Things to do in
Southern Province, Sri Lanka

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Our most recommended things to do in Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

1. Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area, you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. With your private 4WD Jeep and expert guide, the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day will be used to focus on leopard spotting, either the first 2 hours or the last 2 hours of the day. Throughout this safari, you will search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. The morning tour will begin at 5am from your hotel, to take in sunrise as the park opens at 6am. Whilst the afternoon option allows you to explore from 2pm until sunset when the park closes at 6pm. Situated on Sri Lanka’s south-east, hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala is a wildlife sanctuary and home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. Leopards, elephants, water buffalo, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, and crocodiles can all be found in this rich environment.

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Mirissa: Morning Whale Watching Tour

2. Mirissa: Morning Whale Watching Tour

Set sail from Mirissa to witness the breathtaking sight of the planet’s largest mammal, the blue whale, in its natural habitat. Sri Lanka’s southern waters are rich in aquatic life. As well as blue whales, you might see fin whales, sperm whales and pilot whales, as well as many species of dolphins. Depart at 6:30 AM, ahead of the other boats. A complimentary breakfast of sandwiches and fruits will be served on board, along with water and tea or coffee. Knowledgeable guides are on board to answer any questions you may have and help you spot these wonderful creatures. The boat is fitted with a GPS tracking systems, to guide you to the best location to see these extraordinary animals. With over 90% probability of seeing whales and dolphins, you are promised a morning to remember.

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Galle/Unawatuna/Mirissa: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari

3. Galle/Unawatuna/Mirissa: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari

Your experience begins with a pickup from your hotel in either the Galle, Unawatuna or Mirissa areas. From there, relax on your drive to Yala National Park. Upon arrival you'll go for a safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Other indigenous wildlife which are able to be spotted in this park includes sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, spotted deers, buffalo, wild boars, sambhur, and hare. Now the most-visited park in Sri Lanka, Yala is also an important nature reserve for 50 species of butterflies and many species of birds. After the safari, journey back to your point of origin to be dropped off back to your accommodation.

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All-Inclusive Afternoon Yala Safari with Beach BBQ Dinner

4. All-Inclusive Afternoon Yala Safari with Beach BBQ Dinner

Get picked up from your Tissamaharama, Yala, Kataragama or Hambantota hotel. Hop into the Safari Jeep and travel to Yala National Park for an exciting game drive. Yala Park is situated in Sri Lanka's dry zone, made up of scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. It has the highest population density of leopards in the world, and is also home to a herd of 300-350 elephants. As well as leopards and elephants, keep an eye out for animals including sloth bears, black-naped hares, spotted deer, sambar, hanuman langurs, toque monkeys, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, wild boar, and golden jackal. You may also see the enormous land and water monitors and, of course, marsh crocodiles. You will be taken to a private beach where you have a couple of hours to explore, dip your toes in the cool water, and enjoy a 4-course barbeque dinner with a glass or two of wine. The beach is located in an exclusively private area and dinner is set up only for your group. The Jeep will take you back to your hotel.

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Yala National Park: Leopard Safari Full day tour with Lunch

5. Yala National Park: Leopard Safari Full day tour with Lunch

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area at around 5:00 AM, you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. Over nearly 400 square miles, the park consistently wows visitors, with its range of lagoons, riparian zones, monsoon jungles, and more, supporting a veritable arc of fauna. As you traverse the park, get the best view of it all from a modified game viewing safari Jeep. After exploring the vast park for a few hours at the helm of your knowledgeable guide, you’ll stop for a picnic lunch at a beautiful viewing spot. Unwind for a while after lunch and get ready to enjoy your second round of the game drive.  As you criss-cross through the stunning landscape, you have the opportunity to see elephants, sloth bears, toque monkeys, wild boar, water monitors, marsh crocodiles, and perhaps the crown jewel of Yala National Park, the spotted leopard—of which the park has one of the highest densities in the world. After your full day of safari exploration, you’ll be transported back to your accommodation, thrilled at the preserved piece of nature that you have experienced.

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Tangalle: Yala National Park Wildlife Safari

6. Tangalle: Yala National Park Wildlife Safari

The tour starts with pickup from your accommodation in Tangalle, then the adventure begins as you head out to Ruhunu Yala National Park to explore its 126,786 hectares. Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of elephants, leopards, spotted deer, sambhur, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boar, wild buffalo, along with many other animals. In addition, more than 130 bird species are recorded to live here, including the resident and winter visitors. Throughout the safari, search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgeable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. Learn about the animals that live here and the work that is done to preserve this natural habitat. Admire the stunning scenery of the park, which sits alongside the Indian Ocean and is a rich haven for over 250 varieties of animals and birds. This is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with a lifetime of memories.

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Mirissa or Galle: Transfer to Ella with Udawalawe Safari

7. Mirissa or Galle: Transfer to Ella with Udawalawe Safari

Enjoy a morning pick-up from your hotel in Mirissa or Galle and head for Udawalawe National Park, where you'll switch to an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views. See the animals early in the day at their most active. Pass by herds of elephants and watch for crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalo, a large variety of bird species, and more. Snap some great photos and learn about the wildlife. Sit down to a picnic breakfast later in the morning and then switch back to an air-conditioned car for the ride on to Ella where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

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From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

8. From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

After 5:00 AM pick-up from your hotel in Ella, Haputale or Bandarawela, head for Udawalawe National Park, where you'll switch to an open concept safari jeep in order to have the best views. An early morning start ensures you'll see the animals during one of their most active times of day. See herds of elephants for sure and have fun watching for crocodiles, monkeys, water buffaloes, various endemic birds species and much more. Along the way, you'll learn about and observe the natural habitats of the local wildlife while you snap some amazing photos. Later in the morning, enjoy a picnic breakfast. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Mirissa where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

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Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

9. Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

Spend the night in a treehouse at the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka and look for wildlife on an evening and early morning nature trek. Benefit from the expertise of a game ranger as your personal guide. Day 1: Following pick-up at your hotel, journey towards Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Tissamarama, head to the luxurious Leopard Nest campsite and check in to one of the treehouses. Enjoy lunch at the campsite's main restaurant or at one of the many outdoor locations before some time to relax. Get back to nature with an evening game drive and look for wildlife, such as leopards in their natural environment. Return to the campsite to freshen up before drinks and appetizers around the campfire. Dinner will be served at one of many locations throughout the camp. Day 2: Enjoy breakfast at a private location by a lake whilst listening to the singing of birds and feeling the fresh breeze. Start to trek through thick bushes with a pathway access to a wonderful lake which offers breath-taking views and bird watching opportunities.

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From Colombo: Hikkaduwa Village Tour with Boat Ride & BBQ

10. From Colombo: Hikkaduwa Village Tour with Boat Ride & BBQ

Start your tour from Colombo at 9:00am where you will begin the 2 to 3 hour drive to Hikkaduwa. Stop on the way at Kosgoda where you will visit a sea turtle farm run by a non-governmental organization and maintained by volunteers. Next, visit the Ariyapala Mask Museum where you can learn about ancient masks and their part in ancient rituals, followed by the Mask Factory where you will see how these masks are brought to life through the hard work of artisans. After this, you will visit a family run gem and jewellery store and find various items at very affordable rates. Then, visit the agriculture and coir industry of Hikkaduwa, meeting a family that makes various products using coir and see the hard work they put in to make various valuable items. A very important ecological asset of the region is the Hikkaduwa lagoon. Take a boating trip on which you will discover the many avian fauna species of the region. Next up, visit one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the area. The temple is virtually free of tourists and mostly frequented by the local people. Here you can learn all about Buddhism with our local guide. After a busy day full of discovery head to Hikkaduwa beach to have a leisurely stroll and take in the sunset. Taste the most popular Sri Lankan alcoholic drink, Arrack, distilled from 100% coconut syrup.  End your tour with a barbecue dinner, consisting of fish bought from the nearby fishing harbour.

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What people are saying about Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 105 reviews

Mr.Kosala is a good man and skillful driver. Also, a big thank you to Miss Nirmani for her coordination and effective communication with regards to the arrangement and it's process before the arrival to airport.

Amazing trip! Brilliant English speaking guide that ensured I saw all the animals and easy transfers picked up directly from your hotel. Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting a brilliant day out.

The experience was great our driver was helpful and worked hard to show us the animals there. We were able to spot black bear, elephants, leopards, and lots of birds.

The driver Chandana Kurera is a really nice and helpful driver. Highly recommended!

Christopher was a great Tour Guide and froher. The whole dax was fantastic