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Safari by land and sea at Shangri-La Resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Safari by land and sea at Shangri-La Resorts in Sri Lanka and the Maldives

Following the announcement of a direct flight launching from Colombo to Gan by Sri Lankan airlines on 1 December 2016, guests at Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa, Sri Lanka and sister property Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives, will now be able to enjoy an unforgettable twin-centre trip between both properties, experiencing once-in-a-lifetime wildlife safaris by both land and sea. Adventure travellers can now embark upon an effortless journey across the Indian Ocean to uncover the region’s enchanting flora and fauna; from the elusive Sri Lankan leopard to the Maldivian eagle ray, combined with Shangri-La’s unparalleled hospitality, offering memorable bespoke experiences.

By Land: Southern Sri Lanka’s National Parks with Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa 

Shangri-La’s Hambantota Resort & Spa, which opened to guests in June 2016 on the island’s ancient Spice Route, boasts fantastic proximity to some of the country’s fine nature and wildlife reserves - in particular Yala, Bundala, and Udawalawe National Parks. Guests can also spot wildlife that inhabit the area surrounding the resort, with parading peacocks and wandering elephants offering a majestic welcome.  

Yala National Park, a regular fixture on travel bucket lists, combines a strict nature reserve with a national park. Among its more famous residents are the big concentration of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard, majestic elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, and crocodiles.  

Bundala National Park is a magnificent maze of waterways, lagoons and dunes which glitter in the evening sun. It is home to thousands of colourful birds, including the famed greater flamingo, and shelters almost 200 species within 62 square kilometres.  

The main attraction of the National Park of Udawalawe is the high probability for travellers to spot, and come within close proximity to, Sri Lankan elephants.  

In addition to experiencing the local wildlife, guests will also have the opportunity to immerse themselves in Sri Lankan culture at the resort’s unique Artisan Village, Kadamandiya, which provides a platform for talented local craftsmen and artists to showcase their work, giving guests the inside track into the region’s untapped creative talent. 


By Sea: Tropical Island Safari with Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa  

Located in the Maldives southern atoll and only few minutes away from Gan International Airport, the private island resort of Villingili is home to unique ecosystems. To celebrate the biodiversity, the resort has launched its own Tropical Safari complete with an alternative ‘big five’ and ‘little five’. Aimed at children of all ages, the Tropical Safari showcases Villingili’s natural beauty and encourages youngsters to engage with the local wildlife when exploring the island with their family. The island’s lagoon is a biodiverse marine environment on the planet with eagle rays, turtles and black tipped reef sharks which all feature in the safari. The Dhondheeni, a Maldivian white tern, is a symbol of the Addu Atoll and can easily be spotted by little ones as it fishes in the coral off the island.  

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa is a natural island and is committed to preserving the local environment. The Island Safari Handbook shares tips on how to be a green islander and encourages young guests to learn about the habits and preservation of the ‘big five’ and ‘little five’.