SRI LANKA’S BIG FIVE
For an island that is just 65,000 square kilometers, Sri Lanka has an astonishing array of wildlife and is one of the best places in the world for photographing large mammals in their natural habitats. Venture on a 10 night / 09 day excursion with Yathra Eco Trails in to the wilds of Sri Lanka in search of Sri Lanka’s Big Five – The Blue Whale, Sperm Whale, Asian Elephant, Leopard and Sloth Bear.
(This is a seasonal tour run during the whale watching season only from December – April each year. Recommended period for travel would be March – April.)
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Day 01: Airport - Negombo
You will be met on arrival at the Colombo International Airport by our Yathra Travels representative who will assist you with your luggage and guide you to your vehicle where your guide awaits. Transfer to the hotel in Negombo. Spend the morning at leisure and have a short meeting with your guide about the next days visits and departure times. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 02: Negombo - Habarana - Minneriya - Habarana
Early morning after a quick breakfast, proceed to the Muthurajawela Marshes. Spread over 6230 hectares The Muthurajawela wetland runs parallel to the western coastline of the country and together with the contiguous Negambo lagoon forms an integrated coastal wetland system of high biodiversity and ecological significance.
Check out and proceed to Habarana. Arrive in Habarana for lunch. After lunch proceed to the Minneriya National Park for an afternoon game drive. Minneriya National Park provides an opportunity to see diverse habitats for fauna and flora of the area. 23 species of mammals have been recorded in the park, the most important of which is the Asian Elephant.
Day 03: Habarana - Matale - Kandy
After breakfast, check out and head towards Kandy. Have lunch at a restaurant in Kandy and then proceed to the Udawattakele Sanctuary.
Udawatta Kele Sanctuary or the Royal Forest Park of Kandy is situated on the hillside behind the Dalada Maligawa or the Temple of the Tooth Relic. This forest extents about 257 acres and is considered to be a vital Bio reserve for the much populated Kandy City.
Possible noteworthy species: Emerald Dove, Ceylon Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Yellow-Fronted Barbet, Ceylon Small Barbet, Crimson-Backed Flareback, White-Rumped Shama, Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Brown-Capped Babbler, Common Hill-Myna.
Proceed to the hotel and check in for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 04: Kandy - Nuwara Eliya
After breakfast, make an early start towards Nuwara Eliya. Afternoon visit Victoria Park The Park is well haunted by Bird Watchers, who are bound to see varied species. The Galway’s Land Bird Sanctuary, close to Lake Gregory, is yet another wildlife site for Bird Watchers.
Possible noteworthy species include: Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon, Yellow-Eared Bulbul, Pied Bush Chat, Ceylon Scaly Thrush, Ceylon Whistling Thrush, Common Blackbird, Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler, Grey-Headed Canary, Kashmir & Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch, Sri Lanka White-Eye. Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Kashmir Flycatcher.
Day 05: Nuwara Eliya - Horton Plains - Nuwara Eliya
Pre dawn start for Horton Plains National Park. Horton Plains National Park is a protected area of 3,160 hectares (12.2 sq mi) Situated in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and is covered by montane grassland and cloud forest. This plateau at an altitude of 2,100–2,300 metres (6,900–7,500 ft) is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. This region was designated a national park in 1988. It’s also designated to be upgraded as a biosphere reserve in the future.
Possible noteworthy species: Ceylon Wood Pigeon, Yellow-Eared Bulbul, Pied Bush Chat, Ceylon Scaly Thrush, Ceylon Whistling Thrush, Common Blackbird, Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler, Grey-Headed Canary, Kashmir & Dusky Blue Flycatcher, Velvet-Fronted Nuthatch, Ceylon White-Eye.
Day 06: Nuwara Eliya - Yala
After breakfast, checkout from the hotel and proceed to Yala National Park. Arrive at the hotel for lunch. Afternoon game drive to Yala National Park in search of Leopard, Sloth Bear and Asian Elephant.
The biggest draws in Yala are Leopards, Elephants and Sloth Bears. A recent study has shown that Yala has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world.The lack of other large carnivores means that the leopard is the top predator and adults and cubs are remarkably relaxed during the day, offering great opportunities for viewing and photography. Yala is also the best place in Asia for sighting the shy and usually nocturnal Sloth Bear. Yala is also home to over 250 Asian Elephant with the highlight being the 10-12 large Tuskers that roam around the park.The park is also good for dry zone specialties like Indian and Great Thick-knees, Sirkeer and Blue-faced Malkohas and Malabar Pied Hornbill. A day’s birding in the park, during the northern winter, can yield a 100 species.
Day 07: Yala
Morning and afternoon safaris at Yala National Park in search of Leopard, Sloth Bear and Asian Elephant.
Day 08: Yala - Mirissa - Blue Whale & Sperm Whale
After breakfast, leave for Jetwing Lighthouse, Galle for three nights. Evening, visit the Galle Dutch Fort (a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
Day 09: Mirissa - Colombo
Morning, drive to Mirissa Fisheries Harbour and get on the boat in search of Whales. Blue Whales and Sperm Whales are both seen regularly in these waters. It is the best place in the world for seeing Blue Whale and almost certainly the best place in the world for sighting both Blue Whales and Sperm Whales. Our team has conducted over 250 whale watching expeditions in the past two seasons alone and have sighted the whales on more than 95% of the outings.
Return Colombo after the excursion. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 10: Colombo - Airport
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport for departure.