Exploring Sri Lanka’s Highlands
At present, a mere 2% of Sri Lanka’s precious cloud forest survives. It is one of the most threatened and fragile eco-systems in the country. This tour is designed to introduce the diverse and unique highland fauna and flora of Sri Lanka.
Itinerary at a Glance
Pick up at 6.00 a.m. from Colombo and leave for Jetwing St Andrew’s, Nuwara Eliya for two nights. En route at Kithulgala visit Kelani Valley Forest Reserve for birding by corssing the the Kelani River in a dugout canoe. The reserve 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. Lunch at Kithulgala Resthouse.
Afterwards proceed to Nuwara Eliya. Jetwing St. Andrews is a three star hotel which still preserves the charms of the colonial era with its typical “English hill country” ambience. The luxurious rooms offer TV, telephone, mini bar and piped music. The hotel is two minutes away from the Nuwara Eliya golf course and forty-five minutes from the cloud forests of Horton Plains National Park.
Morning visit Horton Plain National Park for montane endemics and spectacular landscapes. Look for the montane endemics Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon Sri Lanka White Eye and Dull Blue Flycatcher. In addition we may look for Scaly Thrush (race imbricata of White’s Thrush), Brown Wood Owl, Eurasian Blackbird (race kinnissi), Large-billed Leaf Warbler, Grey Wagtail Indian Blue Robin, Zitting Cisticola, Pacific Swallow, Mountain Hawk Eagle, Crested Goshawk and Indian Pied Bush ChatIn. In addition to Cloud Forests there are also open grasslands in the lower slopes, which serves as feeding grounds for herbivores such as Sambar, Mouse Deer, Barking Deer and Black-naped Hare. The arboreal mammals consist of Bear Monkey, Giant Squirrel & Toque Monkey.
Afternoon, visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens, for habituated Bear Monkey (Highland race of purple faced leaf Monkey). More opportunities for montane birds.
Morning, birding around the hotel nature trails and nearby Pedro Forest Reserve with your naturalist guide. After lunch return to Colombo via Kandy.