Things to do in
Southern Province, Sri Lanka

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Top sights in Southern Province, Sri Lanka

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 or Park Entrance 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.

Sri Lanka: Yala National Park Private Safari

2. Sri Lanka: Yala National Park Private Safari

Enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty and amazing wildlife of Sri Lanka on a private safari through Yala National Park. Discover leopards, elephants, water buffalo, and more among tall trees, scenic lagoons and golden sand dunes. With the highest concentration of leopards of any national park in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts to get their fill. Catch a glimpse, and maybe some great photos, of these elusive predators. Watch elephants playfully bathing in the mud, and encounter other fascinating animals, including sloth bears, wild boars, spotted deer, and golden jackals. Check out the vast array of interesting birds. Keep your camera ready as you roam through these animals' natural habitat on this wonderful private safari through Yala National Park.

From Ella: Shuttle to Mirissa/Galle with Udawalawe Safari

3. 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. In the Morning/Afternoon, enjoy a packed meal. Then, at the end of your 3-hour safari adventure, switch back to the comfortable, air-conditioned car for the ride on to Mirissa/Weligama/Unawatuna or Galle where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.

Hikkaduwa: Yala National Park Jeep Safari Private Day Tour

4. Hikkaduwa: Yala National Park Jeep Safari Private Day Tour

Discover Yala National Park, the second-largest wildlife park in Sri Lanka on a Private Jeep Safari Tour from Hikkaduwa. Experience unspoiled natural beauty and amazing wildlife. Begin with a pickup from your hotel in Hikkaduwa. From there, relax on your drive to Yala National Park. Upon arrival, embark on a safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Encounter other indigenous animals such as sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, spotted deers, buffalo, wild boars, sambhur, and hare. Have your camera at the ready as you roam through these animals' natural habitat. You'll also get to see a variety of butterflies and species of birds. After the safari, journey back to your accommodation in Hikkaduwa.

Hikkaduwa: Private Transfer to Colombo International Airport

5. Hikkaduwa: Private Transfer to Colombo International Airport

Enjoy a relaxing and comfortable private transfer between your hotel in the Hikkaduwa area and Colombo Or Bandaranaike International Airport. Travel safely in a licensed vehicle with a professional driver. A friendly chauffeur will meet and greet you at your hotel in Hikkaduwa. Your chauffeur will proceed with escorting you and your luggage to the vehicle. Experience a comfortable journey in an air-conditioned private vehicle directly from the hotel. The journey will take approximately 2-3 hours depending on the traffic and weather conditions. Travel conveniently without having to worry about pre-booking or last-minute searching. Feel free to let your chauffeur know if you need to stop for refreshments or emergencies. At the end of your trip, your driver will drop you at the airport and assist you with your luggage before bidding a farewell.

From Ella: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari Tour

6. From Ella: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari Tour

Visit Ruhunu National Park and explore its 126,786 hectares including the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II). The most familiar is Block I, established in 1938. Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of elephants, leopards, spotted deer, sambhur, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boar, wild buffalo, and many other animals. More than 130 bird species are recorded, including the resident and winter visitors. Head to the National Park to take an afternoon safari around 1:00 PM, as the time of day when you can see leopards and sloth bears emerge out of the shady jungle and roam around. Head to great spots for birdwatchers. The water holes and tanks are a birdwatcher's paradise, offering the chance to see the famous peacock dance. For wildlife lovers, Yala is a must see site in Sri Lanka. Once you've finished your tour, return back to your hotel in Ella.

Full-Day Leopard Safari at Yala With Picnic Lunch

7. Full-Day Leopard Safari at Yala With Picnic Lunch

You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to Yala National Park by a modified game viewing safari Jeep, then start your game drive at the National Park. Yala Park is situated in the Dry Zone in Sri Lanka, comprising of a range of habitats including scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. Yala has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. Its elephant heard is of about 300-350. Your guide will deliver the picnic lunch to the location where you will enjoy your lunch. Unwind for a while after lunch and get ready to enjoy your second round of the game drive. Hop in to the Jeep and start the afternoon game drive by searching for leopards. If you are really lucky, you may be able to witness a few of them during this game drive. In addition to leopards, elephants, as well as mammals such as Sloth Bears, Black-naped Hare, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Hanuman Langur, Toque Monkeys, Stripe-necked and Ruddy Mongooses, Wild Boar, and Golden Jackal can be found in Yala National Park. You can also see reptiles like the Water Monitor and Marsh Crocodile.

Bentota: Yala National Park Safari Jeep Tour

8. Bentota: Yala National Park Safari Jeep Tour

Head off on a wildlife and nature adventure on a Jeep safari tour in Yala National Park. Keep an eye out for indigenous animals, including sloth bears, jackals, and more. Learn about Sri Lanka's most-visited park from your local guide. After your hotel pickup in Bentota, sit back and relax in your car as you make your way to Yala National Park. The park is Sri Lanka's second-largest wildlife park and an important nature reserve for around 50 butterfly species and many bird species. Upon arrival, embark on your safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Spot other indigenous animals, such as sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, axis deer, buffalos, wild boars, sambar deer, and hares. After the safari, journey back to Bentota to be dropped off back at your accommodation.

From Tangalle: Shuttle to Ella with Yala Safari

9. From Tangalle: Shuttle to Ella with Yala Safari

Combine a transfer from Tangalle to Ella with a day trip to Yala National Park. Experience the immense biodiversity on this Sri Lankan animal safari and stop to eat a delicious packed meal. After being picked up at your accommodation in Tangalle, you will arrive at Yala National Park, meet your local guide and board an an open-topped jeep to get the best views and photo angles. See the animals during the day when they are the most active. Watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalos, and a large variety of bird species. Enjoy a packed meal before heading back to your air-conditioned car for the ride to your accommodation in Ella.

Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

10. Galle and Bentota Day-Tour From Colombo

After being picked up at your hotel, hop onboard your Madu Ganga Magrove boat safari and explore the Madu River. See the mangrove forests and marshlands that surround the river. Stop at a cinnamon garden, and try some of the area’s famous cinnamon. The Madu Ganga River region is home to some of the best quality cinnamon in the world as well as a flourishing cinnamon industry. Afterward, marvel at the fishermen who stoically sit atop large branches planted in the middle of the water waiting for their catch. Continue to a local Turtle Hatchery, where your guide will introduce you to the many local varieties of turtles. End your tour with a visit to the Galle Fort, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This fort illustrates the unique interaction of European architecture and South Asian traditions from the 16th to the 19th centuries. After discovering the fort, you will be returned to your hotel in Colombo.

Frequently asked questions about Southern Province, Sri Lanka

What top attractions are a must-see in Southern Province, Sri Lanka?

The must-see attractions in Southern Province, Sri Lanka are:

Other Sightseeing Options in Southern Province, Sri Lanka

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What people are saying about Southern Province, Sri Lanka

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 160 reviews

I highly recommend using apple vacations agency when you visit Sri Lanka! They offer a wide range of tours and packages to fit a variety of budgets. Our guide Niraveen and driver were on time and accommodating. This full day tour was lovely and enjoyable! Loved visiting the turtle hatchery center, the boat ride through the mangrove, and the place they took us for lunch was superb! Really trustworthy company!

The guide showed up on time in the morning and he was very polite and informing. They took us to a very nice restaurant for lunch near the ocean and the food was delicious. Whole tour was satisfying with very nice views, herbal garden visit and boat tour on Madu River.

I had a tour guide Muditha from Withlocals. A well educated and very nice young man with proper knowledge of English and international experience. Enjoyed talking to him and his company. From the downside - expected to see more for this money.

We had a very nice guide who went to a lot of trouble so that we could see all the animals once. But he always switched off the engine so that the animals would not be disturbed. I highly recommend the tour

Fantastic tour! Our driver tried very hard, we saw leopards, sloth bears and elephants despite the rainy season! 100% recommendation for this tour! :-)