Leopard Yala

Wild Sri Lanka with Ornithologist Pepper Trail Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Sri Lanka
Trip Code:
Activity Level: Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

10 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

Voyage to one of the finest areas for bird and wildlife viewing in the Indian Subcontinent on this eco-adventure through Sri Lanka, the “Teardrop of India,” led by renowned ornithologist, bird detective and global adventurer Pepper Trail.  The wide range of environments found in this compact tropical island results in a rich diversity normally only found across a whole continent, resulting in a birdwatcher’s dream. Pepper earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University, has carried out field work on bird behavior and conservation across the globe, and when not leading trips for museums and groups such as the Smithsonian, is the USA’s only forensic ornithologist. 
Thrilling leopard treks in Yala, eco-safaris in the elephant capital of Udawalawe, bird-filled walks in the untouched rainforest of Sinharaja, blue whale watching in the Indian Ocean and pilgrimages to ancient sites are just some of the highlights of this action-packed journey. Along the way, we will enjoy UNESCO sites, boat cruises, fresh seafood, aromatic curries, colorful bazaars, talented artisans, visits to sustainable community projects, and, yes, time for relaxation at world-class tropical beaches.  

Ornithologist Pepper Trail

Ornithologist Pepper Trail

Pepper grew up in the Finger Lakes region of New York State, on a wonderfully dilapidated 100-acre farm. A family trip to Mexico when he was 12 instilled a lifelong love of travel, which has taken him to all seven continents and across the oceans of the world. He earned his Ph.D. from Cornell University for his field study of the mating behavior of the spectacular Guianan cock-of-the-rock in Suriname, and he's since carried out field work on bird behavior and conservation in the Caribbean, Panama, Polynesia, and Vietnam. A Fellow of the American Ornithological Society, Pepper lives in Ashland, Oregon, where he works at the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory. As the nation’s only forensic ornithologist, he is responsible for identifying all bird remains submitted in investigations of federal wildlife crimes and testifies as an expert witness in courts around the US. Pepper much prefers living birds, however, and his enthusiasm and sense of humor give birders and non-birders alike a new appreciation for the wonders of the avian world.

At a Glance

  • 10 days land only 
  • Travel by private bus, boat and 4WD
  • 9 nights in comfortable hotels and eco lodges
  • Whale watching season: November to April
  • Group normally 4 to 16, including guide Pepper Trail plus local leader. Min age 16 yrs

Trip Highlights

  • Private whale watching from a chartered boat
  • Four game drives within Yala and Udawalawe National Parks
  • Sinharaja Rainforest and Dickwella beach
  • Special guide & Forensic Ornithologist Naturalist, Pepper Trail

Is This Trip for You?

Activity Level: 1 (Leisurely) with a Safari Rating of 4.

This is a relatively leisurely itinerary, staying in comfortable accommodation throughout and travelling on air-conditioned buses, private boats and 4WD game vehicles. There are some long drives and early starts, and if you're prone to sea sickness you may wish to take medication for the whale watching excursions. Temperatures are typically hot although the early mornings can be cool.

There are some important things to note about wildlife watching in Sri Lanka:

Yala is Sri Lanka's most popular national park, and in peak season attracts a large number of both international and local visitors. Game drives in Yala are a very different experience to being in Africa; geographically the area is much smaller and wildlife tourism is a relatively new thing, which means that the number of vehicles in parks and communication between vehicles is not being controlled by the authorities at this time. In peak times there can be many vehicles in the park at one time and this can result in 'traffic jams' where a number of vehicles are present at the same sighting. The naturalist guides and drivers that Exodus works with will do their best to avoid such sightings, and although we always try to make sure you see leopard, we ensure this is done in a safe and sensible way away from the crowds as much as possible. Our preference is to focus on the quieter areas of the park to enhance the quality of the wildlife encounters, as and when they occur, and we believe this is the most responsible way to operate game drives in Yala.

Whale watching is becoming an increasingly popular activity and as yet there are very few regulations on the industry in Sri Lanka. Exodus have chosen a responsible operator and our boat trips will always be accompanied by a naturalist guide, with a focus on education. We are careful to use small, private boats for our groups and will ensure that wildlife is approached at a minimum boat speed and only ever from a sideways angle, as approaching head-on can be threatening for cetaceans. In addition we adhere by responsible tourism guidelines to spend no more than 20 minutes at any sightings.

Enforcing these regulations on ourselves, and educating our clients in best practice, is the most simple way of encouraging responsible behaviour around marine life and we hope to see such behaviour adopted by other boats in Sri Lanka.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.


This departure will be accompanied & led by a special guide & Forensic Ornithologist Naturalist, Pepper Trail along with a local Sri Lankan leader. Our Sri Lankan team of leaders have proved very popular with their incredible knowledge, passion and hospitality adding greatly to the experience. There is no better way to experience Sri Lankan culture than letting a local leader show you around their country. 

Adult min age:
Min group size:
Max group size:



Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Colombo; transfer to Ahangama beach hotel.

    Your trip will start from Colombo Airport today where your guide and local leader will be waiting to meet the group. You should be at the airport before midday ready to join the transfer to Ahangama on the south coast of the island - please refer to the joining instructions for further information. Sri Lanka's road network has improved greatly over the last few years, and the 'deep south' (as it is often known) is now accessible within around 3 hours from Colombo. The coastline's coconut groves and tall palms give way to magnificent views of the sea as we approach Ahangama.

    Accommodation: Insight Resort (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 2

    Morning private whale watching excursion; afternoon visit Galle Fort.

    Shortly after sunrise we depart for the harbour, where we board a small, privately chartered boat for today's whale watching excursion. Accompanied by excellent crew and a naturalist guide, we spend the morning searching the Indian Ocean for whales and other cetaceans. The vessel is fitted with radar and GPS which helps to increase our chance of success. Blue whales, the largest animals that have ever lived, typically frequent these waters between November and April. They are huge, reaching up to 30 metres in length and weighing as much as 160 tonnes. We may also be lucky enough to encounter Sperm whales, Brydes whales and large pods of Spinner or Bottlenose dolphins in the surrounding waters. After spending the morning at sea, we return to the harbour and our hotel in Ahangama. Later this afternoon we have a guided visit to Galle to discover the historical fort, a fabulous UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built by the Dutch in 1663, the fort is a maze of cobbled streets crammed with cafes, boutique shops and beautifully restored colonial houses.

    Accommodation: Insight Resort (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 3

    Transfer to Sinharaja Rainforest; afternoon walk.

    This morning we transfer to Sinharaja Rainforest, the last undisturbed area of rainforest in Sri Lanka. This biodiversity hotspot harbours a number of endemic species. Canopy trees reach heights of up to 45 metres and bird species number 160 and counting. Amongst the insects, amphibians and reptiles are mammals such as Sambar, Barking deer and Wild boar. Purple-faced langurs usually congregate in groups of 10 or more and are fairly common to see amongst the trees. Around 15 leopards are known in this area but sightings are very difficult to come by due to the dense vegetation. This afternoon we take a walk to discover Sinharaja and its many inhabitants, accompanied by our naturalist guide.

    Accommodation: Rainforest Eco Lodge or Sinharaja Forest Edge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 4

    Full day to discover Sinharaja Rainforest.

    Wake up to birdsong and get ready for another day in the forest. Sinharaja covers a narrow sliver of land 21km long and 3.7km wide, covering an area of roughly 11,187 hectares. Within this area 43% of all the species recorded in Sri Lanka can be found. Our naturalist guide will take us on a wildlife walk to discover the many trails and abundant diversity here.

    Accommodation: Rainforest Eco Lodge or Sinharaja Forest Edge (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 5

    To Udawalawe; afternoon game drive in Udawalawe N.P.

    This morning we leave the rainforest and travel further inland to Udawalawe National Park, which lies on the boundary between Sri Lanka's wet and dry zones. Udawalawe is one of the best parks in Sri Lanka to see elephants with around 600 animals in the park who can be seen roaming in herds of up to 50 - the highest concentration of wild elephants anywhere in Sri Lanka. The Udawalawe Reservoir is at the centre of the park and makes a stunning backdrop amongst the otherwise lightly vegetated area. For this reason wildlife watching in the national park is relatively easy. Aside from elephant families feeding in the grasslands, we may encounter Sambar deer, Spotted deer, Water buffalo, Wild boar, jackal and mongoose on this afternoon's game drive.

    Accommodation: Nil Diya Mankada (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 6

    Morning game drive in Udawalawe N.P.; visit Elephant Transit Home at feeding time.

    This morning our 4WD safari vehicles are waiting to take us back into Udawalawe for a second game drive within the park. Game drives typically last for 3 hours, depending on sightings, and are always accompanied by a naturalist guide. In the afternoon we visit Udawalawe's famous Elephant Transit Home (ETH), situated just 5km from the park entrance. The transit home is run by the department of Wildlife Conservation and supported by the Born Free Foundation. It provides a safe environment for orphaned elephants, who are typically looked after at the home until they reach the age of 4, at which point they are old enough to be released back into the wild. Our visit will coincide with feeding time at ETH, where the juveniles are given bottled milk by a team of park rangers and the noisy spectacle can be witnessed from the viewing platform.

    Accommodation: Nil Diya Mankada (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 7

    Transfer to Tissamaharama; afternoon game drive in Yala N.P.

    After breakfast we depart for Tissamaharama and Yala National Park, a drive of around 3 hours. On arrival in Yala we check into our hotel and then around 3pm head out in 4WD jeeps for our afternoon game drive. Yala is Sri Lanka's most well known national park, famous for having a higher concentration of leopard per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world. Located in Sri Lanka's lowland dry zone in the south eastern corner of the country, Yala National Park is extensive, covering some 97,881 hectares across five 'blocks'. Yala's vegetation primarily consists of dense secondary forest, semi-arid thorny scrub, brackish lagoons and mangroves since the park borders the coastline. With this diverse habitat comes a huge array of wildlife, including elephant, Sloth bear, Spotted deer, Water buffalo, Sambar deer, Wild boar, langur and macaque. Bird counts are also high, with over 215 species recorded, including thousands of migrating waterfowl. Our group will be split evenly between jeeps and will be joined by the tour leader, naturalist and tracker who will each sit in a different vehicle. The drive this afternoon will last around 3 - 4 hours, before we return to the hotel to freshen up and have dinner.

    Accommodation: Kithala Resort (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 8

    Morning game drive in Yala N.P.; to Dickwella.

    Wildlife tends to be at its most active during the early morning and to take advantage of this we have a morning game drive in Yala, returning to our hotel for a rest and lunch afterwards. Our naturalist guide will focus on Yala's diverse wildlife and birds, with our game drive lasting around 3 hours. 

    After lunch we transfer around 3.5 hours to Dickwella, a remarkable beach with clear waters and clean beaches. Traditional fishing boats rest on the sand in front of a backdrop of palm trees - this is postcard worthy, and in our opinion, one of the most picturesque beaches in Sri Lanka. Accommodation for our two night's here is at a lovely resort with direct access to the beach. The resort is set on tropical grounds and is among the top beach hotels in Sri Lanka! We have marked this property as a 'comfortable hotel' with air-conditioned rooms. You will be able to relax under swaying palms by the pool while enjoying long walks along the beach. The rooms are fitted with contemporary amenities and you could simply surrender yourself to healing Balinese rituals at the spa during your seaside getaway in paradise.

    Accommodation: Dickwella Resort & Spa (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 9

    Relax by the beach in Dickwella; optional whale watching excursion.

    Today is free to enjoy all facilities at Dickwella Resort & Spa where you could swim in the sea, walk along the beach or even have a dip in the pool. Alternatively, if there are enough people interested, we can organize a second whale watching excursion to take place this morning. By having the opportunity to go whale watching again we maximize our chances of having the most favorable weather and sea conditions. Please note that this optional excursion will involve transfers to/from Mirissa where all of the whale watching boats depart.

    Accommodation: Dickwella Resort & Spa (or similar)
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included:
  • Day 10

    To Colombo; end Colombo Airport.

    This morning we check out and make our way to Colombo airport where our holiday comes to an end. Clients should check with our customer operations team before booking flights to ensure they can be dropped at the airport in time. Alternatively, an additional nights accommodation can be organised near to Colombo Airport if you would like to extend your stay.

    Meals included:

Post-trip Extensions


If you are keen to end your holiday on a very relaxed note, we can arrange a visit to the Maldives for you.

The flight from Colombo is around 1 hour and upon arrival you will be transferred by speedboat (approximately 20mins) to the Paradise Island 4* resort. Paradise Island is a beautiful coral island with a total land area of 178,900 square metres, covered with lush tropical vegetation, numerous palm trees, surrounded by a wide sandy beach and the crystal clear waters of an azure lagoon.

 You can choose to add on as many extra nights to your trip as you wish; your time on the island will be at leisure for you to do as you wish. The accommodation used has a swimming pool, restaurant, bar, room service and all rooms are air‐conditioned and have en suite facilities. As well as the modern amenities of the resort, there is also access to scuba diving and snorkelling or for the less active the chance to swim in these wonderful, calm waters. Either way it is a veritable paradise and a memorable end to the trip.

 If you choose to take advantage of this opportunity then we can arrange flights for you to Malé as well as booking the hotel and speedboat transfer to the island. Please be advised, all accommodation booked at the Paradise Island 4* resort from 28th December 2021, will be based on half board included. 


Hotels and eco lodges

On this holiday we have 9 nights in comfortable hotels and eco lodges, all rooms with en suite facilities. Several hotels have swimming pools. We have a total of four nights at the coast, two at the Insight Resort in Ahangama and two at Dickwella Resort & Spa on the south coast. Dickwella Resort & Spa will no doubt be a highlight of this holiday - set in tropical grounds with a freshwater swimming pool, comfortable rooms, three different dining options, a spa and fitness center that will simply spell out a memorable and fantastic island getaway!

Single accommodation (available on request).

Please  note paying the  single supplement may not mean that you receive a double or twin room for sole use. The room you are allocated may differ from hotel to hotel , and on some nights a  smaller room for ‘one person’ may well be allocated.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £325.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts and 9 dinners are included.

These are provided at the hotels we are staying in and usually consist of a buffet with local and international options. Sri Lankan cuisine is a fascinating reflection of the island’s heritage; there is a unique fusion of fresh local produce with spices brought to the island over the centuries by Malays, Arabs, Indians as well as the Dutch, Portuguese and English. Sri Lankan cuisine is often referred to simply as ‘Rice and Curry’; this is the staple dish in most restaurants and usually consists of assorted meat and vegetable curries as well as various pickles, ‘sambols,’ and a handful of tiny poppadum’s – all using the contrasting flavours of coconut, chilli, curry leaves, cinnamon and garlic. The abundance of fresh seafood and fish will ensure that cuisine is a highlight of the trip.

Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Sri Lanka the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat/gluten or dairy-free. Please be prepared for this as you may need to bring such supplies from home. Spicier food can be avoided and lots of the hotels will serve Western options alongside local cuisine.


We use an air-conditioned minibus or coach depending on the size of the group. In Udawalawe and Yala National Park 4WD jeeps are used for our game drives, and whilst whale watching we use a small, private boat for a maximum of 16 people, which has an overhead canopy for shade.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Sri Lanka has a tropical climate with two distinct wet seasons or monsoons. The south-west monsoon brings rain to that area of the island between May and August. The north-east monsoon takes place from October to January and only really affects the north and east coastal regions. Generally you should expect rain some of the time but with plenty of sunshine. On the plains, day and night time temperatures are warm to hot with Colombo having an average daytime temperature of 30ºC.

Weather Charts


Joining Instructions

Travelling land only: 10 days starting and ending at Colombo Airport

Your trip starts at Colombo Airport on Day 1 of the itinerary listed below.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

PLEASE NOTE  you will need arrive at Colombo airport on day 1 before the advised group meeting time (confirmed before departure), as the group will leave Colombo Airport on Day 1 of the itinerary below and head straight to the start hotel on the south coast of the island.

Location start:
Colombo Airport
Location end:
Colombo Airport

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Sun cream and lip salve with sun protection
Light cotton clothes (neutral colours)
Warm sweater/fleece
Trainers/Walking shoes
Anti-bacterial hand gel
Small personal first aid kit

In Sinharaja, leeches are common and so we recommend bringing leech socks for the walks here. These can be borrowed from the accommodation if your would prefer not to purchase your own.

Women especially should dress conservatively to avoid unwanted attention and not to cause offence; vests, tight fitting trousers, short skirts and short shorts are not recommended. If visiting any temples men and womens clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee.

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Optional Equipment



Swimming costume


Practical Information


Sri Lanka

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.


Sri Lanka

For a quick and easy guide to the latest travel advice to Sri Lanka, as well as by nationality, we recommend using the CIBT entry guide accessible via Exodus Travel's Travel Hub or via https://cibtvisas.co.uk/

A visa (Electronic Travel Authorisation) is required if you are British and for most other nationalities. A visa (ETA) can be obtained before travel through http://eta.gov.lk/slvisa/ and costs US$35 per applicant. Exodus strongly recommends travellers to obtain their visa (ETA) online prior to travel in order to avoid any complications and delays on arrival. 

Passengers should also be aware of local laws and customs in Sri Lanka (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/local-laws-and-customs). The mistreatment of Buddhist images and artefacts is an offence; please note that people have been refused entry to Sri Lanka because of visible tattoos of Buddha.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.


Sri Lanka

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Sri Lanka's Timezone:
Asia/Colombo +0530 (GMT +05:30)


Sri Lanka's Electricity:

220/230 volts AC, 50 Hz. The electricity supply is not 100% reliable but it is usually only off for short periods of time.

220/230 volts AC, 50 Hz. There are recharging facilities at all the hotels. The electricity supply is not 100% reliable but it is usually only off for short periods of time.


Sri Lanka's Currency

The national currency of Sri Lanka is the Sri Lanka Rupee (LKR) with an exchange rate at the time of publication (February 2022) of approximately 270 to the GBP, 200 to the USD, 157 to the CAD, 225 to the EUR, 141 to the AUD and 132 to the NZD.

All foreign passport holders are required to settle all their purchases in foreign currency during their stay. This is applicable to hotels, restaurants and shops. Credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express) are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and most established shops.

Foreign passport holders also have the option of paying for goods and services in Sri Lanka Rupee but only if they are able to produce their receipt of foreign exchange with an authorised money exchange.

If you wish to exchange any cash upon arrival into Sri Lanka Rupee, it is advisable to exchange GBP, EUR or USD upon arrival at Colombo Airport where authorised bank money exchanges are open 24 hours a day. Hotels will be able to change money as well, but the rates will probably not be favourable.

Please do ensure you keep all of your receipts of foreign exchange through-out your stay in Sri Lanka. If you wish to change money during the trip, your Tour Leader will be happy to direct you to the appropriate exchange services.

Travellers cheques are very difficult to change and not recommended.


ATM Availability

There are ATM machines in many of the main towns in Sri Lanka, but as we will be staying away from these areas, we do not recommend relying on ATM access. If you intend to use ATMs please inform your bank before departure that you are travelling to Sri Lanka and carry the relevant telephone number with you in case they put a block on your card. Credit cards can be used at the hotels and for more expensive purchases in the better souvenir shops. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Spending money will be needed for lunches, drinks, souvenirs and tips.

Optional Excursions (approximate costs, depending on group sizes)

On this holiday there are two chances to go whale watching. One is included in the itinerary, and the other is offered as an optional excursion, which we try to offer on the same private charter boat. As a result the price is dependent on how many people choose to take up this optional excursion. 

We cannot pre‐book this optional activity and so availability can only be checked whilst you're in Sri Lanka. Your tour leader will co‐ordinate this after the included whale watching excursion. If for some reason the private charter boat is not available, it may be possible to join one of the larger boats that operate from Mirissa. We do not endorse these larger boats as there have been reports of overcrowding and a lack of respect for the welfare of the animals. Please ask your leader for further information.

The whale watching trip by private boat should cost between £40  and £80 (approx. US$50-100) per person depending on the number of participants.


Our leaders are fairly paid for the work they do, but we believe clients should be able to reward exceptional performance if they wish to do so. If you feel that your leader and support team have performed well over the course of your trip, you may want to show your appreciation of their services. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a reasonable starting point, we suggest a contribution of around USD35 per group member to be split between the driver and guide (approx. USD5 per day). Smaller groups may wish to give a little more per person. In addition, your leader may suggest tipping local guides or drivers during the trip, usually at around USD3 – 5 each (given in local currency)

Responsible Tourism

We work hard to create trips which improve life for the people and places we visit, and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:


How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions, and cultural and social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally-owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food and support of other local enterprise.
  • We have financially co-sponsored a local Tsunami relief project, which has enabled 25 families to be rehoused and for two schools to be equipped with toilets, running water and outdoor swings. 
  • In collaboration with a German operator and the village temple, we have helped towards 10 large water tanks and an eye clinic in a remote village with a donation of 200 pairs of glasses.
  • We also assisted a principal agent of UNICEF in development of day care and education of school children of the estate sector labourers in the hill country.


How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • By visiting Sinharaja rainforest (a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site), Yala and Udawalawe National Parks, our entrance fees directly contribute to their upkeep. For example, our game drives in Yala &  Udawalawe N.P. promotes animal welfare and financially contributes to conservation projects in the area.
  • We visit Udawalawe's famous Elephant Transit Home (ETH). The transit home is run by the department of Wildlife Conservation and supported by the Born Free Foundation. It provides a safe environment for orphaned elephants, who are typically looked after at the home until they reach the age of 4, at which point they are old enough to be released back into the wild.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for re-usable bottles.
  • The Exodus Travels Foundation has launched the Community Kickstart Project to help our destination communities recover and rebuild following the impact of COVID-19. In Sri Lanka, we’ve contributed to the Yala Park Driver Support initiative, more details can be found here.


How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally-sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at majority of accommodation and restaurants.
  • This trip favours locally-owned and run accommodation. When we visit Sinharaja Rainforest for 2 nights, groups stay at the Rainforest Eco Lodge. The lodge strives to minimise their carbon footprint through the implementation of various sustainable practices on site.

 Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own re-usable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.
  • Please be aware there are a large number of stray dogs in Sri Lanka, and you may encounter some during your trip. Our local operators are aware of this and we are monitoring any animal welfare concerns.
  • Cultural respect:
    • One should not touch someone’s head as this is considered disrespectful.
    • It's polite to use your right hand when shaking hands or handing money and small objects to someone else.
    • It is common practice to remove one’s shoes before entering someone’s home.
    • Especially when visiting temples, men’s and women’s clothing should cover shoulders and be on or below the knee.

Exodus Community

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In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.


Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.



The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country, please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

For this trip, the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

If cancellation occurs 21 days or up to 24 hours prior to departure:

Accommodation: £445 / USD $578.50 / CAD $845.50 / AUD $876.65 / €489.50

Costs are accurate at the time of writing in October 2021

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.


These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.