Wondering where to spend your next island gateway? Sri Lanka will be an ideal choice with its exciting mix of mesmeric beaches, wildlife, and cultural sights.
Sri Lankan wildlife
Your safari tours in Sri Lanka will be incomplete if you fail to spot a Sri Lankan leopard. It is one of the bestthings to do in Sri Lanka. Leopard watching is an exciting activity adored by many tourists who visit Sri Lanka for a holiday. The Yala National Park consists of the highest density of leopards, and it is the best place to enjoy a glimpse of these wonderful spotted wild creatures.
Explore the picturesque hill country
Sri Lanka’s hill country is the most stunning, mist-wrapped land featuring spellbinding views lush tea plantations, cascading waterfalls, and scenic mountains. Nuwara Eliya is a must-visit city showcasing some of the finest golf courses in Asia, breathtaking surroundings and exciting activities like course trekking, horse riding and camping. There are many accommodation options offered by travel entities likeAmaya Resorts & Spasto make the best out of your stay.
A train ride to Kandy or Haputale
The train ride between Kandy and Ella is popular as one of the world’s top ten scenic train rides! This route will take you through vast and never-ending tea plantations in the country. The journey will take around four hours. Another option to consider will be to stop for a day or two in the small town of Haputale without going all the way to Kandy.
Go on a safari ride
Despite its appealing biological endemism, Sri Lanka is one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots. Sri Lanka is home to one of the three types of Asian elephants. Due to its largest concentration of elephants, leisure travellers from all around the world spare time to go on an elephant-watching safari to Yala.
The vast Luangwa Valley, the majestic Victoria Falls, and the untamed Zambezi River are all found in the landlocked nation of Zambia, along with more than a dozen National Parks and other important wildlife conservation programs. It should come as no surprise that adventurous travellers who seek unspoiled African nature flock to Zambia. A safari in Zambia is the best opportunity to get up close to the continent’s wildlife. Here are only seven amazing species you can see in their natural settings.
African elephants, the largest species of elephant, can be found in Zambia’s river-rich national parks such as South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi, and Kafue. Elephants live in close matriarchal families, much like humans, making them one of the cutest large mammals. The family members are so close to one another that you seldom ever see them more than a few steps apart.
In Zambia’s grasslands, the king of the jungle spends his time hunting or relaxing. You have a decent chance of seeing one of these gorgeous cats in the southern parts of South Luangwa and Kafue National Park, which both contain sizable pride within a constrained territory. In Kafue, where they are known to be especially playful, you might even catch a pride of lions climbing trees if you’re lucky. You can arrange for a safari with your Livingstone hotel in Victoria Falls.
Due to poaching, white rhinos, the largest species of rhinoceros, were once uncommon in southern Africa. The Zambia Wildlife Authority did, however, transport four white rhinos from South Africa to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in 2010. Currently, a herd of over ten animals is closely guarded and lives close to Victoria Falls to stop poaching.
Giraffes, the world’s tallest mammals, graze on trees in the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks. The Thornycroft’s giraffe subspecies is only found in Zambia and has distinctive markings. About 20 giraffes make up a herd. You might even be lucky to spot a few at your resort such as Royal Livingstone Hotel by Anantara.
Being one of the biggest national parks in Sri Lanka, a visit to Yala National Park is a must if you are ever on vacation on this charming island. Here are some of the highlights.
Yala National Park
Spanning a total area of 900 sq km, Yala National Park is easily one of the most enormous national parks in Sri Lanka. This exotic sanctuary was once a popular hunting ground for the British but now claims to have the highest leopard density in Asia whilst sheltering a host of other fauna the likes of sloth bears, deer, crocodiles and exotic bird species.
What to see and do
The Yala National Park tops as a hotspot for spotting leopards. Hop on board a 4 x 4 safari ride with binoculars in your hand during dawn or dusk to catch these inimitable animals in action. Whilst catching a glimpse of leopards has become a coveted attraction among travellers, there is a host of other wildlife to be seen amidst these exotic savannahs. During a ride along this wildlife sanctuary, you can easily spot some sloth bears, ample endemic birds emerging out of mangroves and elephants roaming across the land.
Hotspots for Accommodation
From small boutique hotels and eco-friendly villas to opulent hotels and retreats by the jungle, you are spoilt for accommodation choices when holidaying in Yala. Amongst the top-notch accommodation spots in the area, a Yala hotel the likes of Cinnamon Wild Yala is indeed a wise pick for the hotel is kin to camping in the wild except with luxurious amenities brought to your arms.
Best time to go on safari
The dry season from February to June is the idyllic time to go on a safari in this exotic wildlife paradise. With water levels decreasing, there is ample opportunity to witness wild animals emerging out of their habitats in search of water. The park also boasts a serene year-round temperature of 29°C and only experiences heavy showers during the months from September to December.
Those who love nature, hiking or wildlife encounters have plenty to look forward to on a visit to the Bako National Park in Sarawak and here’s more on what you need to know.
This national park can be found in the Muara Tebas peninsula’s northern part and is around 37 km from the city of Kuching. Those based here in the prime district of Jalan Simpang Tiga at properties like Citadines Uplands Kuching can easily plan an excursion to this site; look to leave a bit early (around 8:00am or before) by bus or taxi to the Bako jetty from where you need to take a shuttle boat (around a 20-minute journey) or book a private charter to the park.
What to Expect
Once you have found accommodation among the places to stay, Kuching excursions to this site will offer plenty to discover. While this is one of the smallest national parks in Southeast Asia, it is blessed with rich biodiversity and has seven varied ecosystems along with diverse wildlife. It’s home to everything from mangroves and grasslands to mixed dipterocarp forest, idyllic beaches and more with different trails on offer too.
Wildlife to Spot
On your visit to Bako National Park, you may spot some of its many animal residents including the hilarious-looking proboscis monkey with its pot belly and large nose! You may also see other primates like silver-leaf monkeys and long-tailed macaques as well as bearded pigs, squirrels and wild boars. Birdwatching enthusiasts have a chance to also catch sight of the ruddy kingfisher, Asian fairy-bluebird, sunda scops owl and many other bird species.
Amongst the best things to do in Sarawak for those who love trekking is to explore the many trails at this park. In fact, it has 18 trails that are colour-coded and provide both short hikes and those that can be for almost the whole day. Highlights include the Telok Pandan Kecil trail which takes one to a small beach, while the Telok Delima and Telok Paku trails are great for spotting wildlife. For a longer trek, consider the Lintang Loop that takes you to the varied habitats of Bako National Park.
If you’re looking to escape the busy city life in Sri Lanka and escape to nature, camping is one fine way to do so. Here are some excellent sites to get your tent out, set up, and enjoy uninterrupted, stunning landscapes.
Udawalawe National Park
Known for its elephant population, Udawalawe National Park stretches over 30,000 hectares. Animals such as wild boar, jackals, common langurs, sambar dear and over 180 species of birds call this park their home. To travel here, get one of the many self-drive cars in Sri Lanka, offered by the likes of Malkey Rent A Car, where you can drive at your own pace. Depending on the area of the park that you want to camp in, the price may vary.
The central highlands of Sri Lanka emit beauty so splendid that you’ll never want to leave. Famous for its lush green hills and now thriving party scene, Ella will not disappoint hopeful campers! You can also hike Little Adam’s Peak and visit Ravana caves.
Knuckles Mountain Range
Another spectacular location found in central Sri Lanka, Knuckles boasts many forest trails and sites ideal for camping. In fact, this location is ideal for eco-camping, so now only are you enjoying yourself, but you’re also conserving the environment.
Yala National Park
The most renowned National Park in Sri Lanka, Yala is full of picture-perfect sceneries, bordering the Indian Ocean. You will spot many mammals, birds and insects while you’re here, that’s a given! Camping with the sounds of nature and wildlife around you is surreal in Yala. There are also onsite washrooms and barbeque facilities.
Those with a passion for adventurous activities and thrilling excursions will find Indonesia meets their holiday needs. Let’s explore some of the most exciting experiences available in the country.
Mangrove Forest Tour
Ranked among the most rewarding things to do in Indonesia, exploring the mangrove forests occupying breathtaking Bintan is a must for those who wish to walk on the wild side with mangrove snakes staring back from branches above. There’s no better way to uncover the beauty of nature than embarking on this mangrove tour. Visitors based at The Residence Bintan and similar rests will find that it is one of the top things to do in Bintan.
Snorkelling in Kanawa
Tipped to be one of the top snorkelling destinations in Indonesia, Kanawa offers tourists a glimpse of the coral gardens and the marine life occupying the Indonesian sea bed. Often compared to the exquisite underwater landscapes of Koh Phi Phi, Kanawa is a less crowded locale to engage in your favourite activity.
Ayung River Rafting
Those who head down to Ubud for a beach holiday can also sign up for a river rafting excursion of a lifetime. Taking rafters through the dense jungles of this tropical paradise, the rapids of Ayung River offer experienced and newbie rafters a fantastic challenge.
ATV rides are not only accessible on the beaches of Indonesia and its pastoral villages but also in the country’s lush jungles. Travellers hankering for an off-road adventure will find that there’s nothing more engaging than driving down the rocky surfaces of Indonesia’s untamed wildernesses.
Horton Plains, one of the national parks in Sri Lanka, is an example of Sri Lanka’s unspoiled natural beauty. It is also one of the best places to visit in Nuwara Eliya. With thriving wildlife and milder climate conditions, the place offers a respite from the typical harsh weather conditions of the country.
What you need to know
You need to carry plenty of water with you as there aren’t any shops here. You cannot really bring plastic bags with you, and make sure you don’t litter. Also, if you are planning to visit in the afternoon, wear sunscreen.
There are plenty of hotels near Hotel Plains; all you have to do is take your time and find one that suits your budget. It’s best to choose a hotel like Araliya Green Hills, as Horton Plains is part of the experiences on offer.
You have to hike through uneven terrain to get here, but it’ll be worth it. Baker’s Falls is one of the principal attractions here. Named after Sir Samuel Baker, a British explorer, the waterfall has a height of 20 metres.
For scenic panoramic vistas, visit the World’s End. The journey is fairly easy, with frequent wildlife encounters. World’s End is a steep cliff that’s considered one of the best lookouts in the country. The views you get here stretch across two provinces.
To camp in Horton Plains, all you need is basic camping gear; however, as you are alone, you should consult a tour guide to ensure that you don’t do anything you are not supposed to. You can also get in touch with a tour operator.
Famed for its tropical beaches and alluring sunsets, Sri Lanka may not appear to be the bearer of forests and jungles of untamed wildlife. However, the country’s reputation as a tropical vacation hub overshadows its ability to provide some of the best-known safaris.
The Road to a Minneriya Safari
A 17-minute ride is all it takes to reach the Minneriya National Park from hotels like Aliya Resort and Spa. The park is known to be one of the best places on the island to witness the largest elephant gatherings that occur during the months of June to September. Most accommodations in the area offer safari packages to tourists which are inclusive of well-trained drivers to educate them along the way, and it is also about a 20-30 minutes distance from most other Sigiriya hotels in the area.
A Jungle Exploit
While visitors can witness herds of elephants freely roaming out and about, they are not the only wildlife that can be spotted at the Minneriya National Park. The sanctuary is home to a wide array of species ranging from eagles, monkeys and peacocks that can be seen in numbers. The park shelters 24 species of mammals, 9 species of amphibians, 25 species of reptiles, 160 species of birds, 75 species of butterflies and 26 species of fish.
Travelling with Young Ones
A safari at the Minneriya National Park is not one that is catered only for adults but is considered a safe experience for children as well. While older children are likely to appreciate wildlife and the knowledge of their lifestyles, younger ones are more drawn to the thrill of the jeep ride and climbing up the rocks in the park
The Overall Experience
Many travellers have shared positive testimonies of their fabulous experiences at the Minneriya National Park, commenting on the expertise of the drivers and guides that accompany them throughout the journey. This family-friendly safari is certain to be one of education as well as a real-life adventure for adults and children alike.
The elephant gathering at Minneriya is one of the most famous wildlife phenomena in the world! Elephants from different herds all gather together to travel in search of water to Minneriya Wewa. One could even call it the elephant’s summer home for their summer vacation.
When and where?
Located in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka, Minneriya National Park is the spot where elephants from all over the country gather. This occurs during the dry season from July to October.
During the dry season of Sri Lanka, the water available for these huge mammals decrease in other parts of the country. Minneriya National Park has plenty of water and shelter for these giants of the wild.
How can I see the gathering?
This is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka. You can rent a vehicle from Malkey Rent A Car and drive up to this region. There are a few hotels that provide easy access to this national park at which you could stay and set out with a guide at the right time.
Best time to go
Although you’ve got time from July to October, the best time to visit for the best experience would be in August and September.
Giving you the perfect respite from becoming ‘templed-out during your stay in Sri Lanka, Minneriya National Park will feast your eyes with its famous ‘elephant gathering’. Read and know more facts.
Dominated by the ancient Minneriya Tank, the park unfolds plenty of lush forests, grasslands, and wetlands. It’s located in the North Central Province, Polonnaruwa district. The wetlands closer to the reservoir provides an important feeding ground during the dry season. If you are starting your journey from Colombo, book an air taxi in Sri Lanka with an entity like Cinnamon Air, to make your journey faster and hassle-free
The elephant gathering
This is an entirely natural phenomenon that takes place between August and September annually. The largest meeting venue for Asian elephants! Park’s reservoir welcomes more than 300 elephants during the dry season. An amazing sight to behold!
The park’s vegetation comprises wetlands, grasslands, abandoned chena cultivated lands, and tropical dry mixed lush forests. The reservoir along with its surroundings plays a significant role as a wetland, speaking volumes of its rich biodiversity.
The Minneriya National Park is home to more than 24 species of endemic animals. The most important of them is the ‘wild elephant’. You can also spot different species of aquatic birds and fishes.