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The trip begins in Colombo. You will be received at the airport by our representative and then brought to the hotel after a drive for one and half hours. If time permits you can go on an optional tour of the city. Colombo is the largest city and the former capital of Sri Lanka. It is a modern city but still retains the old world charm due to the presence of many buildings with colonial architecture and many other ruins from the past. It has a large harbor and was an important stop in the east-west sea route trade for ancient travelers.
After breakfast we drive for four hours to reach Sinharaja, en route visiting Bodhinagala Forest Reserve, best known for lowland endemics such as Green-billed Coucal. At the end of the day, we check in and stay overnight at the lodge.
The whole day is spent trekking in Sinharaja Rainforest with the emphasis on looking out for endemic plants, reptiles and birds. Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a national park and a biodiversity hotspot, recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Site. The park, covers a small area of about 88 square kilometres but has a rare collection of endemic species, including trees, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
In the morning, we once again go for a trek and explore the tropical forest of Sinharaja. We return to the lodge for lunch. Shortly afer lunch, we drive for five hours to reach our hotel near Yala National Park.
Yala National Park, located in the southeast region, is the second largest park in Sri Lanka. It is famous for its population of Sri Lankan Elephants as well as its aquatic birds. There are also a wide variety of other animals. The commonly seen mammals are the Leopard and the Sloth Bear along with Sambar, Jackal and Spotted Deer.
We go for morning and afternoon safaris at the Yala National Park. According to experts, Yala Block 1 has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world. Yala, therefore, offers one of the best chances in Asia to see and photograph Leopards.
Today morning, we drive for forty five minutes to reach nearby located Bundala National Park, to see dry zone birds and other fauna and flora. Bundala National Park, designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, is a wintering ground for many migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. One among them is the Greater Flamingo which usually can be easily spotted as they migrate in large flocks. Apart from birds, the park also has many mammal species. In the evening, we visit Palatupana Lewaya (Salt Pan) for watching shore birds.
After breakfast we set out on a drive of six hours to reach Nuwara Eliya, en route visiting ancient monastic ruins of Buduruvagala. We also stop for a while at Ella Gap for landscape photography, before we reach our hotel. Ella Gap is located in the central hills of Sri Lanka. The location offers breathtaking view of the ocean, near the Hambantola coastline, through a gap in the mountains.
We spend full day at Horton Plains National Park, located on the southern plateau of the central highlands of Sri Lanka. The park is known for montane endemics and offers excellent opportunities for landscape photography. You get to see the Cloud Forests and rare montane fauna, which include the endemic Rhino-horned Lizard that was featured in Charles Darwin's monumental work on evolution. Some of the mammals seen here include Bear Monkey, Giant Squirrel and Sambar. Walk through the grasslands and the Cloud Forests to a popular viewpoint known as World's End, an escarpment with an 870 m drop.
This morning we visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens, where we can see habituated Purple Faced Leaf Monkeys and more montane birds. Hakgala Botanical Gardens is the second largest garden in Sri Lanka. The place finds mention in Hindu Epic Ramayana, as Ashok Vatika, the garden where Sita was kept hidden after being abducted by demon king Ravana.
After lunch, we drive for three hours to reach Kandy en-route visiting the sacred Temple of the Tooth, which houses Lord Buddha's left upper canine tooth as a relic. In the night, we go on trail for amphibians and forest geckos.
We have a full day to explore Knuckles Mountain Range, an area rich in bio diversity. The area has splendid natural beauty with some falls, rivers and forest trails. There are more than 1000 species of flowering plants here along with a large number of wild animals as well.
We leave Kandy in the morning and we drive for three hours to reach Habrana. During the afternoon, we travel to Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which was the pleasure capital of a Single Sinhalese king, called Kashyapa in the 5th Century A.D. It is a UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site and is renowned for its ancient paintings.
After breakfast, we visit Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site which was the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Visit the world famous rock-cut Buddha statues of Gal Vihara and the Parakrama Samudra (‘Sea of Parakrama’), a 2500-hectare man made reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I (1153 –1186 AD) with a capacity of 134 million cubic meters. The place is also good for bird watching and species commonly sighted include Wooly-necked Stork, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Large Cuckoo Shrike and Coppersmith Barbet.
Post lunch, we go on a game drive into Minneriya National Park for Elephant sightings. During September and October, over 300 elephants gather on the receding shores of the Minneriya Tank. Witnessing ‘The Gathering’ of Elephants at Minneriya is an awesome experience.
In the morning we drive for four hours to reach Negombo. En-route, we will visit the ancient Dambulla Cave Temple, famous for its murals and statues. This Cave Temple is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. There are five caves within the complex, that have statues and painting depicting various instances from the life of Lord Buddha. Some of these art work also depict certain Hindu deities as well as some ancient rulers of Sri Lanka. Look out for photographic opportunities of habituated Toque Macaques and Hanuman Langurs around the area.
The trip comes to an end this morning after breakfast. We will arrange for your transfer to the airport in time for your home bound flight.
Requires a spirit of adventure and some degree of fitness, as the trip might consist of many activities or long journeys. These adventures involve walking, trekking, hiking, cycling, rafting, sea kayaking, or driving for long hours, at times for up to six to eight hours a day at a steady pace. The maximum altitude is 3000m, so it requires you to be reasonably physically fit because you may be travelling in extreme weather conditions. The trips are usually 6 to 12 days in duration.
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