Sri Lanka is a new breed of holiday destination – one which captivates visitors’ senses with an alluring display of scenic beauty, cultural splendour and enchanting history. For the avid adventurer, Sri Lanka is the perfect island on which to realise your Columbus-esque ambitions, as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean enjoys many forms soft adventure, from exploring ancient rock formations to trekking the spectacular tea trails to uncover a cultural treasure. One of the most enticing forms of adventure, however, is the option of a wild safari. Nowadays, discerning travellers can treat the entire family on a budget by complementing the excitement of a wild safari with the opulence offered by Sri Lanka’s family villas. From rarely glimpsed animals to enticing accommodation options, we explore the attractions of a luxury safari in the popular destination of Sri Lanka.
Safari in Yala National Park
While it is crucial to experience the natural beauty of Sri Lanka in a responsible manner, it is possible to tour the prime areas in an ethical manner. As the most popular national park in the country, Yala National Park is an essential stop on your holiday’s itinerary. Less than 200 miles from Colombo, the attraction is perfectly placed to enjoy while on a family beach holiday. It is one of the best spots in the world to witness leopards, with one of the highest densities one the planet. There are various ancient rock temples to explore, such as Sithulpauwwa and Magul MahaViharaya, which hold spiritual and cultural significance to the local people. Comprising both vast wetlands and scrub jungle, the varied terrain makes for an interesting safari experience and offers to approximately 45 species of mammal and over rare 200 birds.
Among the dozens of fascinating, rare species that can be seen in and around the national parks, we’ve selected three that are particular favourites:
For the lucky visitors that manage to catch a glimpse of the Sri Lankan Leopard, the sight is spectacular to say the least. With just hundreds of these stunning creatures remaining, national parks, such as Wilpattu National Park and Yala National Park, are working hard to preserve their existence.
For many, the Sri Lankan Elephant is reason enough to travel to the island. Witnessing their majesty is a breathtaking spectacle, which is quite unlike any other experience on the island. Symbolic to the Sri Lankan culture, the native elephant is a subspecies of the Indian elephant. Their distinctively dark hue makes them a unique species.
Land-based safaris are not the only way of admiring Sri Lanka’s wildlife; head to the coast or take a boat trip to witness rare sea animals. Set in a protected area in the Indian Ocean, the island of Sri Lanka is surrounded by waters that teem with over one dozen species of dolphins and up to 26 species of whales.
Luxury Sri Lanka Villas Near National Parks
For those with a penchant for high-end luxury, renting a Sri Lanka villa allows for a comfortable stay in close proximity to the island’s national parks. Approximately two hours from Yala National Park and three hours from Colombo, Wala House enjoys a peaceful coastal location on the south side of the island. Although luxurious, the villa is designed with eco living in mind and blends into the natural environment. Up to six guests can be accommodated in the villa’s three bedrooms. A contemporary swimming pool, which is surrounded by palm trees, spans the width of the property. Various in-house services enrich the luxuriousness of the stay: a private chef prepares all manner of dishes, nightly security staff ensures your safety and cleaners maintain a tidy space.
The Expert’s Opinion
We spoke to George Burdon of Dynamic Lives – a leading provider of luxury Sri Lankan villa rentals – to find out why the island is the perfect destination in which to combine soft adventure and high luxury:
“In recent years, Sri Lanka has transformed into the complete holiday destination. The stunning island offers both soft adventure and affordable luxury: in the morning, visitors can go on safari or explore the fascinating Lion’s Rock – a UNESCO-listed ancient rock fortress – and in the afternoon they can relax by their private pool at their luxury villa. Rental properties are becoming increasingly luxurious; Wala House, for example, combines contemporary styling and authentic charm. In-house staff are friendly and offer unrivalled service, whether preparing sumptuous food or catering to the requests of their guests. Every whim is catered for on the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.”
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