Birding - Wildlife Safari in Sri Lanka

Witness the beauty and variety of the island’s flourishing birdlife, as you embark on an exciting wildlife safari. Sri Lanka has over 433 recorded species of birds making it a bird lover’s paradise. Enjoy the glory of these feathered friends as they add vibrant colours to their natural habitat.

day Location/Route duration Overnight
Day 01 Airport to Colombo One night in Colombo Value: Ramada Colombo
Signature: Tintagel
Day 02 Colombo to Mannar Two nights in Mannar Palmyrah House
Day 03 Mannar Last night in Mannar Palmyrah House
Day 04 Mannar to Wilpattu One night in Wilpattu Value: Wilpattu Safari Camp
Signature: Leopard Trails
Day 05 Wilpattu to Sigiriya One night in Sigiriya Value: Heritance Kandalama
Signature: Wild Grass
Day 06 Sigiriya to Kegalle Two nights in Kegalle Rosyth Estate
Day 07 Kegalle Last night in Kegalle Rosyth Estate
Day 08 Departure
Wildlife sanctuaries

Sri Lanka is an island that is teeming with flora and fauna with a large number of endemic species. This island will truly delight nature lovers. There are currently 61 sanctuaries which include Maduganga, Wilpattu North, Yala, Minneriya, Udawatta Kele and Rummassala.

Kandy Esala Perahera "Procession"

The Kandy Esela Perahera, which is also known as The Festival of the Tooth is a unique religious and cultural event that takes place every year in July. The procession features many dancers, drummers and elephants, who parade through the streets paying homage to the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha which is housed in the Sri Dalada Maligawa, Kandy.

The Temple of the Tooth Relic

The Temple of the Tooth Relic, which is known as the Sri Dalada Maligawa is in the sacred city of Kandy. It houses the tooth relic of Lord Buddha and is an important shrine of Buddhist worship. The annual procession known as the Kandy Esala Perahera marks an important day in the Sri Lankan calendar.

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Built by King Kasyapa (477 to 495 CE), the iconic Sigiriya Rock Fortress stands as a testament to the grandeur of Sri Lanka’s glorious past. Designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, it features stunning boulder and water gardens and world-famous frescoes. At the summit, you’ll find the ruins of the king’s palace and a breath-taking view of the surroundings.

Architectural Tour of Kandy

Discover the rich architectural heritage of Kandy, the last Sri Lankan Kingdom to fall to the invading British. Today, it is one of the island’s major cities and home to an array of renowned attractions such as the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, the Royal Palace and National Museum.

Begin your tour at the lively town centre, and observe the diverse mix of neo-colonial and colonial-style buildings. Enjoy quality time with celebrated architect Ruchira Wickremasinghe, a recipient of the Geoffrey Bawa Travel Award, as she walks you through the intricacies of Kandy’s architectural landscape. The 2.5 hour tour can begin at any time; however, the late hours of the afternoon are ideal.

Kandy Four Temple Loop Tour

Spend half a day exploring four of Kandy’s famed medieval temples. Join your personal archaeologist on an informative, 3.5 hour coach tour of the Degaldoruwa, Embekka, Lankatilaka and Gadaladeniya Buddhist temples. Feast your eyes on the magnificent Kandyan murals on the ceiling of Degaldoruwa Temple. Witness the wonderful fusion of Buddhist and Hindu culture at Gadaladeniya Temple.

Take in the exquisite craftsmanship of the woodwork at Embekka Temple. Observe the traditional Sinhalese design of the Lankatilaka Temple, and discover the inscriptions carved into the rocks. Setting off in the morning is ideal, as the tour involves approximately 1.5 hours of travel to / from your hotel.

Hot Air Ballooning around Sigiriya

Create lasting memories with a truly magical hot-air ballooning experience. Set off into the skies in the cool of the day and enjoy an exhilarating hour in the air. Take in famed sights such as the iconic Sigiriya Rock and enjoy the beauty of the verdant landscapes that blanket Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle.

Your flight starts bright and early at 06:00am, after a briefing on safety regulations. Upon landing, a range of mouth-watering refreshments awaits you. You will then head back to the launch site. The entire activity takes three hours and you will receive a certificate of completion. This experience is available from locations such as Sigiriya, Dambulla and Kandalama.

Safari

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Day 01
AIRPORT TO COLOMBO
Colombo x
Colombo is the commercial hub of the island and connects several parts of the country, such as the north, south, east and hill country by a fine system of roads and railways. The heady mixture of Asian anarchy, colonial charm and modern progress defines its impressive character. Towering skyscrapers, retail stores, parks, restaurants and bars coupled with sacred shrines of the major faiths and religions can be found in this vibrant city.
Settle into your hotel, rest and relax from your journey. Meals on a Half Board basis.
Local attractions: the Navam Perahera (1st Mar 2018 – tickets should be pre-booked) / Street food festival – Hotel Fairway (first weekend of every month) / Nelum Pokuna Art Street / Shopping at Barefoot Gallery & Jazz Brunch every Sunday / Seafood dinner at the Ministry of Crab /Street Food at Galle Face Green / Authentic Sri Lankan meal in the beautiful setting of ‘Thunapaha on the Edge’- Waters Edge Hotel / Japanese cuisine at Nihonbashi or at the Dutch Hospital.

Ayubowan!
A warm welcome to Sri Lanka! Your chauffeur from Holidays by Design will be present at the arrivals hall to greet and assist you to your vehicle.
You could change your currency before departing the airport as this may come handy during your holiday.
A short drive from the airport will take you to your hotel in Colombo (45 mins).

Day 02
COLOMBO TO MANNAR
The Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary x
Located between the quiet towns of Puttalam and Chilaw, the Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary is a bird lovers’ paradise, as it is known to be home to many endemic birds and over 150 migratory birds. Bordering the stunning coast of the island, the wetlands are flourishing with lush mangroves and freshwater lakes, making it the ideal environment for the birds.
You will then head to Mannar (six hours). Your chauffeur will make pit stops en route to make sure you have a smooth journey.
Settle into your hotel this evening, rest and relax from your journey.
Mannar District x
The Mannar island, which falls within the Mannar District is known to be Sri Lanka’s largest islet in the northern part of the country. Running through a dry zone, the landscape of Mannar varies from dry shrubs to cultivated lands of paddy fields.
Dinner will be served at the hotel.

This morning you will be setting off for the Anawilundawa Wetlands on a bird-watching expedition. Breakfast could either be arranged at the main restaurant or alternatively a picnic breakfast could be organized en route to the wetlands.

Day 03
MANNAR

This morning you will set off to the Mannar lagoon for bird watching, another haven for migratory birds and local species, set in a beautiful and unspoilt rural landscape.
Head back to your hotel for a break from the heat of the sun.
This evening you will set off on a cycling expedition from the Mannar Fort to the Doric and Old Christ Church. We recommend a refreshing cup of ginger-infused tea and local savouries at the end of this experience.
Breakfast and dinner will be served at the hotel

Day 04
MANNAR TO WILPATTU
Wilpattu National Park x
Often referred to as the Land of Lakes, the Wilpattu National Park spans over a large area which extends to the border of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, which in turn makes it the biggest park on the island. The park is home to sloth bears, elephants, deer and birds, ideal for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.
This afternoon you will set off on the safari drive into the park.
Head back for dinner under the stars at the campsite this evening. Meals on an all-inclusive basis.

After Breakfast, you will head to Wilpattu (two hours).

An authentic Sri Lankan lunch will be served at the camp on arrival. Rest and relax this afternoon.

Day 05
WILPATTU TO SIGIRIYA
Minneriya National Park x
Set amidst a beautiful landscape, the park is located ten minutes east of Habarana. Its central attraction is its ancient reservoir constructed by King Mahasena. Rated, as the World’s 6th greatest wildlife spectacle by Lonely Planet, “The Gathering”, the world’s biggest meeting of Asian elephants in the wild is the principal attraction at Minneriya, which is an extension of the elephant corridor that connects with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa National Parks.
Spend the rest of your day at leisure.
Local attractions: Exotic cocktails at Graffiti Bar – Jetwing Vil Uyana / Afternoon hike to the Aligala Caves / spend the evening with the locals at Purangama Village / Visit the animal rehabilitation centre at the Heritance Kandalama.

An early start today with light snacks and tea before you head back into the park. If you have been lucky with your sightings the previous day, you may choose to discuss with your naturalist how you would like to spend your morning.
You will return to the camp by noon for a quick refresh before you drive to your next stop, Sigiriya (2.5 hours)
Rest and relax from your journey.
This afternoon, you will set off on a safari to the Minneriya National Park. Meals on a Half Board basis.

Day 06
SIGIRIYA TO KEGALLE
Sigiriya (UNESCO World Heritage Site) x
The most extraordinary of all Sri Lanka’s medieval capitals, this ancient ruin once belonged to King Kasapa. A lover of beauty, he ruled Sigiriya for 18 years, transforming the surroundings into a thing of wonder. Its extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures including the unique plumbing system stand witness to the grandeur of this architecture. It’s a 200m climb to the top, offering a magnificent view at the summit.
Your next stop will be the Kaludiya Pokuna (30 mins).
Kaludiya Pokuna x
Kaludiya Pokuna can be found nestled at the northern end of the Knuckles Mountain range. The forest is home to a variety of colourful endemic and migratory birds and butterflies. The archaeological site of Kaludiya Pokuna features a few ancient ruins of a Buddhist stupa.
You will continue your drive to Kegalle (three hours). En route you will make a stop at the home of a local batik artist. The lunch - a selection of 22 curries prepared here, is not to be missed!
Settle into your bungalow and unwind from your drive. This evening your host from the bungalow will accompany you to the local tea factory. Dinner will be served at the bungalow.

No experience in Sri Lanka is complete without an early morning exhilarating climb up Sigiriya rock dating back to the 5th Century. Coconut water and cold towels will be arranged on your return.

Day 07
KEGALLE
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary x
Covering over 140 hectares of lush forested land, 119 hectares of the area has been marked as a sanctuary by the Department of Wildlife Conservation for the large variety of birds that live within the shady covers of the towering trees.
Your next stop for the day will be the busy city of Kandy.
Kandy (UNESCO World Heritage Site) x
The Hill Capital of Sri Lanka (the last Kingdom of the Sri Lankan Kings) nestled in a valley in the Highlands and locally referred to, as "Nuwara" meaning The Great City. A picturesque town by the side of a miniature lake, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Visit one of the only natural reserves within city limits, the beautiful Udawatta Kele famous for its avifauna and the sacred Sri Dalada Maligawa.
You will now be taken on a tour to view a selection of unique pieces of craftsmanship in three of the oldest temples in Kandy; evidence of ancient Kandyan temple architecture to be seen at the Embekke Devale (an ancient Hindu temple), Lankatilleke and Gadaladeniya Temples
Embekke Devale x
Built in the 14th century, the Embekke Devale is most known for its intricate carvings, towering pillars and other structures. The temple is located eight miles from Kandy.
Lankatilleke Raja Maha Vihara x
Also built in the 14th century and sat on the summit of a large rock with views of the Hantana mountain range, Lankatilake Raja Maha Vihara is one of the most splendid architectural structures in the Gampola Kingdom.
Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara x
Built by King Buwanekabahu IV in the year 1344, the ancient Gadaladeniya Raja Maha Vihara is an ancient monastery that is well worth a visit.
Your last stop will be the Millennium Elephant Foundation in Kegalle. The host will take you around the property. You may choose to participate in bathing the elephants, walking alongside or feeding these great animals. An authentic Sri Lankan lunch will be served.
Return to your bungalow this evening and unwind from your day’s experience. Dinner at the bungalow.
Local attractions: Esala Perahera (17- 27th August 2018, tickets should be booked in advance) / Cookery lesson with a visit to the local market / Tea at Helga’s Folly / Local spirits and beers at Royal Bar, Mojito’s and Margarita’s at Bamboo Garden Restaurant, Cocktails at the Empire Café.

Breakfast will be served in the dining area.
This morning you will proceed to the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary.

Day 08
DEPARTURE

We will take you to the airport, to arrive two-three hours before your flight home.

Add on

 

COST:  Transportation: private air-conditioned vehicle.

Cost per person starting fromValueSignature
Occupying a single room$2380$2800
Sharing a double room$1660$1815

  • The above rate is nett and based on two guests.
  •  

 

Supplement for Entrance fees :

Entrance Fees & MiscellaneousCost per person
Gangarama Temple $3.00
Colombo Museum $5.00
Sigiriya Rock Fortress $30.00
Entrance Fees for the Minneriya National Park $25.00
Jeep charges $50.00
Kaludiya Pokuna
Lunch at the Batik Factory $40.00
Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic $11.00
Kanydan Cultural Performance $10.00
Temple Loop $15.00
Millennium Elephant Foundation (ride) $20.00
Millennium Elephant Foundation (walk with lunch) $45.00

 

What to Pack!

  • Socks – as footwear must be removed when visiting places of worship. You could be walking on heated paving, gravel or cement. Also, shoulders and knees should be covered.
  • Footwear – choose comfy shoes - sneakers, sandals or similar.
  • Shawl – to cover your shoulders or dress up!
  • A sweater or light jacket if you plan to visit the Hill Country.
  • Sunscreen, sun hat, sunglasses, travel umbrella or lightweight raincoat.

 

Cancellation & payment policy:

  • 100% cancellation
  • 50% payment upon tour confirmation.
  • Balance payment prior to arrival

 

Notes:

  • The quote is subject to room availability and price fluctuations prior to booking.
  • The quote is based on settlement by cash. If the settlement is by credit card, a bank service fee of 2 – 2.5% applies.
  • All drive times are approximate and subject to road conditions
  • Alcohol is not served on “poya days” (full moon) and other days prohibited by the Government.
  • The standard check-in time is 14:00 at hotels.
  • The standard check-out time is 11:00 from hotels.
  • Gratuity: tour guides & drivers are tipped at the end of the tour.
  • Online visa application link:  http://www.eta.gov.lk/slvisa/
  • Purposeful Tourism: Your support: www.hbdasia.com one USD from every booking supports a cause.
  • Holidays by Design terms and conditions (www.hbdasia.com/terms.html)
  • Connect with us via FB: www.facebook.com/hbdasia or Twitter on https://twitter.com/hbd_asia

 

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  • price includes
  • CIP fast track silk route arrival
  • Accommodation at hotels mentioned
  • Private air-conditioned vehicle
  • English speaking chauffeur guide
  • In-vehicle experience; Wi-Fi / travel kit
  • Local government taxes
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  • Bank / remittance charges
Witness the stunning beauty of birds in Sri Lanka!