Sri Lanka wildlife and culture tour

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Sri Lanka wildlife and culture tour

Environment

We work with selected local providers who are very committed to give guests the most authentic and original travel experience in Sri Lanka while leaving a lighter footprint on your trip. Our excursions maintain small-group sizes to limit the negative environmental impact in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site. In general, we are trying to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours through our “bring it in, bring it out” policy for litter and rubbish such as food packaging and recycling wherever possible. In our UK and local offices we re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. We also concentrate on providing information online via our website and electronically rather then producing a glossy brochure, hence reducing the use of paper and inks.

Our local partners are currently conducting audits with clients on how to make the journey more sustainable and include less plastic. There are plans to remove all single use plastic bottles from the vehicles. When traveling to Sri Lanka, you support a country that puts a lot of effort into sustainable tourism and good environmental management practices related to energy, water, waste water and solid management practices. For example, around 70 to 88% of Sri Lanka’s hotels use solar power and energy efficient lighting methods.

- Accommodation
We select the most exclusive and responsible resorts for you, with a mix of sustainable groups and small places with local and personal character such as the Ibis in Wilpattu. Overlooking and bordering a local lake and nestled on a 2 ½ acre land surrounded and hidden by greenery, the Ibis is a four bed roomed exclusive and private ‘Villa’ styled property which lets you experience the absolute peace and serenity of rural Sri Lanka only to be broken by the twittering of over a hundred species of birds by day and at night. It gives you the impression that you could touch the moon and the stars making you feel that you are one with nature. All meals are made with local produce, sourced pre-dominantly from the surrounding home gardens, farms and lakes and cooked to traditional Sri Lankan village recipes.

With your stay at Jetwing Beach and St Andrew's, you will contribute to the Jetwing group - a pioneer in Sustainable Tourism, committed to a harmonious relationship between community and environment for over 40 years. Its Sustainability Strategy is committed on key categories such as Energy & Carbon, Water & Waste, Biodiversity, Community & Culture, Family, Sourcing & Production. Initiatives range from the use of biomass fueled by sustainably harvested cinnamon wood, cocount shells or kitchen waste, the installation and use of photovoltaic parks and solar thermal panels, open architectural designs to maximise natural illumination and ventilation, pre-planned multiple switching circuits to reduce energy wastage from single circuit switches, the use of waste water systems, biogas digesters, and much more.

Another unique eco place we have chosen for you is the Rainforest Edge. Rainforest Edge is the perfect hideout to enjoy your holiday in Sri Lankan traditional way with true Sri Lankan hospitality. In a natural setting ideal for nature lovers, they grow most of the fruits & vegetables served to you in their organic fruit & vegetable gardens inside the resort premises. Fruits & vegetables are grown with perfect harmony with the nature without adding any pesticides or chemical manure. You will enjoy a perfect blend of Sri Lankan traditional ethnic dishes made to your taste fresh out from the gardens. Balance between ancient, traditional techniques & a modern comfort is the charm of these eco friendly rooms. The energy source is a unique combination of solar energy, mains electricity lanterns (lamps with Kerosene). They have given you the choice of using the light of the electric bulb or the lantern for reading or else to indulge in solar heated hot water shower. To keep the harmony with nature, rooms are not equipped with televisions or telephones. You will learn the art of living in the easy going way, gentle, relaxed & care free.

- Culture & Buildings
Your entrance fees to visit Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla and Kandy with its Temple of Tooth will all contribute to the conservation and maintenance of those precious UNESCO listed World Heritage Sites:
- Sigiriya is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. Being sometimes called the 8th wonder of the world, this fortress-palace was built atop a towering rock in the 5th century and is one of the most dramatic, inspiring and beautiful historical locations in the world.
- Polonnaruwa was Sri Lanka’s medieval capital from 1073 until the late 1200s, and the ruins of the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa are incredibly well-preserved and include magnificant granite sculptures of Lord Buddha.
- The ancient Dambulla Cave Temple is the most famous cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, boasting the largest number of Buddha statues to be housed in one place, as well as stunning ceiling paintings.
- The Temple of Toothes in Kandy is a Buddhist temple that houses the relic of the tooth of the Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a World Heritage Site mainly due to the temple.

-Nature
You will be able to witness nature and animals in their natural protected habitats. Your visits at all the National Parks will contribute to the Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Department of Wildlife Conservation, who is the primary entity responsible for the maintenance of the national parks and wildlife reserves and the Sri Lankan Elephant Transit Home.
- You will visit the 1,317 km2 large Wilpattu National Park, which is famous for its unique "Willus" or natural lakes. Nearly 60 of those lakes and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu, and play an important role for resident and migratory water-birds. Wilpattu is the largest and one of the oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka, and is among the top national parks world-renowned for its leopard population. It is also home to other mammals like elephants, sloth bears, water buffalows, sambhur and spotted dear. 70% of the parc is comprised of a dense forest system. You will also spot wild Sri Lankan Elephants in its natural habitat at the Udawalawe National Park, a park that covers almost 31,000 hectares.
- Also Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. Large herds of Sri Lankan sambar deer feature as typical mammals and the park is also an Important Bird Area with many species not only endemic to Sri Lanka but restricted to the Horton Plains.
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot in Sri Lanka. It is of international significance and has been designated a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO. According to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Sinharaja is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare.
- You will experience also Kanneliya-Dediyagala-Nakiyadeniya or KDN, a forest complex in southern Sri Lanka. The forest complex designated as a biosphere reserve in 2004 by UNESCO. The KDN complex is the last large remaining rainforest in Sri Lanka other than Sinharaja. This forest area has been identified as one of the floristically richest areas in South Asia.

Community

We strive to help our clients connect with Sri Lanka and its local population in interesting and insightful ways. Our partners have a reputation for possessing an intimate, in-depth knowledge of Sri Lanka, with purposeful dedication towards enabling guests meaningful experiences. This has benefited not only clients and operators, providing more fulfilling trips, but is also positively impacting our host communities, providing immediate income and making their lives more sustainable and productive.

Our local partners have helped many hosts to develop their experiences from a product development and pricing perspective, elevating their experience and its value. They have developed experiences from scratch with many hosts and communities to provide jobs and income to local populations e.g. The Sri Lankan Garden (also incredibly sustainable operation) and most recently with the new East Coast Project, working with an Australian NGO to develop experiences on the East Coast of Sri Lanka, employing local staff and hosts in an area where there is a significant need. We choose our partners carefully and are constantly on the lookout for grassroots conservation projects and fair trade initiatives.

For many years our partners have worked with a small collection of schools where they have arranged for clients to help construct toilets, paint classrooms and have worked with charities such as The Foundation of Goodness and Child Action Lanka.

With your stay at the Jetwing Group, you support several community projects. For example the Jetwing Youth Development Programme provides free six-month programmes to school leavers with a working knowledge of hotel operations as well as English, etiquette, cultural history, and industry insights. Many of these individuals continue to be employed with the group.

Following the 2004 tsunami, Jetwing also collaborated with several parties to build a community swimming pool in an effort to pass on valuable aquatic life skills to local residents. To support the local communities, Jetwing have used 50 acres of paddy land to provide local farming families with seed money for cultivation. An equal portion of the resulting harvest is then shared equally between the farmer and the hotel, with excess stocks of rice being sold to other hotels in the family. The farmer is not required to repay the money given to them, enabling a steady income for the neighbouring communities in the region. The group's resident naturalists often visit schools to conduct special workshops on sustainable development by focusing on areas such as the environment, biodiversity, and waste management among others. In general, each of the group's hotels maintain strong relationships with local schools, religious places of worship and grassroot community organisations through a series of philantrophic activities.

The hotels and villas of the group host a variety of authentic experiences including tours of tea factories, markets, and villages. The latters includes the sourcing of meals and transport from the village itself, in order to provide residents with a supplementary source of income. In addition, many local arts and crafts are featured throughout the homes – either in the form of cultural performances, or as interior decorations using natural materials such as cane, reed, palm leaves and more.

Another authentic experience to connect with local traditions is your stay at the Rainforest Edge - you will be a part of the family, not just a guest at Rainforest Edge. Rainforest Edge is the perfect place to enjoy the hospitality of the village folks who have a lifestyle of self sufficiency - a local community who is sharing their habits & lifestyles with you.

When at your stay at Aliya Resort, we also invite you to receive the power of therapeutic and traditional holistic medicine. Aliya Resort & Spa’s in-house Ayurvedic doctor will guide you on a journey to complete wellness and inner balance. They offer free Meditation and Yoga Sessions, enabling you to find and maintain a sense of contentment and wellbeing. “Ayurveda” means “The knowledge of Life”. It is an ancient healing practice and way of life that provides a deep sense of wellness for mind, body and spirit.

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