our insider alternatives: budget real safaris
As mentioned on several other pages of this website, safaris with overnight stay inside national parks (what we call "real safari") are affordable, at least compared to the flight ticket you need for travelling to Sri Lanka. But we must admit, they are not at all cheap.
This is why some travellers who usually would like to experience the wildlife in a more untouristed way hesitate to reserve a real safari.
For those travellers we can offer several alternatives to enjoy real wildlife experiences nevertheless.
1. Some national parks are less frequented, this means less popular and less promoted, and some of those untouristed national parks offer facilities for overnight stays, too, but for a more reasonable price than Yala National Park. We recommend Randenigala and Lunugamwehera for this alternative way to enjoy a real safari.
2. Some important nature reserves in Sri Lanka with opportunities to observe wildlife, too, are not run by the Wildlife Department, but by the Forest Department. There are charges for stays in Forest Department camps, too, but less high than for national park camps. Sinharaja and Kanneliya are such areas where you can have lower rates. Not a forest reserve, but a real wildlife sanctuary is Rasvehera. It's much cheaper than national parks, but offers a lot of opportunities.
3. In some cases we know camping grounds just outside the national park territory, but still within in a natural surrounding full of wildlife or birdwatching facilities. In this respect we can recommend Tabbowe at the border of Sri Lanka's largest national park, Wilpattu.
So it's your choice. Maybe you prefer our classic Kumana camping safari, but like to spend only one night inside the national park because of the costs. Or you prefer a longer stay at a less well-known place in another national park or sanctuary.
For example, you could tell us a price limit you intend to spend for some special holiday experience and we could work out proposals for you how to manage this. Because of our experience we can offer a wide range of alternatives to satisfy your demands.
Sinharaja rain forest
Dry zone south
Rufus Kulam remote lake
Lahugala NP with heritage site
Dry zone north
Habarana oxcart excursions
Rasvehera monastery and wildlife
Tabbowe lake near Wilpattu NP
Randenigala NP alternative camp
Private Cooking Classes
Anyone interested in small private introductory cooking classes will be welcome in Nelumpure. Learning Sri Lankan style cooking in a similarly familiar manner can be offered by Team Sightseeinglanka at many more locations, for example on Kalpitiya island in the west, which is well-known for water sports and dolphin-watching and within day-excursion-distance of Wilpattu National Park, or in Tissamaharama in the deep south of the island, close to Yala and Bundala National Parks.
Slideshow version here...