Sri Lanka – the Ultimate Island Safari

A Leopard asleep on rocks in Yala one of the many locations found on the NaturesLens Wildlife of Sri Lanka Photography Holiday

Allow us to share details of our new Ultimate Island Safari to Sri Lanka which we have scheduled for March 2023.

Sri Lanka is an island paradise lined with amazing golden sandy beaches & turquoise blue waters. The oceans are rich with life, & amazing coral reefs. The deeper waters are home to marine giants such as the Blue Whale, the largest animal to have ever lived. It is a country that boasts a rich natural heritage, with amazing wildlife & biodiversity & incredibly, for an island of its size can boast of iconic megafauna such as leopards, elephants & sloth bears. Sri Lanka is also regarded as a biodiversity hotspot teeming with endemic birds, reptiles, amphibians as well as plant species found nowhere else on earth.
Our Sri Lankan nature photography tour is of 15 nights duration in order to see the best of what this incredible country has to offer, from safaris to Yala & Wilpattu for leopards & sloth bears; Udalwe for jungle cats & Asian elephants; boat trips to see the super pods of Spinner Dolphins & also pods of Sperm Whales, Orcas, Short Finned Pilot Whales, Pink Dolphins & other beautiful cetaceans. We’ve even arranged to take a floatplane out to sea to do aerial photography of blue whales!  And if this wasn’t enough, we will also spend one-night photographing sea turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs.


  • Day 1 – We will be picked up from Colombo airport & taken to our hotel in Katunayake to overnight.
  • Day 2 – We head to the West Coast in search of the elusive Indo-Pacific Humpbacked Dolphin, also known as the Pink Dolphin.
  • Day 3 – Early morning set out to sea to look for more marine mammals including the massive super pods of Spinner Dolphins. These acrobatic cetaceans are a sight to behold. Further deeper into the ocean, & you will have the opportunity to see pods of Sperm Whales & possibly Orcas, Short Finned Pilot Whales, Risso Dolphins, Brydes Whale & other species. After returning back to dry land, check out from our hotel & head to Wilpattu for lunch & our first game drive.
  • Days 4 & 5 – Early morning head into the park for a full day safari, which will give you the best chance to truly experience the park. Known as “the land of the lakes”, Wilpattu is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka to see Leopard & Sloth Bear. Other larger animals seen regularly include Asian Elephant, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer & Buffalo. A variety of raptors such as Crested Serpent, Changeable Hawk & White-Bellied Sea Eagles, Brown Fish Owl can also be seen here along with a large number of water birds & waders.
  • Day 6 – After a final morning game drive, we head back to Katunayake (approx. 4 hours drive). The remainder of the evening is at leisure.
  • Day 7 – After checkout, we head towards Yala (approx. 4 hours drive) for lunch & your first game drive. Our lodge is located at a completely different entrance from the main entrance & so it is far less crowded.  We will enter the core leopard areas first where most sightings are great with little crowds. Other residents in the park include Sloth Bear, Asian Elephant, Jackal, Sambar, Spotted Deer & Grey Langur.
  • Days 8 & 9 – For the next 2 days, enjoy some spectacular game viewing during the early mornings & afternoon game drives. To mix things up a little bit, we will also visit a smaller but new section of the greater Yala ecosystem which is also great for Leopards & other wildlife.
  • Day 10 – After a final morning game drive, we leave Yala & head to Udawalawe (approx. 2 hours drive) for lunch & afternoon game drive to look for Asian Elephants & the elusive Jungle Cat.
  • Day 11 – After a final morning game drive, we head for the South Coast (approx. 3 hours drive) for a spectacular river cruise where you will be able to photograph giant Saltwater Crocodiles at eye level. These saurian remnants of the prehistoric era can be found in numerous numbers on this riverine ecosystem, from young hatchlings barely a few inches long to giant males who exceed 15 feet!
  • Day 12 – Early morning whale watching tour in the deep ocean to look for the Blue Whale, Spinner Dolphins, Bryde’s Whale, Sperm Whale, Orca, Risso Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin & Striped Dolphin.  Afterwards, we return to dry land & head back to the hotel for a late lunch. As dusk arrives, we will head to the beach for a nighttime spotting of sea turtles. Five of the world’s seven species of sea turtles have been recorded coming ashore to lay their eggs at the beach we will be visiting.  The Green & Olive Ridley Turtles are the most routinely encountered species, while the Hawksbill, Leatherback & Loggerhead Turtles are also seen intermittently.
  • Day 13 – An early checkout to head to the airfield where we will board a seaplane to fly over the ocean to photograph blue whales from the air.  This is the best way to photograph these enormous leviathans! The flights are 45 minutes per round trip on average, & the plane can take 3 people per flight.  After the whole group have covered their flights, we will get back on the road & head towards the lowland rainforests.
  • Days 14 – 15 – For the next 2 days, our naturalist & local tracker will show us the wide variety of endemic flora & fauna to be found in the main forest reserve. 28 of Sri Lanka’s 34 endemic species may be found here, including the recently discovered Serendib Scops Owl & other rarities such as the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Chesnut-backed Owlet & White-faced Starling. Other species we may encounter during our rainforest walks include Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Giant Squirrel, Kangaroo Lizard, Hump-nosed Lizard & Sri Lanka Keelback. We will also be keeping an eye out for reptiles such as Green Pit Viper & Hump Nosed Lizard.
  • Day 16 – Checkout & travel back to Colombo airport for our flights home.


  • All accommodation on a shared room, full-board basis starting with dinner on the first night & ending with breakfast on the last day.
  • Single supplement is available at a cost.
  • Airport transfers
  • All entrance fees
  • Safari jeep charges
  • Boat charter fees
  • Seaplane charter fees
  • National Park fees
  • Driver & Guide
  • Government taxes
  • Leech socks
  • Photographic Tuition


  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities
The cost is £6749 for the itinerary shown above – an itinerary that should be packed with amazing wildlife opportunities. If you were wanting the single supplement, that is an additional £750 for the entire trip.
For the launch, we are requiring a £1300 deposit to hold a place. As with all our wildlife photography tours, this is a small group only; just 4-6 photographers plus myself & David &, of course, our local safari guides!

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