Birds & Wetlands of Sri Lanka – Jonathan Forgham
18 to 31 January 2023
Day 1 : To Colombo
Fly overnight by Emirates Airlines flight to Sri Lanaka (via Dubai). Departures from regional UK airports are available on request.
Day 2 : Colombo
Arrive Colombo midday. Transfer to hotel Jetwing Beach in Negombo. Evening presentation of The Birds of Sri Lanka and general meeting with tour guide. Once unpacked and settled there will be an opportunity for guests to take a very short wander to a local pond where many common species can be noted. A relaxed stroll along the beach here will give views of terns and egrets along with the evening migration of 10,000’s of house crows. Overnight stay at Hotel Jetwing Beach. D
Day 3 : Colombo
Morning visit to local marshes, boat trip along canal to open wetland at Muthurajawela Marsh. Packed breakfast with bird guide and Hemantha Gunathilaka, naturalist in residence at Negombo Jetwing hotels. The drive to these superb marshes is around 30 minutes and an early start is best to see the most species. Hemantha and Jonathan shall accompany in the boats and be on hand to point out the wide variety of birds such as gull billed terns, whiskered terns, herons and at least 3 species of gloriously colourful kingfishers. A superb habitat to begin the tour. Overnight stay at Hotel Jetwing Beach. B, D
Day 4 : To Galle
Check out of hotel, transfer to Hotel Jetwing Lighthouse.Afternoon local walk with Jonathan for local birds and a chance to meet Anoma Alagiyawadu, the naturalist in residence at the hotel and leading authority on whale migration along the southern coast of Sri Lanka. A long-standing friend of Jonathan’s. In the evening, an optional tour of Galle Fort or just a chance to enjoy the stunning ocean views from one of the bars at the hotel. Overnight stay at Hotel Jetwing Lighthouse. B, D
Day 5 : Galle
Morning visit to Kottawa Rainforest and Hiyare Forest 11 km East of Galle. Optional visits to Unawatuna, Buddhist temples, Jungle Beach and or bus trip to Hikkadua. Kottawa rainforest, some 30 minutes’ drive from the hotel is a small tract of ancient rainforest, holding many species of birds as well as endemic lizards and snails. Macaque monkeys can be seen here regularly. Anoma and Jonathan have visited here many times and are involved in a rain forest tree planting programme to ensure the future of this magnificent habitat. Indeed, in early 2020, Jonathan Skyped a school assembly from here to a school in Bishop’s Stortford that were studying rain forests. Overnight stay at Hotel Jetwing Lighthouse. B, D
Day 6 : Galle
Early start for Mirissa and whale watching tour. Stop for boat trip around Koggala Lake on route back and refreshments at The Fortress hotel, Koggala. Rest of the day at leisure. With Anoma’s knowledge we shall all gain much from this wonderful trip. The boat trip out to the deeper water where the blue
whales and spinner dolphins can be found can take two hours, but there will be birds to view en-route. Watching blue whales is one of the best experiences for any naturalist. With over 1500 trips to record whales, Anoma is the best person to be with. Overnight stay at Hotel Jetwing Lighthouse. B, D
Day 7 : To Udawalawe
Check out of hotel. Transfer to hotel near Udawalawe Reserve. (3 hours drive with stop for tea and visit Buddhist temple en route) Afternoon local bird walk with bird guide. Overnight stay at Grand Udawalawa. B, D
Day 8 : Udawalawe
Early start for safari around Udawalawe Reserve. Drivers for Jeeps and bird guide 3-4 hour safari. An excellent reserve. The morning will begin with a visit to the Elephant orphanage where youngsters are called in to be bottle fed by their keepers. Chance for some close-up photography. Then, into jeeps for a long drive around the extensive reserve. Water buffalo, elephants, a possible 70 bird species, mongooses etc will all be possible sightings. Overnight stay at Grand Udawalawa. B, D
Day 9 : To Sinharaja
Check out of hotel with transfer to Sinharaja Rain Forest Eco Lodge. Sinharaja is the highlight of any Sri Lankan nature trip. The reserve was declared a UNESCO World heritage site in 1988 and 64% of the birds are endemic. It holds a wealth of birds as well as endemic freshwater Fish and reptiles. In the last 25 years a new species of bird, the Serendip Owl, has been discovered, new to science so what else must reside here, as yet undiscovered. Following our arrival at the hotel there will be time to rest and relax and perhaps take a brief local wander with Jonathan Overnight stay at Rainforest Eco Lodge. B, D
Day 10 : Sinharaja
Today, the highlight of the tour as far as bio diversity goes. A short drive to Sinharaja Rain Forest Reserve where we shall meet up with a guide who shall accompany us on a walk through the forest. Rain forest birding can be challenging and so to have an experienced guide is the best way to get the most from the trip. On particular endemic bird can be found here easily enough, the stunning Ceylon Blue magpie. The rest of the day will be free to rest or wander. Jonathan will be available for anyone who wishes to spend an hour before evening meal for a quick bird walk. Overnight stay at Rainforest Eco Lodge. B, D
Day 11 : To Colombo
Check out and head for Mount Lavinia Hotel Colombo. Sightseeing Colombo tour or rest in the afternoon. Overnight stay at Mount Lavania Hotel Colombo. B, DAccommodation: Mount Lavinia Hotel
Day 12 : Colombo
Tour of Talangama Tanks wetland 15km east of Colombo with bird guide. Afternoon at leisure. Talangama tanks is a superb habitat. Set near the impressive Parliament building in Colombo it boasts a good list of wetland species including egrets, herons, purple swamphen and the stunning Pied kingfisher. Overnight stay at Mount Lavania Hotel Colombo. B, D
Day 13 : Colombo
Day at leisure to rest and relax. Overnight stay at Mount Lavania Hotel Colombo. B, D
Day 14 : To London
Transfer to Colombo airport for Emirates Airlines flight to Heathrow, arriving in London early evening
|Price per person
|Single room supplement|
- International Flights in Economy Class with Emirates Airlines
- Accommodation at selected hotels with daily breakfast and dinner.
- All transportation by private air-conditioned vehicle for all included sightseeing
- Services of Jonathan Forgham as trip leader
- Service of Anoma Agiyawadu resident Naturalist
- Water & cool towels on vehicle during tour
- 100% protection of your monies by our ATOL and ABTA Licences
- Sri Lanka visa is available free on charge on arrival at Colombo airport
- Travel Insurance*
- Meals not mentioned above
- Camera/video entrance fees if applicable
- Personal expenses (drinks, laundry, telephone etc)
- Tips & gratuities for guides, drivers and hotel staff
Sightseeing arrangements, visits may vary according to local circumstances at each place on a day to day basis. Tour Leader may decide to alter the programme where he feels it is necessary.
We aim to be as flexible as possible for new bookings and have reduced holiday deposits to £250 per person until further notice, and made it possible to request a refund or postpone travel plans at no extra cost, in the event that a trip can’t go ahead due to Foreign Office advice or overseas government restrictions. All tour payments to Indus Experiences are 100% protected by our ATOL and ABTA Licenses.
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