Sri Lanka: Uda Walawe and Galle Fort
Located on the boundary between Sri Lanka’s wet and dry zones, in the southern part of the island, Uda Walawe National Park is comprised of marshes, forest, and grasslands traversed by streams, and features an incredible array of wildlife and numerous elephant herds. To the southwest of the island is the city of Galle, the largest remaining fortified city built by Europeans in Southeast Asia, and an example of Asian influence on European architecture and design.
Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be met by a Sri Lankan Airlines representative, and accompanied through passport control, customs, baggage collection, and money exchange, to the arrival lounge. Here, you will be introduced to your private guide and travel companion, who will address any last-minute questions you may have regarding your itinerary.
A four-hour drive from the airport, Uda Walawe is one of the island’s most important wildlife sanctuaries. An estimated 500 Sri Lankan elephants live in the park, largely attracted to the area because of the Uda Walawe reservoir. The park is also home to Sri Lankan leopards, several species of deer, wild boar, buffalo, jackals, and a marvelous array of birds.
Settle into your fully-equipped camp, which was carefully selected for its beauty and privacy. A camp crew, complete with chef and stewards, will have traveled ahead of you to set up camp, and single or twin-sharing tents are available. You will have access to a specially adapted 4WD vehicle for unlimited game drives accompanied by an experienced tracker and naturalist.
The camp is perfect for unwinding after the day’s activities. Return to your camp for a swim, and watch the wildlife ambling along the water’s edge at sunset.
After a hot shower, enjoy sundowners around a crackling campfire, followed by a delicious traditional meal cooked on an open fire and served under the stars in a spacious dining tent.
After an early morning game drive, return to camp for a fresh breakfast and time to swim and read. Lunch and relax a bit before heading out on another game drive this afternoon. Photograph Mugger Crocodiles, sea eagles, elephants, and boars, as you trek through the park’s abandoned teak plantation, scrub jungle, and grasslands.
Watch the wildlife at sunset along the water’s edge before enjoying another hearty dinner around the campfire.
A three-and-a-half-hour drive from Uda Walawe along the southwestern tip of Sri Lanka, the city of Galle was a prominent seaport known to have exported cinnamon as early as 1400 BC. Galle is the largest remaining fortified city built by Europeans in Southeast Asia, and an example of Asian influence on European architecture and design. Old Galle is a UNESCO world heritage site, and the Galle Fort remains a living monument with a bustling community within the great ramparts, massive bastions, and pepper pot towers.
Check into your accommodation, a colonial house built in 1861, and now a charming boutique hotel with a country home atmosphere. Perched high on a hill, yet only a short walk from the center of town, the hotel boasts uniquely-decorated guestrooms, a cozy central area, and an outdoor pool surrounded by both a lush tropical and a mango garden.
Spend the afternoon wandering the narrow streets, peeping through frangipani-filled courtyards at houses, galleries, or shops selling antiques, spices, pictures, and hand-woven sarongs.
We suggest you dine this evening at your hotel, which is renowned for some of the best cuisine in Sri Lanka, and offers a daily changing dinner menu based on high-quality ingredients available from the local markets. The menu is mainly seafood with Sri Lankan, Thai, and Mediterranean influences.
Following your choice of an English or Sri Lankan breakfast this morning accompanied by delicious local teas, head out for a guided tour of the city.
Explore New Galle, hectic with bustle, noise, and chaotic traffic coming in every direction. Visit the Dutch Market, where fruit and vegetable sellers hawk their wares, or the Fish Market, where local fisherman present their daily catches.
Make your way back towards the old part of town, passing through the main gate of the fort by the British-built clock tower, further wandering around the area, which is strongly representative of the Dutch period.
Return to your hotel with time left to relax before dinner for which we will offer you suggestions.
After breakfast, prepare for a full day of outdoor activities of your choice.
Early traders in search of gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks were blown into Galle’s ancient port by strong trade winds, and today’s traveler can use those very same winds to kite surf. Diving and deep-sea fishing are additional water activities that are available to you.
If you’d rather remain on land, excursions can be arranged to nearby rainforests for a day of trekking through lush greenery. Guided visits to stunning Buddhist temples and picturesque Sri Lankan villages surrounding Galle can be organized as well.
After breakfast this morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time to meet your departure flight, or to continue on to your next Willing Foot destination.
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