Sri Lankan Blue magpie.
We'll focus on seeing endemic and migratory species.
We have a good chance of seeing
Asian elephants in their native habitat
at Wilpattu and Udawalawe.
Our safari jeeps have excellent visibility
and are comfortable.
A 700 year old Baobob tree,
purportedly planted by Arab traders.
A Stork-billed kingfisher, also endemic.
- Accommodation on bed and breakfast, room sharing basis at boutique, heritage and 4-5 star hotels, and luxury safari camps
- All breakfasts, and lunches and/or dinners
- Trip Leader KarmaQuest Director Wendy Lama (with groups of 6 or more)
- A highly skilled naturalist guide in the national parks and reserves
- Road travel in an air-conditioned vehicle
- Airport pick up and drop off transfers on group basis
- Monuments and national park entrance fees, all activities as per the itinerary except where activities are optional.
- Jeep safaris as noted
- All government taxes
Cost does not include:
- International flight airfare
- Visa fee (currently gratis)
- Meals not mentioned in the itinerary, and all beverages
- Tips, expenses of personal nature including phone calls, laundry, excess baggage
- Trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended)
- Medical and emergency evacuation travel insurance (mandatory)
- Additional nights’ stay or half stay, trip extensions
- Camera and video permits (generally not charged
- Optional donations, and any other services not mentioned above
Sri Lanka is the place to see an amazing diversity of birds and wildlife. It has the highest species diversity in Asia, and is home to a large number of bird and plant species that exist nowhere else on earth, called “endemics.” This trip will focus on seeing the endemic and migratory birds, as well as an array of magnificent wildlife creatures – including the Asian elephant, leopard, Sloth bear, deer, monkeys, crocodiles and much more.
Accompanied by an English-speaking Sri Lankan naturalist and KarmaQuest Director and Ecotourism Specialist Wendy Brewer Lama (with groups of six or more), you’ll venture to some of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife viewing areas where few tourists go, away from noise and disturbances. We’ll cover the island’s main ecological zones, from the lush coastal lowlands to the dry interior hills, as well as cloud forests and highland grasslands at 7,000+ ft. This diversity of landscapes, our choice of destinations and season, and our naturalist’s keen eye will promise excellent results.
We’ll also offer you the option of visiting some of Sri Lanka’s outstanding cultural and archaeological sites should you wish to take a break from birding and wildlife viewing.
Day 1: Arrive in Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital: Transfer to the hotel and rest or explore Colombo on your own. No activities are planned as most flights arrive late at night.
Day 2: Anaiwilundawa Bird Sanctuary: Drive up-coast to one of the six internationally recognized wetlands in Sri Lanka. Migratory birds use this area as a feeding and breeding ground this time of year.
It is a good place to see Grey and Purple heron, Painted stork, Black hooded oriole, and many more species. Overnight at a beach resort.
Days 3 & 4: Jeep Safari at Wilpattu National Park: Drive a few hours to Wilpattu, the largest protected area in Sri Lanka and our staging ground for two days. On previous trips to Wilpattu, we've seen Sloth bear, Asian elephant, spotted deer, sambar, wild boar, and mugger crocodiles. Endemic birds include the beautiful Jungle fowl, Brown-capped babbler, Woodshrike, Black-capped bulbul and rare migrants such as the Black capped Kingfisher. We'll stay in a luxury safari tented camp, close to the Park.
Days 5 & 6: Mannar: The Mannar Peninsula in the very north of Sri Lanka is one of the main entry points for migrant birds to the island. It is rich in marine biodiversity with estuaries, mudflats, mangroves, and beaches. Bottle-nosed and Spinner dolphins are common; Blue Whale, Fin whale, Humpback whale, Sperm whale, Mink whale, and others find refuge here as do some of the largest sea turtles: Green turtle, Olive Ridley turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Leatherback turtle, and Loggerhead turtle.
On land, we’ll be looking for Golden backed flameback woodpeckers, Black drongos, Black kites, and many species of ducks, Reef heron, Grey heron, Purple heron and Grey bellied cuckoo.
Northern Sri Lanka is also rich in history. As early as the 2nd century AD, the area was renowned as a center of pearl fishing, and attracted the Portuguese and Dutch to its sheltered harbors and trade opportunities in the 16-17th centuries. The fort ramparts and bastions they built are still intact. Hindu temples, mosques and churches dot the landscape.
Days 7 & 8: Jaffna: Once devastated by warfare, the Jaffna Peninsula is now well on its way to economic recovery, with excellent tourist facilities and undisturbed birding habitat. Chundikulam Lagoon became a national park in 2015 and is partly surrounded by mangrove swamps and sea grass beds. The lovely Palmyra palm is native to this area. Mugger crocodile and saltwater crocodile can also been seen.
Days 9 & 10: Sigiriya Forest Reserve and Rock Fortress: Today we head south to Sigiriya. We'll spend a day in the Sigiriya Forest Reserve, an important refuge for migratory birds and endemic species such as Shaheen falcons (a species of Peregrine), Grey-bellied cuckoo, Drongo-cuckoo, Indian cuckoo, Crested treeswift, Stork-billed kingfisher (left), Coppersmith barbet and Indian pittas. As a break from birding, we can arrange a visit to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 11: Kandy: We’ll stay near Kandy at a boutique hotel inside the forest, with great on-site birding in well-appointed quarters. We can arrange an optional visit to the Temple of the Tooth, housing Sri Lanka’s most revered object, an actual tooth of Lord Buddha.
Days 12 & 13: Nuwara Eliya: We'll spend two nights in Nuwara Eliya to explore Horton Plains National Park’s montane highland forest (elevation 7,000+ ft), home to bird and animal species that can only be seen here, including large herds of Sambar deer, leopards and endemic highland birds. We’ll also visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens where you may see Oriental and Ceylon white eyes, Yellow eared bulbul, Sri Lanka dull blue flycatcher, Sri Lanka wood pigeon and rare migrants like Kashmir fly catcher. We’ll also visit a tea estate.
Day 14: Udawalawe National Park: We’ll head to lower elevations and broad plains with scattered vegetation – with good visibility -- and several watering holes to see Asian elephants, monitor lizards, marsh mugger crocodiles, Gray langurs, and various deer. Bird life is also rich with Grey bellied cuckoos, Peregrine falcons, White shouldered kites, Pygmy woodpeckers, Pied cuckoos and plenty of storks and herons. It is also common to see Peacocks roosting high in the tree branches.
Days 15 & 16: Sinharaja Rain Forest: At 3,360 ft, Sinharaja is the only undisturbed rain forest of such size in Sri Lanka and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Approximately 147 bird species have been recorded here and it is the only location where 21 out of 26 species native to Sri Lanka can be seen. In addition, you may witness mixed-species bird flocks, averaging up to 42 different bird species. Endemic birds in Sinharaja are the Red-faced malkoha, the Sri Lanka blue magpie (left) the Ashy-headed laughing thrush, the White-faced starling, Sri Lanka spot-winged thrush, Serandib Scops owl, the Green-billed coucal and many more. If we’re lucky, we’ll also spot the Purple faced leaf monkey.
The Reserve is also a treasure trove of plants, trees, creepers, and flowers including many types of rare forest orchids not found anywhere else in the world. We'll be here two nights to afford morning and evening naturalist-guided walks.
Day 17: Colombo and Home: After a drive to Colombo, we may have time for a bit of sightseeing and shopping before you depart for your homeward bound flight. We can arrange for a short-stay at a comfortable hotel for a few hours rest and shower (optional); or a full overnight if your flight departs the following day.
Supporting Wildlife Conservation
In keeping with KarmaQuest’s commitment to nature conservation through ecotourism, your travels to Sri Lanka will help support conservation of Sri Lanka’s endangered wildlife, particularly the Asian elephant which is being threatened by habitat loss and retaliatory killing for the damage it does to farmers' crops. Please read more about novel ways of protecting both.
Single supplement: $1,780
Prices given for payment by check.
Full payment must be deposited in KarmaQuest bank account by May 30, 2020 to secure your booking. Customized trip prices for other dates available upon request.
For more information and a detailed itinerary... please contact
KarmaQuest Ecotourism and Adventure Travel
Tel: (650) 560-0101/
699 Spindrift Way, Half Moon Bay,
California 94019 USA