Sri Lanka

Contribution, rejuvenation + bite-sized challenge


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A feel good journey in Sri Lanka

WE ARE FULLY BOOKED - email to get on the reserve list

Tea plantations, surf beaches and the breathtaking Highlands

Ok Midlifers – here's something a little different for you all, think 'Eat, Pray, Love' vibes set in two stunning and contrasting locations in Southern Sri Lanka. 2 phases, multiple experiences.

The first phase will be spent at a tranquil tea plantation, only a stone’s throw away from some of the hippest surf beaches before exploring the magnificent Central Highlands for phase two. Throughout your 8-day adventure you will get stuck into a mix of experiences carefully chosen to contribute to the "feel good factor" as you make an impact at the women's empowerment charity, and rejuvenate your body and soul through yoga, surfing and the bite-sized challenge of hiking up Ella's Peak.

This adventure has been put together in partnership with our lovely friends, Charlie and Richard Pembroke, who built Tekanda Lodge, your base for phase one. Charlie is the powerhouse behind the women’s empowerment charity called Gamata Atak meaning ‘A Hand to the Village’ - the principal aim being to bridge the rural-urban skills divide in Sri Lanka. Your contribution will be inspiring for everyone involved.

Departs 29th January 2024. Who’s coming?

This MidLifer has a feel good vibe to it as you contribute to a life changing grass root community project, and rejuvenate your body and soul through yoga, surfing and the bite-sized challenge of hiking up Ella's Peak.

Trip Itinerary

This is what we've lined up...

Phase One

Tekanda Lodge Tea Plantation

Phase one will be spent at the stunning and spoiling Tekanda Lodge, a beautiful hill-top home set on a private tea estate, with panoramic views across the jungle and paddy fields.

Here you will be immersed in tropical tranquillity, cool down in the infinity swimming pool, and be cooked delicious meals by their private chef. Tekanda is literally a stones throw away from some of Sri Lanka’s finest surfing beaches and has a yoga platform for the morning lessons overlooking the magical views. Peachy perfect.


The focal point of the lodge is a super stylish living area, with panoramic views, A large infinity pool sits just below surrounded by palms and tropical flowers.

Five large en-suite double bedrooms in the main lodge sit off the central courtyard. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms and private verandahs. Think rustic chic.

All rooms can have a double or 2 x single bed configuration. Shared accommodation only.


Breakfast and supper included. Head chef Rana will prepare light and delicious dishes using the freshest tropical produce available. Expect a combination of plant-based dishes with some fish, seafood and meat. Vegan and vegetarian diets available. Rana promises to integrate the very best of mouth-watering Sri Lankan cuisine with global influences.

Lunch will be out and about.

Days 1 - 5

Experiences Community + Yoga + Surfing

Community Contribution

The contribution element of this programme will be to help Charlie’s community project called Gamata Atak meaning ‘A Hand to the Village’. This initiative is in partnership with a long-established rural empowerment charity, which also runs a girls cricket academy. Their principal aim being to bridge the rural-urban skills divide in Sri Lanka.

The plan is for everyone to spend part of the day at the centre with the local ladies helping improve their English, tweak their cooking skills to meet the tourist tastes, and designing dresses and other accessories which would sell to kaftan-glad overseas visitors. The ladies are fun-loving and will welcome you into their world, so the experience will be positive for all.

If anyone loves cricket – then before you know it, you’ll be whisked off to the Girls Cricket Academy, to help coach and inspire the next generation of female cricketers.

Yoga and Surfing

However, being a true Midlifer experience, interwoven into your day will be other feel-good activities which will include daily yoga practice, and surf lessons with private instructors. FYI these beaches are famous for their surf.

Free time will be made available (promise) so you can explore the meandering streets of Galle and settle in for a sundowner or two.

Phase Two

Amba Estate The Central Highlands

Phase two will be spent exploring the dramatic Central Highlands of Sri Lanka. Here you will stay at the pretty Amba Estate (, which is a community-run organic farm and guesthouse perched above the Ravana-Ella Waterfalls, with views of Ella's Rock and Lipton’s Seat.

Amba produce a range of artisanal teas, coffees, spices and preserves, and work with the local community to support a variety of educational, economic, and environmental initiatives, which you will be introduced to.

Your final night will be spent at the pretty, and oh so stylish boutique hotel called Wallawa, near the airport.


Amba’s old estate farmhouse, and the two neighbouring bungalows operate as full-service guest houses. The accommodation is simple, yet cozy and everyone will be in twin rooms.

Wallawa – twin rooms provided. Single rooms are a supplement.


All meals will be provided, cooked by the lovely ladies who were all former fieldworkers from the village and, as much as possible, use the ingredients sourced from the organic farm or neighbours in the valley. Breakfast usually includes Sri Lankan specialities like hoppers or dosai. For lunch, they typically serve a lighter farmhouse meal, like quiche and salad or soup and roti but will provide picnic lunches for those on hikes, and the default main course at dinner is rice with delicious village-style curries.

Supper is extra but breakfast included.

Days 6 - 8

Experiences Hikes and Wildlife Safari

Wildlife Safari

On the way to the Central Highlands, you will pass through Udawalawe National Park where you will go in search of their wildlife including some of the biggest wild elephant herds in Sri Lanka – so pack your binos.

Hikes and Ella's Peak

The first evening will be spent on a gentle one-hour hike through the dramatic 50-acre forest reserve, exploring the secret cave and thundering waterfalls, finishing off with a sundowner at the ridge overlooking Ella’s Rock before returning to Amba for supper.

The following day you’ll start with another more challenging three-hour (ish) hike, climbing more than 400 meters, to reach the top of Ella’s Rock. Along the way you’ll walk past tea estates, railway lines and a small eucalyptus forest till you finally reach the summit. From the top, you’ll get a panoramic view of Ella’s Gap and Little Adam’s Peak. From there you’ll hike down to Ella town on the other side, to explore and have lunch before heading back to Amba for some tea tasting.

The final day will start with a breakfast picnic up at Lipton’s seat to take in yet more stunning views before the heading back to Colombo for the final night, staying at the oh-so-stylish boutique hotel called Wallawa.

Wallawa is only a 15-minutes’ drive from the airport, yet its lush setting is extremely tranquil, so it will be a perfect place for the end of adventure celebration.

Trip Details & Costs

We can only take min 6, max 10 so it will be on a first come, first served basis

Any questions email Zoë at:

Mon 29th Jan - Weds 7th February


Sri Lanka Midlife
Tekanda Estate + Central Highlands
2024: £2883

Community Development

You will help support village-led social enterprises


Meander through the magical streets of Galle


From the beach, to the tea plantations, to the Central Highlands

Feel good factor

Yoga, surfing, hiking and contributing all part of the mix

Time in, Time out

The itinerary will follow its plan but we promise there will be time for you to chill and do your own thing.

The backbone of this adventure are Charlie and Richard Pembroke, who are living their dream and relocated to Sri Lanka.

They have built the stunning home of Tekanda and are instrumental in Gamata Atak - their community initiative to help make a difference to the women in the rural community where there is a real problem with the ladies finding work outside the traditional home setting.

They have scripted this itinerary to provide contrast, adventure and respite.

Leaper's Highlights

Have a read of what our current Leapers are doing around the world to get a flavour of Leap life...

Misaotra and veloma Madagascar Ellie Harland

Day trips in Cusco and the final project begins Aela Morris

Farming and Teaching in the Karina Community Aela Morris

Namibia week 1: Camera traps, hiking and tree babies Millie Edwards

Settling into Madagascar Life Ellie Harland

Ex Head-Hunters and Mulu National Park Ellie Walton

"The trip exceeded my expectations."

When I signed up I was a little apprehensive as I only knew one person and wasn’t sure how the dynamics of the group would work. As it turned out the group could not have gelled better. The trip exceeded my expectations. I felt we had the chance to give something to the local communities as well as have some fun.

I would highly recommend doing a MidLife Leap – super-duper organised, with attention to detail which meant we were all able to relax and enjoy every minute as we had nothing to think or worry about. It was the most fantastic amazing opportunity that I feel blessed to have experienced.

- Nicci Caswell

"Their passion and committment was infectious."

Being at Oana really was one of the happiest and best experiences of my life and I am going back in 2020.

The hands on conservation work included removing old fencing to enable wildlife migration, building a wildlife hide, putting out hay mangers and setting camera traps for wildlife monitoring - all of which was great fun. On our last day we visited the local village where we had a soup kitchen and had 90 children come along. The children were unforgettable, singing and dancing with huge smiles on their faces.

- Elaine Mackensie Yates

" I would highy recommend this trip"

This was the first time either of us had been to a Middle Eastern and/or desert country. The Leap prepared us very well both culturally and practically - we were advised what kit we would need, what the temperatures and terrain would be like and consequently we had everything we needed.

From the moment we landed in Amman we were swept up in the special Leap cocoon - totally safe and supported but with a sense of adventure and wonder. We had the ease of being part of a group but the luxury of our individual needs being met - at one point, the group split due to fitness differences and both groups enjoyed and experienced the wonder of Petra. Owing to the Leap's Jordan-based contacts, we were able to change and adapt our itinerary on the go and never was this too much trouble. After Petra and Wadi Rum, we ended our trip in indulgence at the Dead Sea having had a fabulous adventure. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip to anyone.

- Charlie and Annie Redmayne

"An extraordinary and memorable trip"

If you are feeling motivated to make a difference and looking for an off grid adventure, have a look at The Leap’s website.

If you enjoy a challenge and want to feel intrepid, you can join a group of like minded individuals for an extraordinary and memorable trip, organised for you by experts. I cannot recommend The Leap more highly.

- Penny Mountbatten

"The most rewarding and valuable trip of my life"

My trip to Namibia will be the platform for the rest of my life. It was vitally important for me to be challenged, tested and taken far away from home. The environment in Namibia is so far removed from the privileged life I lead in England and the enormous personal strain from family illnesses and teenage demands. Namibia was so utterly dramatic in its beauty and so humbling in its simplicity. To be ‘unplugged’ from my life was incredible. It made me ‘regroup’ amongst nature that is so pure - I felt honoured to be there.

Living in tents and being part of a group was fantastic fun. Getting to know myself in that environment was valuable and liberating. So many fears were dispelled by the whole experience.

Thank you for organising a fantastic trip with love and laughter! Thank you for letting me rest when I needed to and encouraging me to ‘push on’ when it mattered. Thank you for the most fabulous memories and happy times.

- Sara Koe

" I would not hesitate to recommend The Leap to any midlifer who wants to challenge themselves and make lifelong friends in the process."

I booked the midlife trip to Peru to fulfil an ambition to see Machu Picchu, to set myself a physical challenge by completing a high altitude trek and to have fun with like-minded people. Well the trip was an unqualified success. Owing to The Leap's association with AASD, we learnt about sustainability and farming in Peru, we worked on their farms and visited indigenous communities that we would not otherwise have had access to. During the first week in Peru, we stayed with Peruvian families while acclimatising to the altitude. These families were incredibly hospitable and the food was delicious. Week 2 meant the high Andes trek - thank goodness I packed everything on the kit list as we certainly needed it - this was undoubtedly the toughest trek I have ever done but also the most rewarding - we did not see any other tourists, we were superbly looked after by our Guide, Ruben and chef, Edgar. We spend 2 nights camping and 1 night in a hostel and we thought that was it but the icing on the cake of our trip was the short Inca trail - another demanding hike but with the reward of the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu at the top - this was truly incredible and a momentous moment of my life. I would not hesitate to recommend The Leap to any midlifer who wants to challenge themselves and make lifelong friends in the process.

- Annie

"Extraordinary and inspiring"

On arrival the trepidation and pre-match nerves soon disappeared and I realised it was the best decision I had ever made. The photos are amazing, but to be there is even better. Having never had a gap year, been camping, been away without family, been to Africa or known anyone on the trip beforehand I was taking a big Leap into the unknown…..and I LOVED every minute. It was a wonderful and unique experience.

I now miss waking up in camp every morning, chatting and laughing with a very special group of now lifelong friends, being inspired by the amazing Dre and Red, looking at the beautiful stars, trekking to the top of mountains to admire the never ending breathtaking views.

The white water rafting and camping on the side of the Orange River towards the end of the 9 days enhanced what had already become the most phenomenal trip. I feel everyone should now make that Midlife Leap and then truly understand why it is so extraordinary and inspiring….

- Alice Fisher

"How we laughed .. I felt reinvigorated"

It was all I had hoped for and with much more. I felt I had a glimpse of a gap year which was exactly what I had wanted. I loved staying in the hostel at Monteverde, testing my nerve on the zip wires and finding I could do it. A great mix of fun and learning.

Throughout we were looked after with kindness and thought. Gently pushing us out of our comfort zones from where I feel we all flew away from our cosy safe nests! In all this I think the Midlife Leap is very clever. We were able to experience a country, get under the skin of it and see it properly, feel comfortable without it seeming we were on a ‘holiday’. Which we weren’t . Volunteering and meeting locals and having Chris guiding us through it all made the ordinary extraordinary . Milly you are brilliant and cajoled and encouraged us keeping up any flagging spirit.

- Nicola Hussey

"Reflect and Reset"

Although I had been promised true wilderness, it wasn’t until we finally arrived in camp that I properly understood that this was exactly what we were getting. Completely off grid, in beautiful surroundings, we were made incredibly welcome by Red and Dre, who then proceeded to put us to work!

What was so extraordinary about the trip was that not only did we feel that what we were doing, along with all the other volunteers, really would make a difference in helping to transform and rewild the landscape in this remote corner of Namibia, but also that by being there as individuals, with no other halves or children to worry about or manage, it was a chance to reflect and to reset. I came home a changed person and cannot recommend the experience highly enough. If you can, just do it!

- Lucy Walsh-Waring

"Quality time with girlfriends, old and new. "

Having not been backpacking at the traditional backpacking age this MidLife Leapers' trip was an opportunity too good to pass up. It was a chance to leave the husband and kids behind, to experience a little bit of what kids do while travelling and to spend quality time with girlfriends, old and new.

I was initially attracted by the opportunity to help conserve the turtles and, despite being there in the turtle ‘low season’, we were exceptionally lucky to be involved in locating and moving a nest of recently laid eggs and to watch newly hatched turtles being released into the ocean. A totally unforgettable experience. At Cirenas we met some inspiring young Ticos and I would love to go back in a year or two to see where their vision and hard work has got them.

Thank you Milly, and Chris on the ground, for organising such a fabulous trip for us. We loved it all - the zip wire, the cloud forest, the baby sloths and the anteater, the turtles, the absolutely delicious food wherever we went, and the scary light aircraft to get us home. An amazing trip.

- LIza Curtis

"Incredible camaraderie and kindness"

During our time we slept in dorms, washed out of a bucket, painted a school, planted shrubs and trees for nesting turtles, swam with whale sharks and manta ray. What struck me through all of our incredible experiences was the camaraderie and kindness of everyone. No-one thought of themselves first. Mosquito spray was given to your pal before you used it yourself. And we're tough old birds! No whingeing at all which was quite something for a bunch of mums who have got used to a comfortable way of live back at home.

The Leap's people on the ground are vital to the smooth-running of anything so off-grid and they found the dream team who were largely locals and knew exactly how the islands ticked and what would work. I think it's brilliant to 'take the leap', venturing outside your comfort zone and realising that at 40/50/60 you've still got what it takes.

- Emma Cripwell

"It was the perfect combination of challenge and fun."

Dear gorgeous Milly,

Just wanted to drop you a note and say from the bottom of my heart how fabulous our trip to Peru was. It was the perfect combination of challenge and fun, mixed together with a group of amazing women and life- affirming experiences. It was a privilege to be part of the group and I am so grateful that Claire asked me to join you all on the adventure, but more importantly the planning that you (very specifically) and your team put into the trip made it so special. Your dedication and hard work, together with your amazing team - Kerri, Reuben, Jo-Lyn (to name but a few) made the trip most memorable.

So grateful for all of it and still remembering the laughs….when’s the next adventure?

Lots of love

Tash xxx

- Tash

"It was freedom, stillness, exhilaration"

‘There were a thousand reasons why I absolutely couldn’t or shouldn’t take my ‘Leap' to Namibia. The most pressing and logistical reasons were my two boys at day school (one only 8) and my husband being half way across the world for work at the same time. However I just couldn’t let it go. There would always be reasons why not. I HAD to make it work. I had wanted to go to Namibia for years and was just really desperate for adventure. Needless to say it was worth every second of the UN-like logistics to get myself out of the door. It was a strike out of my comfort zone (in many layers not perhaps immediately obvious), it was switching off into proper wilderness (no phone reception or WIFI here, just miles and miles of echoing desert), it was back to brilliant basics in our sleeping bags and tents, it was physical work and walking and climbing and rafting, and it was with a group of people, some I knew, most I didn’t with whom we laughed and laughed, nattered and confided, supported and explored with.

It was freedom, stillness, exhilaration. What can I say? DO IT, DO IT, DO IT! Strike out, press your reset button, be BOLD. For all us it was life-affirming, for some a game changer.’

- Sacha Kent

"Soul and mind rebooted and the most amazing group of new friends"

I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope with the sleeping arrangements and roughing it, especially as I’m a contact user and need clean hands and a mirror to get them in, but it wasn’t a problem and all the things I worried about before I left were forgotten once I was there.

I had to pinch myself that we actually swam with manta rays and whale sharks and saw the most perfect beaches and yet balanced this with making other peoples lives better on ‘work days’, when we painted a school and health clinic and made bricks for a school build project.

- Emma O'Grady

"Meaningful adventure has been a wonderful experience"

Going on The Leap MidLife was a great decision for me: spending time with a very entertaining and engaging group of people in the amazing and ancient landscape of Namibia on a meaningful adventure has been a wonderful experience.

Oana is a very special conservation reserve, and the passion, vision and determination of the camp managers has inspired a long term make-a-difference approach in us all. Although I have left Namibia and am now back in England, the memories of a fantastic and happy community thrown together for a purpose under the African skies will stay with me for ever.

- Carrie Watson

"We took in the breathtaking sights of Petra arriving on horseback and foot"

We have wanted to visit Jordan for a long time, but weren’t quite sure how to go about organising the right type of trip. One taking into account the culture, the temperatures, terrain and distances between places. So when we came upon this trip we knew it covered all we needed and more. It had just the right mix of history, sightseeing, adventure, new experiences and rest and relaxation at the end.

We took in the breathtaking sights of Petra arriving on horseback and foot. Our group had split to take into account differing abilities, giving everyone in the group the support they needed. From walking in wadis to a night in the desert, the thrills and adventure continued. The Jordan based team that the Leap have, meant that we were supported at all times and given information that we would not have been party to had we been travelling alone. The trip was rounded off with some rest and relaxation in a Dead Sea resort. Time to reflect on what had been an amazing adventure. Memories made to last a lifetime.

We would highly recommend this trip and the services of Midlife Leap.

- Mark and Tina Foster

"?Jordan was more than I expected in so many ways"

The Jordanians we met were friendly, polite and cheerful and helped us at every stage of the journey. After a whistle stop tour of Amman where we visited roman temples and markets with a huge variety of spices and the largest radishes I have ever seen (the size of apples), we headed down to the desert and at one point below sea level.

This was our first encounter with the Bedouin tribe as we were led on a trek by a Bedouin tribesman who taught us how to make soap from a rubbing a natural plant with water on a rock. As we headed further to Wadi Rum we went past a re enactment of the famous railway attack from the Lawrence of Arabia film, complete with Bedouin horseman attacking the train.

After a night in Petra we left early and started our 15 kms trek from Little Petra to Petra through the desert and along the rock cliff tracks which were stunning due to the scenery and the peace of being alone with a small group and our lovely guide Annas. Petra and the various temples is incredible, justifying the 40 years it took for the workers to build it.

My favourite experience however was Wadi Rum, arriving in the back of a Toyota pick-up truck driven by a 13 year old Bedouin the scenery was like nowhere else I have ever been. Desert flanked by incredible huge rocks and cliffs .. camel trains, completely magical and I wish we could have stayed longer here.

Loved it - add it to your bucket list.

- Guy Whitehead

"The value for money was incredible and The Leap is plainly a great company – not only to deal with buy also to travel with."

Having just returned from the mid-lifer trip to Peru ( Nov 22) at the age of 55, I genuinely didn't think I would get the opportunity to backpack again and feel like an intrepid teenager. We were able to stay, visit and get involved with local NGO projects in areas not usually accessible to the average traveller. Meeting, walking and talking with the locals we met (using my basic O’level Spanish) gave me a deeper understanding of the history and beauty of Peru and just how fascinating a country it is. The trip was beautifully organised by the NGO team in Peru, the homestay experience although very basic was a delight with wonderful food at every meal. The value for money was incredible and The Leap is plainly a great company – not only to deal with buy also to travel with.

Thank you Milly and your team!

Sign me up for the next one....

- Lucy Schoonhoven

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