This trip will be an absorbing experience where you will walk through rice fields & villages to see 700 year old temples, trek through forests in mountains over 1200m above sea level, enjoy the company of the Wanniyala-aetto* (A tribal people known as Veddhas - aborigines), under the stars in the deep jungle, watch wild elephants from the safety of your 4WD safari jeep, canoe or raft down the Kalu Ganga (Black River) and share experiences with simple village folk in remote villages who hardly have any contact of the outside world.
This is an adventure programme. You will definitely get quite tired & sweaty. It could get quite humid during long treks. We travel with our windows open! we try not to travel with the air-condition on. As most of the travel will be off-road, and our experienced tour leaders are well trained to spot that elusive bird, identify animals by their tracks & sometimes their smell in the air. There is a lot of spontaneity and camaraderie among most of our travellers. Accommodation will be in hotels, mountain cottages, under tents. All meals will be provided.
Day 1: You will be met on arrival at airport or picked up from hotel and taken to the Muthurajawela Marsh for a tranquil Boat Ride. The boat rides provide a view of Sri Lankan wetlands as never seen before. Transfer to the Ranweli Hotel for a relaxing evening listening to the sound of birds & crashing waves of the Indian Ocean. Includes: (L), (D).
Day 2: Leave for Kandy the Hill Capital from where you will be starting the trekking expedition. Check-in to the Tree of Life Hotel, Kandy. Lunch Tree of Life or en route. After lunch you will be taken on a city tour of Kandy including visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Experience the richness of our culture, feel the thundering drums reverberate, behold the spectacular dance routines & exotic costumes - the Cultural Dance performance will surely keep you enthralled. Come back to hotel for dinner, after which a pre - trekking briefing, and tomorrows' program will be explained. Dinner & overnight stay at Tree of Life, Kandy. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 3: Visit the Riverside Elephant Park after breakfast. Take an elephant ride enjoying the scenic beauty of the largest river in Sri Lanka, the Mahaweli. Visit the Katarangala Temple, which houses the priceless Golden Buddha Statue. This temple is situated on a hillock against an overhanging cliff and a large cave with Brahmi inscriptions indicating the donation of caves to monks.
Return to the vehicle, which will drop you off at the point to start your walk which covers the 700 year old Western Shrines of Kandy. The 3-Km walk along gravel roads and footpaths takes you across traditional Kandyan Villages, where you could experience their rural social conditions along the way. You will arrive at the Gadaladeniya Rock Temple 1 ½ hours later. You will be given a brief description of the temple's history. You could also spend some time speaking to some of the devotees.
Leave for the Lankathilake Blue Temple, which is another half an hours' walk. You will be given a brief tour of the temple, after which you can enjoy your picnic lunch in a spot close to the temple, taking in the beautiful scenery of the surrounding area. Another 1 ½ Km walk through village byroads will bring you to the world famous Embekke Wooden Temple. A superb example of the island's architecture in wood & dedicated to the god Kataragama or Skanda believed to have been built in 1371 AD. The temple boasts over 100 intricately carved wooden pillars. Trek along rice fields & footpaths to the highway. The vehicle will bring you back to the Hotel Tree of Life for dinner & overnight. (Next days program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Wake up at 6.30 a.m. After bed-tea departure by mini wagons to starting point of your trek 1000 M above sea level. The Knuckles mountain range is a remote mountain area. Picnic breakfast will be at the viewpoint. Trekking is on moderate to challenging routes passing tea plantation and endemic mountain forestry. Listen to the sounds of the endemic fauna spotting & spot that elusive bird or rare plant, taking in the sweeping panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Picnic lunch will be had en route. After lunch, relax and start trekking to the overnight station. Cocktail, singsong, dinner and overnight stay at Mountain cottage or Bungalow. (Next days program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 5: Wake up to catch the sunrise over the mountains with a hot cup of tea in you hand. Have your breakfast & take a 2½ hour adventure drive to the next trekking point, passing the precipitous 17 hairpin bends, which will surely keep you on the edge of your seats. The number of monkeys cavorting along the road will surprise you. Arrive at trek point & start trekking for about 1½ hours, passing pleasant up-country terraced paddy fields, listening to calls and spotting birds, butterflies, reptiles & fish under the lush forest canopy & many clear streams.
Swim in the freshwater pools at the base of the waterfall. Enjoy you picnic lunch & relax to the surrounding sounds of nature. Trek back to vehicle taking 1½ hours. Dinner and overnight stay at the Village Guesthouse/ Village Rest-house facing the river or sleep in tents at a camping site by the lake. (Next days program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 6: 6:00 a.m. depart to see the spectacular sunrise (on request) or leave at 08:00 a.m., after breakfast, to an ancient lake. A paradise to watch birds, water monitors, iguana's & crocodiles. Lowland hills & evergreen jungle surround the lake. Drive back to guesthouse/camp & relax. Depart to Maduru Oya National Park. Stop near a canal for a swim, have picnic lunch & relax for about an hour. Commence the drive along the Maduru Oya National Park, passing large reservoirs to the east and large rice fields to the west, spotting birds & wild animals along the way.
Drive back to the jungle Campsite and meet the Wanniyala-aetto (aborigines) who were the first settlers of the island. Speak to the tribal elders of their way of life, social organization and philosophy. Let the little Wanniyala-aetto show off their hunting & prowess with their powerful slings. Watch the huntsmen drop their daily routine and entertain you with their traditional hunting songs & war dance under the moonlit skies. Enjoy the evening's jungle festivities with fireside cocktails followed with Barbecue dinner. (Next day program will be explained). Sleep in tents to the haunting nighttime sounds of the jungle. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 7: Wake up in time for a hot cup of tea at 06.30 a.m. Trekking with Wanniyala-aetto for 1½ hours on wild elephant paths to visit the Wanniyala-aetto chief's village (The temperature will be hot). Transfer back by vehicle to campsite for Breakfast. Departure to hill country passing evergreen flat paddy fields, large reservoirs, mountain forests and high grown tea plantations with sweeping panoramic views. Overnights stay in the hill station of Nuwara Eliya (2000 M above sea level) with accommodation in a colonial style lodging. (Next days program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 8: Wake-up for a cup of tea at 6.30 a.m. At 7.00 a.m. depart to Horton Plains (2300 m. above sea level). It gets quite cold in the plains at this time of the morning. Picnic breakfast en route. Trekking on Horton Plains National Park for 4 hours, on moderate to challenging routes. Visit the sheer drops known as the First Worlds End and Second Worlds End and also the Bakers' Waterfalls. The plains are home to a large variety of endemic birds & flora.
The vehicle will take you on an exciting adventure drive to Buduruwagala with a picnic lunch en route passing through both natural and planted high-forests, villages and tea plantations on the way up to Haputale viewpoint (1500 in. above sea level). Visit a tea factory (if possible). Drive to Buduruwagala Temple. On the drive to the ruins of this ancient jungle hideaway we will pass panoramic views and waterfalls. Dinner and overnight stay in the Temple Hall. This is a beautiful environment with lots of birds and butterflies close to a tranquil lake. The temperature will be warm & humid. (The next day's program will be explained).
Uda Walawe National Park & Chandrika Lake
Wake up to the bird songs. Walk to the jungle ruins and back for breakfast. After a blessing by the chief incumbent (Buddhist Priest) of the temple, departure by van to Uda Walawe National Park. We will pass through villages in the Dry Zone and large sugar cane plantations. Picnic lunch before switching on to open-top jeeps where you drive through the Park tracking wild elephants & other birds & Uda Walawe National Park (safari-style).
End the day by enjoying the gentle sunset, across the placid lake to the sounds of cicadas from the comfort of your hotel. (The next day's program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 9: Wake up to the bird songs. Walk to the jungle ruins and back for breakfast. After a blessing by the chief incumbent (Buddhist Priest) of the temple, departure by van to Uda Walawe National Park. We will pass through villages in the Dry Zone and large sugar cane plantations. Picnic lunch before switching on to open-top jeeps where you drive through the Park tracking wild elephants & other birds & Uda Walawe National Park (safari-style). End the day by enjoying the gentle sunset, across the placid lake to the sounds of cicadas from the comfort of your hotel. (The next day's program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 10: Boating on the lake from 7.00 to 8.00 a.m. followed by departure after breakfast at 9:00 a.m. Scenic drive through a remote area where the British enjoyed hunting and capturing elephants during the colonial period. Visit an aristocratic mansion the Maduwanwa1a Walauwa which boasted of 150 rooms and a large courtyard where we will enjoy a picnic lunch. Afterwards drive to the city of Ratnapura passing mid-country rubber plantations, tea plantations with a rainforest on the background and charming scenery. Arrival in Hotel Kalawathi. The rest of the day spent relaxing Dinner followed by thanks to the local crew and completing comment reports. (The next day's program will be explained). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 11: Wake up to the calls of birds. Breakfast and departure by mini-vans to the start point for canoeing or boat railing on the Black River (Kalu Ganga) which flows to the west. Four hours canoeing or rafting on the river, passing through beautiful countryside. Should there be heavy rainfall and floods, the canoeing/rafting will be substituted with a countryside drive visiting lovely waterfalls to the West Coast. Proceed to the Ranweli Hotel for that well-earned rest, in a peaceful isolated-forested environment. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 12: At leisure at Ranweli Hotel or free to take the many optional activities offered by the hotel such as Birdwatching, cycling tours, fishing, canoeing in the lagoon or a walking tour (all payments direct to hotel). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 13: At leisure at Ranweli Hotel or free to take the many optional activities offered by the hotel such as Birdwatching, cycling tours, fishing, canoeing in the lagoon or a walking tour (all payments direct to hotel). Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 14: Transfer to airport for departure flight. Includes: (B).
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