Sri Lanka is an island paradise which boasts a rich natural heritage, with amazing flora and fauna. The island is also regarded as a biodiversity hotspot and teams with endemic birds, reptiles, amphibians as well as plant species found nowhere else on earth. With numerous man-made lakes and rivers running through its interior, lush tropical rainforests, mangroves and coastal lagoons, misty highlands laden with waterfalls and dry zone scrub jungles, Sri Lanka comprises of a wide range of picturesque landscapes and natural habitats.
This exciting new holiday explores the dry lowlands, central highlands and the tropical lowland rainforests designed for viewing endemic species as well as resident species found across the country. During safaris to Yala other wildlife including Leopard, Sloth Bear, Asian Elephants and Mugger Crocodile may be encountered. One can expect to see around 200 species which would include all or most of the 34 endemics and a number of migrant species. We will have a local expert guide throughout alongside a WalkingWomen guide.
Price includes:11 nights’ full board accommodation; local expert guide; all transport in private minibus; jeep safaris. Single rooms available if you book early – £20 per night supplement.
Not included: flight to Colombo; visa; tips.
Itinerary (subject to change)
DAY 01 Head off on your overnight flight to Colombo.
DAY 02 Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, we will be welcomed by our guide, and travel to Negombo (20 min drive). Check into our hotel and spend the remainder of the day at leisure.
DAY 03 Early checkout from our hotel and we will then head towards Kitulgala, (4 hours drive). En-route our guide will stop at select places to see some resident species. Upon reaching Kitulgala, check into our hotel and go on a short birding tour, with special emphasis on the endemic species.
DAY 04 We venture out in the early morning across the river, into the spellbinding Makandawa Forest Reserve – a lowland rainforest, rich in biodiversity. Many of the endemics species such as the Serendib Scops Owl, Green Billed Coucal, Chestnut Backed Owlet can be seen in this forest, along with few resident species such as the Forest Eagle Owl.
DAY 05 Early morning, if time allows, we go on one more birding trip around the Makandawa Forest. After checkout, we head towards Nuwara Eliya (3 hours drive). After checking into our hotel, we go on a birding tour in the hope of spotting highland species such as the Yellow Eared Bulbul, Dull Blue Flycatcher etc
DAY 06 Early morning, we head out with a packed breakfast towards Horton Plains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a park rich in biodiversity and birdlife. Keep a special eye out for the elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush or “Arrenga” , which is one of the most sought after endemic birds on the island. Also, the secretive Sri Lanka Bush Warbler.Return back to Nuwara afterwards, and continue birding in around the town. Our local guide will know many “secret” locations and will take us to see as many species aspossible.
DAY 07 After an early checkout with packed breakfast, we head down towards Yala (4 hours’ drive),
En route we may have time to stop at Welimada, a private property which is known for Brown Wood Owl. In the afternoon, we head towards Yala National Park for our first safari. Be on the look out for many of the lowland species including the endemic Sri Lanka Woodshrike. Besides birds we may also spot the iconic leopard, the sloth bear and elephant as well as many other mammal species.
DAY 08 Today we head to Bundala National Park, which is a RAMSAR wetland and a great place to find waders and other waterbirds. In the afternoon, we spend time in the Tissa and Debarawewa wetlands. These lakes host an amazing array of waterbirds such as Watercock and many species of Egret and Kingfishers. Also you will go to village homes and lands, where there are several species of owl, such as the Collared Scops Owl, Jungle Owlet and Brown Fish Owl.
DAY 09 Today we have another opportunity for an early morning safari in Yala National Park. After checkout we head towards Sinharaja (3 hours drive). Upon reaching Sinharaja, we go birding in the surrounding village and forest looking out for mixed feeding flocks which include rare endemics like the White Faced Starling, Ashy Headed Laughing Thrush and the Red Face Malkoha.
DAY 10, 11, 12 On these final days we spend our time birding inside the stunning National Reserve around Sinaraja as well as the surrounding village areas on the look out for both endemic species as well as rare residents.
DAY 13 Depart the hotel in the early morning and travel to the airport in time to catch your flight back home. The journey is around 2 hours 15 minutes.