Rhinoceros-horned Lizard

Sri Lanka 2014

We had a great trip! The report will be posted soon.

Sri Lanka is a continental island shaped like a teardrop falling from the southern end of India. It is 437 km long from north to south, and with a total area of 66,000sq km it is about half the size of England. The south-central region is mountainous with elevations up to 2,440 m. Today Sri Lanka is considered one of the most biodiverse areas in South Asia. Recent scientific evidence indicates that many of the plants species in the southwest of the country have a Deccan-Gondwana ancestry.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater

Our trip to Sri Lanka has been carefully planned around the best locations and time of year for finding mammals, which will be our focus. Sri Lanka has much to offer the itinerant mammal watcher, with a great range of small to large carnivores, Asian elephants, deer and other grazers, and a great diversity of bats. We will also be on the lookout for some of the more obscure and fascinating nocturnal species such as Red and Gray Slender Loris, two bizarre primates, and the four elusive wild cat species.  In addition to mammals, the country boasts 430 species of birds, and our days will be spent enjoying this varied avifauna, along with searching out various reptiles and amphibians.  We will have time to visit some cultural attractions as we explore habitats from grassland to wet rainforest, savannah and highland forest.

Sigiriya Rock from our hotel
Sigiriya Rock from our hotel

From Colombo, we proceed to Kitulgala, an excellent location for birds, mammals and reptiles. We enjoy day and night time explorations of the wet forest here.  From Kitulgala we travel to Sinharaja, where we explore another rainforest habitat where several endemic birds can be found. From our lodge at the edge of the forest we can enjoy close up views of many of the animals.  Our next stop is Udawalawe, a grassland and dry forest area known for its herds of elephant and other grazers. Then we move to the southeast and explore Yala National Park, home to the highest density of approachable Leopards in the world. Sloth Bear and many other species can be seen here. The relatively open habitat is excellent for spying and photographing animals and birds from our safari vehicle. We will also take night drives outside the park every night, in search of elusive nocturnal species.  From Yala we head inland and into the high hills where we visit Victoria Park and Horton Plains National Park for highland birds and mammals. With a lunch stop at the famed botanical gardens of Peradeniya, we continue on to Sigiriya. Here we have ample time to explore this renowned mammal-watching locale. In addition to rich wildlife, Sigiriya is famous for its temples, gardens and Lion Rock.

On my second tour of Sri Lanka I am very happy to be working once again with Uditha Hettige, the top mammal guide of the excellent Bird and Wildlife team that set up our itinerary.  Uditha’s skills for finding nocturnal species, his great knowledge of birds, mammals and other Sri Lankan wildlife are well-known and we are all privileged to be traveling with him. He is also a really nice person.  I hope you can join us on this mammal-watching, herp hunting and birding extravaganza!

Itinerary in Brief

January 10. Board flights to Sri Lanka
January 11. Arrive Colombo, evening outing to wet forest for nocturnal mammals. Overnight at Airport Garden Hotel
January 12-13. To Kitulgala for 2 nights
January 14-15. To Sinharaja for Blue Magpie and other species
January 16. To Udawalawe for one night
January 17-19. To Yala for 3 nights with day and night-time safaris in open trucks
January 20-21. To Nuwara Eliya for highland species including the Rhinoceros-horned Lizard.
January 22-24. To Sigiriya for mammals, birds, bat roosts, and more.
January 25. Return to Colombo and stop at the Garden Hotel to freshen up before flights home tonight or early morning.

Fishing Cat
Fishing Cat

Dates: January 11-25 (in Sri Lanka)
Cost per person : $5,750.00
(double occupancy)
Single Supplement: $550
Group size: 6 passengers. SORRY, SOLD OUT.


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