After an early breakfast, travel to Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle via the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, a remarkable project that protects the island’s abandoned or orphaned wild elephants that would otherwise have surely died. From small, modest origins it has grown into one of Sri Lanka’s most famous attractions. Pinnawala enthralls adults and children alike.
Roaming free within the Sanctuary, except when occasionally shepherded by their Mahouts (keepers) the elephants highlight is their daily bathing session. The sight of herds of elephants splashing and playing in a river has charmed countless visitors. During your time at the orphanage you’ll be accompanied by a wildlife guide who will be able to give you background information on elephants in Sri Lanka and their remarkable partnership with man.
Optional- We also recommend a visit to the nearby Eliphus Maximus project that produces beautiful paper out of recycled elephant dung.
After lunch set off for the Cultural Triangle, another 2 hours drive, and check in to your hotel. The following day you can enjoy a relaxing morning at the hotel, by the pool side or perhaps hiring one of the hotel bikes to explore the lake.
In the afternoon the tour staff will organize a one-hour elephant ride through dryland jungle. Wake up early the following day for a morning safari at Minneriya National Park, famous for its large gathering of Asian elephants. This 8890 hectare park of dry evergreen forest, scrub jungle, grassly plains, is dominated by Minneriya Tank. During dry season, herds of up to 150 elephants can be seen here, along with sambar deer, toque monkeys, plenty of birdlife including cormorants and painted storks.
Explore the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa, a Unesco World Heritage Site. The ancient sites are best explored in a bike. Afterwards return to the hotel for dinner.