Sri Lanka’s Big Five Safari Tour

For an island that is just 65,000 square kilometers, Sri Lanka has an astonishing array of wildlife and is one of the best places in the world for photographing large mammals in their natural habitats. Venture on a 14 night / 15 day excursion with Jetwing Eco Holidays in to the wilds of Sri Lanka in search of Sri Lanka’s Big Five – The Blue Whale, Sperm Whale, Asian Elephant, Leopard and Sloth Bear.

(This is a seasonal tour run during the whale watching season only from December – April each year. Recommended period for travel would be March – April.)



Arrival in Sri Lanka and transfer to Bar Reef Resort, Kalpitiya for two nights.


Early morning take the boat from the hotel and head out to sea, beyond the reef in search of Sperm Whale – the largest toothed whale in the world. The deep seas off the Kalpitiya Peninsula where the continental shelf lies provides an ideal habitat for these giant oceanic predators, which need to dive several hundred meters to hunt prey such as the Giant Squid. After sighting Sperm Whales, your naturalist will focus on Spinner Dolphins, where pods often numbering in the hundreds are regularly seen within a few kilometers of the shore.


After breakfast leave for Palm Garden Village, Anuradhapura for two nights.


Morning & Afternoon game drive to Wilpattu National Park in search of Sloth Bear and Leopard. Wilpattu is also home to over 250 species of birds, while Asian Elephant, Barking Deer, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Jackal, Asiatic Buffalo are some of the other mammal species seen.


After breakfast, leave for Thilanka Hotel, Kandy for one night. Late afternoon visit the sacred Kandy Temple of the Tooth.


After breakfast leave for Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort, Uda Walawe for one night. Afternoon game drive to Uda Walawe National Park where sightings of Asian Elephant are virtually guaranteed.


After breakfast leave for Jetwing Yala for four nights. Afternoon game drive to Yala National Park in search of Leopard, Sloth Bear and Asian Elephant.

The biggest draws in Yala are Leopards, Elephants and Sloth Bears. A recent study has shown that Yala has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world.The lack of other large carnivores means that the leopard is the top predator and adults and cubs are remarkably relaxed during the day, offering great opportunities for viewing and photography. Yala is also the best place in Asia for sighting the shy and usually nocturnal Sloth Bear. Yala is also home to over 250 Asian Elephant with the highlight being the 10-12 large Tuskers that roam around the park.The park is also good for dry zone specialties like Indian and Great Thick-knees, Sirkeer and Blue-faced Malkohas and Malabar Pied Hornbill. A day’s birding in the park, during the northern winter, can yield a 100 species.


Day 8-10

Morning and afternoon safaris at Yala National Park in search of Leopard, Sloth Bear and Asian Elephant.


After breakfast, leave for Jetwing Lighthouse, Galle for three nights. Evening, visit the Galle Dutch Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).


Day 12-13

Morning, drive to Mirissa Fisheries Harbour and get on the boat in search of Whales. Blue Whales and Sperm Whales are both seen regularly in these waters. It is the best place in the world for seeing Blue Whale and almost certainly the best place in the world for sighting both Blue Whales and Sperm Whales. Our team has conducted over 250 whale watching expeditions in the past two seasons alone and have sighted the whales on more than 95% of the outings.


After breakfast leave for Villa Talangama, Colombo for one night. Evening visit Talangama Wetland and surrounding paddy fields for an assortment of brilliant red Dragonflies such as Elusive Adjutant, Eastern Scarlet Darter and Spine-legged Redbolt and with luck two rare gomphids. Around the lake and canals we find many pond damselflies including endemic species of Gems, Sprites, and Threadtails. The list of species for the wetland is around 24 and growing. At Talangama one will encounter common species of beautiful butterflies, such as Tailed Jay, Common Crow, Common Palmfly, Common Rose, Common Sailor, Plain Tiger and Common Tiger. Talangama is also good for the commoner butterflies.


Transfer to International Airport for departure