To Get Up Close To Wild Animals Much like South Africa, Sri Lanka has an abundant supply of wildlife for you to experience in their natural settings. They’ve got plenty of leopard and elephant, or you could go and dive with whales and dolphins. There’s the fabulous sloth bears pictured below, as well as monkeys galore, including the wise-looking purple faced Langur. While you’re spotting all these beautiful animals be sure to keep an eye out for the national bird, a Sri Lankan jungle fowl..it’s like a brightly coloured cross between a guinea fowl and a cockerel!
For The Tea If a good cup of tea is your fix for everything, Sri Lanka is a special kind of heaven. The Ceylon area alone spans over 2000 square kilometres and produces an unbelievable 300 million kilos of tea in a year. You can walk the tea trails and the lush plantations are stunningly beautiful, with crystal blue lakes surrounded by rolling green peaks and troughs. Hike up to the top of Ella Rock for beautiful views. It’s a little piece of paradise that is possibly best described as Sri Lanka’s version of the Cape Winelands.
For An Affordable Getaway Much like South East Asia, Sri Lanka is still an affordable holiday destination for South Africans. 5 star hotels can come at a fraction of the price of Europe, America or even Joburg. Relax by your rooftop pool with a cocktail in hand, spoil yourself with a trip to the spa or take a well-deserved post-hike snooze on your California King bed. Or, opt for a budget backpacker, mid-range hotel or cosy homestay at prices you won’t believe – a couple of weeks in Sri Lanka without watching your budget too tightly can easily come in at under R15 000 per person. If you’re being super frugal then you can cut that down even further and work on a budget of around R300 per person per day for all your food, transport and accommodation costs. If it sounds like a great deal, it’s because it is!
To Sample The Food Not only is Sri Lankan food super cheap and quick, it’s absolutely delicious. There are staples such as amazing curry and rice of course, and the seafood is plentiful. Prawn curry is a must, as is a huge fresh coconut to quench your thirst. For cheap and cheerful, try the famous ‘hopper’ is the perfect snack for almost any occasion. Batter is flavoured with coconut milk and spices, then fried and shaped into an edible bowl to hold fried eggs or vegetables. It’s an English breakfast with a twist, a protein boost after a hike or swim, or just an affordable anytime snack. They can even be filled with sweet fillings for a different dessert.
To Soak In The Cultural Heritage IF heritage sites and temples are your thing, Sri Lanka won’t disappoint. There are six UNESCO architectural world heritage sites in the country, as well as an ecological heritage site. The “Cultural Triangle” is an absolute must-see for history and culture buffs, housing sacred Buddhist temples, ancient lost cities, ruins, monuments and artefacts. Venture towards Kandy; once the capital of ancient Kings and still considered the country’s cultural centre to observe ancient tradition. Then, head South to Galle to learn more about the colonial history of Sri Lanka, still apparent in modern Sri Lankan culture.