Driving the tourism sector now in Sri Lanka is its agenda for developing sustainable destinations. The island-nation seeks to establish a positive overall balance in environmental, socio-cultural, economic and experiential impact for tourists and locals. Even as it pursues its tourism goals, the outcome of this sustainability agenda will go a long way in preserving and protecting the country’s resources.
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens
It doesn’t matter whether you have green fingers or not, you are simply going to love this guided tour of one of the oldest and largest gardens in Sri Lanka and was once reserved only for royalty. This amazing green space in Kandy is home to over 4000 different species of plants, considered to be of the highest quality in Asia. The spotlight here falls on the fantastic Orchid collection and a mighty avenue of palm trees and the massive Javan fig tree with its colossal spread over the lawns below. You will also love the awesome collection you will discover here in the what is the National Herbarium of Sri Lanka - the leading institute for authentication of plants in Sri Lanka. The gardens also play host to a great number of fruit bats and monkeys.
You will be astonished how quickly time passes as you spend some exceptional moments in the company of Sri Lanka’s legendary pachyderms in these protected environs. Located just 36km away from Kandy, the elephant camp at Kegalle falls under the umbrella of the Elephant Foundation, a charity that rescues and subsequently cares for captive Asian elephants in Sri Lanka. The setting of the camp is a beautiful 15-acre coconut estate. The experience involves an exclusive Elephant Walk, a personal safari that allows you to walk with the majestic creatures as they go foraging for a meal in the bountiful vegetation. You also get to help prepare and administer fruit, vitamins and medicines under the watchful eye of its mahout. In your time here, you will learn all about the complex issues which affect their conservation in the country. It’s also an opportunity to become a volunteer at the Foundation.
Sri Lanka’s sustainability agenda opens up vital conversations amongst travellers and hosts about conservation, responsible tourism and mutually beneficial outcomes. Don’t be surprised the next time you are visiting Sri Lanka you will surely find yourself more sensitive to local community needs and, most importantly, supporting the local economy.