Professional Birding Tour
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Experience Sri Lanka’s natural heritage and its rich, tropical ecosystem on this 9-day tour of some of the highlights of the island. Explore the lush landscapes of the Sinharaja Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, as well as the diverse, exotic animals, plants and birds that reside there. Meet some of the largest and gentlest species in the animal kingdom in Udawalawe and breathe in the fresh fragrance of the lush green tea plantations that stretch across the hill country.
Sinharaja Rainforest: Recognised as a Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site by UNESCO, Sinharaja Rainforest is quite unlike anywhere else on the island. This vast expanse of intertwined trees, ferns and lianas is one of the few virgin forests left in the world and is home to a myriad of bird, reptile, insect and mammal species.
Udawalawe: Udawalawe National Park and the beautiful Udawalawe Reservoir is a true sanctuary for wild animals. It also houses the Elephant Transit Home, an ethical elephant orphanage that rehabilitates orphaned, lost or injured elephants.
Yala National Park: One of the oldest and most popular national parks in Sri Lanka, this nature reserve is home to a rich and unique collection of flora and fauna, including one of the highest densities of leopards in the world. It also houses several archaeological sites, as the region was the home to several sophisticated ancient civilizations.
Nuwara Eliya: Often referred to as ‘Little England’, this highland community has a British feel to it with its colonial-era bungalows, Tudor-style hotels, well-tended hedgerows and pretty gardens. It is also one of the major tea producing areas in the world and the views are breathtaking.
Hortain Plains: Horton Plains National Park is a protected area in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This area is an important habitat for a number of endemic species of flora and fauna.
- Operated with English-speaking driver/tour guide.
- 8 nights’ accommodation
- 8 Breakfasts
- 8 Dinners
- Arrival airport transfer / Departure airport transfer
- Jeep safari in Yala National Park on day 6
ENTRANCE FEES AND ACTIVITIES:
- Yala National Park, Udawalawe National park, Sinharaja and Horton Plains
- Meet and greet day 1
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals throughout the tour.
- Tips and porterage
- Flights, travel insurance and anything else not stated in the programme
- Entrance fees to places of interest not stated explicitly in inclusions
- The standard hotel check-in time is from 12-14pm (depending on the hotel).
- The standard hotel check-out is at 11am
- Hotel early check-in, late check-out, connecting or adjoining rooms, smoking rooms & non-smoking rooms are subject to availability and are not guaranteed
- The Validity of the passport should be 06 months from the date of departure.
- Please note alcohol will not be served in public areas in hotels and restaurants during religious holidays.
What do I need to bring?
Comfortable and warm clothing is the most suitable for travelling. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or skimpy clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Shoes should be removed before entering a temple or private house. Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay.
Day 1,2,3 Sinharaja:
- Superior Hotel Category = Blue Magpie Lodge or similar 4*
Day 4 Udawalawe:
- Superior Hotel Category = Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort or similar 4*
Day 5,6 Yala:
- Superior Hotel Category = Cinnamon Wild or similar 3*
Day 7,8 Nuwara Eliya:
- Superior Hotel Category = Grand Hotel or similar 4*
- Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVE COLOMBO — SINHARAJA (145km – 4hrs)
Arrive at Bandaranaike International Airport. Upon arrival, you will be met by our representative and you will be introduced to your specialized wildlife guide. The transportation service will then transfer you from the airport to Sinharaja, the journey will last approximately four hours. Enjoy the scenery along the way, as you will be travelling into part of Sri Lanka’s lowland rain forests ecoregion. Upon arrival at the hotel, you will be assisted with check in and then you are free to enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure. Relax and recharge your batteries after your flight, enjoy the hotel’s facilities or take this opportunity to get to know the surrounding areas in advance of your trek tomorrow. Dinner tonight will be served at the hotel before an early night in preparation for a busy day ahead.
- Overnight in Sinharaja. Dinner included.
Day 2 : SINHARAJA
Rise at 5:30 to embark on a trek through the Sinharaja Rainforest. This excursion, lasting three to four hours, will allow you to truly discover this rain-forest which, according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is the last viable area of primary tropical rain-forest in Sri Lanka. A senior biologist will accompany you to talk you through the exquisite flora and fauna of one of the world’s last virgin forests. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. The wildlife you will encounter along the way includes birds; butterflies such as the Ceylon Birdwing, Blue bottle, Tree Nymph, Blue Mormon and the Red Helen; reptiles such as the endemic green pit viper and hump-nosed vipers; and a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Return to the lodge by mid-morning for breakfast and a rest. In the afternoon, enjoy a tour along the village forest trail. This trek will introduce you to local village lifestyle and offers a further opportunity to spot birds and other wildlife. Return to the hotel in time to freshen up ready for dinner.
- Overnight in Sinharaja. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 3 : SINHARAJA
Today is another early start ready for a second trek through the rainforest alongside your wildlife biologist. This morning’s goal is to locate the purple-faced leaf monkey. These monkeys usually live in small groups and are naturally folivorous, a diet that consists primarily of leaves. The animal is a long-tailed species, identified by a mostly brown appearance, dark face and a very shy nature. A few, rare, white-coloured monkeys have also been spotted in the past. Return to the hotel by mid-morning for breakfast. Enjoy a few hours at your leisure before embarking on your final excursion in the rainforest. One of the most interesting and colourful spectacles you may see here are the mixed-species foraging flocks of birds. Studies have revealed that some flocks contain up to 48 different species of birds, including 12 endemic species such as the red-faced malkoha, the Sri Lanka blue magpie, the ashy-headed laughing thrush, and the white-faced starling, Sri Lanka spot-winged thrush, Serandib scops owl and the green-billed coucal.
- Overnight in Sinharaja. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 4 : SINHARAJA — UDAWALAWE (110km – 3.5hrs)
After finishing your breakfast, check out of your hotel and transfer to Udawalwe for the dry zone elephant and birding experience. Upon arrival, enjoy a few hours to rest before embarking on a drive through Udawalawe National Park. The extensive reservoir and stretches of tall grasses and trees here make this park the ideal environment for elephants and, as such, it is a popular location for elephant watching. You will definitely catch a glimpse of the gentle giants here. Other wildlife, such as the spotted deer, the sambar deer and many different species of birds can also be observed at Udawalawe. A few of the species you may encounter during the drive include: large prinia, ashy prinia, changeable hawk eagle, crested serpent eagle, common kingfisher, Sri Lankan jungle fowl elephants, spotted deer, water buffalo and the golden jackal. You may also encounter various butterflies including: Crimson Rose, Jezebel, Common Gull, Pioneer and the Common Albatross. In the evening, return to your hotel for dinner and an early night.
- Overnight in Udawalawe. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 5 : UDAWALAWE — YALA (110km – 2.45hrs)
Set the alarms early for a morning drive through Udawalawe National Park departing at 5:30. Sunrise is a wonderful time for animal watching and your expert wildlife guide will be on hand to give you all the information you may need about the park’s diverse flora and fauna. As the sun comes up over the grasslands, you will be able to capture some fantastic photographs of the wildlife and stunning scenery. After approximately three hours, return to your hotel for breakfast and prepare to embark on your next wildlife adventure in Yala. Check out of the hotel and enjoy the drive from Udawalawe back towards the coast and into the Yala National Park area. We will make a stop en route at some salterns to catch a glimpse of waders foraging in the saltwater. Upon arrival in Yala, check in to the Cinnamon Wild resort and spend the rest of the day at your leisure in the resort. Enjoy the facilities and look out for wildlife as you enjoy dinner in the resort restaurant.
*Overnight in Yala. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 6 : YALA
Wake up early and proceed to your Jeep Safari in Yala National Park, the home of the leopard. Yala National Park is one of the largest and oldest national parks in Sri Lanka and it is home to endangered animals such as the Sri Lankan sloth bear and the Sri Lankan elephant. It is also one of the best places to spot the Sri Lankan leopard in its natural habitat. It has a tawny coat with dark spots and close-set rosettes, smaller than those of its Indian cousin. Being the largest cat in Sri Lanka, leopards fearlessly prowl the jungle and open areas of Yala, even in the daytime. They love to bask in the early morning and late evening hours. Leopards select open grasslands and sandy areas of Yala to relax when they will roll over, yawn, stretch and groom their bodies. This is a truly remarkable sight. Return to your hotel by mid-morning for breakfast and some free time to relax and enjoy the hotel facilities. In the afternoon, enjoy your second safari around Yala National Park, where you will have another opportunity to spot leopards and the many other species of mammals and birds that reside in the park.
- Overnight in Yala. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 7 : YALA – NUWARA ELIYA (180km – 5hrs)
Enjoy breakfast at the resort then prepare to head into Sri Lanka’s hill country. Today’s destination is Nuwara Eliya, often referred to as ‘Little England’. This town was a hill country retreat for British colonialists and tea planters because of its temperate climate. Many of the buildings retain features from the colonial period such as the Queen’s Cottage, General’s House, Grand Hotel, Hill Club, St Andrew’s Hotel and Town Post Office. New hotels are often built and furnished in the colonial style. Nuwara Eliya is still one of the major tea producing areas in the world and the views are breathtaking. You can also spot many highland species of birds here. Later in the day, join an excursion to the Bomburu Ella Waterfall. This is the widest waterfall in Sri Lanka and is an impressive sight. Bomburu Ella forest is also a fantastic place for spotting more highland birds. In the evening, return to the hotel for dinner and a chance to enjoy the cooler highland temperatures.
- Overnight in Nuwara Eliya. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 8 : NUWARA ELIYA — HORTON PLAINS — NUWARA ELIYA (60km – 2.5hrs)
Today, breakfast is followed by a trip to Horton Plains and a full day in the cloud forest. Enjoy a 4 km hike through Horton Plains National Park, which sits on an undulating plateau at an altitude of over 2,000 metres. This park consists of montage grassland and thick, misty forest. Sri Lanka’s second and third highest mountains, Mount Kirigalpotta (2,395 m) and Totupolakanda (2,359 m) are visible at the edge of the plateau, adding a stunning backdrop to the park. As you walk, admire the landscape, the endemic lizards and birds, the sambar deer grazing in the mist of the cloud forest and watch highland bird flocks on the plains. The Central Highlands of Sri Lanka has been a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site since 2010. The Central Highlands consists of Horton Plains National Park, Peak Wilderness Protected Area and Knuckles Conservation Forest. This area is considered a biodiversity hotspot and is home to an extraordinary range of flora and fauna, including several endangered species such as the western-purple-faced langur, the Horton Plains slender loris and the Sri Lankan leopard.
- Overnight in Nuwara Eliya. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 9 : DEPARTURE NUWARA ELIYA – COLOMBO
After breakfast, prepare for your departure and transfer to Bandaranaike International Airport in time for your onward or return flight. Although this is the last day of your journey through some of the most fascinating locations in Sri Lanka, we hope that your memories and photographs of this remarkable, colourful island nation will last a lifetime.
- Breakfast included.