Iain Mackay, a Scottish mountaineer has established Moonstone Expeditions, an independent expedition travel company in Sri Lanka.
Words Udeshi Amarasinghe
Moonstone Expeditions specialises in unique adventure trips to Sri Lanka. From bases in the UK and Sri Lanka, the company aims to deliver once-in-a-lifetime adventures through in-depth local knowledge and contacts. “We offer off-the-peg or bespoke itineraries that provide not only the exhilaration of trekking, mountain biking and surfing in this beautiful country, but also enable you to get to the heart of its culture, heritage and famously friendly people,” says Iain. The itineraries include five or 12 days of trekking, cycling, surfing and multi-activity trips. Travellers can discover a diverse range of attractions. Noting that Sri Lanka has a unique landscape and rich cultural heritage, he states, “there is nowhere else in the world where a traveller can experience such a diversity of landscapes, history, culture and religion in such a compact island. The Sri Lankan people make everyone feel welcome and go out of their way to help you. There really is something for everyone.”
What makes Moonstone Expeditions different is that they pride themselves in giving prominence to the environment and making a contribution to the local economy by taking an ethical approach. “Our philosophy is that we “leave only footprints, take only photographs,” says Iain. “We also take our responsibilities towards our Sri Lankan staff and partners seriously and work with them in a manner, which is to everyone’s long-term benefit,” he elaborated.
Iain has travelled and led expeditions for a wide variety of groups on every continent in the world, except Antartica. “At the moment we market mainly to the UK, Middle East, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. We are also very keen to have Sri Lankan residents on our expeditions. All are welcome,” he adds.
Iain observes that it is indeed an exciting time to be living in Sri Lanka when the country is really on the rise. “We hope to be able to encourage many more travellers to come to Sri Lanka and experience for themselves the amazing adventures it can offer,” says Iain.
5 Reasons to go trekking in Sri Lanka
- Crowds. Not here. In Sri Lanka you will most likely have the hill country and Knuckles Range to yourself.
- Wildlife. The whole island is full of wildlife ranging from monkeys to monitor lizards to wild elephants and even the occasional leopard. Sri Lanka is also home to over 450 species of birds.
- Weather. Sri Lanka has a relatively constant temperature of 25-30 degrees. Affected by two monsoons, if one side of the Island is raining then the other side will be basking in sunshine.
- Culture. Temples with religious ceremonies, ancient cities, Royal Palaces, a fascinating mix of culture – the Island packs a considerable cultural punch.
- Scenery. Marco Polo described Sri Lanka as the finest island of its size in the world. From the tropical rainforest in the south and rolling slopes of the Hill Country, few areas of this size can match the variety and beauty of Sri Lanka’s scenery.
What can adventure travellers expect in Sri Lanka?
There really is something for everyone – rainforests, beautiful tea plantations, spectacular mountains, amazing beaches, fantastic food and a warm welcome!