Birding & Nature Tour (14 days - 13 Nights)

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 01 : Arrival – Bolgoda

Our representative will meet you at the Katunayake International Airport upon your arrival to Sri Lanka and transfer to Bolgoda.

Situated close to the capital city of Colombo; just about one hour’s drive, on the banks of the famed Bolgoda Lake and low wetland mangroves, it is a nature lover’s paradise.Bolgoda Lake, spread over 400 sq.km is one of the largest freshwater Lakes in Sri Lanka. During the Dutch Period (1 657-1796 AD), Bolgoda Lake was extensively used by the Dutch to ferry people and goods from the upper stream of Kalu Ganga, particularly, from Ratnapura District. The lake was utilized as a very popular mode of transport for timber from Sinharaja Forest areas, by log crafts.

The rich bio diversity of the Lake provides home to varieties of Aquatic and semi Aquatic plants, 45 species of Fish, 40 species of Reptiles, 16 species of amphibians, 97 species of Avian and 31 species of Mammals representing approximately 1/3 of the total fauna of the Island and 1/10 of Endemics. This is also a paradise for water sports. The Sports fishing is one of the major activities followed by boating, wind-surfing, water skiing, sailing, speed boating and rowing.

Dinner and overnight stay at Thotupola Lakeside Retreat.

Day 02 : Bolgoda - Bodhinagala – Sinharaja

Morning Bird watching trails in a boat. Leaving to Sinharaja Forest via Bodinagala after a late breakfast.

BODHINAGALA is a forest reserve belonging to the western zone category, with an extent of about 50 acres and is situated at Ingiriya in the Kalutara district. This small patch of lowland, being a natural rainforest, is home to many species of endemic flora and fauna. It is close to Colombo and therefore holds a specific importance.The bird life of this area has very high species diversity, with 151 being recorded, of which 9 are endemic. The most important record was the identification of the Green-billed Coucal, which is regarded as one the rarest endemic birds in Sri Lanka. We will see many more species including the Alexandrine Parakeet, Brown-headed Barbet and the Brown-breasted and Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers.

Lunch to be taken at a suitable location. Proceed to Sinharaja. Check in at your Campsite located in the border of Sinharaja rainforest for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 03 : Sinharaja

Full day forest exploration with packed meals.

Sinharaja Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is regarded as a virgin rainforest and home for a variety of birds including 20 endemics out of 34, reptiles, mammals, butterflies, freshwater fishes and lots of species of trees with a large proportion of those being indigenous to the country and some more specifically endemic to Sinharaja itself. The day’s highlights will be a list of birds and wildlife in Sinharaja. Birds like Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Noisy Orange-billed Babbler, elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie are the Mammals like Purple-faced Langur, Toque Monkey, Wild Boar, Sambur, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer etc… and Lizards like Rough-horned Lizard (Ceratophoraaspera) and the Hump-nosed Lizard (Lyriocephalusscutatus) can be found in Sinharaja. Invertebrates include the endemic Common Birdwing butterfly and the inevitable leeches.

Back to the hotel after a memorable walk inside this virgin forest. Dinner and overnight stay at Rainforest Edge.

Day 04 : Sinharaja - Udawalawe

Leave for Udawalawe after the breakfast at Rainforest Edge.Check in at Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort and leave for an evening safari at Udawalawe National Park.

Udawalawe National Park is the best place in the world to view large herds of Asian Elephant throughout the year. The park is a mixture of abundant Teak plantations, grasslands, scrub jungle and riverine ‘gallary forest’ along the Walawe River and Mau Ara. Many elephants are attracted to the park because of the Udawalawe reservoir, with a herd of about 400 believed to be permanently resident. Udawalawe is an important habitat for water birds and Sri Lankan Elephants.

Back to the hotel upon the completion of the safari drive and rest of the day at leisure.Dinner and overnight stay at Grand Udawalawe Safari Resort.

Day 05 : Udawalawe - Kalametiya

Early morning leave for another safari in Udawalawe National Park with packed breakfast.

This safari will be a remarkable birding experience. The endemic species of bird called Red Faced Malkoha has its favorite habitat while Serpent Eagles, Hawk Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles, Black Eagles, Black Capped Bulbuls, Racket Tailed Drongos, Malabar Pied Horn Bills, White Necked Storks, Open Bills, Ibis, Shama are commonly seen. The forest Nightingale, Strol Billed Kingfishers and peacocks are found in fair numbers.

Back to the park entrance upon finishing the morning safari and leave for Kalametiya. Check in at your hotel in Kalametiya and get ready for the visit to Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary.

Kalametiya is a coastal wetland area situated on the picturesque southeastern coast of Sri Lanka. Located 215km from Colombo, has an especially rich bio-diversity and because of this feature it was declared as a Sanctuary in 1984. The Kalametiya lagoon is a brackish water body, lies adjoining the Hungama village. The lagoon is separated from the sea by a narrow strip of beach and the flood plain, reed beds and Mangrove forests are home to an extensive range of Sri Lanka’s rich array of indigenous bird life and other fauna. Numerous species of migrant birds such as Garganey and Pintail Duck, Redshanks, Godwits and Snipe can be found in Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary.

Back to the hotel after the birding trail at Kalametiya Sanctuary. Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel in Kalametiya.

Day 06 : Kalametiya - Bundala - Yala

After breakfast, we proceed to Yala via Bundala.Leave for a Safari drive at Bundala National park which is well recognized bird sanctuary in Sri Lanka. About 100 species of water birds inhabit the wetland habitats in Bundala, half of them being migrant birds. Greater Flamingo which visits in large flocks of over 1,000 individuals, from Rann of Kutch of India being the special feature. Other water birds which are present in large numbers include Lesser Whistling Duck, Garganey, Little Cormorant, Indian Cormorant, Grey Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Asian Openbill Stork, Painted Stork, medium sized waders, Tringa subspecies, and small waders, Charadrius subspecies. Black-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Eurasian Coot are rare birds that inhabit the national park.

Back at the park entrance after the safari drive and proceed to Yala & check in at your hotel in Yala. Leave for an evening safari at Yala National Park.

Yala National Park is well recognized as one of the best parks in the world to observe leopards. The leopards at Yala are largely considered as having the highest density of leopards in the world. Those are a subspecies of leopard native to Sri Lanka which is known as Sri Lanka Leopard (Pantheraparduskotiya) which is considered to be endangered. The other biggest draws in Yala are Elephants and sloth bears. A game drive could yield a Black-naped Hare, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Hanuman Langur, Toque Monkey, Stripe-necked and Ruddy Mangooses, Wild Boar, Jackal, Land and Water Monitor and Marsh Crocodiles. At the end of the Northeast Monsoon (February) the park is frequented by butterflies.

After the evening safari we will be back at hotel for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 07 : Yala – NuwaraEliya

Early morning we will do a safari drive with packed breakfast to try for another set of wildlife. After the safari, you will be transferred to NuwaraEliya via Bandarawela.

Check in at Avian Breeze. You are free to walk in the vicinity and the NuwaraEliya town on your own. Back to Avian Breeze for dinner and overnight stay.

Day 08 : NuwaraEliya – Horton Plains - Kithulgala

With a packed breakfast we will travel to Horton Plains early in the morning.

Horton Plains (MahaEliya) National Park is the national park which is located in the highest altitude in Sri Lanka covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. Being the home for 24 species of mammals, 87 species of birds, 9 species of reptiles and 8 species of amphibians Horton Plains offers nature enthusiasts a remarkable experience. A large herd of Sri Lankan Sambar Deer roam the park and other mammal species found in the park include Kelaart's Long-clawed Shrews, Toque Macaques, Purple-faced Langurs, Rusty-spotted Cat, Sri Lankan Leopards, Wild boars, Stripe-necked Mongooses, Sri Lankan Spotted Chevrotains, Indian Muntjacs, and Grizzled Giant Squirrels. This is the only National Park in Sri Lanka in which visitors are allowed to walk.

Back to the park entrance upon finishing the nature walk to leave for Kithulgala. Visit a Tea Plantation and a Tea Factory on your way to Kandy where you will be able sip a Cup of Fresh Sri Lankan Tea. Check in at your hotel in Kithulagal and get ready for an evening visit to Kithulgala Rainforest.

The Kithulgala Rainforest has most of the rainforest bird species that are found at the World Biosphere Reserve at Sinharaja, although in lower numbers. However, the secondary forest and cultivation at Kithulgala is more open than the pristine woodlands of Sinharaja, and elusive endemic species like Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Green-billed Coucal and Spot-winged Thrush may be easier to see. Back to the Hotel for Dinner and overnight stay.

Day 09 – Kithulgala – Kandy

Breakfast at the Hote. Before the breakfast you can observe the birds in the banks of the Kelani River. A White Water Rafting Trip in Kelani River is an optional activity before you depart to Kandy.Lunch to be taken at a suitable location. Check in at your hotel in Kandy. Visit Udawattekele Sanctuary for a birding trail in the evening.

Udawattekele sanctuary is famous for its extensive avifauna. A variety of floral species are present in the sanctuary. The forest is also of religious importance as it is widely used as a meditation hermitage from the ancient times. Vegetation comprises fairly dense forest, mostly plantation and secondary formations. About 80 species of bird have been recorded from the area. Some of the common birds are Layard’s Parakeet, Gold fronted and blue winged Leafbirds, Spotted and Emerald Doves, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Yellow-fronted, Crimson-fronted and Brown headed barbets and Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher.

Back to the Hotel. Visit Temple of Tooth in the evening. A visit to a Cultural Show could be arranged upon your request at an extra cost.Dinner and overnight stay at your Hotel in Kandy.

Day 10 : Kandy

Breakfast at the Hotel. Visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage to witness the baby jumbos wondering around their cramped foster home or bottle fed and bathed by their human foster fathers at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, which is the home to some 60 or more elephant orphans. This is a place you will really enjoy and never forget. Most orphans accustomed to their curious human visitors are harmless. Bathing time at Ma Oya just in front of the orphanage is sharp at 10.00am and 2.00pm. Feeding time is about an hour earlier.

Lunch to be taken at a place of your choice. Visit Peradeniya Botanical Garden on your way back to Kandy.Peradeniya Botanical Garden is 147 acres in extent started in 1374 as a pleasure garden of the kings of Kandy. There are more than 500 species of trees and plants. Some are rare &endemic as well as flora from the tropical world. Spice Garden on Orchid House is more popular with tourists. Back to your Hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at your Hotel in Kandy.

Leave for NuwaraEliya after the breakfast. En route we will stop at Kithugala.

Day 11 : Kandy - Sigiriya

Proceed to Sigiriya to catch the remaining dry zone birds. Visit Dambulla Cave Temple en route. Dambulla, an ancient city, is known for its beautiful Cave temples and a huge Buddha statue. The history of the 5 caves containing over 150 images of Buddha goes back to 1st century BC when king Valagambahu took refuge here. This place is worth visiting not only for the cave temple, but also for the beautiful view over the countryside you can get from the hill.Proceed to Sigiriya and check in at your hotel in Sigiriya. Birding trail in the hotel premises in the evening.Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel in Sigiriya.

Day 12 : Sigiriya - Negombo

Breakfast at the hotel. Climb the gigantic Rock Fortress after the breakfast.

The significant Rock Fortress is one of the major attractions in this miracle of Asia. Due to the shape of a lion (the paws of which could still be seen) this wonderful fortress is called the “Lions Rock”. The Sigiriya frescoes, fifth century paintings found on the rock, the paintings of female figures preserved in depressions on the rock-face. The water garden in Sigiriya is another unique attraction where the rock fountains in the water garden are still in action. The two water tanks in the summit, used for bathing and drinking, still fill with rain water, but a sophisticated pumping system had been used to fill the tanks from a lake at the foot of the rock.

Leave for Negombo, once you are back to the Rock foot. Check in at your hotel in Negombo and the rest of the day at leisure on the beach. Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel in Negombo.

Day 13 : Negombo

Breakfast at the hotel. Leave for a Birding Boat Ride in Muthurajawela Marshland.

Muthurajawela Marsh is the largest saline coastal peat bog in Sri Lanka, and covers an area of some 3,068 hectares and runs alongside the Indian Ocean. Together with the contiguous Negombo Lagoon (3,164 hectares), Muthurajawela forms an integrated coastal wetland system of high biodiversity and ecological significance. Muthurajawela bears staggering species of flora and fauna. Numerically 192 flora and 209 fauna, excluding 102 species of birds have been discovered and 19 of them migratory. Visitors may see water birds such as herons, egrets in abundance in the lagoon and the marsh.

Back to the Hotel. Evening at leisure on the beach. Dinner and overnight stay at your hotel in Negombo.

Day 14 – Negombo - Departure

Leave for Airport after the breakfast to fly back to your home or to your next destination in your holiday plan.

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