This one-of-a-kind birding tour will take you across diverse climatic zones in Sri Lanka to explore and observe some of Sri Lanka’s most unique avifauna and other wonders of nature.
Starting with the endemic birds in Kitulgala where you will explore the Makandawa rainforest, we will then head to the Sinharaja Rainforest which is home to 95% of the endemic bird species of Sri Lanka. You will do your birding for a few days in Udawalawe, Yala & Bundala to bag all the beautiful dry zone forests which provide refuge to a variety of bird species as well as other wild fauna. We go to Horton Plains National Park, Nuwara Eliya & Hanthana Mountain Range are some of the locations where you will be able to explore hill-country bird species. Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary in Chilaw is one of Sri Lanka’s 6 RAMSAR sites that you will cover before you depart and witness various wetland birds.
Your accommodation will consist of handpicked hotels and glamping sites, designed to minimize time spent in travel. This will allow you to have the maximum time to focus on your holiday in Sri Lanka and enjoy your accommodation, destinations, and the amazing cuisine.
Ideal for: Bird lovers who are eager to explore the wilderness and admire the beauty of these creatures. Solo travellers/ couples/friends/families with kids and teenagers / small groups consisting of friends and family are welcome.
Highlights at a glance
- Birding in Kitulgala for the endemic species and nocturnal birds.
- Birding in a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site; Sinharaja Rainforest.
- Capturing dry zone species in Udawalawe, Yala and waders in Bundala National Parks.
- Hill Country birding at Nuwara Eliya & Horton Plains National Park.
- Learn the process of making the world's finest Ceylon Tea.
- Hanthana Mountain Range for more birds plus a variety of plants.
- Get blessed with the Buddhist rituals at the most sacred Temple of Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy.
- Birding in 2 of six Ramsar Sites in Sri Lanka; Bundala National Park & Anawilundawa Sanctuary.
Kitulgala, located in western Sri Lanka, is considered to be one of the most important holdings of the country’s biodiversity. Recently, Kitulgala has started attracting outdoor enthusiasts to its beautiful setting, used in 1956 for the filming of the Academy Award-winning ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’. Trek along its nature trails and forests ideal for bird watching, or go canyoneering through rocky gorges. Prior to the two-hour river run, you will be given instructions on paddling techniques and river rescue procedures. During this wilderness adventure, paddle down pristine water and exciting, class 2 to 3+ rapids.
The day will start with a walk at the Makandawa rainforest which is considered to be a birdwatcher’s paradise. It is home to a large number of endemic and migratory birds. Some of the key species to observe at the rainforest are the Black Eagle, the Trogon, Sri Lanka Orange-billed babbler, Chestnut backed Owlet, the Blue Magpie and the Red-faced Malkoha. In addition, it also provides refuge to a significant diversity of mammals, insects and amphibians.
Your morning immersed in the calmness of the forest will be followed by the adrenaline rush brought on by white water rafting. Make your way through the strong rapids of the river with an experienced guide and embrace a truly memorable experience.
After an exciting afternoon you will go on a relaxing night walk to observe the many intriguing nocturnal birds in the area and retire to your hotel in Kitulgala for the night.
After breakfast you will then be taken to the Sinharaja rainforest, which is recognised as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Another highlight of this forest is the mixed-species of bird flocks, averaging up to 42 individual species, which make this the world’s largest mixed-species bird flock. The mixed-species bird flock study of the Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered the World’s longest bird flock study. Birding highlights include: the Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Scaly Thrush. After lunch, check-in to your hotel in Sinharaja before a bird-watching tour in the forest. We have also planned a night birding trail, where you may spot some of Sri Lanka’s nocturnal species including the Chestnut-backed Owlet and Serendib Scops Owl. Your overnight stay will be at a hotel selected given its close proximity to the forest.
Following an early breakfast, enjoy a day of exploration (with packed lunches) in the beautiful Sinharaja rain forest where we will search for more wet lowland forest birds including endemics. Depending on your interest, our guide will also help you to identify many butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles, forest mammals and other wildlife. If you are feeling up to it, you could also do a night-walk along the peripheries of the reserve. At the close of the day, you will spend the night at a hotel close to Sinharaja Forest.
Another full day Bird Trail in Sinharaja Rainforest, is one that you can explore for an endless time period. Its bird calls, rich floral diversity, beautiful microhabitats and unique climate makes it a truly unique destination. It is said that one square mile of the forest may have higher biodiversity than the entire North American continent. You will be able to witness 20 out of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic bird species, including the Sri Lanka blue magpie and the green-billed coucal as well as many smaller mammals including the rusty spotted cat, purple-faced leaf monkey, fishing cat, mongooses and civets. Stay overnight at a hotel.
Enjoy a pre-breakfast trail before you are taken to Udawalawe where you will check-in at the Glamping Tented Camp. Go on a safari at this 30,821-hectare dry zone game park in Udawalawe, where you may see an array of resident bird species including Grey Hornbills and Brown-capped Babblers, as well as birds of prey such as the White-bellied Sea Eagle and the Crested Serpent-Eagle. This Park is famous for its herds of elephants, seen feeding and bathing at watering holes with their playful calves. Among the migrant birds found here are: the Purple Kingfishers, Forest Wagtails, Indian Pittas, Whiskered Terns, Osprey Sandpipers and Terns. A night-time birding trail is also scheduled for you, after dinner, once you have settled in at the Glamping site in Udawalawe.
Early in the morning you will transfer to the Bundala National Park for a special jeep safari. Bundala has been internationally recognised as an important wintering ground for migratory birds. An evening safari at the Yala National Park is organised with a night birding trail and an overnight stay at the glamping Camp in Yala. Boasting the highest leopard population density in the world, the Yala National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts while being widely noted as the best place in the world to film and photograph the Sri Lankan Leopard. At the close of your adventures for the day, you can look forward to your overnight stay at Glamping site in Yala.
Yala National Park, situated in the southeast region of the country, covers almost 1000 square kilometers and is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Boasting the highest leopard density in the world and fantastic bird life of 215 different species, Yala National Park is a real haven for wildlife enthusiasts ! Leopards are the stars in Yala National Park, but the park is also home to the large herds of elephants as well as to the spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, wild buffaloes, sloth bear, jackal and mongoose. The numerous endemic bird species include Sri Lanka junglefowl, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, pompadour green pigeon, and crimson-fronted barbet, little green bee-eater, chestnut-headed bee-eater, white-browed bulbul, common kingfisher, barred buttonquail, paddyfield pipit. Also, the migratory birds Indian pitta, Indian paradise flycatcher and brown- breasted flycatcher can be spotted here.
By the lake area, you may see water and forest birds such as brown fish owl, jungle owlet, water hock, comb duck, black bitten and various species of barbets.
You will make your way to one of the most picturesque destinations in Sri Lanka today – Nuwara Eliya. Also known as little England, Nuwara Eliya is a truly magical town with the perfect weather for relaxing.
En route to Nuwara Eliya you will visit the Hakgala Botanical Garden which is ideal for bird watching. It homes over 50 species of birds including the Sri Lankan yellow-eared bulbul and Sri Lanka white-eye which are endemic species in the country. It is also the perfect destination to relax and collect some photo memories.
You will arrive and check in at a hotel in Nuwara Eliya for the night.
Nuwara Eliya, also known as Sri Lanka’s ‘Little England’. Set in the heart of the Tea Country at an altitude of 1890 metres, Nuwara Eliya has a climate unlike anywhere else in Sri Lanka. For bird enthusiasts, the colonial Victoria Park offers an excellent location where about 50 different species of birds can be spotted.
In Victoria Park Nuwara Eliya, you may see species such Sri Lanka yellow-eared bulbul, Sri Lanka -eye, Sri Lanka scimitar babbler, Sri Lanka dull-blue flycatcher, brown-headed barbet, white-breasted kingfisher, Asian , rose-ringed parakeet, pied bushchat, common mynah, large-billed crow, spotted dove, white-bellied drongo and grey-headed Canary flycatcher. Also, some migrant species such as Indian blue robin, Indian pitta and Kashmir flycatcher can be found here. You stay overnight in Nuwara Eliya hotel.
You will start your day early and make your way to the Horton Plains National Park situated in the highest plateau of the island.
It is a unique ecosystem consisting of rolling hills, forests and grasslands. The sambar deer is the most commonly seen species in the park. In addition, an abundance of avifauna, mammals, reptiles and amphibians including the leopard can be seen in the park. Horton Plains is also home to the “World’s End” – called so due to the escarpment that falls 880 meters to the lowlands. This serves as a perfect viewing area to observe the endless tea estates and the distant coastline.
You will spend most of your day here exploring the beautiful bird life in the park. Birds unique to the hills of Sri Lanka can be observed at Horton Plains alongside other species.
You will return to the hotel in Nuwara Eliya for the night.
You will leave Nuwara Eliya and make your way to Kandy – another iconic destination in Central Sri Lanka. You will check in at a hotel in Kandy and leave for a birdwatching tour in Hantana in the evening.
The Hantana range is the most popular trek in Kandy. This range is ideal for bird watching as you can see many resident, migratory and endemic species. The footpath from the Hantana range to Kandy is perfect to view these birds. It also provides a beautiful view of the landscapes of the towns of Kandy, Galaha and Peradeniya. You will also get the opportunity to visit the Sri Lanka Tea Industry Museum to learn about the rich history of tea making in Sri Lanka.
After an adventurous evening trekking through Hantana you will return to the hotel.
Viyana Boutique Hotel
You will visit Kandy Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic after breakfast or prior to breakfast to witness the morning ceremony. Then our chauffeur will take you to Chilaw for a short beach relaxation before your departure from Sri Lanka. Your last bridging experience of this 14 days trip would be in Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary which is one of the six RAMSAR Sites in Sri Lanka. Anawilundawa Bird Sanctuary is home to a wide variety of waterfowl, dragonflies, butterflies, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. A number of migrant species who use the sanctuary for breeding and feeding can be seen upon your visit. Stay overnight at Chilaw hotel.
Carolina Beach Hotel
We’ve reached the end of your 13-night bird watching holiday to Sri Lanka and it is time to depart. Your chauffeur will take you to Colombo Airport in time to catch your departure flight.
Includes / Excludes
- 13 nights accommodation.
- Breakfast & Dinner basis at all hotels/ Camping sites.
- Transportation in an air conditioned vehicle with an English Speaking Chauffeur throughout the tour including Airport Transfers.
- Jeep Safaris in the above mentioned National Park in a Private Jeep including the entry permit costs & government tracker fees. Including 4 Half day safaris at Udawalawe, Bundala & Yala.
- Entry Permits to all the sites, temples, museums & monuments mentioned in the itinerary.
- Costs of all experiences, community visits, hikes and village walks mentioned in the itinerary.
- Service charges at the hotels & current applicable taxes by the Sri Lankan Government.
- Any International or Domestic flights.
- Any Visa fee or ETA fee. (Electronic Travel Authorisation)
- Any additional beverage or food.
- Early Check-in or Late Checkout Charges at Hotels.
- Any tips to the staff.
- Any expense of personal requirements telephone, laundry, hotel extra bills etc.)
- Any additional expenses , other than mentioned in the inclusions list above.
When it comes to the accommodation, all the reservations are subject to availability at the time of confirmation, and as soon as we have received the payment, our Tour Operations Team will take in charge of your tour and proceed with the reservations. In case a hotel mentioned in your itinerary has no availability, we will find you an alternative. No changes will be done without your approval!
We will make a rough day-by-day schedule for your tour, but won’t set you exact timings for each and every activity – unless there is a an activity which start at a specific time. Since you will be traveling by private vehicle, with a knowledgeable driver-guide, we want you to have your part in decision making. With the help from him, you may tune the schedule to your rhythm.
Along the destinations included in your itinerary, you are free to take as many stops as you want to. When it comes to additional visits and destinations that are located out of the original route, the extra kilometers will be taken in consideration. For your journey, we will calculate a total mileage that is sufficient for the whole tour and mentioned in your itinerary. If this limit is exceeded, we will charge a supplement according the extra mileage.
We’ll do our best to accommodate the programme in your needs and wishes, if something urgent occurs during your tour. In a situation that requires changing the accommodation, the cancellation policies of the hotels concerned are to be taken on account.
Since the 1st of January 2012, all travelers must be in possession of a visa when arriving in Sri Lanka. Citizens from Singapore and The Maldives are the only exempt. Visitors can apply for the official Electronic Travel Authorization (visa) via www.eta.gov.lk, or upon arrival at the airport. There is a small fee to pay, and you must have at least six months left on your passport at the time of travel to obtain one.
MasterCard and Visa are widely used and accepted by many local shops, restaurants and hotels, but it’s always better to double check. Other major cards such as AmEx and DinersClub are accepted often also.
The Important Stuff
Sri Lanka is a nation where religion and culture occupy an important place in the day-to-day lives of the local people. It is important to be aware of the customs and practices that are particular to the location you are visiting, so here are a few general tips to keep in mind during your travels. Your chauffeur will assist you with more detailed information.
- If you plan on visiting any temples, ancient or current, you should wear clothing that covers your body from your shoulders down to your knees. Head coverings such as caps or helmets should be removed and shoes must be taken off at the entrance. White coloured clothing is generally a good choice to go with here.
- Some religious places do not allow photography or videography without prior permission and some may not allow it at all. Refer to signage or ask your chauffeur guide about the policy or protocol. Don’t try to photograph or take videos without permission.
- If you have any tattoos associated with Buddhism, Hinduism or Islamism, it’s best that you cover them completely in public places.
- Smoking is prohibited in indoor public places, workplaces and on public transport.