Destination country: Sri Lanka. Arrival and departure
Next schedule: TBA.
Duration: 13 days.
Price: £TBA. Single supplement:
£TBA. Price includes: accommodations
and meals, vehicle hire with fuel and driver guide, forest
walk fees, park entrance fees and ranger guides. Apart from
a few occasions we spend the entire day in the field, where
picnic lunch will be organised. The price exclude:
bank transfer loss, international flight, visa, tips, drinks,
personal travel insurance and any other activities of personal
request e.g. laundry, phone calls, toalet fees, etc.
Accommodation: Three star hotels and good
lodges all the way with private facility.
Numbers: Min. 6 person, max. 12 person,
with two guides.
Transport: Toyota Coaster minibus with
optional 4x4 when its necessary.
literature: However not portable at all, the magnificent
coffe-table opus, "The Butterflies of Ceylon"
by Bernard d'Abrera is definitely something to look for!
"Butterflies of Sri Lanka" by Arittha
Wikramanayake and Ariesha Wikramanayake is far the best
bet for the field. "Butterflies
of India" by Thomas Gay, Isaac David Kehimkar
and Jagdish Punetha also highly recommended. For a one volume
bird book I suggest to have the "Field Guide to
the Birds of Sri Lanka" by John Harrison and Tim
Worfolk. The famed "Birds of South Asia. The Ripley
Guide" is a two volume detailed work by Pamela
C Rasmussen and John C Anderton. "A Photographic
Guide to the Mammals of Sri Lanka" by Gehan De
Silva Wijeyeratne can be also very useful.
description: "... Sri Lanka has a lot to commend
it as a holiday destination. Only 30 miles off the coast
of mainland India and covering an area roughly the size
of Belgium and the Netherlands combined, Sri Lanka is a
great place to see butterflies with 243 species recorded
so far and late February/early March, which is at the end
of the monsoon season, should be a very good time to see
them. There is no shortage of fantastic butterflies to be
found, including species with names as exotic as their appearance
like Tawny Rajah, Common Bluebottle, Blue Pansy, Dark Blue
Tiger, Painted Sawtooth and Southern Duffer. It is also
one of the best places for seeing the world’s largest
mammal, the Blue Whale, and Leopard which we will also target.
One of the attractions of Sri Lanka is the wide range of
different habitats within a small area, with fantastic rainforest
at Sinharaja, open savannah at Yala national park, impressive
mountain ranges and, of course, miles of pristine beaches.
Birdlife is also pretty prolific with a large number of
endemic species (33) and we should see a good range of mammals
including several different monkeys, deer, Sambar and Elephant..."
Day 1: Arrival
day. Early morning arrival at Columbo after
our overnight flight. Here we will be met with our naturalist
guide. After breakfast, we leave for Martin’s Simple
for three nights. Staying here means that the rainforest
is right on our doorstep and avoids having to drive in each
day over rough and difficult tracks. The Lodge is in a terrific
setting with the dining area overlooking the jungle.
Day 2-3: Full
day visits to Sinharaja Rainforest
which is a World Heritage Site. Sri Lanka holds almost 250
species of butterfly and Sinharaja is a hotspot for many
Asian species. Over the two days, we should see many butterflies
including Ceylon Hedge Blue, Red Spot, Dark Palm
Dart, Rustic, Indian Palm Bob, Ceylon Snow Flat, Common
Jay and also look for rare and endemic butterflies
in the open areas outside the Forest Reserve. This is the
end of the monsoon season and newly emerged butterflies
should be plentiful on the luxuriant foliage. There should
be plenty of other insects to admire (Sri Lanka also has
118 species of dragonfly) and the lights of the accommodation
should attract plenty of moths at night. Good birds are
to be found here as well including some of the 33 species
endemic to Sri Lanka. Sinharaja is well known for its mixed
feeding flocks and target species include Red-faced
Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie and Scaly Thrush.
Small mammals to look out for include at least three different
varieties of squirrel.
Overnights at Martin’s Simple Lodge.
After breakfast, we leave for the Mandara Resort at Weligama
for one night. The hotel is quite a contrast to our accommodation
in Sinharaja with many rooms complete with their own private
plunge pool or Jacuzzi. This is a great location on Sri
Lanka’s southern tip with views straight out to the
Indian Ocean. Weligama has a lovely sandy beach but is also
a busy fishing village and we shall be able to watch the
boats returning in the evening to unload their catch.
Day 5: The
following morning, we take the boat from the fishery harbour
out to sea in search of Blue Whales and
Dolphins. Blue whales are often seen relatively
close to shore as the continental shelf narrows to the south
of Dondra Point.
If conditions allow, we will also venture a little further
out to sea to look for sperm whales although sometimes even
these come within a few kilometres of the shore. In the
afternoon, we head for the east coast to the Elephant Reach
for three nights. This is a new hotel set in landscaped
gardens with its own swimming pool.
Day 6-7: Safari
time – our hotel is fairly close to the entrance of
Yala National Park
and each morning and afternoon we will head for the Park
by landrover in search of Elephants, Leopards, Deer,
Sambhur, Wild Boar, Sloth Bear, Buffalo, Crocodiles,
and a large number of birds, including Malabar Pied
Hornbill, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Black-necked
Stork. Leopard is the top predator
at Yala and with an average density of one per square kilometer
we have a reasonable chance of finding them. Yala also has
a good selection of dry zone butterflies and we will particularly
look for the Tailed Jay, Dark Wanderer, Cruiser,
Common Tiger, Plain Tiger, Gladeye Bush Brown, Little Banded
Swift, Common Rose, Dark Blue Tiger, Small Salmon Arab,
Tawny Coaster and the Common Leopard
butterflies in the park. Our hotel is close to the beach
and between safari drives a stroll to the south should prove
productive with Zebra Blue, Cornelian, Mottled Emigrant,
Common Emigrant, Danaid Eggfly, Great Eggfly, Common Indian
Crow, Brown King Crow and Dark Blue Tiger
all recorded from this area. Overnights at Elephant Reach.
8: After breakfast, we leave for St.Andrew’s
Hotel, Nuwara Eliya
for two nights. Nuwara Eliya is an old hill station and
the town and our hotel which is around 100 years old still
has a distinct colonial feel with even four poster beds
in some rooms! Situated on a plateau at around 6,000 feet,
the town is surrounded by tea plantations and a ring of
high mountains. This provides a rather different habitat
for butterflies and we hope to target a number of species
that we will not have previously come across including Tailless
Line Blue, Ceylon Tiger, Forget-me-not, Blue Pansy, Large
Oakblue, Common Jezebel, Common Laser, Indian Awl King,
Common Sailor, Chestnut Streaked Sailor, the very
beautiful Tree Nymph and Red Helen
in the Lunugamvehera Sanctuary
and near Ravana Ella waterfall.
In the afternoon, we will visit Victoria
Park which was originally built by prisoners
after the Boer War and drive around the attractive lake,
visiting the rather quaintly called Elk
plains & Moon plains. In the evening,
we will visit Hakgala Botanical
Gardens about 6 miles south-east of the
town. This was originally an experimental plantation for
many spices and other plants including cinchona, an important
source for the anti-malarial drug quinine. Today, the gardens
are home to many exotic trees and flowers with many interesting
butterflies and birds. We shall also look out for the montane
races of both Purple-faced Leaf Monkey
and Toque Macaque which occur here.
9: Another very contrasting habitat
is provided by Horton Plains
National Park which is our destination for
today. This is a very mountainous area with extensive areas
of cloud forest. We shall walk both within the National
Park area as well as outside in dwarf Bamboo groves. There
are a number of butterflies which are endemic, very rare
or peculiar to the Plains including Ceylon Tree
Brown, Ceylon Forester, Ceylon Tiger, Blue Admiral, Cruiser,
Tamil Lace Wing, Aberrant Bushblue, Blue Mormon, Hedge Hopper
and Rare Ace. After our picnic lunch at
Horton Plains, if conditions are suitable, we will walk
up to "Little World's End" and "World's End"
and enjoy the incredible view over the park. There are many
beautiful trees and plants, including orchids, and wild
animals such as Sambar (more than 3000
in the plains), Giant Squirrel and Bear
Monkey plus large number of birds including some
rare and endemic species like the endangered Sri
Lanka Whistling Thrush. Another species to look
out for is the Rhino-horned Lizard which
is one of the species featured in Darwin’s “Evolution
Overnight at St. Andrews (and yes there is a golf course!).
Day 10: After
breakfast, we leave for the Hunas Falls Hotel, Kandy
for two nights. En route, if people are interested there
will be an opportunity to visit a Tea Plantation & Factory
and to see Ramboda Waterfall
which is 329 ft. high. At Peradeniya,
we will visit the Royal Botanical
Gardens, extending to147 acres, which were
founded as long ago as 1371 by the Kings of Kandy. The gardens
are in a beautiful setting surrounded on three sides by
the waters of the Mahaweli
Ganga. The gardens are home to Metallic
Cerulean, Plumbeous Silverline, Yamfly, Great Orange Tip,
Indian Red Admiral, Ceylon Lesser Albatross, Ceylon Palmfly,
Common Tree Brown, Blue Admiral, Common Banded Peacock
and Common Blue Bottle among the flowering
bushes and trees. The hotel is in a very scenic spot with
lots of outside terracing to enable us to take in the views.
After breakfast, we head for the Knuckles
Range of mountains to the east via Hunasgiriya
and Looloowatta carrying a picnic lunch. We will spend the
whole day in the mountain range looking for butterflies
and other wildlife. Common Line Blue, Indian Dart,
Common Banded Awl, Clipper, Ceylon Tiger, Indian Fritillary
and Common Banded Demon are all recorded
Overnight at Hunas Falls.
After breakfast, we head back to the west coast where we
spend our final day and night at the Seashells Hotel, Negombo.
The hotel is situated on a picturesque stretch of beach
with great views out to sea. It should be a good spot to
unwind and chill out in preparation for our return journey
Day 13: Early
morning transfer to Airport for departure,
arriving back in the UK later the same day.