Nature & Wildlife Photography in Sri Lanka

14 Nights & 15 Days, Period: May – September only

1

Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be greeted by a representative from Classic Sri Lanka and be transferred to Waikkal (45 min drive). Remainder of the day at leisure.

Time permitting, late afternoon boat safari through the mangroves and wetlands in Waikkal where you come across large Bengal Water Monitors and a variety of waterbirds including Black, Yellow and Cinnamon Bittern, Striated Heron, Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphen and up to five colourful species of Kingfisher including the rare migrant Black-capped Kingfisher.

Spend 01 night in Waikkal.

Ranweli Holiday Village, Waikkal

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half board
2

Early morning boat safari through the mangroves and wetlands in Waikkal.

After breakfast, leave for Sinharaja (4 hour drive). Afternoon guided nature walk in the Sinharaja Rainforest to photograph lowland endemics, landscapes and other wildlife. The largest tract of natural rainforest in Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve contains a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna. It is a top birding location where 28 of Sri Lanka’ 34 endemic species have been recorded including the recently discovered Serendib Scops Owl and other rarities such as the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Chestnut-backed Owlet, and White-faced Starling. The mixed species bird flocks found moving through the rainforest canopy within Sinharaja are believed to be the longest studied and largest in the world, which is popularly dubbed as the Sinharaja Birdwave. Other species of fauna encountered during a rainforest walk include Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Giant Squirrel, Kangaroo Lizard, Hump-nosed Lizard and Sri Lanka Keelback.

Spend 03 nights in Sinharaja.

Blue Magpie Lodge, Sinharaja

  • Room Standard Room
  • Basis Half Board
1

Upon arrival at the Bandaranaike International Airport, you will be greeted by a representative from Classic Sri Lanka and be transferred to Waikkal (45 min drive). Remainder of the day at leisure.

Time permitting, late afternoon boat safari through the mangroves and wetlands in Waikkal where you come across large Bengal Water Monitors and a variety of waterbirds including Black, Yellow and Cinnamon Bittern, Striated Heron, Common Moorhen, Purple Swamphen and up to five colourful species of Kingfisher including the rare migrant Black-capped Kingfisher.

Spend 01 night in Waikkal.

Ranweli Holiday Village, Waikkal

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half board
2

Early morning boat safari through the mangroves and wetlands in Waikkal.

After breakfast, leave for Wilpattu (3 hour drive). Afternoon safari at Wilpattu National Park to photograph Leopard, Sloth Bear and other dry-zone wildlife. Popularly dubbed as ‘the land of the lakes’, Wilpattu National Park is famous for watching wildlife within its picturesque villus and dry evergreen forests. It is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park which re-opened in 2010 after being closed for nearly three decades due to the civil war. Wilpattu is one of the top spots in Sri Lanka for watching Leopard and Sloth Bear. Other larger animals seen regularly here include Elephant, Jackal, Mugger Crocodile, Sambar, Spotted Deer and Buffalo are among the larger animals regularly encountered.

Spend 03 nights in Wilpattu.

Big Game Camp, Wilpattu

  • Room Standard Tent
  • Basis Half Board (Silver Category Accommodation)
3 - 4

Full day safari at Wilpattu National Park for wildlife photography. You also have the option of doing a mid-day excursion to Kudurumalai point along the Wilpattu coastline, believed to be the location where Prince Vijaya and the first group of Indian settlers set foot to Sri Lanka. The area is characterized by steep cliffs and fossilized limestone remains and provides panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

Wilpattu is also an excellent birding location particularly in the winter months with over 200 recorded species including a variety of raptors such as Crested Serpent, Changeable Hawk and White-bellied Sea Eagles, Brown Fish Owl; the endemic Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Woodshrike and a large number of water birds and waders by the water’s edge near the villus.

Big Game Camp, Wilpattu

  • Room Standard Tent
  • Basis Half Board (Silver Category Accommodation)
5

Early morning, one last guided safari at Wilpattu National Park. After breakfast, leave for Trincomalee on the east coast (3 hour drive). Remainder of the day at leisure.

Spend 02 nights in Trincomalee.

Trinco Blu by Cinnamon

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
6

Early morning go whale and dolphin watching. Along with Mirissa in the south, Trincomalee on the east coast is the island’s other established location for whale watching the Blue Whale. The deep waters around Trincomalee’s natural harbour can often result in the Blues coming very close to shore and are occasionally seen from the land from a viewpoint at Swami Rock. The sightings of Blue Whales and pods of Sperm Whales off Trincomalee peak from March through to April. The Blue Whales however are resident around Sri Lankan waters and chance encounters are possible during other months. Large pods of Spinner Dolphins in their hundreds are encountered on most days during this period. Orca, Bryde’s Whale, Risso’s Dolphin and Short-finned Pilot Whale are some of the other cetaceans which maybe encountered during an oceanic safari.

Afternoon at leisure.

Trinco Blu by Cinnamon

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
7

Early morning, go on one more whale watch off Trincomalee.

After breakfast, leave for Habarana. Afternoon, photograph ‘The Gathering of Elephants’, which is ranked among the world’s top wildlife viewing spectacles runs from June – October each year. Each afternoon, around 150 - 200 individual elephants come out of the forest in to the open to graze on the fresh green pasture by the water’s edge at Minneriya and Kaudulla national parks. You have excellent opportunities here to observe the social dynamics of the Asian Elephant as the large bulls in musth compete among each other and seek the females within the herd, while young calves with carefree abandon get up to their mischievous antics often to the displeasure of its alert mothers within the herd. Water birds such as Painted Stork, Asian Openbill, Woolly-necked Stork along with raptors such as White-bellied Sea Eagles and Grey-headed Fishing Eagles are abundant around these large man-made lakes.

Spend 02 nights in Habarana.

Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
8

Early morning, travel to Polonnaruwa to photograph troops of Macaques and Langurs among the ruins. Walk with a primatologist amongst the ruins in Polonnaruwa to observe the antics of the Langurs and Macaques and get to meet some of the characters within the troops who the researchers know personally. All three species of monkey- the toque Macaque and the canopy dwelling Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (both endemics) and the Grey Langur can be observed here. Polonnaruwa’s ‘Temple Troop of Toque Macaques’ have been featured in numerous natural history documentaries are a part of the world’s longest running study on primates which has run continuously since 1968. The monkeys here are habituated to the presence of humans enabling excellent opportunities to observe their social interactions at close-range. Whether play fighting, feeding or grooming each other there is never a dull moment when watching monkeys.

Afternoon, photograph ‘The Gathering of Elephants’ at Minneriya .

Cinnamon Lodge, Habarana

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
9

Morning, leave for Nuwara Eliya (5 ½ hour drive).

Afternoon, visit the Hakgala Botanical Gardens to photograph highland endemics and the highland race of the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey.

Spend 02 nights in Ambewala to explore the central highlands.

Jetwing Warwick Garden, Ambewala

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
10

Early morning, visit Horton Plains National Park to photograph highland endemics, Sambar and highland landscapes. Horton Plains is Sri Lanka’s highest elevated national park lying approximately 7,000 feet above sea level and comprises of cloud forests and open grassland. Make an early morning start with a packed breakfast to Horton Plains National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and take a guided walk along the nature trails to a viewpoint known as World’s End with spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. On the walk back you can stop over to see the impressive Baker’s Falls in full flow. Sambar, Sri Lanka’s largest species of deer are encountered regularly in the plains close to the entrance while the shaggy coated Bear Monkey (Highland race of the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey) is occasionally seen within the forested areas.

Afternoon at leisure.

Jetwing Warwick Garden, Ambewala

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
11

After an early breakfast, leave for Sinharaja (5 hour drive).

Afternoon guided nature walk in the Sinharaja Rainforest to photograph lowland endemics, landscapes and other wildlife. The largest tract of natural rainforest in Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve contains a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna. It is a top birding location where 28 of Sri Lanka’ 34 endemic species have been recorded including the recently discovered Serendib Scops Owl and other rarities such as the Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Chestnut-backed Owlet, and White-faced Starling. The mixed species bird flocks found moving through the rainforest canopy within Sinharaja are believed to be the longest studied and largest in the world, which is popularly dubbed as the Sinharaja Birdwave. Other species of fauna encountered during a rainforest walk include Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Giant Squirrel, Kangaroo Lizard, Hump-nosed Lizard and Sri Lanka Keelback.

Spend 03 nights in Sinharaja.

Blue Magpie Lodge, Sinharaja

  • Room Standard Room
  • Basis Half Board
12 & 13

Early morning and late afternoon, explore Sinharaja to photograph lowland endemics and the other unique flora and fauna found within these rainforests.

Blue Magpie Lodge, Sinharaja

  • Room Standard Room
  • Basis Half Board
14

Early morning, one last nature walk in Sinharaja. Late morning, leave for Negombo. Afternoon at leisure.

Jetwing Lagoon, Negombo

  • Room Deluxe Room
  • Basis Half Board
15

Departure transfer to the Bandaranaike International Airport

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