Wildlife Holidays in Sri Lanka

The verdant tropical island of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, is an ideal place to escape the gloom of a British winter. Although geographically close to the southern tip of India, it is culturally very different from its neighbour with a population 69% Buddhist and a proudly independent Sinhalese history.

Sri Lanka is a haven for iconic wildlife. Massive Blue Whales feed offshore, the island supports the greatest remaining populations of Asian Elephant, and Sri Lanka’s Leopards are the largest on Earth.

The rugged terrain of the island’s centre is characterised by mountains and hills rising to over 2,000 metres, and this is the home of the island’s tea industry. In the south, several tracts of Sri Lanka’s once extensive tropical rainforests still cloak the hills. The best and largest example of this precious habitat is Sinharaja Forest, which is recognised internationally as a World Biosphere Reserve, and which supports the vast majority of Sri Lanka’s endemic birds.

Speak with our Sri Lanka specialist

Operations Manager
Rajan Jolly

Our Specialist Recommends

"I recommend our ‘Sri Lanka – Wildlife & History’ tour which combines a traditional birdwatching and wildlife holiday with the island’s ancient culture. We hope to see most of the 33 endemics that are found on the island, and the mammalian highlights are Asian Elephant and Leopard.”

Operations Manager - Rajan Jolly

Naturetrek Tours to Sri Lanka

Naturetrek offers several natural history tours to Sri Lanka. These include birdwatching and wildlife holidays (including a bargain bird watching holiday), botanical tours in celebration of Sri Lanka's tropical flora and botanical gardens plus a holiday focusing on Blue Whales & Leopards.

What’s special about the wildlife?

Sri Lanka’s excellent national parks support some of the greatest concentrations of megafauna in Asia. The country also has many zoological affinities with Southeast Asia and much of the flora and fauna is unique to the island, including 33 species of endemic bird.

There’s a high level of endemism in the fauna and flora, especially in the mountainous regions. An abundance of superb wetlands as well as forests and a benign attitude towards wildlife by the friendly islanders contribute to Sri Lanka being a perfect natural history destination.

Highlights from our Sri Lanka wildlife tours include:

  • A visit to Yala National Park in search of Leopards, Asian Elephants, Sambar & Mugger Crocodiles
  • Stunning endemic birds such as Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Red-faced Malkoha & Sri Lanka Drongo
  • Dry Zone bird species such as Indian Rollers, Ashy Woodswallow & sunbirds
  • Wintering birds including passerines from the Himalaya, such as Pied Thrush, & waders from Siberia
  • A herping tour in search of Sri Lanka's Reptiles & Amphibians
  • Mangrove plant communities, plus orchids, ferns & balsams
  • A chance to see the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy as well as the ancient city of Anuradhapura & the rock fortress of Sigiriya
  • Looking for Blue Whales off Sri Lanka's beautiful south coast