Day 1 - Arrival/Sigiriya
Met on arrival at Colombo International Airport by Heritance Holidays staff and transfer to Sigiriya.
Check-in at Hotel
Late afternoon birding around the hotel garden
(Possible noteworthy species to be seen: Ceylon Green-Pigeon/Black Flower-pecker/Black-hooded ‘Oriole/Indian Pitta/Brown-headed Thrush/Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher)
Overnight stay at hotel
Day 2 - Sigiriya/Polonnaruwa/Sigiriya
Breakfast at hotel
Explore Sigiriya and the famous ‘Lion Rock’ fortress. Built over 1500 years ago, this beautiful citadel stands 200 meters high in the middle of verdant jungle and was an important stronghold of the 70 hectare fortified town. It can be viewed from miles around and is definitely one of Sri Lanka’s most iconic and famous sites. You’ll be able to view the world famous paintings of the Heavenly Maidens which stand in a sheltered pocket of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. The great rock fortress of Sigiriya is yet another attraction found in this side of the island, which you can visit Surrounded by the wonders of the nature.
Afternoon leave for Polonnaruwa the second most ancient of Sri Lanka’s kingdoms. Today the city of Polonnaruwa remains one of the best planned archeological relic sites in the country, standing testimony to the discipline and greatness of the kingdoms first rulers was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982. Its green environment, amazing ancient constructions (including a huge lake built in 1200 a.d.) makes it an attractive city to visit. A visit to the Centre and museum first, will prove useful before setting out to explore its fascinating sites.
Visit this well-preserved city of ancient dagobas, moonstones, beautiful parks, massive buildings and stunningly beautiful statues. The ruins of the Royal Palace, The majestic King’s Council Chamber, the Lotus Bath, the Lanka Thilaka Viharaya, Thuparama Dagoba, the Gal Viharaya (rock temple) – 3 splendid statues of the Buddha in upright, sedant, and recumbent postures, all carved of a large rock, Thivanka Image house with the best known Buddhist frescoes of Sri Lanka, Hindu Shrines and the statue of one of Polonnaruwa’s greatest kings, Parakramabahu the great, are a few of this capital’s memorable sights. The Sea of Parakrama – a vast 12th century man-made water reservoir dominates the city. Moreover, the monuments here are located in a more compact area, and their development is easier to follow.
Wayside stops at Giritale and Minneriya Tanks for Bird watching.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen today: Shaheen (local race of the Peregrine)/ Grey-bellied Cuckoo/Square-tailed Drongo Cuckoo/ Indian Cuckoo/Crested Tree swift/Stork-billed Kingfisher/Coppersmith Barbet/Indian Pitta/Ceylon Wood shrike/Large Cuckoo shrike/Black-headed Thrush/Jungle Prinia/White-rumped Shama/Purple Sunbird/Thick-billed Flowerpecker/Great Racket-tailed Drongo)
Return to Sigiriya for overnight stay
Day 3 - Sigiriya/Matale/Kandy
Breakfast at hotel and then Proceed to Kandy. The name Kandy conjures visions of splendour and magnificence. Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings, which is a world heritage site. Many of the legends, traditions and folklore are still lovingly kept alive.
En-route visit a Spice Garden at Matale to see many a different types of Spices Sri Lanka is famous for and you will be shown how some of these spices are grown and processed.
On arriving Kandy leave on a sightseeing tour of the city. Drive around the Lake built by the last Sinhala king Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe in 1798 and the scenic upper lake drive. Also visit the Kandyan Arts & Crafts centre, Kandy Bazaar and a Gem Lapidary/Museum.
Then Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens at on the banks of the Sri Lanka’s longest river Mahaweli, which has been first built as a pleasure garden by a Sinhala king and was expanded by the British. It is 147 acres in extent and provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. Orchids, medicinal plants and herbs as well as other decorative plants have been an integral part of this garden. This is also a good location for birding.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Common Hawk-cuckoo/Alexandrine Parakeet/Ceylon Small Barbet/Large Cuckoo shrike/Indian Pitta)
17.30 hrs. Witness a cultural dance show of drumming, dancing, music and fire walking.
Later visit “Dalada Maligawa” the most sacred place for all the Buddhist around the world, the famous Temple of the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, during “Evening Pooja” Ceremony time.
Check-in at hotel for overnight stay.
Day 4 - Kandy/Nuwara Eliya
After an early Breakfast birding in Udawattakalle Sanctuary.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Emerald Dove/Ceylon Hanging Parrot/Layard’s Parakeet/ Black-backed Dwarf Kingfisher/Yellow-Fronted Barbet/Ceylon Small Barbet/ Crimson-Backed Flame back/ White-Rumped Shama/Tickle’s Blue Flycatcher)
Continue to Nuwara Eliya en-route visiting a Tea Factory and a Plantation where you may get the opportunity to taste a freshly brewed cup of Ceylon Tea.
Check-in at hotel
Afternoon leave on a sightseeing tour of Nuwara Eliya (City of Lights) is a resort city in the Central Mountain Range of Sri Lanka. Blessed with a salubrious climate, breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and greenery; it’s hard to imagine that Nuwara Eliya is only 180 Km from the hot and humid Colombo. Nuwara Eliya, also known as ‘Little’ England’, was the favorite hill station of the British who tried to create the resort into a typical English Village. The old brick Post office, country house like hill club, with its hunting pictures, mounted hunting trophies and fish, and its strict formal dinner attire; the 18 holes golf course, Anglican Church with its’ lynch gate, race course etc., evoke nostalgia of Colonial British Ceylon.
Nuwara-Eliya the ‘heart’ of the tea country located at an elevation of 1980 meters in the central highlands of a tropical island, it offers the best both worlds advantages, of tropical abundance and pleasant cool mountain climate. While the time climate is sub-tropical, night temperature plunge low enough to produce frost. The Lake Gregory is one of the significant tourist attractions in Nuwara Eliya.
Bird watching at Victoria Park and Galway Land Sanctuary.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Yellow-Eared Bulbul/Common Blackbird/Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler/Grey-Headed Canary/ Kashmir & Dusky Blue Flycatcher/Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch/Ceylon White-Eye/ Forest Wagtail/ Grey Wagtail/ Indian Blur Robin/Pied Ground-Thrush/Indian Pitta/Kashmiri Flycatcher)
Overnight stay at Hotel
Day 5 - Nuwara Eliya/Horton Plains/Nuwara Eliya
Breakfast followed by an early hours visit to Horton Plains which lies shrouded in cold mists on top of Sri Lanka’s mountains, at a height of more than 2,000m. A part of the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and dramatically different from the coastal plains thousands of feet below, it is a plateau of 3,150 hectares in area. It is a wild and windswept plain of grasslands or patanas and patches of eerie forests.
Residents include elk, monkeys, eagles, horned lizards and the occasional leopard. The Plains were uninhabited by the local population but were prized hunting and fishing grounds for the British who “discovered” them in the early 19th century.
See World’s End, which is a sheer precipice with an 870 m (2,854 ft) drop. It is situated at the southern boundary of the park. Another cliff known as the Lesser World’s End of 270 m (886 ft.) is located not far from World’s End.
Another attraction is Baker’s Falls, a waterfall formed by Belihul Oya, a tributary of the Walawe River is named after Sir Samuel Baker, a hunter and explorer who attempted to establish a European agricultural settlement at Nuwara Eliya. The falls are 20 meters (66 ft.) high.
Rock Falls is another well-known waterfall in the plains.
The visit from your hotel to the entrance will have to do it by jeep.
Horton Plains is also a Birds Paradise.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Ceylon Woodpigeon/Yellow Eared Bulbul/ Pied Bush Chat/ Ceylon Whistling Thrush/ Common Blackbird/ Sri Lanka Bush Warbler/ Grey-Headed Canary/ Kashmir & Dusky Blue Flycatcher/Velvet Fronted Nuthatch/Ceylon White-Eye)
Evening birding at Hakgala Botanical Gardens.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Ceylon Woodpigeon/Brown Wood Owl/Thick Billed Flowerpecker)
Overnight stay at hotel in Nuwara Eliya
Day 6 - Nuwara Eliya/Ella/Yala
After Breakfast leave for Yala via Ella and Wellawaya.
Stop at Ella to view breath taking Ella Gap and majestic Ravana Water Falls.
Late afternoon take a Game Drive of Yala National Park (also known as Ruhunu National Park) which is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Designated in 1938 as a Wild Life Sanctuary the park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.
44 species of mammals are resident in Yala National Park, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. The elephant herd of Yala contains 300–350 individuals. Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri Lankan Leopard, Sri Lankan Elephant, Wild water buffalo are threatened species and Grey Langer, Toque Macaque, Golden Palm Civet, Red Slender Loris, Spotted Deer, Sāmbhar Deer, Jackal and Fishing Cat are among the other mammals that can be seen in Yala.
Of 215 bird species of the park, six are endemic to Sri Lanka. They are Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Jungle fowl, Sri Lanka Wood-pigeon, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, and Brown-capped Babbler. The number of water birds inhabiting wetlands of Yala is 90 and half of them are migrants. Black-necked Stork and Lesser Adjutant are the rare birds that can be seen in the park. The migrant Great White Pelican and resident Spot-billed Pelican are also have been recorded. There are plenty of Peacocks’ around.
Other noteworthy species to be seen are: Oriental Darter/Painted Stork/Black-Winged Styilt/Eurasin Stone Curlew/Great Thick-Nee/Small Pratincole/ Yellow Wattled & Red Wattled Lapwing Pacific Golden Plover/Grey Plover/ Little-Ringed, Kentish, Mongolian & Greater Sand Plover/ Marsh, Wood and Curlew Sandpiper/Little Stint, Brown-Headed Gull, Caspian, Gull-Billed & Whiskered, Tern, Bengal Bush lark, Ashy-Crowned Finch-Lar)
The reptile fauna recorded from the park is 46 and five of them are endemic: Sri Lankan Krait, Boulanger’s Keel back, Sri Lankan Flying Snake, Painted-lip Lizard and Wiegmann’s Agama. Cobras, Vipers and Pythons are among the other snakes found in Yala.
The coastal line of the park is visited by the all five globally endangered sea turtles (Leatherback turtle, Olive Ridley, Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Hawksbill turtle, and Green turtle) that visit Sri Lanka.
The two breeding crocodile species of Sri Lanka, Mugger crocodile and Saltwater Crocodile inhabit the park. The Indian Cobra and Russell’s viper are among the other reptiles.
Check-in at Hotel for overnight stay
Day 7 - Yala/Bundala/Yala
Early Breakfast and then take a Game Drive of Yala National Park.
Return to hotel
Late afternoon visit Bundala National Park which is a bird’s paradise.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Greater Flamingos/Northern Pintail/ Garganey/Water cock/Black-Winged Stilt/Eurasian Stone Curlew/ Great Thick-Knee/ Small Pratincole/ Yellow-Wattled & Red Wattled Lapwing Pacific Golden Plover/Grey Plover/Little Ringed, Kentish, Mongolian & Greater Sand Plover/Marsh, Wood, Trek & Curlew Sandpiper/Little Stint/Brown Headed Gull/Caspian/Great Crested, Lesser Crested, Gull-Billed, Whiskered, White Winged, Saunders and Little Tern/ Bengal Bush lark/ Oriental Skylark/ Ashy-Crowned Finch-Lark)
Return to Hotel for overnight stay
Day 8 - Yala/Kalametiya/Udawalawe
After Early Breakfast leave for Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary.
This is a boat Safari at the Kalametiya Lagoon.
(Possible Noteworthy species to be seen: Purple Heron/Black-Crowned Night Heron/Yellow Bittern/Black Bittern/Brahmin Kite/Shikara/Purple Swamp hen/Pheasant-tailed Jacana and other common water birds like Pipits & Wagtails)
Continue to Udawalawe.
Check-in at a hotel.
Late afternoon leave on a Safari to Udawalawe National Park.
With herds of elephants, wild buffalo, sambar deer and leopards, Udawalawe National Park is the 3rd most visited wild sanctuary in Sri Lanka. It is most famous for the many elephants that live there (about 650 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants– feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and the occasional leopard, as well as being an exciting location for bird enthusiasts. The park, which centres on the 308.2-sq-km Udawalawe Reservoir, is lightly vegetated but it has a stark beauty and the lack of dense vegetation makes game-watching easy. Udawalawe National park is one national park in Sri Lanka not to be missed.
(Possible Noteworthy bird species to be seen: Spot-Billed Pelican/Oriental Darter/Cormorants/Lesser Adjutant/ Montagu’s Harrier/ Pied Harrier/Crested Hawk-Eagle/White-Bellied Sea Eagle/ Grey Headed Fish Eagle/Barred Button Quail/ Ceylon & Orange-Brested Green-Pigeon/Plum Headed Parakeet/ Blue-Faced Malkoha/Sirkeer Malkoha/ Malabar Pied Hornbill/Prinias)
Return to hotel for overnight stay
Day 9 - Udawalawe/Sinharaja
After Breakfast visit “Ath Athuru Sevena” elephant transit home which was set up in 1995 as a pilot project by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to look after the abandoned baby elephants till they are able to take care of themselves. They take in jumbo babies found abandoned, stranded or orphaned in the jungles from all parts of the island. Some babies are found sick and wounded. They are kept and treated at the Elephant Transit Home and looked after till they are ultimately fit enough to be released back to the wild.
The difference between “ At Arthur Sevena “ and the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala is that at the Transit Home these baby elephants once cared for are released to the wilds when they reach a certain age.
Continue to Kalawana and check-in at a hotel for overnight stay
Afternoon proceed on a guided half-day tour through this majestic forest.
The hilly virgin rainforest, part of the Sri Lanka lowland rain forests eco region, was saved from the worst of commercial logging by its inaccessibility, and was designated a World Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage Site in 1988. The reserve’s name translates as Lion Kingdom.
Feel the adventure as you listen to the screeches of monkeys and see the glimpses of colourful forest birds. Feel the spine-thrilling chill as you watch a green pit viper wind itself amongst the foliage. A wonderful opportunity for those who wish to see Mother Nature at her wildest. The reserve is only 21 km (13 mi) from east to west, and a maximum of 7 km (4.3 mi) from north to south, but it is a treasure trove of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
Because of the dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen as at dry-zone national parks such as Yala. There are about 3 elephants, and 15 or so leopards. The most common larger mammal is the endemic purple-faced Langur.
Birds tend to move in mixed feeding flocks, invariably led by the fearless Sri Lanka Crested Drongo and the noisy orange-billed babbler. Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the 20 rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive red-faced Malkoha, green-billed coucal and Sri Lanka blue magpie.
Reptiles include the endemic green pit viper and hump-nosed vipers, and there are a large variety of amphibians, especially tree frogs. Invertebrates include the endemic common birdwing, butterfly and leeches.
(Possible Noteworthy bird species to be seen: Oriental Honey Buzzard/Rufous-Bellied Eagle/Shikara/Crestwd Serpent Eagle/Black Eagle/Mountain Hawk-Eagle/Ceylon Spurfowl/Ceylon Jungle Fowl/Ceylon Wood Pigeon/ Red Faced Malkoha/Green-Billed Coucal/Chestnut-Winged Cuckoo/Serendib Scops-Owl/Chestnut-Baked Owlet/Ceylon Frog Mouth/Malabar Trogon/Yellow-Browed Bulbul/Himalayan Black Bulbul/Spot Winged Ground Thrush/Ceylon Scaly Thrush/Ceylon Rufus Babbler/Ashy-Headed Laughing Thrush/ Asian Paradise Flycatcher/Ceylon Blue Magpie/White-Faced Starling/Ceylon Hill Myna)
On completion return back to the hotel for overnight stay.
Day 10 - Sinharaja
Breakfast at hotel
Birding in Sinharaja
Go on one more safaris through Sinharaja Rainforest. Your guide will ensure that your experience be somewhat different from your experiences on the previous days, giving you more insight on the unique bio-diversity
Return to Rain Forest Edge for overnight stay.
Day 11 - Sinharaja/Kitulgala
Breakfast at hotel
Leave for Kitulgala via Ratnapura.
Check-in at hotel.
Afternoon birding in Kitulgala Forest Reserve
Kitulgala is a rain forestry area and is one of the wettest places in Sri Lanka. The Academy Award-winning movie The Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed on the Kelani River near Kitulgala, although nothing remains now except the concrete foundations for the bridge. Kitulgala is the base for white-water rafting in Sri Lanka.
This area 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 Kitulgala 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. So Kitulgala is a primary spot for bird watching enthusiasts.
Afternoon birding at Kitulgala Forest Reserve
Possible noteworthy species: (SERENDIB SCOPS-OWL/ CHESTNUT-BACKED OWLET/ BROWN HAWK-OWL/CEYLON FROG MOUTH/ YELLOW-FRONTED BARBET/ BLACK-NAPED BLUE MONARCH/ BLACK-CAPPED BULBUL/ DARK-FRONTED BABBLER/CEYLON RUFOUS BABBLER/ BLACK-THROATED MUNIA/ CEYLON HILL-MYNA/ BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE)
Day 12 - Kitulgala/Colombo
After breakfast birding in Kithulgala Forest Reserve.
Possible noteworthy species: BLACK EAGLE, RUFOUS-BELLIED EAGLE, CEYLON SPUR FOWL, CEYLON JUNGLE FOWL, CEYLON GREEN-PIGEON, CEYLON HANGING-PARROT, LAYARD’S PARAKEET, GREEN-BILLED COUCAL, SERENDIB SCOPS-OWL, CHESTNUT-BACKED OWLET, BROWN HAWK-OWL, CEYLON FROG MOUTH, BLACK-BACKED DWARF KINGFISHER, CEYLON SWALLOW, CEYLON GREY HORNBILL, YELLOW-FRONTED BARBET, BLACK-CAPPED BULBUL, GOLD-FRONTED LEAF BIRD, SPOT-WINGED GROUND-THRUSH, LEGGE’S FLOWERPECKER, BROWN-CAPPED BABBLER, CEYLON RUFOUS BABBLER, CEYLON HILL-MYNA, CEYLON CRESTED DRONGO.
Afternoon leave for Colombo
Check-in at Fairview hotel for overnight stay
Day 13 - Colombo/Departure Transfer
Breakfast at hotel
Transfer to airport to connect with the departure flight