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Sri Lanka National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries

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Birds at Kalametiya Park

Famed for the historic Galle Fort district, tea industry and pristine family-friendly beaches, Sri Lanka is also known for its several national parks, animal reserves and wildlife sanctuaries.

When holidaying on the south coast, don’t miss the chance to visit at least one of the protected wetlands or other animal habitats. Day trips are fun for the whole family and easy to arrange ahead. Road trips around the country require a bit more planning. Why not start now? Here are a few of the most popular animal attractions in Sri Lanka.

 Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary

Established in 1938, this is one of the oldest protected wildlife parks in Sri Lanka and is celebrated as one of the best eco-birdwatching destinations in the entire world.

Heron birdwatching at Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary

THINGS TO DO Birdwatching, photography, kid-friendly rock climbing, early morning or afternoon paddle boat cruise

WILDLIFE Over 150 bird species including Indian Reef Heron, Sri Lankan black-capped purple Kingfisher, Glossy Ibis, Jungle Fowl, Black Bittern, Slatybreasted Crake, Watercock, 20 mammal species, 40 types of fish, 40 exotic reptiles

BEST TIME TO VISIT Kalametiya is home to several local bird species, and more migrant birds come to roost and nest each year between November and March

LOCATION 20 km from Tangalle city, the sanctuary is near the village of Hungama on the south coast of Sri Lanka

GETTING THERE Via train or private transportation, the exit for the sanctuary is clearly marked on the A2 near the 214 and 218 km posts

WEBSITE kalametiyabirds.lk

Minneriya National Park

The site of The Gathering, a world-famous elephant spectacle, Minneriya is a protected 8,890-hectare reserve within Sri Lanka’s famed Cultural Triangle. Critical to the biodiversity in this habitat are its natural wetlands, water tanks and irrigation systems.

The Gathering at Minneriya National Park

THINGS TO DO Jeep tours; Wildlife photography

WILDLIFE Approximately 200 wild (Asian) elephants, various migratory and aquatic bird species, wetland mammals

BEST TIME TO VISIT The dry season, usually late August to October is when groups of elephants congregate here

LOCATION Less than 10 km from Habarana on the Colombo Polonnaruwa road

GETTING THERE Entrance requires a permit from the Ambagaswewa wild life conservation office, so guided tours are the way to go

Bundala National Park

Made up of brackish lagoons,

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Sri Lanka Surfing Gems

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Along Sri Lanka’s beautiful southern coastline, famed for its underwater marine life and wetland reserves, what surfers most admire at Sri Lanka’s family beaches are the world-class waves. No surfer can resist palm fringed shores and the opportunity to surf in calm blue waters with sea turtles. Read on for my insider tips about surfing in southern Sri Lanka, whether it’s for a dedicated surf trip or just a day trip from Galle.

I flew into Colombo, jumped straight into a taxi with my board and zero prior knowledge about the paradise that awaited me. I did what any surfer would: I headed south to the sea! Okay, I wasn’t quite that aimless. Luckily, a dear friend was there to meet me and show me the ropes. My expectations of this surfers’ paradise were blown out of the water, exceeded dramatically.

Sri Lanka map

Take Me To Paradise  

Let’s start with the village of Midigama, where nights are spent dreaming of the next wave. This surfer Heaven is outside of Weligama Bay, just 40 minutes from Galle by car or taxi, or the more local options, a bus or tuk-tuk. If you’re planning on bringing your own surfboard to Sri Lanka the options are slightly more limited as they’re not allowed on the buses. But most tuk-tuk’s have a roof rack and proper straps and will usually be a cheaper (and more exciting) ride than a taxi.

You’ll pass by many small villages, each with their own hidden surf gems, but Midigama has the magic. In less than two kilometers you can find five breaks that cater to surfers from beginner to advanced. Whether you want to grab a longboard and surf a ‘mellow’ right over deep soft reef or are a bit more experienced and want to get barrelled at Ram’s – it’s all within walking distance.

midigama sri lanka

Midigama Surfing Spots

Lazy Right at Midigama Beach is exactly what it sounds like – probably the most mellow, soft, right hand wave in the South Coast area. This break can pick up some bigger swell that makes it fun for more advanced surfers, too. On average it’s the safest reef break you’ll find in South Sri Lanka, great for beginner and intermediate surfers to improve confidence and surfing skills.

Lazy Left is a bit more challenging as it’s shallower near the take off and a bit quicker but also can hang outside to catch the few fun ones that get missed.

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5 Offbeat Things to do in Niseko this Summer

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As the winter recedes, so do the crowds that throng Niseko for its dreamy powder snow. And in their wake, they leave behind a countryside that seems to slowly stretch out and rise from its winter slumber. The grinding sound of ski ploughs and the whir of ski lifts is replaced by melodious songs of summer breeze and chirping birds. The country blooms all around, unaware of its unpretentious innocent beauty yet not needing the crowds to confirm what it already knows. That Niseko is divine in the winters, but it is in summer that Niseko truly displays its mesmerising self.

It is a step towards the unknown, but curiosity is well rewarded. If you truly want to explore the heart of the countryside, why not take a walk away from the beaten path and indulge yourself with these quirky offbeat activities instead?

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Beat the Rush for Powder: 7 Things to Do in Niseko

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The perfect snow, with adequate depth and powdery white texture – welcome to Niseko, where you can chase your ultimate powder dream. It’s the ideal place to ski, snowboard or try a host of snow-filled activities. From snowshoeing to gliding on your snowmobile, and even water-rafting in spring-time rapids, Niseko gives frozen water a good name.

Its increasing popularity as a ski-destination is further fuelled by the availability of high-end chalets for individual families as well as groups. But don’t follow the crowds. Beat the rush for powder by coming to Niseko a few weeks early to discover what the season truly offers. Explore the winter dream minus the crowds. It isn’t just about skiing!

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The Elite Concierge Service

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Our Elite Havens Concierge Team is ready to enhance your next holiday experience. Once your booking is confirmed, any requests you might have, no matter how large or small, will be taken care of by our team. Their abundance of knowledge and warm and attentive attitude will help ease out any vacation-woes from the moment you land until your departure. 

Concierge - Andy and concierge team - Kaba Kaba Estate entrance

Our mission: ‘Concierge provides Elite Havens guests with knowledgeable advice, assistance and tailored recommendations to ensure their villa holiday experience surpasses expectations.’

Here, we interview our Head of Concierge, Andy Grant, who’s proud of bringing an ultimate, bespoke experience to you.

Concierge - Andy Grant - Beachside

Elite Havens: Tell us a bit about your background, Andy.

Andy Grant: I hail from New Zealand and my first ‘proper’ job was in banking. I also have an extensive background in hospitality and eventually embraced the hair, beauty and cosmetic industry. I’ve always had a passion for service and love making people feel good. Tropical Asia has been a favourite holiday destination and I am now very fortunate to say I live permanently in Bali. Four years later and I’m still motivated by its constantly evolving hospitality scene, tropical climate and unique culture.

EH: What do you do for Elite Havens?

AG: I am Head of Concierge. My team  deals with our guests from the minute they have confirmed their reservation through to their arrival and stay at the villa.

EH: What does the Concierge do specifically during that time?

AG: Each of our direct bookings are assigned to a Personal Concierge team member. They will work with the guests, taking care of all requests, tailoring itineraries and fine tuning arrangements. Depending on booking times, interactions with guests can sometimes be up to 18 months before they arrive at their destination. This allows a lot of dialogue and a solid relationship built on trust to form over time. What we offer our guests is always premium, as we only deal with the best establishments and operators in each destination. We are more than the traditional ‘Concierge’ based in a hotel lobby, we coordinate across our whole portfolio which is like taking care of a vast number of mini hotels!

EH: What sort of requests does the team receive?

AG: You name it,

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