Bird Watching & Ancient Cities
Arrival in Sri Lanka and Transfer to Villa Talangama, Colombo for one night. Afternoon walk along Talangama Lake and birding highlights include Black and Yellow Bitters.
After breakfast leave for Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya for two nights. Afternoon visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which was the pleasure capital of a single king, called Kashyapa in the 5 Th centuries A.D.
After breakfast visit 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 metres. Birding highlights include Wooly-necked Stork, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Large Cuckoo Shrike and Coppersmith Barbet. Afternoon, visit Minneriya National Park for Elephants. During September and October, over 300 elephants gather on the receding shores of the Minneriya Tank. ‘The Gathering’ of Elephants at Minneriya is one of those awesome spectacles, which should rank alongside better-known wildlife spectacles such as the migration of wildebeest in Africa.
After breakfast leave for Hunas Falls, Kandy for two nights. En route visit Dambulla Cave Temple, which is famous for its rock paintings and rock temples and is one of the most important sites for Buddhist pilgrimage.
Morning, visit Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, which is an object of veneration to Buddhists and the most important sacred relic in the country. Afternoon visit the endemics here including the noisy Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul and Brown-capped Babbler. Other forest birds include the Gold-fronted & Blue-winged Leafbird, Emerald Dove, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Brown-breasted Flycatcher and Chestnut-headed Bee-eater. More than one species of the beautiful kingfishers are found here including the Stork-billed, and Common Kingfisher. The Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher is sometimes seen beside the lake.
After breakfast leave for Sisira’s River Lounge, Kithulgala for two nights. Afternoon Cross the Kelani River in a dugout canoe and reach the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve, which is a lowland tropical rainforest rich in endemic fauna and flora. The Kelani Valley Forest Reserve is ideal for any missed lowland endemics such as Sri Lanka Myna, Green-billed Coucal, Spot-winged Thrush, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Brown-capped Babbler and Red-faced Malkoha.
Full days birding at Kelani Valley Forest Reserve.
After breakfast leave for Jetwing St Andrews, Nuwara Eliya for two nights. Afternoon visit Victoria Park for Himalayan migrants Kashmir Flycatcher, Pied Thrush Indian Pitta and Indian Blue Robin. Other highlights include Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Hill White-eye and Dull blue Flycatcher.
Morning visit Horton Plains National Park to see Cloud Forests and rare montane fauna, which include the endemic Rhino-horned Lizard, which was featured in Charles Darwin’s monumental work on evolution, Bear Monkey, Giant Squirrel and Sambhur. 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. We also look for endemic birds Yellow-eared Bulbul and Sri Lanka Hill White-eye and Dull blue Flycatcher. Afternoon city tour of Nuwara Eliya.
After breakfast leave for Jetwing Yala for two nights. Afternoon visit Sithulpahuwa – ancient hermitage.
Morning and afternoon safari at Yala National Park, according to the Leopard Research sponsored under the Jetwing Research Initiative Yala Block 1 has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world. Yala therefore offers one of the best chances in Asia to see Leopards. Other large animals you may see include Elephant, Sloth Bear, Mugger Crocodile, Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, Jackal, Grey Langur and Mongoose. Birding highlights include Malabar Pied Hornbill, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Black-necked Stork.
After breakfast leave for Martin’s Simple Lodge, Sinharaja (Basic) for two nights. Afternoon visit 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
Full days birding at Sinharaja Rainforest.
After breakfast leave for Jetwing Blue, Negombo for one night.
Transfer to International Airport.