Challenge level: 3 out of 5
|8 September - 17 September 2023||On Sale|
It's time to go wild! We've just launched our next trek for animal charities and in 2023, we're exploring the teardrop island of Sri Lanka. Home to over 800 amazing animal species and all sorts of exotic plants, Sri Lanka is the closest thing to paradise this planet has and we can't wait to challenge ourselves there with you!
Together, we’ll trek through rolling rice fields and tropical farms, climb the ancient Sigiriya rock, meditate with a monk and finish at the very special Elephant Transit Home, initiated by the Born Free Foundation. Hiking up mighty hills for extraordinary panoramas and passing through small towns, we’ll gain insight into the serene Sri Lankan culture and even spend a night sleeping in a monastery.
It may sound peaceful, but your legs won’t be sleeping by day! We’ll trek from Dambulla in the heart of the vegetable farming region in the dryer side of the country to the Bandarawela Buddhist temple, nestled in the misty South. Climbing the eighth modern wonder of the world, the Sigiriya Rock, is a challenge in itself and that’s only a fraction of our trek!
At the end of our adventure, we'll enjoy a jeep safari in the important wildlife reserve of Udawalawe National Park, home to elephants, buffalos, monkeys, eagles, lizards and Sri Lanka grey hornbill - and that's only to name a few.
Finally, as if this challenge couldn't get any better, we spend our last day relaxing at the paradise beach at Hikkaduwa.
Our challenge begins when we meet at the airport for our overnight flight to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka.
Once we touch down on Day 2, we enjoy a scenic coach transfer through rolling rice fields, tropical coconut and rubber plantations and charming, little villages, until we reach our hotel in Dambulla in the heart of the island.
Here, we can relax for the evening with our first group dinner and an exciting briefing from our challenge guides, a fab opportunity to gain more insight into our trek ahead.
As we can expect from the capital of vegetable distribution in Sri Lanka, Dambulla is stunning and bright with lush, green vegetation, a perfect place to spend our first night in the country.
Today, we commence our trek through beautiful, local farmland and forests and alongside dry-land lakes until we reach the spectacular Sigirya Rock Fortress.
Known as the Eighth Modern Wonder of the World, this is an awesome, ancient rock, formed from the magma of an extinct volcano. It reaches 370m above sea level, overshadowing its surrounding jungles by a whopping 200m – and guess what? We trek up it!
After a short break at the foot of the fortress, we make our way to the top of the rock and take in the incredible panoramas, across an expanse of tropical jungles and farmland.
Here at the summit, we can also explore the ruins of King Kasyapa’s Palace, which dates back to 477-495 CE, when the ancient king made the site his capital. Then it’s back down we go and we finish our day’s hike when we reach our hotel in Dambulla.
After breakfast at the hotel, we transfer to a small town called Naula in the low-country dry plains of the Matale province.
From here, we trek from the dry plains all the way to the wet-zone of Sri Lanka, admiring the dramatic changes in scenery as we enter the island’s more humid side.
Our trek takes us to Matale, the largest town in the district, which lies on the Northern ridge of the central hills. Having finished our day's challenge, we can take in the beautiful surroundings of the Knuckles Mountain Range, which the British called “Wiltshire”, before transferring to our hotel in Kandy.
This biscuit-tin-beautiful city is centred around the Bogambara Lake and made up of a mix of lush vegetation and architecture, both historic and modern.
In the evening, we make the most of Kandy’s fantastic culture and visit the much-revered Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha.
Rising early, we have breakfast at the hotel and then transfer to a delightful tea factory in Pupuressa. Here, we enjoy a cup of the local Pure Ceylon Tea, before we start our trek along jeep tracks with fabulous views of the rolling tea country.
As the day draws on, our route becomes more challenging, as we trek uphill through some very tall grass! Depending on the weather, we may need to use ropes for support – an awesome adventure.
We at last reach Pussellawa, where we meet our coach and transfer to the “City of Light” aka. Nuwara Eliya and find our hotel.
Our day begins with an exciting train journey from Nanu Oya Railway Station to our starting point at Ohiya Station. On the ride, we’ll get some gorgeous views of the Horton Plains National Park and the forest that surrounds the train tracks.
It’s also a great chance to give our legs a bit of a rest, before we get back on our feet again at Ohiya and make our way through mountain forests, eucalyptus plantations and small villages. This will give us some wonderful insight into the friendly culture of Sri Lanka and yet more idyllic panoramas.
Our route leads us to the absolutely charming St Benedict’s Monastery, Adisham, which looks like something out of a story book, a pretty, stone bungalow tucked in the hills and mist of South Eastern Sri Lanka.
The monastery dates back to the late nineteenth century and is now a home to young, Benedictine monks. We stay the night in a hotel in the nearby town of Haputale, enjoying our gorgeous surroundings of misty rice fields and the wide range of flora.
Day 7 is a true highlight of our challenge. Beginning our trek at the Kahagala Estate, we wander through even more tea plantations and local villages, before descending to a quaint temple, where we stay for the night.
This evening, we sit quietly with one of the friendly Buddhist monks for an hour of meditation. Surrounded by Sri Lanka’s natural beauty and lush, green forest, this is the perfect place to meditate and absorb the area’s tranquillity.
A little later on, the monk joins us again for a discussion about Buddhism, meditation and the secrets of a simple life.
Tonight, we have the fabulous opportunity to sleep in the halls of the temple. The dormitory-style halls we sleep in are comfortable and suffice, but modest with limited facilities.
Our day today even surpasses yesterday’s, as not only do we get a rest from the walking, but we visit the incredibly special Elephant Transit Home, initiated by the Born Free Foundation. Here, baby elephants who are orphaned or injured in the wild are brought in to receive care and rehabilitation.
Once the elephants are healthy and old enough, they are radio collared and released in to the park where their progress is tracked. The first elephants to be rehabilitated at the Elephant Transit Home have already started reproducing successfully in the wild, a truly sustainable initiative.
After an awesome morning, we enjoy a jeep safari of the Udawalawe National Park. This is probably the best National Park for elephants on the island and acts as a sanctuary for the many beautiful, wild animals displaced by the construction of the reservoir, while protecting the land from cultivation.
Later, we transfer to the small town of Hikkaduwa on the southwest coast of the island, where we find our accommodation for the night, a resort on a paradise beach.
Today, you have a choice of awesome activities. You can either spend the day relaxing at the beach and hotel or you can do an optional trek on flat terrain through the area’s beautiful rice fields and coconut and cinnamon plantations.
Along the way, we can enjoy a ride on a local fisherman’s catamaran through the lagoon and explore a small temple, which is over three hundred years old and home to some charming paintings.
Our optional trek ends at a small, local restaurant for lunch. Another option you have today is to visit the Dutch Fort in the nearby Galle and get a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s rich, colonial history.
The quaint, narrow, cobblestoned streets, which crisscross the fort, lined by tiny guest houses and restaurants, make it easy to imagine what life must have been like here during the Dutch colonisation. We rest tonight in the same beach resort we enjoyed last night.
Day 10 sees us rising early to end our adventure in Sri Lanka, with a transfer from our hotel to the airport in Colombo.
From here, we fly back to the UK, enlightened with a huge sense of achievement, having accomplished an amazing challenge for animals in need.
Pay the registration fee (£349) and challenge costs (£1,795) + airport taxes/fuel surcharge (approx. £350).
Pay the balance
Pay your registration fee (£349) and airport taxes/fuel surcharge (approx. £350), and fundraise £3,590 or more for your chosen charity.
Minimum sponsorship target
Whilst we encourage people to fundraise for an animal charity, shelter or sanctuary on this challenge, we are happy for you to support a different type of charity.
Walk on the Wild Side Trek Sri Lanka 2023 is not designed for Olympic athletes – it is designed for people looking for an amazing goal to train and get fit for. A number of the people who will take part in this trek will have a low level of fitness when they sign up.
This challenge is the perfect motivation to get fit, while exploring one of the world's most beautiful places and making a big impact for a vital cause.
We do strongly recommend you train for the trek and we'll send you a fantastic training plan once you sign up. This training plan builds up as time goes on, so you'll be ready and raring to go by the time we jet to Sri Lanka!
Please don't be! The majority of people will sign up on their own and our Dream Challenges are renowned for the amazing camaraderie and life long friendships made as our groups take on these incredible feats together.
Once you've signed up for the challenge, we'll send you a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered for Walk on the Wild Side Trek Sri Lanka 2023.
Please feel free to use this space to swap questions, advice and updates with your fellow trekkers on your training and fundraising. You may also want to reach out to the fellow participants in this group to see if there's anyone in your local area you can meet up to train and fundraise with.
Everyone who is at least 18 years old by the challenge date is more than welcome to join this awesome challenge. There is no maximum age limit. One of the amazing things about the challenge is that people of all ages will come together to do something very special.
If you know someone under 18 who would like to join the challenge with you, please get in touch with our team to discuss their participation. Simply email us at email@example.com or call us on 01590 646410.
You will of course need a pair of walking boots. We will supply you with a comprehensive list of everything you will need to take on the event well before your departure date.
We will stay in comfortable hotels throughout this challenge, except for one night spent in a wonderful Buddhist temple.
The temple we sleep in is comfortable but modest, so the facilities are limited with shared showers and a handful of private showers.
*We organise our accommodation on a twin-sharing basis. However, if you would like to pay for a single supplement and have a room to yourself wherever possible, please get in touch at least 14 weeks before the challenge and we can arrange this for you at an additional price.
Yes of course! If you wish to extend your stay in Sri Lanka, simply get in touch and we can find flight options for you.
Please let us know if you decide to do this at least 14 weeks before our departure date by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We anticipate the group size to be around 30 people.
Your registration fee of £349 per person is used to administer the challenge and secure your seats with the airline.
Your challenge costs of £1,795 (ie. 50% of the fundraising target if you choose the sponsorship option) cover:
*Accommodation is included on a twin-sharing basis, but you may choose to pay for a single supplement. If you would like to do this, please get in touch at least 14 weeks before your challenge and we can arrange this for you at an additional price.
In addition to paying your registration fee (£349) and either paying your challenge costs (£1,795) or fundraising the minimum sponsorship target (£3,590), you'll need to budget for your:
You will need to take out your own personal travel insurance covering health, accident, loss and repatriation.
Dream Challenges has found a policy that provides appropriate cover for this type of activity and also covers you for cancellation due to medically-diagnosed COVID-19. We will send you the details once you have registered.
You can, however, take out your own insurance, providing it covers you for a charity trek in Sri Lanka.
Please ask the insurer about the nature of the cover. It is your responsibility to ensure you have adequate cover for your challenge.
You will be required to obtain a tourist visa for entry into Sri Lanka, we will send you all the relevant information and forms to do this before the challenge.
The Dream Challenges team is here to help you achieve your challenge and will support you all the way. We are on hand from the minute you sign up to answer any questions that you may have about your training or the challenge itself. Once you have registered, we will send you a welcome pack with the full challenge details, plus a realistic training programme, a link to a private Facebook group for everyone registered, fundraising ideas, example insurance policy, kit list and more.
During the trek, we'll have at least one UK doctor with expedition medicine training accompanying the group from the get-go and at all times throughout the challenge, along with a team of outdoor remote first-aid trained challenge guides and porters.
Porters will carry your luggage, food and water, so you will only need to carry a small day pack, containing essential accessories and equipment.
Yes, we'll have a UK doctor with expedition medicine training, a Challenge Leader and a team of outdoor remote first aid trained challenge guides.
As we're not medically trained, we're afraid we can't offer you advice on this. We recommend you contact your GP or your local travel clinic, who will have the latest travel health advice.
We also recommend you visit the NHS Fit for Travel website here, to keep up to date with current travel health news and advice on staying healthy abroad.
NHS Fit for Travel website: https://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home