Nature Photography Sri Lanka
The tour below is designed to provide opportunities for a wide variety of natural history subjects. However it is biased towards the large mammals including leopards & elephants
Arrive at the Bandaranayake International Airport, Katunayake and transfer to Cinnamon Bey, Beruwala for one night.
After breakfast leave Rainforest Eco Lodge, Sinharaja. for two nights. En-route visit Morapitiya Forest Reserve for lowland endemics such as Green-billed Coucal.
Full day birding at Sinharaja Rainforest (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) for lowland endemics and mixed species bird flocks. According to a study of the mixed species bird on average 42 individual birds occur in the flocks, which makes this world’s largest mixed species bird flock. The mixed species Bird flock study of Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered as the World’s longest studied bird flock study. Birding highlights include Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Scaly Thrush.
Morning walk at Sinharaja. Afternoon leave for Jetwing Yala, Yala for four nights.
Morning and Aftrnoon, game drive to Yala National Park . According to the Leopard Research, under the Jetwing Research Initiative Yala Block 1 has the highest density of Leopards in the world. Yala therefore offers one of the best chances in Asia to see Leopards. You may also see Elephant, Sloth Bear, Sambhur, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Stripe-necked, Brown & Ruddy Mongooses, Black-naped Hare & several civet species. In the water holes you may see Mugger Crocodile, Painted Stork, Lesser Whistling Teal, Black-headed Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Great, Median & Little Egrets & the rare Black-necked Stork.
Morning and Afternoon, game drive to Yala National Park , with emphasis on elephants and leopards.
Morning game drive to Bundala National Park for dry zone birds and other fauna and flora.
Evening visit Tissa wetlands
After breakfast leave for Jetwing St Andrews, Nuwara Eliya for two nights. En route, visit ancient monastic ruins of Buduruvagala . Pause at Ella Gap for landscape photography.
Morning, visit Horton Plains National Park. Walk though the grasslands and Cloud Forests to a popular viewpoint know as World’s end, which is an escapement with a 870 m drop. The park sensational view points and no better place you would have asked for if you’re a couple who enjoy the beauty of superb landscapes. Horton Plains offers excellent opportunities to photograph Sambar, Sri Lanka’s largest species of deer which are seen near the entrance.
After breakfast visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens for habituated purple faced leaf Monkeys. More opportunities for montane birds. After lunch, leave for Hunas Falls Hotel by Amaya, Elkaduwa for two nights. Visit the sacred Temple of the Tooth. Night Trail for amphibians and forest geckos.
Full day at Knuckles for montane fauna and flora, some of which is confined to this range of mountains.
After breakfast leave for Kassapa Lion Rock, Sigiriya for two nights. Birding around the Sigiriya Sanctuary, where you can see dry zone birds. Look for Orange-headed Thrush, Purple Sunbird, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, White-rumped Shama and Shahin. Look for also see the rare Blue-eared Kingfisher around the Sigiriya Moat. You may also visit the World Heritage Site of Sigiriya Rock Fortress to see frescos of celestial nymphs. This 5th century AD fortress palace was built by King Kasyappa, but suspected to have been in use by Mahayana Buddhists for many centuries previously. The rock is an inselberg, which dominates the landscape and was both a military refuge as well as an aesthetic refuge for king who was a patron of the arts.
After breakfast visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa (A UNESCO World Heritage Site), the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Visit the world famous rock-cut Buddha statues of Gal Vihara and the Parakrama Samudra (‘Sea of Parakrama’) a 2500-hectare man made reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I (1153 –1186 AD) with a capacity of 134 million cubic meters. Birding highlights include seeing a large colony of Rose-ringed Parakeets which holds the Lion’s share of the nest holes found on the tall Colon Trees (Adina cordifolia). We also look for the endemic Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, well-camouflaged Blue-winged Leafbird, highly vocal Large Cuckooshrike, the beautiful songster White-rumped Shama and the migrants Forest Wagtail, Asian Brown Flycatcher and Indian Pitta. Afternoon at leisure or walk in the hotel’s birding walks. The hotel holds a checklist of 130 species of birds.In the evening, game drive to Minneriya National Park for elephants.
After breakfast leave for Jetwing Lagoon, Negombo for one night. En-route visit Dambulla Rock Temple. En-route visit Dambulla which is famous for its rock paintings and rock temples and is one of the most important sites for Buddhist pilgrimage. Dambulla leaves a lasting impression on many visitors. The heady mix of ancient art and fervent religious activity combined with the spiritual location leaves many visitors overwhelmed by the experience.
After breakfast transfer to airport for departure