Browsing Tag

wildlife tour operator srilanka

tailor-made itinerary

What does luxury mean to you?

Is it a chartered flight for aerial photographs or a trek up an unknown mountain with views over endless Sri Lankan rice paddies? Is it 5 stars of a small luxury boutique hotel or alfresco dining under a night sky of a million stars?

 

Trek up an unknown mountain

 

When we launched Ayu in the Wild many, many moons ago, we set out to redefine luxury travel in Sri Lanka. Our boundaries were the unusual and off beat. The authentic and life enriching. Connecting the inner you with our beautiful outdoors.

Connect with the beautiful outdoors

 

The luxury of cooking and tasting typical Sri Lankan sambols made in the home of a rural farming family after an incredible walk through their farm. A look into a whole new world you never knew existed.


Trek through a barely trodden path up a mountain with absolutely no one in sight, help out the mountain farmers to till the soil and then enjoy the most sumptuous meal ever. Local flavours, crisp air, just you up a mountain with simple farmers. You could even do a night of fly camping if that’s your style. Luxury outdoors!

The luxury outdoors of a humble sugar cane farmer

 

We do love the luxury of putting our feet up in some beautiful hotels that dot the landscapes of our island but just for a few nights try waking up to the sounds of the untouched wilderness. Camping deep inside one of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife parks, bathe in a river flowing with fresh water. The safari drives are as equally exciting as watching the wildlife that lap up the waters on the river bank. Luxury wildlife!

Luxury widlife

Get creative! Learn the colours of Sri Lanka while painting masks that are traditional to the island or be a part of Sri Lanka’s rhythm from its native dance to the beat of its drums. Get closer to the islands craft and livelihoods – from pottery to a household brass foundry to a cottage industry rubber factory. Luxury Experiential travel!

Up close and personal with a humble potter

 

A cottage industry rubber factory

 

Explore the island’s iconic cultural sites – Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya, Dambulla and Anuradhapura, with locals who will take you back in time thousands of years when Kings and their Kingdoms etched an indelible mark on our history. Luxury in the Cultural Triangle!

 

Enjoy Sri Lanka’s finest accommodation

 

Look beyond the thread count of luxury linen and scented baths. Immerse yourself with the people, places and experiences that makes Sri Lanka so unique. So authentic. So luxuriously real.

Why choosing a local tour operator matters

SRI LANKA – WHY CHOOSING A LOCAL TOUR OPERATOR MATTERS

Wondering which tour operator to choose for your Sri Lanka holiday?
Here’s a close look at 7 reasons why choosing a local matters.


Locals can help you travel deeper. They have a deeper connection (quite literally) with remote, rural communities that often open doors to unique local experiences that others don’t even know exist.

The Brass foundry experience is so fun – a hidden gem we curated in a simple village



Your Little Black Book! An owner-run local company is like your own ‘little black-book’, where the team has the luxury to travel frequently, get to know the newest hotels, the newly opened backroads, routes that are off the guide books, latest treks and where the seasonal wildlife has moved. It can make such a difference to how your tour gets designed.


Companies run by locals can make experiences more meaningful as they (and their Guides) know the cultural nuances, those quirky traditions and deep rooted rituals and beliefs, inside out.

Play village games with rural kids of Sri Lanka



A dash of ‘oomph’ to your bespoke holiday in Sri Lanka : can only be tailor made by people who love the challenge of constantly innovating. When your holiday includes local immersive experiences that guests wouldn’t find by themselves, it can be so different to any other tailor-made tour of Sri Lanka.


Giving back 100% to Sri Lanka : Responsible local tour operators in Sri Lanka will always ensure that Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans benefit most from your tour. Ensure that 100% of what you pay stays right here in Sri Lanka as your tour should benefit the country’s economy. Always ask if the money you pay for your tour is transferred to an account in Sri Lanka or elsewhere in the world.

Encouraging simple rural village folk to make a living



Independent : Local tour operators not affiliated to any particular group of hotels can make unbiased recommendations choosing the most appropriate from among the best, the newest or the ones with great stay-pay offers to suite each guest.


Local touch for the global traveler : Bespoke experiential holidays curated by small locally owned companies where the team is well traveled – in Sri Lanka and globally,  can stay true to being completely local, but with those discernible professional touches loved by the global traveler.

Visit a sugar cane factory


 

We would love to share some wonderful personal experiences in this beautiful biodiversity hotspot coloured by roots that go thousands of years deep. To us, its home.

 

Warm regards,

Chamintha and Rajindra Jayasinghe
Founders and Chief Explorers
Ayu in the Wild Holidays

 

Birdwatching in Sri Lanka
Birding trip reports

OUT AMONGST THE BIRDS, IN SRI LANKA

An Ayu in the Wild Naturalist’s thoughts on bird watching – 12-15 Dec, 2017 in Udawalawe National Park, the Wetlands of Tissamaharama and Yala National Park

Asian Brown Flycatcher

I was on the lookout for our endemics. But, who would ever think an Asian Brown Flycatcher flitting around catching insects among rubber trees at a quarter to noon would get the cameras out?!

12 DECEMBER 2017 – Udawalawe National Park

It was their first time in Sri Lanka.

The road from Negombo to Udawalawe was a great introduction to the island with the cities, suburbs and rural villages all lined with lush green made lusher by the recent rains that lashed Sri Lanka. Rural women tapping rubber trees to extract latex was intriguing for these guests from the built up commercial hub of Singapore. It made them very excited for the island adventures that lay ahead.

The ETD for the safari at Udawalawe National Park was at 2.30 pm.

Just after we entered through the gates, the contact call of a Yellow-eyed Babbler alerted us and the short whistling notes that we first heard was the sign that it was not a Prinia.

Close by was a dead tree and on it, an uncommon breeding resident Black-winged Kite devouring a mouse, while its partner looked longingly at the meal of small prey.  Kites hover and Eagles don’t and my guests spent the next hour hoping to spot an Eagle to compare this unique behaviour of Raptors.

Black-winged Kite

Elephants never fail to excite guests. Today was no exception with a herd of around 6 feeding, leisurely. Even the solitary males were unperturbed. It was a great opportunity to explain how to identify between males and females by their body structure.

Elephants at Udawlawe National Park

The sun was casting a fabulous glow on the beautiful Udawalawe National Park and the sunbathing Buffaloes were loving it! Overhead, a flock of Rosy Starlings flew under clear skies and perched silently on a ‘Maila’ tree (Bauhinia racemosa) enjoying this warm weather open country they visit on their long winter migration season.


Sunbathing Buffalos

Comparing the footprints of Jackals and Jungle cats inside the Park was the perfect end to an evening that set the tone for three days of bird watching in Udawalawe and Yala – a lovely experience with this family from Singapore.

 

13 DECEMBER 2017 – Yala National Park

The morning’s visit to the Elephant transit home was rewarding, seeing the baby elephants being fed and fighting for more!

The guests were excited for their first visit to the famed Yala NP but couldn’t resist photographing the nomadic Sri Lankan gypsies setting up their mobile camp by a river and fortune telling around town.

Sri Lankan gypsies camping

The ‘Bat-Tree’ near the impressive Tissa Lake was another photo worthy moment.

Fruit Bats on “the bat tree”

On our way to Yala we stumbled upon the elusive Collared Scops Owl. What a terrific start to the day! Our Ayu in the Wild Logo, commonly known as the Indian Scops Owl, sleepily gazing from the hollow of a ‘Burutha’ (Chloroxyon swietenia) tree, probably after its days fill.

Collared Scops Owl

Sharp at 2.30 pm we entered the Yala NP. Have you ever heard the sound of clattering mandibles of a flock of Painted Storks fishing? Our guests said they’ve never heard such a racket, as they observed the communal feeding of these pink feather-backed Storks side by side with a flock of Eurasian Spoonbills.

Eurasian Spoonbills and Painted Storks fishing together

A Malabar Pied Hornbill’s presence was betrayed by the loud, shrill cackling call – the females could be identified by the white ring around the eyes.

Malabar Pied Hornbill

A Black-naped Hare may not be the exciting sight, a hare giving birth to its litter was a definite tick on my checklist. Wishing her well, we left the park as the sun bowed out for the day.

Hare giving birth to a litter of two

 

14 DECEMBER 2017 – Wetlands of Tissamaharama and Yala National Park

I love these wetland bird watching walks.

A female Purple-rumped Sunbird looked ready to lay its eggs in a nest hanging from an ‘Andara’ (Dichrostachys cinerea) tree. A few minutes later, a distressed call from the male confirmed this.

Purple-rumped Sunbird in its nest

A flock of Oriental White-eyes were seen feeding on nectar but unfortunately took flight as I rustled some leaves. An alarm call of a palm squirrel distracted me and revealed a Shikra probing over for its lunch.

Oriental White eye

Shikra

On our second safari inside Yala, the sound of a gentle whistling took us to see not one but two pairs of Lesser Whistling-ducks swimming around a water hole.

A noble doe scaring off a Crested Hawk-eagle to save a frog was quite the spectacle for our guests!

Crested Hawk – Eagle

We decide to be detectives for the day and followed the newly etched cone shaped bird prints on the sand of the beautiful Common Hoopoe and eventually the track led us to one of my favourite birds.

Common Hoopoe

The evening was exciting. A false alarm by an overzealous Deer about an imaginary lurking predator set off an entire herd of Spotted Deer on a frenzied dash. A few water holes away about 15 full grown buffalos emerged from the muddy waters paying absolutely no heed to the submerged crocodile who eyed them and wisely, moved on to something its own size.

Will keep you posted when I’m next out amongst the Birds.

Senior Naturalist –  Ayu in the Wild

 

 


FAQs about Bird Watching tours with Ayu in the Wild

  • Are the Naturalists experienced?
    • Both our main bird watching Guides have traversed the length and breadth of the island and are experienced in field and scientific research.
  • Can we speak with the Guides before booking a tour?
    • Yes, we could arrange it at a convenient time for our Guides and for you – as they are mostly on the field and not in office.
  • Is it a private tour or a group?
    • Almost all of our bird watching tours are private tours but we can organise a small group tour too. Our ratio is 1 bird watching leader to a maximum of 6-8 pax.
  • What’s included into the tour cost?
    • An English speaking experienced Naturalist to lead the tour
    • Accommodation and meals as noted on an itinerary
    • Entrance tickets to National Parks
    • Cost of safari jeeps
    • Private luxury vehicle with an English speaking Chauffeur
    • A comprehensive bird check list for each guest. 
  • On the Road
    • You will be in a comfortable luxury Vehicle (Van/Car/SUV) and your English speaking chauffeur and your Guide will coordinate everything for you
  • Food
    • All accommodation can cater to varying food allergies or special requirements (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free). You don’t need to eat curries at every meal!
  • Insects, Malaria and Vaccinations
    • Sri Lanka is malaria free. We do recommend that you consult your usual GP or Travel Clinic for up to date information on vaccinations required. Use a repellent containing 20%-30% DEET to prevent mosquito bites. Citronella Oil is a great natural remedy for preventing mosquito bites but ensure you are not allergic to it.
  • Beyond birding
    • Well the Rough Guides has described us as a tour operator that can get you under the skin of the island. With our wide network of local contacts and curated authentic local interactions, we call them our ‘immersive luxury’ experiences.
what to do in Sri Lanka

Top 10 things to do in Sri Lanka

  1. Those train rides are something else!

    Epic train rides in Sri Lanka

Reach the unreachable with an epic train journey through misty mountains, majestic waterfalls, spooky tunnels and tea swathed mountains. Be awed by the 9 arches bridge in Ella or the humble tea plucker gazing at you closer to Kandy. Or opt for the coastal route where the rhythm of the train merges with the wafting breeze of this Indian Ocean island.

  1. Visit the ancient rock citadel of Sigiriya.

Bloomberg’s latest wonder of the world is nothing short of a skyscraper. Hike up the face of the Lion Rock to see the remains of a 14th century rock palace, climb down marveling the complex irrigation and construction.

  1. Cycle ride through crumbled ancient civilizations

    The ancient library found in Polonnaruwa

Way before Machu Pichu are some curious and amazing Stupas, rock carved Buddha statues and University Complexes that housed thousands. Pedal through these historic world heritage sites and learn tales of the past with Ayu in the Wild’s knowledgeable guides.

  1. Trek the misty paths by foot

At the heart of the hill country feel the cold breeze, breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the distant sound of a lapping stream, watch the creation of clouds with mist around you and find a trekking adventure tackling the steep moss laden steps of the mountain.

  1. Explore the wild island that’s only just over three times the size of Kruger National Park.

    Leopard at Yala national park

Easily one of the best Biodiversity Hotspots in South Asia, here’s an island where you can safari to learn about (and photograph) a myriad of wildlife from Lichens to Leopards. Trek with our Edu-Guides to see the beauty and richness of the fauna and flora at Horton Plains or enjoy a wonderful bird watching holiday. An island that’s one of the best for safaris in Asia with the many blocks of Yala National Park being billed as best game parks outside of Africa.

  1. Canoeing, Sailing or White-water rafting.

Water adventures that take you off road! Canoe gently along a river, sail in Mirissa, Paasikuda or Trincomalee or go white water rafting along the adventure packed Kitulagala area. The beauty of this islands 103 rivers and 1340 Km coastline will awe you.

  1. Chill out or go snorkeling at the tropical beaches

    Whale watching on a private yacht

Stop dreaming of spending a day by the beach and come to Sri Lanka the Island that has a beach at every end! Just do nothing or pack it all in; snorkeling, sailing, whale watching on a yacht, surfing, deep sea diving or even Ship wreck diving!

  1. Real camping deep inside a national park

Experience authentic African-styled wildlife camping. Private safari camps with full on service team in the midst of the National Park, where you are the first out on safari to spot leopards, elephants and bears. Nothing like it!

  1. Take a closer look into Sri Lanka’s traditional lifestyles

    Pottery by a local artisan

Join Ayu in the Wild to get insider access into the authentic Sri Lankan lifestyle. Meet local artisans who create wonderful things from brass and clay in their tiny villages homes. Cook-like-the-locals, enjoy a homestay, sit down to a meal with a farming family, walk through spice estates, taste the many tastes of Ceylon Tea. Oh, the list is endless!

  1. Witness the largest Asian Elephant gathering in the world

    Elephants at Asia’s largest gathering

    Witness the largest annual gathering of the Asian elephant. Ayu in the Wild’s insightful guides will tell you all about their behavior, how moms and babies interact and why they meet here on the banks of the beautiful Minneriya tank. This spectacle has put Sri Lanka on the map as one of the top safari vacations in Asia.

     


     

    Contact Ayu in the Wild holidays to add on more unique experiences or talk to us about our best tours to Sri Lanka!

     

Highlights of Sri Lanka

Architectural Marvels of Sri Lanka

Discover the story of a nation’s brilliance with some unique architectural experiences on offer in Sri Lanka. From challenging irrigation systems devised by Kings, to novel monsoon architecture of a brilliant 20th century Sri Lankan architectural maestro. Here’s a Guide to just 5 of the best examples of architectural mastery Sri Lanka has nurtured throughout the years.

1    Yala National Park – challenging irrigation systems

Deers of Sri Lanka

Man made water tanks in Yala National Park, a haven during drought

Yala, the most visited wildlife destination in Sri Lanka, prior to National Park status was a farming land under the rule of a visionary Singhalese King during the 1st century BC. In the art of successful farming he built large tanks to store water, each tank filled by the spill waters of the one above it through superior irrigation skills in a time of manual labor and zero automation. Throughout the years, the jungle took over, making the king’s masterpiece a haven during the drought to the animals that call this luxuriant wildlife Sanctuary, home. Learn more fascinating facts on tour with the Natural History Guides of Ayu in the Wild.

2   The Royal Palace in Polonnaruwa

Cultural Triangle

Polonnaruwa Royal Palace

Central Air conditioning in the 11th century? This 7 storey palace was built to be several degrees cooler within it’s incredibly massive walls to beat the scorching heat of Polonnaruwa. King Parakramabahu 1 certainly was a master of Sri Lankan principles of architecture designing his Palace with 2m to 3m thick walls, a predominantly wooden structure and a Pagoda style roof with approximately a 1 to 2 feet gap between the upper and lower roofs. On a privately guided tour with Ayu in the Wild glean more insights into the layout, art and architecture of more paragons in Polonnaruwa.

Srilanka Culture

Polonnaruwa is a wonderful example of ancient construction technique

3   Heritance Kandalama Hotel – the masterpiece of Geoffrey Bawa

#heritancekandalama bound with the spirit of nature For more details visit: www.aitkenspencehotels.com

A post shared by Heritance Hotels & Resorts (@heritancehotelsandresorts) on

Right there among the many ancient Sri Lankan Kings stands the 20th century brilliant mind – the ingenious Geoffrey Bawa the most famed architect of Sri Lanka. His modern day mastery at creating a harmonious relationship with the environment through monsoon architecture makes him Royalty in Sri Lanka’s architectural heritage. The Heritance Kandalama Hotel is an astonishing belvedere built into the rocky outcrop with no earth moving machinery used, blurs the distinction between the natural and the man-made with an ambience of luxury and sophistication. Kandalama Hotel is one of Ayu in the Wild’s top picks for luxury accommodation in the Cultural Triangle and an excellent base for visits to the Dambulla Cave Temples and a safari in Minneriya National Park.

4   Local Village Huts.

Local experiences Sri Lanka

A lovely example of a wattle and daub local house in Sri Lanka

Away from the beaten track and blessed with lakes, fertile soil, natural beauty and abundant wildlife live simple Sri Lankan folk: unpretentious, humble but functional. Their homes are models of vernacular architecture. Local village huts are built with adobe (wattle and daub) walls and roofs of woven coconut fronds ideal to tropical climates, these huts are built with a mechanism that absorbs the cool moisture at night and let it out during the day when its warm. Each one creatively built with an unwavering sensitivity to the environment. Visit these earthy havens with Ayu in the Wild and interact with local farmers and rural kids – an incredible experience on your tour of Sri Lanka.

5  Sigiriya Palace.

Sigiriya Srilanka

Sigiriya Lion Rock

A marvelous feat built through fear gave rise to an ancient skyscraper. Built on top of a 600-foot rock lies the palace ruins of a fugitive king. Along with a remarkable network of subterranean water channels made out of terracotta pipes and unplugged bubbling fountains amidst Asia’s oldest pleasure gardens. The phenomenal idea of converting each drop of rain to a symphony of water through gravity and pressure gave rise to one of the most visited UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka. Privately guided tours by the Guides of Ayu in the Wild to the Lion Rock in Sigiriya is an awe inspiring lesson on architecture, fugitive Kings, battles and victories of the 5th Century.

 


 

Immerse yourself in the exquisite architecture all around this stunning island with our “Inner You –Outdoor Sri Lanka” Tours by Ayu in the Wild. Contact Email: info@ayuinthewild.com or whatsapp us on +94 777 248 1100

Leopard Safaris
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka – best for wildlife outside Africa

Take a look at this incredible photo blog of a tiny island called Sri Lanka, just over three times the size of Kruger National Park, where some amazing wildlife safaris await you. The species diversity alone, makes Sri Lanka certainly one of the best destinations for wildlife outside Africa.

Elephants roam wild in srilanka

Safaris to spot wild Elephants can be done in several parks across Sri Lanka


ELEPHANTS

It doesn’t matter where in Sri Lanka you choose to travel, you can always fit in a safari to see Wild elephants in one of the main National Parks. And those baby Elephants can be oh so cute as they play under their mummy’s stomach.

Elephants safaris Udawalawe

Observing Baby Elephants in the wild can be so exciting

LEOPARDS

What are your chances of spotting Leopards in Sri Lanka? Quite high!! In fact, unlike in other parts of the world, the Leopard is Sri Lanka’s top predator and roams freely inside the National Parks.

Leopards in Yala

In Sri Lanka the Leopard is the top predator.

We love to visit Kumana National Park for uncrowded safaris and it’s so rich in wildlife, including some great Leopard safaris. And if camping inside a Park is your thing, there’s no better place for it.

Where to see Leopards in Sri Lanka

Leopards can be seen in Kumana, Wilpattu and Yala National Parks

SLOTH BEAR

Those cuddly creatures are so shy but let me clue you in…come during the months of May and June when the fruits they love (Palu) are in season, and you will stand quite a good chance to spot them roaming around inebriated.

Wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka must be booked with responsible wildlife tour operators

The Sloth Bear of Sri Lanka

MONKEYS

You will see them everywhere in the island –  up in the hills of Kandy, throughout the cultural triangle, but inside Sri Lanka’s National Parks, especially in Yala, Udawalawe, Minneriya, Kumana, Kaudulla, Wilpattu and the rain forests of Sinharaja, you can observe different species and how they behave – we call it our Monkey Treks. It’s quite fun watching their antics even though this family of Toque Macaques are rather serious about something!

Monkey trek in Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya can be so fun

Monkeys can be seen everywhere in Sri Lanka

BIRDS

The last count of bird species was 500…and still counting! Incredible for an island this size. Every year, from November onwards, ardent bird watchers from across the world flock to Sri Lanka with their checklists, bird books, binoculars and massive zoom lenses to spot the 33 endemics.

Birding tours in srilanka

The endemic blue magpie can definitely be spotted in the Sinharaja Rainforest

WHALES AND DOLPHINS

Blue Whales the size of a bus, incredible pods of Dolphins and so much more can be spotted across the oceans of Sri Lanka, especially off the coasts of Mirissa, Kalpitiya and Trincomalee where you can do boat safaris or even stay overnight on a Yacht.

Blue Whales in Mirissa

Sri Lanka is famous for its Dolphins and Whales

CROCODILES, DEER AND MORE WILD CREATURES

If you travel with a responsible wildlife safari tour operator who does not merely chase after Leopards for the entire safari, you will truly begin to appreciate the incredibly diversity of wildlife in Sri Lanka.

Crocodiles spotting on a wildlife safari

Watching crocodiles hunt can be fascinating

Watching Crocodiles hunt inside and outside water, can be so fascinating on a wildlife safari.

Responsible wildlife tour operator srilanka

Deer gather in large numbers inside the national parks

From the Spotted Deer, to Sambur Deer to the shy and elusive Barking Deer, these creatures give the first warning sign of a predator lurking close by. Our guest’s love to learn about these alarm calls!


 

Want to book one of the most captivating wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka? Just enquire from Ayu in the Wild. Our Guides love to tell you the most amazing wildlife stories ever!

Birdwatching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Bird Watching Tour – the Endemics

This 14 day bird watching tour in Sri Lanka with time to explore areas off beat and bird watching at night, is perfect for those looking for a more private birding experience with experienced and flexible Naturalists. This tour of the island’s avian fauna and natural history covers all climatic zones of the island, and offers a chance to spot over 250 species and a richer experience of diverse species habitats and elevations.


Yellow-eared Bulbul

Birding Tour Itinerary

Day 1  
Anuradhapura: On arrival, you will be met at the Airport and transferred to Anuradhapura (depends on time of arrival). Afternoon  – An introduction to the Birds and birding sites of Sri Lanka and some leisurely birding to spot Lesser Whistling-Ducks, Brahminy Kites, Pheasant-tailed Jacana  and more around the hotel and lakes in Anuradhapura. *Or option to take a moonlight tour of the Sacred City.
Overnight: In a heritage hotel set within the Sacred City in Anuradhapura. (Meals: dinner)

Day 2
Sigiriya/Habarana: Morning –  birding around the lakes of Anuradhapura will get us up close with Spot-billed Pelicans, Little and Indian Cormorants, the Kingfishers and even the Indian Pitta. After breakfast, we transfer to Sigiriya/Habarana where in the afternoon we explore the surrounding forests of Sigiriya for the Ceylon Grey Hornbill and a selection of Woodpeckers. *Option to visit Dambulla Cave Temple
Overnight: In a 3-4 star Hotel in Sigiriya/Habarana. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 3
Sigiriya/Habarana: Today we explore the birding around the dry mixed evergreen forests around Sigiriya Rock and small lakes in search of the resident and migrant species of the Peregrin Falcon,Greater Racket-tailed Drongo, Ceylon Woodshrikes, Oriental Scops Owl, Jerdon’s Nightjar, Blue-faced Malkoha, Ashy and Grey-breasted Prinias and more. *Option to climb the Sigiriya Lion Rock and/or a privately guided safari to observe the behavior of Elephants in the wild
Overnight: In a 3-4 star Hotel in Sigiriya/Habarana. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 4
Kandy: Transfer to the World Heritage Site of Kandy to a unique off-beat boutique bungalow where you will spend the day searching for endemics along a tributary of Sri Lanka’s longest river the Mahaweli. One of the most bird rich hidden escapes on the island. We visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya to search for the beautiful Alexandrine Parakeet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Rose-ringed and Plum-headed Parakeets *Option to take a guided visit to the Temple of the Tooth Relic.
Overnight: In a 4 star Hotel in Kandy. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler

Day 5
Nuwera Eliya: A transfer to Nuwera Eliya at the crack of dawn will leave us adequate time for some wonderful birding off beat through tea laden hills to search for Hill Country birds, before visiting the Victoria Park in our quest to spot the Kashmir Flycatcher, Pied Thrush, Forest Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Yellow-Eared Bulbul, Indian Blue Robin among others.
Overnight: In a 3-4 star Hotel or Bungalow in Nuwera Eliya. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 
Nuwera Eliya: We must reach the cloud forests of Horton Plains amidst the mist at dawn, with packed breakfasts to try our luck to tick off the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler and Sri Lanka White-eye, among many others during a wonderful day of trekking.
Overnight: In a 3-4 star Hotel or Bungalow in Nuwera Eliya. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 7
Tissamaharama: Visiting Surrey Estate en-route to see if we could chance upon the Wood Owl, we then transfer to Bundala National Park for the Waders, Garganey, Eurasian Stone Curlew, Curlew Sandpipers, Marsh Sandpiper, Watercock, Small Pratincole, Yellow-Wattled & Red-Wattled Lapwing, Oriental Skylark, Ashy-Crowned Finch-Lark and more.  This full day of birding ends with an overnight in Tissamaharama – which will be our base for the next 2 nights as we explore two National Parks, the wetlands and paddy fields.
Overnight: In a Resort Hotel in Tissamaharama. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 8
Tissamaharama: Morning at leisure or option to explore the wetlands near  Tissamaharama  for water birds, Terns, Gulls, the the Purple Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Yellow Bittern, Black Bittern, Brahminy Kite, Shikra, Streaked and Baya Weavers. An afternoon safari inside wildlife rich Yala National Park is our chance to observe the Painted & Black-Necked Stork,  the Plovers such as the Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Little-Ringed Plover and Kentish Plover, Great Thick-Knee, Brown Fish Owl, Rosy Starling and a host of other species that dot the Park amidst, Sambur, Leopard, Elephant, Sloth Bear, and Giant Squirrels.
Overnight: In a Resort Hotel in Tissamaharama. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 9
Udawalawe: Transfer to Udawalawe, where on a jeep safari we have a great chance to spot Raptors due to the open spaces. There’s also excellent chances to spot the Malabar Pied Hornbill and search for the Jungle Prinia, Forest Wagtail, and Blyth’s Pipit, Sirkeer Malkoha and the Changeable Hawk amidst the semi evergreen forests that are home to large herds of Asian Elephants, Spotted Deer, Grey Langur and Toque Macaque. Nature treks in the surrounding areas today or early am tomorrow yield even more avian species.
Overnight: In a tented camp on the borders of Uda Walawe. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 10
Sinharaja: The Sinharaja Rain Forest area becomes our base for the next 3 nights – a prime birding site where, 70% of Sri Lanka’s endemics out of the 33 endemics and over 150 species can be added to a guest’s bird count. We explore the surrounding area of our overnight accommodation for some lovely species including, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Orange and Small Minivets to name a few.
Overnight: In a beautiful Eco Lodge overlooking the rain forest area. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Small Minivet (Male)

Day 11
Sinharaja: A day of trekking in the morning and afternoon inside the World Heritage Site of the Sinharaja Man and Biosphere Reserve is our chance to look for the Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, Ceylon Hill-Myna, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Ceylon Spurfowl, Ceylon Junglefowl, Red-Faced Malkoha,  Chestnut-Backed Owlet and many more, especially if you chance upon the mixed-species feeding flock.
Overnight: In a beautiful Eco Lodge overlooking the rainforest area. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 12
Sinharaja: An entire day of birding in the Sinharaja Rainforest with morning and afternoon treks adds to the highest chances of averaging a total bird count of over 250 species as part of this top bird watching tour in Sri Lanka.
Overnight: In a beautiful Eco Lodge overlooking the rain forest area. (Meals: breakfast, dinner)

Day 13
Kitulgala: Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, we transfer to the lush tract of forest in Kitulgala, where across the river lies the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve. The long drive to get here is worth the effort just in case we’ve missed our chances in the Sinharaja Rainforest, to try our luck for a glimpse of the Chestnut-backed Owlet, Green-billed Coucal, and the Serendib Scops Owl and possibly to tick off the Red-faced Malkoha and Blue-faced Malkoha, the Gold-fronted Leafbird, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher,  Spot-winged Ground-thrush, Legge’s Flowerpecker, and much more.
Overnight: In a riverside Hotel in Kitulgala. (Meals: breakfast, lunch)

Day 14
Departure:  Morning – we do our last outing to total up our bird count to over 250 species and leave after a quick lunch for drop off at the Airport. *An overnight can be arranged if required
(Meals: breakfast and a snack)


Crested Hawk Eagle

Crested Hawk Eagle

Specialist Guides

This is one of the best bird watching tours in Sri Lanka, showcasing our rich biodiversity and endemism spread across the 5 climatic zones. Hosted by Naturalists specialized in birding and experienced in field and scientific research, these resourceful and flexible Guides have a keen sense of bird behaviour and will ensure that birders have opportunities to explore off beat and at night to ensure key species are observed while guests gain deep insights into the island’s avian fauna and natural history.

Birds of Sri Lanka

Indian Roller

Enquire for Prices or shorter tours

  • Prices vary based on Deluxe or Value accommodation.
  • Accommodation noted above is for a Deluxe Tour. Most convenient accommodation for ease of bird watching will be included into any tour.
    • Minimum: 2 pax (Can be tailor made for group tours )
  • Special Discounts for birding tours led by the Nature Travel Network Tour Leaders or tours booked by it’s Contributors and affiliated photographers.

 

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie

Inclusions

  • English speaking experienced Naturalist on tour.
  • Accommodation and meals as noted.
  • Entrance tickets to National Parks, safari jeeps and tickets to Sigiriya.
  • Private luxury vehicle with an English speaking Chauffeur.
  • Comprehensive bird check list for each guest. 

Map of Birding Tour with Ayu in the Wild –The Endemics

Birdwatching

Birding tour Map

Extensions to the Birding Tour with Ayu in the Wild:

  • Culture – A moonlight tour of the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, Guided trek to the Summit of the Lion Rock in Sigiriya, Guided insights to the traditional Poojah at the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy
  • Other Wildlife – Whale and Dolphin watching on a Yacht guided by an Author on marine mammals
  • Local community interactions with rural farmers to observe their lives and livelihoods
Birds of Sri Lanka

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

Birdwatching in Sri Lanka

Best places for bird watching in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a wonderful destination for bird watching with an incredible 33 species of endemic birds and 441 species of birds recorded on the island!

Sinharaja Rainforest

  • Our Naturalists would not miss an opportunity to linger longer in this beautiful rain forest. It is the last remaining virgin rain-forest in the island where, a day out on safari can yield 29 of the island’s 33 endemic birds. 

Singharaja forestBlue Magpie – The Bird Wave, a mixed species feeding flock can be observed between November to March inside Sinharaja

What can you see inside Sinharaja?
Some of the noteworthy species could include: the Oriental Honey Buzzard, Ceylon Spurfowl and Junglefowl, Ceylon Woodpigeon, Red-Faced Malkoha, Green-Billed Coucal, Chestnut-Winged Cuckoo, Serendib Scops-Owl, Chestnut-Backed Owlet, Ceylon Frogmouth, Malabar Trogon, many species of Eagles including; Rufous-Bellied Eagle, Shikra, Crested Serpent Eagle, Black Eagle and Mountain Hawk-Eagle; Yellow-Browed Bulbul, Himalayan Black Bulbul, Spot-Winged Ground Thrush, Ceylon Scaly Thrush, Ceylon Rufous Babbler, Ashy-Headed Laughing Thrush, Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Indian Paradise Fly catcher, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White-Faced Starling, Ceylon Hill-Myna and more

Horton Plains National Park and the Kitulgala Forests 

  • If ticking off the 33 endemics of Sri Lanka is on your bucket list, then these are two must visit birding hot spots in Sri Lanka.

Birding can be wonderful along the borders of Sanctuaries and Rainforests

What can you see inside Horton Plains and Kitulgala?
Waking up before dawn can certainly reward you with sightings of the Yellow-eared Bulbul, Ceylon Scimitar-babbler, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, and Sri Lanka White-eye to name a few in the Horton Plains cloud forests, Sri Lanka’s most visited National Park. In Kitulgala, across the famed river is a lush rain forest which is home to the Chestnut-backed Owlet and Serendib Scops Owl, while you may also spot the two species of Barbets: Yellow-fronted Barbet and Ceylon Small Barbet, and Green-billed Coucal, Layard’s Parakeet, and the Ceylon Rufous Babbler.

RAMSAR Sites of Mannar and Bundala National Parks 

  • Sri Lanka Migrant hotspots where hundreds of winter migrants arrive for feeding during October until April. Mannar is a great location to photograph Flamingos, Water birds and Shorebirds and is a less frequently visited spot on the main birding routes.

 

Sri Lanka

Flamingos

What can you see inside Bundala?
A morning safari in Bundala is one of the highlights of any birding tour in Sri Lanka. Sandpipers and Plovers abound among Crocodiles and migrant shorebirds. Curlew Sandpipers, Wood Sandpipers and Common sandpipers, Pacific Golden Plovers, Kentish and Little Ringed Plovers mingle in the marshes and lakes with Common Redshanks, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Black Bitterns and Yellow Bitterns.

Kumana, Yala, Wilpattu and Uda Walawe National Parks and Sigiriya Sanctuary:

  • A walk around these National Parks is almost as good as a safari inside them for spotting migrants as well as endemic birds of Sri Lanka. Most of our tours with specialist Naturalists would include treks in the borders surrounding these birding hot spots.
Sri Lanka bird watching

Brown Fish Owl


Enquire about private birding tours from Ayu in the Wild Holidays. Email: info@ayuinthewild.com or WhatsApp us on +94 777 248 1100

Whales and Dolphins
Blue Whales, Dolphins and Diving Sri Lanka

103 Rivers Make an Ocean – A Photo Blog

There lies a land in the Indian Ocean where 103 rivers nourish its warm tropical seas. Take a look at this photo blog of Sri Lanka, an island so bestowed by nature, that in a day you can spot Leopards, Elephants and Blue Whales.

Whale Watching Srilanka

Whales of Sri Lanka

The rich nutrients that flow from the hills through farmlands and estuaries meandering through rivers into Sri Lanka’s surrounding narrow continental shelf, make it one of the best places to observe whales and dolphins incredibly close to shore.

Dolphin watching

Dolphins of Sri Lanka

Trincomalee and Mirissa are fantastic for Blue Whales at different times of the year, while Kalpitiya is one of the best for super pods of Dolphins.

Responsible Dolphin watching

Dolphins at Kalpitiya

Dolphins of Srilanka

Dolphin Watching SriLanka

Sri Lanka is also famed for being one of the best wreck diving destinations in the world.

Shipwreck diving in Sri Lanka

Shipwreck Diving

Shipwreck diving srilanka

Lives in a Shipwreck

Incredible World War II Ship wrecks that dot the seas off Colombo, Trincomalee, Vakarai and Batticaloa make stunning homes for marine life.

Marine Life Sri Lanka

Observe the different Eco systems

Holiday Activities in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Marine Life

The seas are this beautiful island’s testimony to mysterious eco systems left to explore by our maritime heritage. Let’s preserve this experience for future generations and respect marine wildlife by booking responsible blue whale tours in Sri Lanka.

Responsible Tour operators

How to choose a responsible Blue Whale watching tour in Sri Lanka

  • Above all, responsible whale watching tours in Sri Lanka are those where the animals are not spooked – either by getting too close to them nor by the noise of engines.
  • Choose Yachts and small boats steered by experienced and professional crew.
  • Check if the onboard experience is pleasant and secure for guests (vessels must be equipped with life jackets, life rings, first aid kits, fire extinguishers, GPS, toilets and provide breakfast, tea and coffee, water, sea sickness tablets).
  • Passenger numbers on each tour must be below the maximum carrying capacity on board. 
Mammals of Sri Lanka

Responsible Dolphin Watching


Let’s celebrate the enchanting oceans of Sri Lanka by booking a responsible Whale and Dolphin watching safari.

If spending 5-7 hours on a commercial whale watching boat with 40 people on board is not your thing, Ayu in the Wild offers Whale Watching on board a private catamaran yacht from Mirissa, with guiding by the acclaimed author on marine mammals). A truly unforgettable experience.

Enquire: info@ayuinthewild.com

Natural History Holidays

Natural history holidays that are so different

Sri Lanka, is where history stumbled upon nature.

A tiny Indian Ocean island, so naturally enticing, that it’s vastitude enfolds you. From the deep blue cetacean rich oceans, to the wildlife rich emerald forests and lakes mirroring fireball sunsets, Sri Lanka is the doorway to every hue of nature you could possibly imagine.

beautiful sunsets in srilanka

Fireball Sunsets

Take a journey of true discovery through some stunning Natural History Holidays that lets you rekindle an inborn connection with nature. Where a safari is not about ticking off a species list but about knowing a land called Sri Lanka, where 2500 years ago a nation was born of Kings and Royalty.

5.30 Am #Mihintale

A post shared by Otara Gunewardene (@otaradel) on

Learn how in Mihintale, just east of Anuradhapura, the implored preaching of a Buddhist Monk convinced a King in 247 BC  to renounce the pleasures of animal hunting and designate the surrounding jungles as the world’s oldest designated wildlife sanctuary, where all creatures enjoyed the right to life.

Sigiriya Srilanka

Surrounded by nature in the heart of the Cultural Triangle

Be captivated in the dry zones of the Cultural Triangle with stories of battles and legend of Hanuman tales all entrenched amidst thick jungles. You will learn about a time, long, long ago when the tree was revered as the source of life, where leaves, roots, sap and boughs were the medicine, kitchen utensils and tools for everyday life akin to today’s modern science and technology.

Local interaction

Traditional kitchens where delicious curries are cooked in Sri Lanka

Accommodation that’s so unique

Stay where the silence of nature envelopes you in an incredible selection of Eco-Lodges in Sri Lanka, built respecting vernacular architecture which let the outdoors in, but with all the right comforts you need on holiday. Where coffee and me-time in the wilderness is all you yearn for.

Tree huts Sri Lanka

Natural History for kids

Show kids the fun and nostalgic way to admire the universe. Stargazing and outdoors under dusky skies with our Guides during that time of day where everything and everyone winds down. It will illuminate their tiny minds of the enormous picture nature created with a million worlds.

camping Sri Lanka

Monkeys at night

Can you be a with-nature kind of traveler?

Our Guides are special. Their love of the island and pride in their history make them such engaging hosts, able to convey with ease their intimate knowledge of whatever their specialty may be, be it wildlife, history, geography, ecology or conservation. To experience Sri Lanka with them is to truly travel with locals, who’s deep respect for the environment and enthusiasm to leave it untouched, is infectious.

We do not promote Elephant back safaris and elephant orphanages like in Pinnawela. We believe that intrusive safaris that get too close to animals and break every rule in our National Parks to chase after Leopards, is also wildlife crime. We’ve been incredibly humbled that our guests have concurred with us and been patient safari go-ers.

Ayu for Sri Lanka is our ethos where responsible travel comes first and we believe it’s a special kind of traveler that mirrors our ethos. Those who love to travel deeper with insightful itineraries and get insider access. After all, we are all voices for wilderness and for nature.


 

Enquire about Natural History Tours curated by Ayu in the Wild Holidays Sri Lanka, for a chance to rekindle an inborn connection with our natural world. Far away from the world, as you know it. Email: info@ayuinthewild.com or WhatsApp us on +94 777 248 1100

srilanka beach vacations
family holidays in Sri Lanka

Sunny Side Up: Discover a Different Sri Lanka

Leave your winter jackets at home!! The heart wants what the heart wants, especially during winter. The snowy chills are times perfect for thinking about warm tropical holidays with the best of sun tans. Sri Lanka combines idyllic island vibes, tropical weather, delicious food, a culture of myriad colour and family fun, all in one, which makes the perfect getaway for your next holiday.

Family vacations in Sri Lanka with friendly locals

Meeting locals on a family holiday in Sri Lanka is fun

Check out what Rough Guides has to say about our tailor made family holidays!

FAMILY VACATIONS IN SRI LANKA WITH FRIENDLY LOCALS

At Ayu in the Wild, we believe in creating family holidays in Sri Lanka with a tailor-made itinerary that will let you experience Sri Lanka through the eyes of many locals. Our tour guides know their localities inside out! There’s truly no better way to see a country than to travel with locals as they guide you through the many nuances of each tiny village, each quaint nook and cranny of unexplored Sri Lanka.

From the start of your vacation in Sri Lanka, our guides will either host you fully throughout your holiday or give you enough space to set out on adventures of your own, stepping in when you decide that you need their assistance. Sri Lanka with kids FAQs

Beautiful Sri Lankan scenery on trekking tours and hiking adventures

The best scenery is seen on our trekking and hiking adventures in Sri Lanka

Planning to travel with toddlers, infants and teenagers? Our itineraries focus entirely on your curiosities and comfort. We accommodate families with kids of all ages, inspire the most unusual multi generational family holiday ideas and work flexbibly with you to create the ideal holiday itinerary that entertains and pampers. You decide the ideal mix of adventure and downtime and we will give you the insider access to Sri Lanka’s most unusual places and people!

CHILD FRIENDLY TREKKING, WALKING AND HIKING TOURS IN SRI LANKA

Starting with the exploration of quaint streets on a Colombo City Walk to experience its cultural heritage delightfully mingling with a cosmopolitan vibe, our tours take you on journeys across the island. From cycling along sleepy village roads, to  trekking and hiking adventures that lead you to the peaks of some of the most scenic mountain ranges of the country like the cloud forests of Horton Plains National Park, to lazing along the sunny beaches of Mirissa. Mix it with a trip to the wild side of untamed Ceylon with our family wildlife safaris and Junior Ranger activities in Udawalawe, Yala and Wilpattu. You’ll never hear “Mom, are we there yet?” on an Ayu in the Wild tour.

Family strolls on tropical beaches

Laze on the sunny beaches

VALUE FOR MONEY FAMILY HOLIDAY SPECIALS IN SRI LANKA

Special offers are up for grabs through Ayu in the Wild at a range of exclusive accommodation options that span from minimalist chic to the affordable luxury range of the Jetwing Beach Hotels in Negombo.  Or laze on the sunny beaches of Passikudah at Uga Bay or Maalu Maalu Resort and Spa. Go wild, in a truly authentic safari lodge in Back of Beyond Yala.  Tantalize your taste buds with delicious delicacies prepared by veteran chefs at signature dining venues and soak up rural kitchen spices with an authentic home-cooked meal prepared by a farmer’s wife in their thatched roof humble home.

multi generational family holiday ideas- Sri Lanka with kids

Immersing in our culture – Village Cricket or football match with local kids

BEST PLACES TO VISIT WITH KIDS IN SRI LANKA

Allow your kids to frolic around with local children and experience the warm hospitality of Sri Lanka that will make you feel at home. Take on informative tours in Sigirya and Polonnaruwa with our own twist where we draw resemblances to the Lion King and the Monkey Kingdom in the form of adrenaline pumping treasure hunts or cycle rides through ruins.

Discover Sri Lanka - Castle Rock from film location of Monkey Kingdom Polonnaruwa

Exploring Castle Rock from the film location of Monkey Kingdom

End your day with a delicious dinner served alongside your favourite brands of beer and wine while your little ones splash around in the pool to their heart’s content.

Join us on an epic adventure where we help you connect the “Inner you to Outdoor Sri Lanka”. Email: info@ayuinthewild.com

Unusual sights in Sri Lanka with kids

Insider access to Sri Lanka’s most unusual places and people

WHERE TO SEE ELEPHANTS IN SRI LANKA?

srilanka wildlife
Wildlife Sri Lanka

Postcards from Wildlife Parks in Sri Lanka

Is Sri Lanka one of the world’s best wildlife destinations outside Africa? We say Yes! Our tiny island has Elephants, Whales, Leopards, Bear, Birds, Primates and more. Plus, it’s a biodiversity hotspot!And it looks like we have friends globally who agree.

Which Wildlife Parks to visit in Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka is just over three times the size of Kruger NP! There’s no denying it but with over 20 National Parks, Sri Lanka is top of the pick for wildlife in Asia. And why is this so? With two monsoons, a range of climates, altitudes and biodiversity that is usually not found on small islands, Sri Lanka has the right mix. Here are some picture perfect images from our National Parks to help you decide which Sri Lankan wildlife destination to visit.To pick which National Wildlife Park to visit in Sri Lanka, see Highlights of National Wildlife Parks, Sri Lanka

Elephants


wild elephants safaris srilanka

One of Sri Lanka’s most endearing wildlife sightings is to observe elephants in the wild with their young. Herds of matriarch led majestic elephants can be observed regularly in the following NPs:

  • Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks – The ‘Gathering of wild Elephants in the Minneriya National Park has been billed by the Lonely Planet as the world’s 6th greatest animal spectacle and happens from July to August each year.
  • Uda Walawe National Park – Guaranteed sightings of elephants in Asia
  • Wasgomuwa National Park – An uncrowded wildlife park with diverse eco systems
  • Gal Oya National Park – The only park to offer boat safaris to watch elephants on islands
  • Lahugala National Park – Sri Lanka’s smallest wildlife park, lies enroute to the east coast

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Minneriya and Kaudulla NPs – Visit Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya.
  • Near Uda Walawe NP – Explore Ella or safari in Yala National Park
  • Near Wasgomuwa NP – Hike or birdwatching in Knuckles mountains or visit Kandy
  • Near Gal Oya NP – Explore the mountainous homelands of Sri Lanka’s indigenous tribes, the Veddahs
  • Near Lahugala NP – Surf in Arugam Bay or visit Kumana National Park

‘Gathering’ of Elephants in Sri Lanka – by Nat Geo Wild

Leopards and Sloth Bear


leopard safari srilanka

Unlike elsewhere in the world, the Leopard is Sri Lanka’s top predator and roams freely in the wild, making it much easier to spot than even in Africa.

srilanka wildlife tour sloth bear

Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to photograph the Sloth Bear, especially during the fruiting season from June to September.

Which parks to safari in for Leopards and Sloth Bear:

  • Wilpattu National Park – Sri Lanka’s largest and most beautiful National Parks and Ayu in the Wild’s top pick for a safari in Sri Lanka
  • Yala National Parks – Sri Lanka’s most wildlife rich National Park and the most visited. The scrublands and rocks that reach the coastline are home to over 40+ mammal species, 200+ varieties of beautiful birds, the cheeky Toque Monkeys and Grey Langurs and many amphibians and reptiles
  • Kumana National Park – Great base for semi luxury tented camping in the heart of Sri Lanka’s best wildlife secret that straddles the east coastline.

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Wilpattu NP – Explore Anuradhapura or visit Kalpitiya seas to spot Dolphins.
  • Near Yala NP – Explore Ella, safari in Uda Walawe, Gal Oya or Bundala National Parks
  • Near Kumana NP – Surf in Arugam Bay or do a coastal drive to a beach resort in Paasikudah

Birds


birding tours srilanka
Yala National Park

Whether you’re an ardent twitcher, a serious ornithologist or an amateur birdwatcher Sri Lanka is one of the world’s best birding hotspots. The island is home to 33 endemic bird species and being the last stop for winter migrants, Sri Lanka stands at over 440+ total bird species. Best birding locations in Sri Lanka include;

  • Mannar: Prolific birdlife can be observed on this tiny slip of land with its many lakes and swamps up on the Northern shores of Sri Lanka which is one of the key entry points for winter migrant waterbirds and shorebirds. One of the best spots for Flamingos.
  • Sinharaja Rainforest – Sri Lanka’s last remaining virgin rainforest is best known for the mixed species feeding flocks or the Sinharaja Birdwave – one of the worlds longest studied birding spectacles
  • Horton Plains National Park – The cloud forests of Horton Plains in the Central Highland mountains of Sri Lanka are a phenomenal birdwatching site.
  • Bundala National Park – Just a short drive away from Yala NP, is wonderful especially for migrant shorebirds.
  • Along with the above, a serious twitcher should visit the National Parks of Kumana, Yala and Uda Walawe

Things to do nearby:

  • Near Mannar – Visit the Adams Bridge Islands, visit the Tantirimale historical site and stay en route to Jaffna
  • Near Sinharaja Rainforest – Drive down to the 17th century Galle Dutch Fort, book whale watching on a yacht in Mirissa, enjoy the south coast beaches
  • Near Horton Plains NP – Take a scenic train journey to Ella or Kandy, visit ‘little-England’ the hill country of Nuwera Eliya
  • Near Bundala NP – Visit Yala NP

Primates


primate tours srilanka

Sri Lanka is one of the best primate watching destinations in the world and offers specialized Primate Tours. Five Primates species are found in Sri Lanka – 2 species of Lorises and 3 species of Monkeys; the Purple faced Leaf Monkey and the Toque Macaque which are endemic to Sri Lanka and the Grey Langur.

Primates of Wild Sri Lanka – by Nat Geo Wild

  • Purple faced leaf monkey: Mostly observed in the Sinharaja World Heritage Site, Horton Plains National Park and in home gardens across suburban Colombo. Keep an eye out in Polonnaruwa and Wilpattu NPs too
  • Toque Macaque: The Polonnaruwa World Heritage Site is home to the world’s longest behavioural studies of Primates and a trek with the research staff is a must! They can also be observed in the National Parks of Wilpattu, Horton Plains and the Sinharaja Rainforest
  • Grey Langur: A healthy population lives among the ancient ruins of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa and they can be observed in the wildlife parks of Yala, Wilpattu and Minneriya.

Whales and Dolphins


Blue Whale safaris srilanka

Sri Lanka is the world’s top spot for Blue Whale encounters due to its deep waters and a reef close to its shores/ Sri Lanka’s waters count for 26 of the 86 Catecean species found worldwide including 13 species of Whales and 15 species of Dolphins.

  • Trincomalee: Peak season for Blue Whales is from March to April
  • Mirissa:90% strike rate for Blue Whales from December to April but do make an effort to book a responsible whale watching safari tour
  • Kalpitiya:A fabulous location for super pods of Spinner Dolphins, Brydes Whales and Bottle-nosed Dolphins

Other Wildlife in Sri Lanka not to be missed!


wildlife tour operator srilanka

The presence of large mammals, high rate of endemic species and phenomenal species diversity, Sri Lanka ranks among the world’s prime wildlife destinations. To see which parks to visit in any given month check out Sri Lanka Wildlife Calendar