Barbara Essam review 18 Mar 2014
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The variety of landscape in Sri Lanka, the cave temple at Damballa, the train journey from Kandy, the views from Ella, the night stay in the tree house camp in Yala national park and seeing leopards, elephants and beautiful birds on safari in the park.
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Make sure they check the details of the itinerary with the guide and check the accommodation is correct with the company before the tour starts. Make suggestions for extra visits/changes to the itinerary if they have a particular interest as the guide may not be forthcoming with ideas.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Not particularly. Local guides were not used; the tour guide covered all site visits. Apart from the use of a safari camp in the national park, which was also supporting tree planting, there were no off the beaten track visits to local projects etc.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Very enjoyable and Sri Lanka is a beautiful, friendly and fascinating country, but the tour guide needed more training in leading a small group and some improvements are needed to the itinerary and choice of certain accommodation/resorts.
Read the operator's response here:
We thank Barbara for her comments on the tour and are so pleased she enjoyed the variety that the itinerary offers. It was good to know that the tree houses which was an alternative to the camping on the itinerary proved to be a high point (literally).
We are sorry however that Barbara felt that the guiding fell below our high standards. The tour was escorted throughout by a Sri Lankan national who is, of course, a local guide and use National Park guides whenever we are visiting the National Parks. We have a number of Sri Lankan guides working for us and this guide has proved popular on previous tours, we are looking into why he was not at his best on this occasion.
As part of our Company's commitment to responsible tourism, we keep small groups (max 12 and on this occasion 5) which enable us to eat in local restaurants, stay in locally run hotels and reduce environmental impact on places we visit.
We will be using Barbara's comments as part of a review of the tour and also looking at accommodation used to keep the itinerary exciting and fresh. We will be happy to highlight any changes made with anyone wishing to join one of these tours.