Wildlife Safari, Sri Lanka featuring
The Gathering: A Coming Together of Elephants
Trip Dates: August 1 to 14, 2017

Sri Lanka is one of the best places
in the world to see a leopard in the wild.
Photo by C. Jayatilake

Elephant families and entire herds
come together at The Gathering.
We'll be there!
Photo by C. Jayatilake

A painted stork, among the many
colorful birds we're likely to see.

One of three Buddha statues
carved in granite at
Polonnaruwa ancient city.

Perahera Festival in Kandy.

Relax along Sri Lanka's picturesque
coastline, dining on fresh fish
and coconut curries.

Cost includes:
- 13 nights in boutique, heritage and 4-5 star hotels
- All meals except two dinners
- KarmaQuest Director and Ecotourism Specialist Wendy Lama as Trip Leader
- Guided by a Sri Lankan English-speaking naturalist
- Reserved gallery seats for the Kandy Perahera
- Tips to service staff and wildlife spotters
- All activities mentioned

Cost does not include:
- International flight airfare
- Beverages
- Visa fees
- Optional activities
- Tips for naturalist and driver
- Expenses of personal nature
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Emergency evacuation insurance (required)
- Optional donations, and other services not mentioned above. Additional details provided in full itinerary.


During our 14 day naturalist-led wildlife safari, we’ll explore four of Sri Lanka’s top national parks and nature reserves with a focus on sighting wildlife in its natural habitat. On guided safaris (in jeeps) aided by expert spotters, we are likely to see wild elephants, monitor lizards, spotted and sambhur deer, marsh mugger crocodiles, and much more. We’ll spend two full days roaming Wilpattu National Park, the best place to see leopard. Birding is also excellent in the parks, with many colorful and quixotic birds easily visible.

A highlight of the trip is what’s known as “The Gathering” -- the coming together of 200 or more wild elephants on an annual pilgrimage to Minneriya National Park. Here we’ll watch as they coalesce around one of the only wet areas on the island during the dry summer months.

The ancient Buddhist monuments and capital city ruins of Sri Lanka are equally as captivating: Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla with an optional visit of Anuradhapura.

We’ll be well positioned for the acclaimed Esala Perahera, a procession of traditional dancers, drummers and performers walking the streets of Kandy, bearing the most prized possession of Sri Lanka – the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha -- in a golden casket born by an honored tusker.

In keeping with KarmaQuest’s commitment to nature conservation, your trip to Sri Lanka will help support conservation of Sri Lanka’s endangered wildlife. Details to follow.


Day 1:   Arrive in Colombo and drive to Anuradhapura .

Days 2 & 3:    Two full days of jeep safari at Wilpattu National Park: Those who wish to see Anuradhapura can do so as a side trip (optional).

Day 4:    "The Gathering" of elephants at Minneriya: We'll travel to Minneriya National Park to witness hundreds of wild elephants congregating from all directions to feed and bath at this watering hole during the dry season.

Day 5:    Habarana/Polonnaruwa: Today we’ll tour one of Sri Lanka’s most notable ancient cities, Polonnaruwa, with its impressive large size statues of the sitting, reclining and standing Buddha carved in granite (left). This afternoon we’ll again join The Gathering.

Day 6:   Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandy: An early climb up the granite face of Sigiriya reveals the ruins of a sprawling palace built in the 5th century AD. Travel to Dambulla Caves, then continue to Kandy, for the evening spectacle: Randoli Perahera, a lively parade of elephants, dancers and drummers, bearing the sacred tooth of the Buddha -- as has been done for centuries.

Day 7:    Peradeniya Gardens and Temple of the Tooth, Kandy: The Peradeniya Royal Botanical Gardens house more than 4,000 species of trees and plants, including the Giant Bamboo of Burma, capable of growing up to a foot in a day. Today we’ll join pilgrims at the Temple of the Tooth, home to the Sacred Relic.

Day 8:     Nuwara Eliya and Horton Plains: We'll travel via winding roads through tea plantations to Nuwara Eliya, then on to Horton Plains National Park for an afternoon hike. Resident animals include sambhur deer, langur monkeys, wild boar, rusty-spotted cat, monkeys, loris, otter, barking deer, mongoose, as well as many bird species. Overnight in Nuwara Eliya

Days 9 & 10:   Yala National Park: We'll see some of Yala's abundant wildlife on three escorted jeep safaris. While famous for its elephants and with the highest density of leopards in the world, it is also home to spotted deer, wild buffalo, wild boar and black nape hares, mongoose, jackal, and civets.

Day 11:   Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve: A guided walk through the lush forest reveals an extraordinary display of endemic birds, butterflies, dragonflies, reptile and freshwater fish species. If we’re lucky, we'll catch a glimpse of the purple faced leaf monkey and rare forest orchids. Overnight in a lovely eco-lodge.

Days 12 & 13:   Sinharaja Rain Forest and Hikkaduwa: After a morning walk in the reserve, we’ll drive to Hikkaduwa, an ideal spot for snorkeling among the reefs or just lazing on the beach. Spend two nights here, ending the trip on a relaxing note.

Day 14:    Colombo and Depart: We’ll return to Colombo and do a bit of sightseeing before heading to the airport for your departing flight.

Trip Cost:

From US$5,550 per person

Additional single supplement charge applies.

Trip deposits ($500/person) are due December 1, 2016. Please sign up now as space is limited.

Please click here to view a slide show about this trip to Sri Lanka.