Imagine yourself on the beautiful island of Sri Lanka, the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, with its staggering biodiversity of endemic flora and fauna. Imagine watching Sri Lankan leopards and Asian elephants move through the high forests of this diverse island. Watch for sloth bears, loris, and wild Fishing Cats, while listening to the calls of Indian Peafowl, Crested Serpent Eagles, and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters. Laugh at the antics of the temple-dwelling Toque Macaques, Grey Langurs and Purple-faced Leaf Langurs–there’s never a dull moment watching monkeys. This amazing country is filled with an abundance of natural and cultural treasures. We’ll visit UNESCO World Heritage sites, ancient ruins, active temples such as the most revered site in the country, the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha. We’ll explore the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, where the rock paintings date back to the 1st century BC. We’ll tour tea plantations, look for wildlife in cloud forests and lowlands, explore nature trails, and go to sea to look for the largest animal on the plant–blue whales, while dolphins jump and play in our boat’s wake. We’ll stay at the most beautiful lodges, plus some cool and quirky ones for fun!  Join us on this magical journey to weave in and out of the centuries and bring home incredible photos of the wildlife and people of Sri Lanka. Karen Blackwood will lead up to 5 clients. Ernest Porter will join with 6 or more. We’ll also have a local Sri Lankan professional naturalist guide along to tell us about the ecology, history, and culture of Sri Lanka.


Day 1 (25 March)
Arrival and transfer to Arie Lagoon, Negombo

Upon arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport, you’ll be transferred to Arie Lagoon in Negombo, where you’ll get your first taste of the welcoming nature of the Sri Lankan people. You’ll have time to rest and relax before our fantastic safari in Sri Lanka but keep your cameras handy–this luxury resort is right on the lagoon, so who knows what you’ll see before we even start the trip!  We need to know your arrival time as soon as possible to arrange transportation to the hotel (not included; car $25 per transfer (1-2 pax), microvan $35 per transfer (3-6 pax)).  If you want to come in a day early or stay a day late, we can arrange accommodations (not included in trip price).

Arie Lagoon is a luxury hotel in Negombo lying between the shimmering waters of the lagoon and the Indian Ocean, in the fishing village of Thalahena. This is your getaway to paradise! The well-equipped Deluxe rooms offer a spaciousness that lends itself to a sense of at-home living with a true sense of relaxation. Stay connected as you enjoy our free Wi-Fi.
(B & B)

Day 2 (26 March)
Transfer to Mosvold Villa, Ahangama

We’ll check out after a late breakfast for our 3-hour scenic drive to Ahangama, a small town in southern Sri Lanka, where we will check into the seaside resort of Mosvold Villa around 13:00.

At 14:00 we’ll go on a boat safari along the Nilwala River in Matara town. The river passes through pristine wetland habitats laden with mangroves, then meanders through the heart of Matara, one of the country’s most populated towns, before it empties into the vast expanses of the Indian ocean. The birding is excellent–White-throated, Pied, Common and Stork-billed Kingfishers, Yellow and Black Bittern, raptors such as the White-bellied Sea Eagles, and Oriental Honey Buzzard are just a few of the species recorded on the river.  We’ll watch for Bengal Water Monitors on branches or swimming through the water, and Toque Macaques will probably be feeding in the treetops. Maybe we’ll spot several of the 245 species of butterflies found in Sri Lanka, and we’ll certainly see some of the 120 dragonflies and damselflies, with 34 species being endemic–meaning they are only found on Sri Lanka.  We’ll make time to examine some of the 3,310 species of recorded flowering plants on our nature forays later in the trip. But we digress…did we mention the deep, dark secret of the Nilwala? It’s the home to one of the largest known populations of Estuarine Crocodiles in Sri Lanka. These are the world’s largest reptiles, reaching 15’ in length! We’ll watch for hatchlings and the large dominant males and everything in between. Wouldn’t it be great to see these modern-day dinosaurs in their natural habitat?  Hmmmm, maybe not too close!

We’ll be back in time for dinner, then we’ll have the evening at leisure, so you can enjoy the private beach and feel the warm water of the Indian Ocean tickle your toes.

Indulge in a treat to the senses as the gentle breeze enfold you and the warm rays kiss your skin at one of Sri Lanka’s most breathtaking seaside villages. Situated along the South coast in the outskirts of Ahangama, Mosvold Villa offers a peaceful getaway amidst palm-lined golden shores and azure blue seas. The villa combines the luxuries of a star class hotel with the comfort and privacy of a home.
(B, D)

Day 3 (27 March)
Mosvold Villa, Ahangama

Wake up! We’re leaving at 6:30 with a packed breakfast to go to Mirissa Fisheries Harbor to head out to sea to look for the largest animal that has ever lived: the Blue Whale. Mirissa in southern Sri Lanka is regarded as the world’s top location for watching Blue Whales during the season, which ends in late April. Pods of Spinner Dolphins, Risso’s Dolphins, Bottlenose and Striped Dolphins might join us, as they love the wake of the boat. We could see Bryde’s Whales, Sperm Whales and Orcas on our sea trek.

En-route back to Mosvold Villa, we’ll see Sri Lanka’s iconic stilt fishermen in the costal town of Ahangama. They hail from the south of Sri Lanka, from the towns of Koggala to Weligama and practice an ancient technique of fishing, which is unique to this region only. The stilts are carved with notches to allow the fishermen to balance themselves with one hand holding the fishing rod, and the other holding the stilts.

We’ll be back around 13:00, then it’s your choice: enjoy the beach, or join us for an optional visit to the 17th century Dutch-built Galle Fort. It’s a bustling and vibrant area is filled with jewelry shops, cafes, restaurants and luxurious villas with a distinctly Mediterranean feel and excellent examples of colonial architecture and well-preserved fortifications. This UNESCO World Heritage site is well worth exploring. Spot the old gate inscribed with the Dutch East India Company’s coat of
arms, the 18th century Clock Tower, Meeran Jumma Mosque and the nearby Lighthouse. There’s just so much to see!
          (B, D)

Day 4 (28 March)
Ceylon Wild Safaris, Yala Luxury Tents, Uda Walawe

We’ll leave after breakfast and head for Yala, arriving in time to check in to our incredible accommodations–wait until you see where we are staying! You’ve probably experienced glamping by now…but not at this level! You are going to be spoiled!

Don’t get too comfy yet, however, we’re going on an afternoon safari at 14:30 in Yala National Park, the country’s premier destination for wildlife viewing. The star attraction is the leopards of Sri Lanka, and Yala is believed to have the highest concentration of these big cats in the world.  It is also one of the few places in the country that the shaggy coated Sloth Bear can be seen. We’ll probably see Asian elephants and a few lone bulls, and if we are lucky, some of the remaining iconic tuskers.  We’ll be watching for Mugger Crocodile, Jackal, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Buffalo, Wild Boar and Grey Langurs. Yala is an excellent birding destination with over 300 avian species recorded. We’ll watch for these jeweled fliers, and might spot Indian Peafowl, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Painted Stork, Malabar-pied Hornbills, Chestnut, Green and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters. We’ll traverse lagoons, beaches and rocky outcroppings as we explore the scrub jungle in search of everything that moves.

Ceylon Wild Safaris, based in the wilderness areas of the buffer-zone jungles of Yala National park, is a homey tented camp with a mission in the world of wildlife conservation. Our team, comprised of passionate, ethical and professional game rangers aim to merge sustainable and experiential wildlife tourism with active and on-ongoing conservation efforts. The camp is situated on an 18-acre plot of wilderness land but in order to reduce our footprint we have isolated our camp utilization to less than 2 acres. This allows us to continue our reforestation project on land which was previously used for farming and “chena” cultivation. Our tented camps have air-conditioning, an en-suite toilet, safe, and a private deck with a plunge-pool overlooking the Yala wilderness.
(B, L, D; tea, coffee, soft drinks, fruit juices, selection of local beers, basic spirits, house wines)

Day 5 (29 March)
Ceylon Wild Safaris Yala Luxury Tents, Uda Walawe

We’ll leave early for Yala–be ready to go at 5:15! It will be worth it as we look for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, and more. We’ll enjoy a bush breakfast inside the park, then head back at 10:30 to rest and relax on the grounds of our incredible Lodge.

After lunch, we’re going back out into Yala from 15:00-18:30 to see if we can find anything we’ve missed so far, and to just enjoy the rhythms of nature. By now we might be well acquainted with a leopard or sloth bear, and we’ll go see what they are doing to prepare for the evening hunt.
          (B, L, D; tea, coffee, soft drinks, fruit juices, selection of local beers, basic spirits, house wines)

Day 6 (30 March)
Dream Cliff Resort, Hapatale

We’re leaving early again at 5:15 for one last guided safari through Yala National Park. We’re going to miss this special haven, aren’t we? Don’t worry, there are more special surprises coming!

After breakfast, we’ll leave for Dream Cliff Mountain Resort and enjoy a scenic drive as we travel from the dry lowlands to the central highlands of Sri Lanka, laden with tea states, waterfalls, and scenic viewpoints.  When we arrive around 13:30, you’ll be completely charmed by your beehive hut and the incredible views offered at this wonderful lodge. You’ve always dreamed of having a shower under a waterfall, haven’t you? You can do that here! We’ll spend the afternoon at leisure, so if you want to go zip-lining or mountain biking, you’ll have time (extra activities not included).

Perched overlooking the mountain ranges, Dream Cliff is a designer, luxury boutique hotel offering guests a unique experience surrounded by beauty, tranquility and comfort. Nestled in the perfect climate of Beragala near Haputale and Ella, Dream Cliff occupies a very scenic vantage point and offers a bird-eye view of the surrounding mountain ranges. Explore the mountain ranges and tea plantations, hike or mountain bike across from one spectacular view to the next, zip-line over the hills, or enjoy a cold shower in a waterfall followed by the world’s finest cup of tea.
(B, D)

Day 7 (31 March)
Dream Cliff Resort, Hapatale

We’re leaving at 6:00 with a packed breakfast and additional snacks for our tour of Horton Plains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is Sri Lanka’s highest elevated national park at approximately 7000’ above sea level. We’ll marvel at the cloud forests and open grasslands. We’ll take a guided walk along the nature trails to a viewpoint known as World’s End with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. Along the way, we’ll watch for endemic rhino-horned and hump-nosed lizards, plus highland bird species such as the Sri Lanka White-eye, Dull-blue Flycatcher and Yellow-eared Bulbul. If we are lucky, we’ll spot the elusive highland endemic “Arrenga” (Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush) and the Sri Lanka Bush Warbler. On the walk back, we’ll stop to see the impressive Baker’s Falls in full flow. Sambar, Sri Lanka’s largest species of deer are encountered regularly in the plains close to the entrance while the shaggy coated Bear Monkey (Highland race of the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey) is occasionally seen within the forested areas.

We’ll be back around 14:30 to spend the afternoon relaxing back at the lodge and hopping underneath the natural waterfall again. If you missed out on any extra activities yesterday, today will be the day to do them!
          (B, D)

Day 8 (1 April)
Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy

We’ll check out at 8:30, after breakfast, and we will visit the Dambetenne Tea Factory and Lipton’s Seat viewpoint. This is one of the best observation points of the surrounding landscape, including Handapanagala Lake, Chandrika tank, Udawalawe Reservoir, and the Wedi Hiti Mountains, as well as Hambantota Harbour on the southern coast. Sir Thomas Lipton used this spot to plan his tea plantations. His colonial tea factory is still in operation today. Sri Lanka was formerly known as Ceylon, and the term “Ceylon Tea” was coined here. We’ll tour the factory for an education in the intricate processes of fermentation, rolling, drying, cutting, sieving and grading of tea, culminating with an authentic tea tasting experience.

We’ve got a long drive to Kandy, and we’ll break it up with a stop for lunch at another fantastic local restaurant. Then it’s on to the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic to watch the evening pooja. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic was built in the 16th century AD and is adjacent to the Royal Palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy. It overlooks the expanses of Kandy Lake. As the story goes, when the Buddha was cremated in India, one of his teeth was recovered from the pyre. It was hidden in a woman’s hair piece and taken to Sri Lanka, where it was given to the king at the time.  It was believed that the possessor of the sacred relic had the right to rule the country. The evening pooja is sacred ceremony filled with the offering of flowers, prayers, song, drums, and the opportunity to see the Buddha’s sacred tooth in an ornamental gold case. We’ll really get a feel for the importance, ritual, and culture of this place with this incredible opportunity to join devout Buddhists in the pooja.

*Please note that shoulders and legs must be fully covered. Shorts and tank tops are not appropriate nor allowed in the Temple. You may cover with a scarf and sarong if necessary.

We’ll check in at the Cinnamon Citadel in time for dinner.

Kandy is renowned to be one of the most scenic cities in Sri Lanka. Surrounded by sweeping green hills, misty mornings bordered by the longest river in the country, Cinnamon Citadel Kandy is your ideal retreat for a truly relaxed and carefree getaway. Steeped in cultural and historical significance, this resort is designed in a manner to reflect this rich history and majesty with the use of ‘heritage’ red representing royalty and white spaces symbolizing a modern, chic and sophisticated ambience.
(B, D)

Day 9 (2 April)
Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigriya

We’ll check out at 8:30 after breakfast for our 2-hour drive to the Dambulla Cave Temple. This extraordinary site is famous for its rock paintings and is among the best-preserved monastic temple cave complexes in Sri Lanka. Its origins date back to the reign of King Valagamba in the 1st century BC, who took refuge in these caves when driven out of Anuradhapura by Chola invaders. Once he regained the throne, the king had the interior of the caves transformed into magnificent rock temples.

After we’ve explored the Cave Temple, it’s a short drive to Jetwing Vil Uyana. We’ll check in around 12:45 in time for lunch.

At 15:00 we’re going for a 3-hour jeep safari to the Hurulu Forest reserve, a haven for Asian elephants. Some of the largest herds in Sri Lanka are found in this park, seeking refuge when the water levels increase. There are few experiences which match the excitement and adrenaline rush of getting up close and personal with a herd of elephants!  We’ll search among the high rocky outcrops and tall mana grass for herds while also spotting colorful Indian Rollers, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Indian Peafowl, Shikras, and several species of eagles.

From 19:30- 20:15, we’ll head out on a short, guided nature walk along the forested nature trails to search for the endangered, elusive Grey Slender Loris, a small nocturnal primate which has established within the property. We might also see wild Fishing Cats, Collared Scops Owls, Indian Civets and Golden Palm Civets, too!

Our name refers to a garden of lakes – a tribute most fitting to our agrarian ancestors, who once served a prosperous country from these fertile lands of our Sigiriya hotel. Escape to our private nature reserve of five distinct habitats in Sri Lanka’s legendary cultural triangle. With a purpose-built wetland in the shadow of an ancient fortress, our flourishing landscape has been crafted to enchant you. Our simple charms are complemented by homespun luxuries with you in mind. Modern amenities adorn every one of our rooms, while a plunge pool and quiet library provide communal coexistence with the environment. For something more private, traditional spa and wellness experiences also offer the ultimate in tranquil solitude.
(B, D)

 Day 10 (3 April)
Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigirya

We’ll grab a coffee and leave at 6:30 to visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. These are the palace ruins of King Kassapa, constructed on top of a massive 200-meter-high rock, surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, frescoes, and other structures.

We’ll have a late breakfast around 10:00 and relax until early afternoon. This might be a great time to take advantage of the spa or walk around the incredible grounds of this beautiful eco-lodge.

We’ll leave for Polonnaruwa at 14:00 to explore the 12th century stone ruins and look for the troops of Toque Macaques, Grey Langurs, and Purple-faced Leaf Langurs. You’ve probably seen the Temple Troop of Toque Macaques on numerous natural history documentaries. Did you know they are part of the world’s longest running study on primates? We’ll be able to observe and photograph their social interactions at close range, with lots of laughs expected at their antics!

Don’t forget that we are in the midst of a UNESCO World Heritage site, so we’ll learn the political and cultural history of King Vijayabahu I, the Cholas, and the Brahmanic monuments and monumental ruins of the fabulous garden city created in the 12th century. Why is Polonnaruwa important? We’ll find out!
         (B, D)

Day 11 (4 April)
Departure day, Bandaranaike International Airport

All good things must come to an end… and we will miss you.  We’ll head to the Bandaranaike International Airport after breakfast. It’s a 4 ½ hour drive.  Please do not book flights departing before 14:00!

Day rooms and overnight stays can be arranged at the Tamarind Tree Hotel, just 10 minutes from the airport. If you want to stay longer, you might enjoy exploring Colombo.  Day rooms and extra nights are not included but we will be happy to arrange accommodations if you’d like. Colombo is a 30-40 minute drive to the airport.


This safari tags perfectly with our 8-day India Tiger and Taj Mahal Tour from 6-13 April 2022.

Highlight Mammals:  Sri Lanka leopards, Asian Elephants, Sloth Bears, Sambar, Bear Monkey, Toque Macaques, Grey Langur, Purple-faced Leaf Langurs, Grey Slender Loris (endangered), Indian Civet, Golden Palm Civet, Fishing Cat, Jungle Cat, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Jackal, Buffalo, Blue Whales, Sperm Whales, Orcas, dolphins and more

Highlight Birds: Indian Peafowl, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Indian Roller, Bee-eaters, Kingfishers, Hornbills, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Crested Serpent Eagle, Shikra, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (endemic), Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Brown Fish Owl, Collared Scops Owl; 34 endemic species plus migratory species

Highlight Cultural: The warm, friendly people of Sri Lanka, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Polonnaruwa (UNESCO WHS), Dambulla Cave Temple, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Dambetenne Tea Factory, Galle Fort and more


  • Photography Guide services with Eagle Eye Safaris
  • Ground Transportation on Safari with professional drivers
  • Entrance fees and permits for all activities mentioned as included
  • Game Drives and boat cruises
  • Mineral water and a selection of local snacks during drives, excursions and safaris
  • 10 nights’ accommodations:
  • Aire Lagoon B&B basis
  • Mosvold Villa, Dream Cliff Resort, Cinnamon Citatel, and Jetwing Vil Uyana on half-board basis including dinner and breakfast
  • Ceylon Wild Safaris on an all-inclusive basis including three meals, tea & coffee, soft drinks, fruit juices, and a selection of local beers, basic spirits, and house wines


  • Airfare to/from Sri Lanka
  • Airport pickup transfers – US $25 per transfer car (1-2 pax); US $35 per transfer Microvan (3-6 pax)
  • Meals before and after the trip
  • Lunch, unless stated otherwise. We’ll be eating at local restaurants. Credit cards are usually welcome
  • Visas (apply online at )
  • Gratuities
  • Trip/Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
  • Activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless stated otherwise
  • Personal Purchases like laundry, phone calls, souvenirs, etc.
  • Anything not specifically mentioned as “included”
  • Additional nights or dayrooms before or after our trip; we can arrange those for you

Please email us with questions at

* Cost

Double Occupancy: 4600 USD
Single Occupancy: 5900 USD
Deposit: 50%
2nd Payment: 25% – 180 days prior to Safari
Final Payment: 25% – 90 days prior to Safari

* Max/Min Clients on this trip:

Maximum:  10
Minimum:    4

* Leader:

4-5 Clients: Karen Blackwood
6-10 Clients: Karen Blackwood and Ernest Porter

* Photographic Skills Level:

Beginner to Pro. Because this trip doesn’t allow time for a full photography class, you’ll need to be familiar with changing settings on your camera.  Karen and Ernest will offer personal attention and suggest settings in each situation. Non-photographers are always welcome and will find this to be an exciting and rewarding trip.  We can help you rent cameras and lenses in Sri Lanka.

* Fitness Level:

Average to fit. This trip includes easy to moderate hikes with some elevation change. We will enjoy our hikes without rushing.

* Expected Weather/Temperatures:

We will be in Sri Lanka just before monsoon season and may see some rain. Temperatures will be tropical, averaging 90°F (30°C) daily at lower elevations and 75°F (22°C) in the mountains, with lows down to 55°F (11°C) at night at higher elevations.  Plan to bring wicking short sleeve shirts, a long sleeve shirt for evenings, comfortable shorts, a pair of lightweight hiking pants for nature walks and evenings, a hoodie for the cooler mountain temperatures, a light waterproof rain jacket for rain and for boat excursions, comfortable Gore-Tex type hiking shoes, sandals or flip flops for the Lodge. Some Temples require that legs and shoulders are covered.

* Health Concerns:

We will update you prior to travel about COVID requirements. At this time, Sri Lanka is administering the vaccine to citizens.  Currently no vaccines are required to enter the country, but a negative Covid test is required.  There is a risk of Dengue and Chikungunya from mosquito bites. Please bring repellant. You should always have an updated tetanus shot before travel. Please consult with your doctor about any concerns. Travel medical insurance is highly recommended.

* Electric adapters:

  • Type D – Mostly used in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and a few African countries. No other plug types will fit in a type D socket.
  • Type G – From British origin, mainly used in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Malaysia and Singapore, but also in quite a few other countries. No other plug types fit into an outlet of type G.
  • All power sockets in Sri Lanka provide a standard voltage of 230V with a standard frequency of 50Hz.
  • You can use all your equipment in Sri Lanka if the outlet voltage in your own country is between 220V-240V. This is the case in most of Europe, Australia, the United Kingdom and most countries in Africa and Asia.
  • If the standard voltage in your country is in the range of 100V-127V (which is most common in the US, Canada and countries in South America) you might need a voltage converter in Sri Lanka.
  • Some appliances never need a converter. If the label states ‘INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60 Hz’, the appliance can be used in all countries in the world. Devices like this include most laptops and phones, most recently produced battery chargers, and many small electrical gadgets, especially those designed for world travel. Here is an example of international converters for Sri Lanka:

* Gratuity Planning (ATMs are widely available in Sri Lanka. Your exchange rate will be best through an ATM. Sri Lanka uses Rupees (LKR). Please be familiar with the exchange rate)

Please plan to tip drivers, guides and hotel porters provided that a satisfactory job has been done. At restaurants and hotels, a service charge is included however leaving a small additional tip is customary. We suggest the following tips:

  • Airport Porters – LKR 200/- per piece of baggage
  • Hotel Bellboys – LKR 200/- per person for assistance with bags upon checking in / out of hotel
  • Local waiters at restaurants – LKR 350/- to 500/- for handling the group at each restaurant.
  • Boat Operators in Matara – LKR 500/- per guest
  • Boat Operators in Mirissa – LKR 500/- per guest
  • Safari Jeep Drivers – LKR 1,000/- per half day safari per driver
  • National Park Trackers – LKR 500/- per half day safari per tracker
  • Microvan Driver (04-06 Pax) – Group tip of LKR 20,000/- per driver
  • Coach Driver and Assistant – Group tip of LKR 20,000/- per person x 02 persons
  • Naturalist Guide – Group tip of LKR 25,000/- to 35,000/- for the duration of the tour.

Safari in STYLE! Be sure to order your Eagle Eye Safaris T-Shirt and Hoodie from a selection of fun images prior to this trip by clicking HERE!

Arie Lagoon, Negombo

Mosvold Villa, Ahangama

Ceylon Wild Safaris, Yala Luxury Tents, Uda Walawe

Dream Cliff Resort, Hapatale

Cinnamon Citadel, Kandy

Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigriya