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SAFARIS & SPICES OF SRI LANKA

  • Overview
  • Accommodation
  • Itinerary
  • Fares

A journey overview

  • Colombo
  • Kandalama
  • Sigiriya
  • Polonnaruwa
  • Kandy
  • Nuwara Eliya
  • Yala National Park
  • Galle
  • Colombo

14 Days Exploration
  • Departing:
  • 14 Nov 2023 New release

Sensory overload abounds on this unique journey. We encounter wildlife on safari and rattle through tea plantations by rail. At all times, we are granted rare perspectives of this island nation, courtesy of a range of diverse transportation. Naturally, our journey is also replete with the requisite culinary elements, while being reserved for just 24 guests.

Journey Map
Nuwara Eliya
Peacock

By Air, Land & Seaplane

Enjoy Sri Lanka from all angles during our considered journey. Give the roads a wide berth while flying from Colombo to Dambulla by helicopter. Roll into Nuwara Eliya aboard the Viceroy II train. Then take the seaplane shortcut to Yala National Park.

Leopard
Leopards

Leopard Safari in Yala National Park

Get up close to leopards during a wildlife safari. Succeeding in spotting these majestic creatures is more likely here than nearly anywhere else in the world.

Sigiriya
Sigiriya

Climb the Rock Fortress of Sigiriya

The imposing column of rock that is Sigiriya has often been described as the eighth wonder of the world. We take the opportunity to climb its peak during our Kandalama stay.

 

Minneriya National Park
Minneriya National Park

Where Majestic Beasts Roam

Join conservationist Chitral Jayatilleke on a Jeep safari through wildlife-rich Minneriya National Park. Here, we’ll witness the everyday habits of elephants, as they gather in abundance to feed upon the grassy plains and bathe in the park’s reservoir.

 

Ministry of Crab
Sri Lankan Food

A Sri Lankan Smorgasbord to Savour

Our journey includes a range of exquisite dining experiences. Begin at the Ministry of Crab, celebrated for its freshly caught crustaceans. Savour a unique evening dining by candlelight in a Kandalaman cave. Then gratify your senses as you indulge in a seven-course banquet at Heritance Kandalama Resort.

Itinerary

Check into your Premium Ocean View Room at Colombo’s Galle Face Hotel. Admire the timeless grandeur of this Sri Lankan landmark on the shores of the Indian Ocean. 

Basking in our exceptional location, the morning is ours to rest. Following lunch at the Gallery Café, embark on a guided walk of Sri Lanka’s capital with local expert Mark Forbes. Tonight, we dine at the culinary hotspot, the Ministry of Crab. Owned by former Sri Lankan cricketers, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, this restaurant celebrates the country’s prized crustaceans, the giant lagoon crabs.

Excitement builds this morning as we make our way to the Bandaranayake International Airport where a helicopter waits to whisk us away to Sigiriya Air Base. Once on the ground, we visit the World Heritage-listed Dambulla Cave Temple complex, which has drawn pilgrims and preachers for more than two centuries. Afterwards, we head to a nearby Buddhist temple, where we join with some local families as they perform their evening rituals and invoke blessings. 

This evening’s gourmet affair takes place inside one of the region’s famous caves, whose interior is illuminated by the flickering of candles. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the strains of woodwind instruments as we dine. Our home for the next three nights is the sublime Heritance Kandalama Resort. Vistas of lush forest, as well as Sigiriya itself, are to be enjoyed from our Luxury Rooms.

An early morning Your World experience presents a unique opportunity:
— Our hotel overlooks what is often described as the eighth wonder of the world – the rock fortress of Sigiriya. Rise early and set out to climb to its peak.
— You may prefer to relax at the Heritance Kandalama Resort. Perhaps indulge in a spa treatment or simply admire the extraordinary views from our hillside resort.

Later this morning, we travel to nearby Hiriwadunna Village. This remote region grants us further insight into day-to-day rural life in Sri Lanka. For lunch, we dine on nourishing and organic cuisine among lush surrounds at Cinnamon Lodge, where nearby, serpent eagles, kingfishers and monkeys make their home. Take this afternoon on your own schedule before we reconvene for a seven-course dinner at our hotel. Savour an evening of fusion fare, served at the exact site where our hotel’s architect drew his plans.

This morning we visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, where a former guide shows how society once functioned in this former kingdom. This afternoon is set aside for a spectacular Jeep safari with conservationist and photographer Chitral Jayatilleke. Watch as the elephants of Minneriya National Park graze upon the grassy plains, enjoy a bath in Minneriya’s reservoir and roam the vast expanse of the park.

In a spice garden in Matale, we learn to identify the flavours of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Crossing the hills into Kandy, we check in to Earls Regency Hotel, where we stay in Deluxe Rooms. Afterwards, we are invited into the home of a batik artist for lunch. This afternoon, arrive at Peradeniya Botanical Garden and join an enlightening walk with a professor of botany. Gaze skyward as you stroll along the grand Avenue of Royal Palms and absorb the myriad colours of some of the many thousands of plant species here. This evening, we are treated to a cultural show.

Following breakfast this morning, we visit the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. Here, we witness a Hindu pooja ceremony, which involves prayer offerings through song. Adjourn to the sacred inner shrine and receive a blessing from one of the resident Buddhist monks. You will also receive a blessed cord, tied around your hand. This afternoon, take the opportunity to learn the delicate art of gem identification and cutting. Under the guidance of an expert gemologist, design and cut your own unique keepsake from the island’s precious gems.

We travel to Nanu Oya in style aboard the Viceroy II, a private vintage carriage attached to the public train. Roll along tracks cut through flourishing jungle, passing terraced tea plantations and skirting precipitous hillsides. Arriving in Nuwara Eliya, in the heart of Sri Lanka’s tea country, we head for the Heritance Tea Factory. Here, our Superior rooms look out over the area’s lush mountains.

This morning after breakfast, enjoy a guided walking tour of Nuwara Eliya. Dubbed ‘Little England’, owing to its profusion of 19th-century English colonial houses, the town occupies a position in Sri Lanka’s pleasant hill country. Our travels today take us to the Holy Trinity Church; The Hill Club, which formerly served as a club house for English and Scottish tea and coffee planters; the Post Office building; and many of the region’s charming manor houses. We end our walk at the Grand Hotel, former home of the governor Sir Edward Barnes. Afterwards, enjoy browsing the wares at the Bale Bazaar, where you’ll find a diverse range of clothing. We return to the Heritance Tea Factory this afternoon and spend the rest of the day at leisure.

We take to the skies on board a seaplane this morning, bound for Yala National Park. At its boundary, we find the Wild Coast Tented Lodge. From within our Cocoon Suites, we feel the subtle breeze coming off the Indian Ocean, just metres away. An afternoon safari takes us into Yala’s vast woodland, where many species of reptile, bird, and other animals, roam. As the sun sets, enjoy a cocktail in the beach garden, anticipating tomorrow’s next safari adventure.

Finding ourselves on safari once more, deep in the open grasslands of Yala National Park, we aim to spot as many species of wildlife as possible – Yala is recognised as having one of the highest leopard densities in the world. 

This afternoon, choose to join a Your World experience: 
— Hone your cooking skills, Sri Lankan style, as you assist our chef in preparing tonight’s meal. 
— Join a local ranger for further explorations of Yala National Park.

This evening, we enjoy sunset drinks on the beach.

We make the journey by road to Galle, stopping for lunch by the pristine beaches of Weligama Bay. While here, we keep watch for the spectacle of stilt fishermen, perched high upon their wooden poles. On arrival in Galle, we check in to the Jetwing Lighthouse Club, perfectly positioned within a tranquil coastal setting. Our Spa Wing Luxury Rooms provide us with sweeping Indian Ocean views. 

Today, after breakfast, explore the city of Galle through the art of prose with a local storyteller. As Shanjei paints his tales of history and colonial life with a thought-provoking stroke, we cannot help but gain expert insight into the local way of life. His particular fascination, however, remains delving into the mysteries of the Galle Fort. In-between unlocking the past of this fascinating structure and guiding us through narratives of the local area and its people, Shanjei recommends some regional flavours with which to tantalise our tastebuds. 

Afterwards, discover the world of cinnamon during a visit to one of the region’s estates. Learn how the spice is grown and harvested, and also transformed into cinnamon sticks. See how the raw material is peeled during a fascinating demonstration, then learn about the grading process and how the final product is prepared for market. Of course, you’re also free to relax and enjoy this part of the day on your own schedule. We dine at our hotel this evening, which boasts a range of restaurants, all of which offer spectacular Indian Ocean views.

A short drive north sees us arriving in Bentota. We admire the Lunuganga Gardens while stopping for lunch. On our return to Colombo, we arrange for you to have the use of a Superior Room at the Galle Face Hotel. Before this evening’s dinner, you have the opportunity to meet a renowned former Sri Lankan cricketer at the Sinhalese Sports Club. You may prefer to relax at the Galle Face Hotel, making the most of its stunning coastal views. Enjoy a special Farewell Dinner at the 1864 Limited Edition restaurant, located within the Galle Face Hotel. After dinner, transfer to the airport, our magnificent journey at an end.

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EVERYTHING CONSIDERED & INCLUDED

Curating journeys for over 25 years, we know that sometimes travelling can be a chore. Enjoy each enriching experience, knowing we have considered every last detail.
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Safety & Flexibility

Learn about our new booking conditions and additional measures we are taking throughout our journeys.