1 independent reviews for Sri Lanka wildlife vacation, tailor made

Reviews for Sri Lanka wildlife vacation, tailor made


review 29 Sep 2016

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

We especially loved the second day of our tour, when we climbed the Sigiriya rock fortress in the morning, had a traditional lunch in a village near Habarana and interacted with the villagers in the afternoon, then saw elephants in Minneriya National Park in the evening. It was a perfect combination of everything that Sri Lanka has to offer. We also really enjoyed the campfire dinner at Big Game Camp in Udawalawe National Park.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Check with the tour company what the schedule is each day. For example, it said in our booklet that we would be waking up early on our last two days of the tour, but we did not realise that meant waking up at 5 am, a full hour before sunrise! (On a related note, we were not convinced that waking up that early to go to Horton Plains National Park was necessary; it's true that all the tourists were going early, but the locals were not coming to the park until several hours later!). I would recommend bringing socks for visiting the ancient sites. You have to remove shoes and the ground can be extremely hot! Don't expect public toilets to have toilet paper. Bring tissues with you. We found the wood carving shop and the batik factory that we were taken to massively overpriced. If you want to buy something you should definitely negotiate (get your driver to help you). But it's also fine not to buy anything and just compensate the person showing you around for their time. We found the spice garden and tea plantation we went to relatively fairly priced so we were happy to buy stuff there.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

We felt that this vacation benefited local people. This includes our safari drivers, hotel staff in Sigiriya, staff at the Big Game Camp at Udawalawe National Park, the family that cooked us lunch near Habarana, and of course our driver and guide. We thought it was wasteful that we were the only people in our jeep at Minneriya National Park, when it could have easily accommodated 6 or 8 people. These jeeps are also pretty polluting (and make a lot of noise, which is not ideal for wildlife), so I think something could be done here in terms of minimising environmental impact. Elephant Transit Home near Udawalawe National Park seems to do good conservation work and we were happy to support their efforts through our visit. There is a high entrance fee for Horton Plains National Park (especially since national parks in America/Europe have modest fees or even no fees at all), but the park looked pristine so maybe it's worth paying to maintain it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

My husband and I enjoyed this tour and we would not hesitate to book with this vacation provider (and Responsible Travel) again. It's clear that we would have not been able to see so much of Sri Lanka and learn as much about its history and people had we self-organised. We're taking a star off because we felt pretty tired by the end of it (some time off to explore on our own would have been great, even at the expense of seeing fewer attractions) and we felt we received insufficient information about some aspects of the tour (wake-up time, accommodation standards at Big Game Camp). But overall we had a fantastic time!

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