Central Province, Sri Lanka Safaris & wildlife activities

Our most recommended Central Province, Sri Lanka Safaris & wildlife activities

From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

1. From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

After pick-up from your hotel in Ella, Haputale or Bandarawela, head for Udawalawe National Park, where you'll switch to an open concept safari jeep in order to have the best views. An early morning start ensures you'll see the animals during one of their most active times of day. See herds of elephants for sure and have fun watching for crocodiles, monkeys, water buffaloes, various endemic birds species and much more. Along the way, you'll learn about and observe the natural habitats of the local wildlife while you snap some amazing photos. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Mirissa/Weligama/Unawatuna or Galle where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

2. From Colombo: Full-Day Pinnawala and Kandy Tour

Start your journey at 0600 hrs from Colombo and proceed to Kandy, pausing at Pinnawala for a visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This is the home for young elephants who have been displaced from their natural habitat at Pinnawala village in the Sabaragamuwa province of Sri Lanka. Now housing 70 elephants, Pinnawala is home to the largest group of captive elephants in the world. Next, visit Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, renowned for its variety of ornamental, decorative & medicinal plants, more than 4000 species. This garden is best known for its collection of orchids, the largest in Asia. Thereafter, visit the Temple of the Tooth, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, built in the 16th century as the place of veneration and protection for Lord Buddha’s sacred tooth. Walk through the beautifully embellished passageways and elaborately painted halls. Lounge among delicately carved pillars and be amazed by the beautiful golden statues. Followed by a lunch break at a location of your choice. Cultural Dance Show - Be escorted to a performance of the traditional Kandyan dance, accompanied by tumultuous drumming. Dances include the cobra dance, mask dance, the Ginisisila, showing power over fire. This entire frenetic and colorful spectacle climaxes with the amazing fire-walking act. Finally, you will begin your journey back to your hotel in Colombo at approximately 1930 hrs. En-route, you will stop at Ambepussa (restaurant of your choice) and have dinner.

From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle & Yala Safari Day Trip

3. From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle & Yala Safari Day Trip

Combine a transfer from Ella, Haputale, or Bandarawela from Mirissa or Galle with a thrilling day trip to Yala National Park. Experience the immense biodiversity of this park on this Sri Lankan animal safari. Be picked up from your accommodation in Ella, Haputale, or Bandarawela. Relax and take in the local scenery on the drive to Yala National Park. Board an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views and photo angles. See the animals during the day when they are the most active. Watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalos, and a large variety of bird species. Get some great shots of these magnificent creatures. Hear about wildlife and get photography tips from your local guide. Let your guide show you the spots where the animals are likely to congregate. Then, head back to your air-conditioned car for the ride to your accommodation in Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna, or Galle.

Wasgamuwa: Wasgamuwa National Park Private 3-Hour Safari

4. Wasgamuwa: Wasgamuwa National Park Private 3-Hour Safari

Neighboring the historic city of Polonnaruwa, Wasgamuwa National Park is one of the precious national treasures of Sri Lanka. On a morning or afternoon 3-hour safari, discover the opulence of the flora and fauna in the dry tropical forest setting, overlooking the stunning landscape of the park. Enjoy a private safari ride while filling your lungs with the refreshing air and listening to the symphony of crickets and birds. Rest assured you will capture the sight of mighty elephants on this safari ride. The national park is also a home to a diverse range of mammals including leopard, sloth bear, purple-faced langur monkey, wild boar, sambar, spotted deer, buffalo, and endemic yellow fronted barbet. Small water pools scattered throughout the national park are rich habitats for a diversity of aquatic life including water monitor, crocodile, python, and various beautiful aquatic birds. Wildlife lovers will be provided clear sights of the wildlife surrounding the pools, offering a world of opportunities to capture extraordinary photographs to take home. The ideal time to visit the park is during November to May, which guarantees you the largest herds of elephants. For those who are planning to explore the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and Dambulla, an exciting and adventurous safari ride to Wasgamuwa National Park is an absolute must.

Udawalawe National Park Private Full-Day Safari

5. Udawalawe National Park Private Full-Day Safari

Venture into the untamed wild of Udawalawe, the famous home to the majestic Sri Lankan elephants. Journey into the savanna grasslands in the hopes of seeing elephants, foxes, deer, water buffaloes, hares, mongooses, and bandicoots while also keeping an eye out for crocodiles in the wetland areas and many species of birds. Head to the Udawalawe Reservoir with the huge local mountains in the backdrop. See groups of crocodiles resting in the banks or swimming about the lakes, vibrant birds of prey going fishing, and herds of elephants visiting to quench their thirst and take a rest. Your guide will take you back to the entrance of the park at the end of the safari at 5:00 PM.

Sri Lanka's history, culture, wildlife, beach in 7-days tour

6. Sri Lanka's history, culture, wildlife, beach in 7-days tour

This 7-day Sri Lanka tour gives you a complete picture of the tropical island from historical temples, palaces, and other monuments in the north-central province to breathtaking scenery with waterfalls, mountains, and tea gardens in the hill country. The 7 days trip also gives you access to Yala national park, where you spot elusive leopards, bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, buffaloes, and many other creatures. The tour wind-up with an overnight stay on the west coast resort giving you time to relax. Day 1 Meet your driver and proceed to your hotel in Dambulla. You will be visiting a 1st century BC ancient temple today, Dambulla golden temple, and witness more than a hundred ancient buddha statues and paintings. Later Check-in at the hotel and leisure. Overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 2 After a leisurely breakfast, climb the Sigiriya rock fortress and see the site of the palace of King Kassapa, who lived in the palace in the 5th century AD. Today you can see his swimming pool, granite throne, and other ancient constructions. Later proceed to the historical city of Polonnaruwa and take the Polonnaruwa city tour. 3 hours city tour gives you an opportunity to witness temples, Buddha statues, gardens, the king's place, and many other important monuments. Overnight stay in Dambulla. Day 3 After a leisurely breakfast, proceed to the hotel in Kandy. En route, visit a spice garden. In the afternoon Kandy city and a walking tour and visit the temple of the tooth relic, Peradeniya botanical garden, and witness the Kandyan cultural show. Overnight stay in Kandy. Day 4 After an early morning breakfast, head to Kandy railway station and board the train to Nuwara Eliya. The hill country train journey lasts about 4 hours and is one of the most scenic train trips in the world. Immerse yourself in the captivating mountain scenery along the way. Later visit tea plantations and tea factory and the Nuwara Eliya city tour follows. Overnight stay in Nuwara Eliya. Day 5 After breakfast, head to the south coast wildlife park, Yala national park, en-route stop at Ravana waterfalls and Sita Amman temple. In the afternoon Yala national park safari. Yala national park is the most popular wildlife park in Sri Lanka for wildlife tours and visitors can witness a large number of wild animals during the safari such as leopards, elephants, crocodiles, sloth bears, wild buffaloes, etc. Overnight stay in Yala. Day 6 After a leisurely breakfast, leave for the hotel in Bentota. en-route walking tour of it Galle Fort, and a boat safari of the mangrove lagoon in Bentota ( Madu River estuary). Overnight stay in Kalutara/Bentota. Day 7 After a leisurely breakfast leave for Colombo. Your driver will drop you off at your hotel or the airport after your Colombo sightseeing tour. Your Colombo sightseeing tour includes Gangarama temple, Simamalaka, Viharamahadevi park, Cinnamon garden, Independence memorial hall, Galle face green, and town hall.

Tusker Safari at Kalawewa National Park

7. Tusker Safari at Kalawewa National Park

The imposing Kala Wewa and Balalu Wewa tanks, built in the 5 BC by King Dhatusena, adorns the 6,000 hectare Kalawewa National Park, alongside an impressive 45-foot Avukana Buddha statue. But the centerpieces of the park are the star residents of the sanctuary: the tusker elephants. Of the male elephant population, only about seven percent are tuskers. Kalawewa boasts of a high concentration of tuskers, a privilege to behold. In addition to the tuskers, large flocks of open-billed storks are a common sight. The park has a beautiful landscape lined with massive signature Kumbuk trees. Your accompanying guide will give you additional information about the tuskers. You will also catch sight of numerous birds and other animals which dwell in the sanctuary. Your guide will share interesting facts about the flora and fauna of the Kalawewa National Park. If you arrive during the monsoon period (October-November) the filled up tanks will attract gatherings of animals and birds alike, amidst the kumbuk trees and vegetation.

Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

8. Colombo: 3-Day Cultural Triangle 5 UNESCO Heritage Site Tour

Day 1 Explore the important historical monuments in Sri Lanka on this 3 days tour while visiting ancient Buddhist temples, museums, palaces, gardens, Buddha statues, and many more. Embark on an exciting and very rare 3-day cultural tour of Sri Lanka's holiest, the Cultural Triangle. Explore 5 UNESCO-listed sites where important historical monuments are to be found. Visit cultural triangle cities including Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla, and Kandy. Stay overnight at a hotel in Sigiriya between private-guided sightseeing ventures. Get picked up in Colombo and head to your hotel in Sigiriya via Anuradhapura, the oldest city in Sri Lanka. The first activity of the 3 days tour is the hop-on hop-off city tour of the historical city of Anuradhapura. The tour covers a large number of historical places such as Buddhist temples, dagobas, palaces, gardens, and other remarkable structures in the city testify to the grandeur of ancient civilization. The city tour also includes the most sacred 8 Buddhist sites in the city, better known as "Atamasthana", Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya, Ruwanwelisaya, Thuparamaya, Lovamahapaya, Abhayagiri Dagaba, Jetavanarama, Mirisaveti Stupa, and Lankarama. Later in the day settle in for a good night's sleep at your hotel in Sigiriya. Day 2 After breakfast leave for the Sigiriya rock fortress, home to one of the oldest landscaped gardens in the world. Your Sigiriya tour starts early morning, allowing you to escape the mid-day heat. Climb the rock and reach the summit to see the site of the King's palace, swimming pool, and king's throne. Soak up in the breathtaking scenery from the top of the pinnacle. Later drive to Polonnaruwa and see the dozens of ancient temples, Buddha statues, and many ancient structures built by ancient Kings. Witness massive stone-cut Buddha statues, dagobas, an audience hall, and much more at the cultural museum of Polonnaruwa. Later in the day Minneriya safari on an open jeep. Enhance your experience with a wildlife safari at Minneriya National Park. Spot wild elephants, bears, wild boar, deer, buffalo, monkeys, and maybe even a leopard. Stay overnight in Sigiriya. Day 3 Depart early for Colombo via Kandy, visiting a spice/herbal garden en route. In Matale, spices and herbs are used for Sri Lankan cuisine and medicine. Hear about this history as you explore the site with your guide. Later visit Dambulla Golden Temple and Tooth Relic Temple are sure to add another level of sacrosanctity to your experience. Dambulla hosts more than 150 Buddha statues and a large number of ancient murals. The next stop will be Kandy city. Today Kandy is one of Sri Lanka's most important cities because of the presence of the temple of the sacred tooth of the Buddha. This is the most visited Buddhist temple on the island, frequented by thousands of devotees every day. Return to your hotel in Colombo.

From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

9. From Dambulla: Private Polonnaruwa and Minneriya Day Tour

Your day tour to Polonnaruwa and Minneriya begins in the morning with a 8:30 AM pickup from your hotel in Dambulla. Drive with your private chauffeur and guide to the first destination of Polonnaruwa. If you didn't have breakest already, stop along the way for some local fare. Arrive at Polonnaruwa at approximately 9:30 AM and spend the morning exploring the second capital of the ancient Sri Lankan Kings.   During your visit to the ruined city, see famous archaeological sites such as Gal Vihara, the Polonnaruwa Vatadage, Sathmahal Prasada, Medirigiriya Vatadage, Lankathilaka Image House, the Shiva Temple, Rankoth Vehera, Nissankalatha, Mandapaya and much more. If you have time, visit the Archaeological Museum. At about 12:30 PM take a break and enjoy lunch before going to Minneriya National Park. Leave Polonnaruwa at 1:45 PM to arrive at the park at about 2:30 PM. Minneriya is famous for its seasonal elephant gatherings where hundreds of elephants come together to socialize, feed, and play. Depending on the season, witness this phenomenon or at least get the chance to see the majestic animals during other times of the year. Take a 3-hour safari ride in the park to see other types of fauna. The safari concludes at 5:30 PM, after which you will be driven back to your accommodation in Dambulla. 

From Ella: Shuttle to Tangalle with Udawalawe Safari

10. From Ella: Shuttle to Tangalle with Udawalawe Safari

After pick-up from your hotel in Ella, Haputale or Bandarawela, head for Udawalawe National Park, where you'll switch to an open concept safari jeep in order to have the best views. An early morning start ensures you'll see the animals during one of their most active times of day. See herds of elephants for sure and have fun watching for crocodiles, monkeys, water buffaloes, various endemic birds species and much more. Along the way, you'll learn about and observe the natural habitats of the local wildlife while you snap some amazing photos. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Tangalle/Hiriketiya where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

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What people are saying about Central Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 3 reviews

Really good experience! At one of the attractions we should have visited, there was a really long queue and too many people, so our guide was good at coming up with a lot of other options we could see if we wanted. All the experiences were quite exciting! Our guide also found some great eateries along the way with really nice views each time. He was good at assessing when he was needed as a guide and when it was better for us to be alone and she stayed close by (eg at the restaurants). On the slightly long drive, he was also good at explaining what we saw when we looked out the windows and in general what Sri Lanka was like.

Great tour, guides and service. Everything was on time and smooth. The national park was beautiful. The only complaint we have is that it's more expensive than if we'd have just arranged with local tour operators.

Very quiet pleasant and punctual transfer. The safari was great, we were said to be really lucky and saw all the wild animals and, above all, a lot of different elephants.

Everything was great Picked up from the hotel Brought to the yala Ride along the yala Saw a leopard Arrived at the hotel in Galle

Was great! Saw a lot of animals and the guide was super excited to show us everything he could! Highly recommend.