asia’s most important religions, which even today guides a whole section of Sinhalese society in their day to day lives. Hotel - 3 nights (Bx2)
Taking advantage of the cool of the morning, you climb the steep pinnacle of Lion Rock at Sigiriya to its imposing summit fortress. From the base, where a moat surrounds the lovely water gardens, you ascend 200m, passing an overhanging rock. Underneath, some original portraits of native maidens still adorn the rock wall, having withstood the ravages of time. The climb is not for the fainthearted, but those who make it to the vertiginous Summer Palace on the flat-topped summit will enjoy exceptional views of the surrounding countryside.
After your visit you will to explore the local countryside on a cycle ride through nearby villages and forests where, if you wish, you can stop and try local delicacies. (B)
This morning you visit the Dambulla Cave Temples to learn about its fascinating history. The Sinhalese King, Valagam Bahu, took refuge here when he was ousted from his capital. He transformed the five caves of this granite outcrop into a rock temple, decorated by statues of Buddha and frescoes, some of which are over 2000 years old. The steep 150m ascent to the top of the rock rewards you with more magnificent views.
You then travel southward along the main trunk road to Sri Lanka’s second city, Kandy, a journey of around two hours. You'll pass through a fertile spice-growing area and plantations where coffee, cacao and rubber are cultivated before finally arriving in Kandy.
You will have most of the afternoon free to explore at your leisure. Visit Peradeniya, if you wish, home of Sri Lanka’s premier Botanical Gardens. The gardens are home to a massive weeping fig tree (Ficus benjamina), a packed orchid house and some of the few specimens of the rare Coco de Mer coconut tree. In all there are 4000 labelled species of plants and trees and a visit makes an entertaining couple of hours.
Alternatively, there is plenty of free time to wander alone and discover Kandy's quiet corners. Take a walk around the lake to enjoy the lovely views or take a nature walk in nearby Udawattakele Sanctuary, a mini tropical rainforest. Others may prefer to explore some of the many other temples that dot the area. Hotel - 2 nights (B)
NB. If you choose to do any of the above activities in your free time, they will be at your own cost.
The royal city of Kandy was once the capital of a kingdom that resisted European dominance for a further 300 years after the coastal areas capitulated. It is pleasantly set on the edge of a lake, surrounded by hills. During your time in Kandy you visit the Dalada Maligawa, the famous Temple of the Tooth. This is the major shrine where pilgrims have revered Buddha’s tooth since the 16th century; its gilded roof seems to act as a beacon to visitors throughout the day and into the evening. (B)
From Kandy you take a train that twists and turns through the lush hills, stopping at small village stations and, as you climb higher, passing through the green ranks of tea bushes which cover the higher hillsides. You disembark at Nawalapitiya and continue by road to Kitulgala.
Located amidst thick forest on Sri Lanka’s second-longest river, the Kelani, Kitulgala was once renowned as the location used for filming ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’; today however it is rapidly developing a reputation as something of an adventure centre. The area offers you a variety of optional activities such as walks in the surrounding forests and white water rafting and you have a free afternoon to participate in some of them. Resthouse / Basic hotel - 1 night (B)
Summit Adam's Peak
Very early this morning, before any hint of light, you set out on foot for Adam's Peak - a beautiful place of great importance. There are many legends associated with the mountain; it is believed to be where Adam first set foot on earth, or is called Samanalakande, the ‘butterfly mountain’, where butterflies go to die; another name is Sri Pada - sacred footprint.
You begin your climb at about 2:00am on a steep but largely stepped pathway. The peak (sacred to Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims) is one of Sri Lanka’s main centres of pilgrimage. The object of pilgrimage to the summit (2260m) is to witness the giant footprint of the Buddha, Adam or Lord Shiva - covered by a huge stone slab, in which has been carved another footprint.
Teahouses and resting-places line the route to shelter weary pilgrims and the walk is lit by a string of lights that snake up the mountainside, though a head-torch is useful. At a fairly relaxed pace you should reach the summit by dawn and as the first rays of light pour over the holy mountain the view is breathtaking. But Adam’s Peak saves its real marvel for a few minutes after dawn when the perfect and eerie shadow of the peak, cast by the sun on the clouds below, is chased back into the mountain’s base by the rising sun. After your descent there’s time for a shower and breakfast in a local guesthouse before you drive on to Nuwara Eliya. Note: Anyone choosing not to climb the peak may spend the night at the guesthouse in Maskeliya. The timing of departure the following morning will also be dictated by the return of those climbing the mountain.
The topography changes as you drive from Adam’s Peak and soon you are passing through the very heart of the tea growing area. You'll stop on the way for a refreshing cup of tea at a factory where you can see every step of the tea making process from bush to cup.
The old British hill station of Nuwara Eliya (sometimes referred to as the Garden City), standing in the lee of the island’s highest mountain, Pidurutalagala (2524m), feels curiously familiar due to its colonial houses, well-tended lawns and neat, colourful gardens. Hotel - 1 night (B)
Today’s drive is one of the loveliest yet as you descend quickly towards Ella. Here you have a spectacular view through the Ella Gap and further on pass by the roadside Rawana Ella Falls.
Leaving the hill country behind, you continue your journey south until you arrive at the Elephant Transit Home at Uda Walawe National Park. Run by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation and set up in 1995, it provides shelter for orphaned or abandoned baby elephants, releasing them to the wild when they are strong enough to survive in their natural habitat. You will visit the Elephant Transit Home at feeding time (the only time visits are allowed) and see the elephants from a viewing deck approximately 10m away; a great chance to learn more about Sri Lanka’s national animal.
You'll travel south east to Tissamaharama, which serves as a starting point for your visit to Yala National Park. Hotel - 1 night (B)
Yala National Park/South Coast
After breakfast you take a 30 minute transfer to the entrance of Yala National Park. From here, you'll jump in to jeeps to explore the most popular national park in Sri Lanka! The park has a wide variety of animal and bird life The jeep safari may give you relatively close encounters with water buffalo, langur monkeys, peacocks, sambar deer, wild boar and wild elephants. Famously, this park has one of the highest leopard densities in the world, so keep your eyes peeled and you may be lucky enough to see one!
After the safari you will continue your journey south to reach the coast and you’ll soon arrive at your beachside hotel after a total drive of approximately three hours. Hotel - 3 nights (B)
South Coast Stay
Sri Lanka is justifiably famous for its exquisite beaches, washed by the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. You have plenty of time to unwind, listening to the lapping of the waves after the previous day’s travelling. Here as elsewhere up and down the coast, a wide variety of fish are caught by local fishermen in the clear waters of the Indian Ocean. Coastal lagoons yield a rich harvest of prawn, crab and lobster and all are on the menu! Your time is your own here and you can either relax on the by the sea, the hotel pool, or explore further afield. (Bx2)
Journey back up the coast, via Galle
This morning you transfer to Galle. The journey takes you along the coast and gives you yet another perspective as you travel north, catching glimpses of the Indian Ocean through swaying palm trees, passing rural villages and busy resorts.
On your arrival in Galle, there should be a little time to explore the famous Dutch Fort. Rightly declared a World Heritage Site in 1988, the old fort area contains houses, lovely churches and other imposing buildings, and was once a hub of activity on the island. It is a joy to explore the now quiet back streets of this colonial city and be transported back in time as you marvel at the magnificent buildings where the Dutch, Portuguese and British once traded spices.
You'll continue back up the coast to your hotel near the airport. As this is your last evening, your Group Leader will no doubt organise a traditional ‘last supper’. Hotel - 1 night (B)
The trip ends for Land Only clients. (B)