SRI LANKA: Herps, Birding & Wildlife Adventure
HERPS & WILDLIFE
From: $5,500 (See details)
Cost is per person, double occupancy from Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB)
5 - 8 Participants
8 spaces available
PRIVATE TOUR OPTION
This tour is available as a private trip for any size group. The tour cost will vary with the number of people and any custom requests.
Highlights of SRI LANKA: Herps, Birding & Wildlife Adventure
Description of SRI LANKA: Herps, Birding & Wildlife Adventure
Sri Lanka is an island paradise, lined with amazing golden sandy beaches and turquoise blue waters. The oceans are rich with life, and amazing coral reefs. The deeper waters are home to marine giants such as the Blue Whale, the largest animal to have ever lived. Sri Lanka boasts a rich natural heritage, with amazing wildlife and biodiversity and incredibly for an island of its size can boast of iconic mega fauna such as leopards, elephants and sloth bears.
The island is also regarded as a biodiversity hotspot and teems with endemic birds, reptiles, amphibians as well as plant species found nowhere else on earth. With numerous man-made lakes and rivers running through its interior, lush tropical rainforests, mangroves and coastal lagoons, misty highlands laden with waterfalls and dry zone scrub jungles, Sri Lanka comprises of a wide range of picturesque landscapes and natural habitats which can be compared to that of a much larger continent.
Venture into an ancient land with thousands of years of history of ancient cities and a vibrant culture with amazing architectural monuments and incredible feats of engineering which can be linked to the origins of Buddhism in the country with magnificently constructed stupas and the ruined remains of ancient kingdoms. Taste the wonderful flavours of the local cuisine using fresh produce from land and sea. Boasting of a unique culinary heritage, Sri Lankan cuisine is rich in spices with its own distinct flavour and is a fusion of traditional dishes mixed with influences from traders and colonial powers.
Experience the misty highlands and tea country and have a cup of the world famous Ceylon Tea. The real treasure of Sri Lanka are its people, a rich multi-cultural and multi religious society. The warm hospitality and friendly nature of Sri Lankans will make anyone feel welcome. Get to know the people of this land, their ways of life and their amazing stories. Fall in love with the land like no other.
Length of Tour
DAY 1 Arrival in Sri Lanka
The group arrives in Colombo Airport, and transfers to the hotel in Negombo for some rest and leisure before departure the following day.
DAY 2 Drive to Weligama
Leave Negombo and drive to Weligama (3.5 hours drive) to reach our hotel, Mandara Resort, for Lunch. After lunch head to Matara where we’ll venture onto the Nilwala River in search of the Saltwater Crocodile, the largest reptile in the world. This river safari will get you up close and personal with these giant reptiles which are one of two species of crocodilian found in Sri Lanka. The other being the smaller Mugger Crocodile. You may see small hatchlings who tend to bask on branches and logs along the mangroves. The adults can grow to 15-18 feet long! After the river tour, we’ll head back to the resort for dinner.
DAY 3 Drive to Runakanda Conservation Center
We’ll leave Weligama after an early breakfast to reach Runakanda Conservation Center for Lunch (3 hours drive). After Lunch spend the afternoon herping in the forest in Runakanda. Dinner will be served at the center. (Restroom facilities available at the center, no worries!)
After dinner we do some night herping in the forest around the center before we head back to Kukuleganga — it is a 1 hours drive making for a late night.
Key Species – Lowland Hump-nosed Viper, Green Pit Viper, Checkered Keelback Snake, Ferguson’s Roughside Snake, Boulenger’s Bronze-back Snake, Sri Lanka Keelback Snake, Wetzone Kangaroo Lizard, Lyre-headed Lizard, Whistling Lizard, Forest Day Gecko, Gans’s Lankaskink, Gans’s Snakeskink & many more Amphibians
DAY 4 Runakanda Conservation Center
We’ll depart our hotel early to arrive for breakfast at the Conservation Center before we begin herping in the area. Lunch will also be served at the center, followed by more herps and birds in the afternoon.
Following dinner at the Center, we will continue herping till late night in the surrounding forests, then return to our hotel.
DAY 5 Drive to Kegalle / Sandaraja Wana Arana
Early breakfast at the hotel and leave for the next location in Kegalle known as Sandaraja Wana Arana (4 hours drive), which is a private conservation center with a private forest area rich in snakes and other herps. Note the last 12KM to the center is not commutable by the mini coach and group will switch to tuk tuks or a local truck to get to the center. Lunch at the center, with herping and birding in the surrounding forest areas. Dinner served at the center followed by night time herping in and around the forest area. Return late night to Pinnawela (1.5 hours drive) for overnight stay.
Key Species – Trinket Snake, Green Vine Snake, Sri Lanka Cat Snake, Wetzone Bronze-back, Flowery Wolf Snake, Rat Snake, Indian Cobra, Merrem’s Hump-nose Viper, Green Pit Viper, Great Forest Gecko & many more Amphibians
DAY 6 Kegalle / Sandaraja Wana Arana
We’ll take a packed breakfast and drive 1.5 hours back to the Sandaraja Wana Arana Conservatin Center for herping in the forests around the center. Lunch and Dinner served at the center, with herping and birding into the night before we return back to Pinnawela.
DAY 7 Drive to Knuckles (aka Riverston)
After breakfast we will drive 4 hours to Riverston/Knuckles and check into Sir Johns Bungalow in time for Lunch. After lunch we begin herping in the Knuckles Massif area with help of our local tracker and our naturalists. We’ll return to our bungalow for dinner followed by a night drive along the road spotting snakes and other herps along the way.
Key Species- Indian Python , Dumerul’s Kuki Snake, Russell’s Viper, Green Keelback Snake, Leaf Nosed Lizard, Knuckles Pigmy Lizard, Pethiyagoda’s Lizard, Knuckles Forest Gecko, Dotted Day Gecko, Haly’s Treeskink, Four-toe Snakeskink & many more Amphibians
DAY 8 Knuckles
After breakfast we’ll head out with our naturalist and local trackers to spend the whole day in the field herping in this unique habitat. Lunch will be brought to us from the hotel to a meeting point based on timing and coordination with our naturalist. We will continue herping through early evening and return to our bungalow for dinner. After dinner we will have another night drive along the road spotting snakes and herps.
DAY 9 Drive to Habarana
Today after breakfast we will head towards Habarana (3.5 hours drive), and check into our lodging, The Other Corner, in time for lunch. After lunch we’ll head to Ritigala forest reserve and begin herping in this area. We’ll return back to our hotel for an early dinner, followed by another night drive along the Ritigala road searching for snakes and other herps.
Key Species- Buff-striped Keelback Snake, Boie’s Roughside, Sri Lanka Cat Snake, Trinket Snake, Common Bronze-back, Common Wolf Snake, Common Kukri Snake, Checkered Keelback Snake, Merrem’s Hump-nose Viper, Dotted Skink, Water Monitor, Land Monitor & few Amphibians
DAY 10 Habarana / Ritigala
After breakfast head towards Ritigala once again for more herping and birding. The group may elect to take packed lunch or return back to hotel during the hot hours to rest and return for late afternoon herping.
After early dinner, we’ll head to Pophams Arboretum for night time herping.
DAY 11 Drive to Mannar
After breakfast and checkout, we will head towards Mannar (4.5 hrs drive) to reach Vayu Resort, located on the edge of the Adams Bridge National Park, for check in and lunch. Afterwards we’ll begin herping and birding in the region of Mannar. Dinner will be served at the resort, followed by night herping on the hotel property and vicinity.
Key Species- Indian Cobra, Russels Viper, Saw Scaled Viper, Hook-nose Seasnake, Common Skink, Spotted Skink, Devaka’s Sand lizard, Common House-gecko, Spotted House-gecko, Termite-hill gecko & few Amphibians
DAY 12 Mannar Penninsula
Spend the day herping in the Mannar Penninsula. Note that this would include mudflats, mangroves, lagoons, home gardens etc. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner will be at the Resort.
DAY 13 Drive to Wilpattu / Big Game Camp
After breakfast and checkout we’ll drive to Wilpattu and check into the Big Game Camp for lunch, followed by afternoon herping in the buffer zones and village areas of Wilpattu. We will return to the Camp for dinner, followed by a night drive around the buffer zone and village roads searching for herps.
Key Species- Indian Cobra, Russels Viper, Indian Python, Brown Vine Snake, Gamma Cat Snake, Forsten’s Cat Snake, Trinket Snake, Common Bronze-back Snake, Shaw’s Wolf Snake, Variegated Kukri Snake, Common Krait, Flat-backed Turtle, Star Tortoise, Painted-lip Lizard, Devaka’s Sand Lizard, Mugger Crocodile, Bark Gecko, Haly’s Treeskink, Tammenna Skink, Common Lankaskink, Land monitor & few Amphibians
DAY 14 OPTIONAL Jeep Safari in Wilpattu National Park
Breakfast will be served at camp and today we have two options… a final day of herping or clients can opt to go on a jeep safari into Wilpattu National Park (Cost not included). Lunch and dinner will be served at the Camp. We will enjoy a final night drive around the buffer zone and village roads searching for herps.
DAY 15 RETURN HOME
Breakfast will be served at Camp followed by checkout from the Camp and drive towards the airport for your flights home. Lunch will be provided en-route based on the departure time.
Cost is $5,500 per person, based upon double occupancy, from Colombo, Sri Lanka (Airport code CMB).
This trip ends in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Airport code CMB).
NOTE: Trip can run with just 3-4 participants, however, cost will be US$5950 per person.
If a single room is preferred, or we are unable to find a suitable roommate for you, a single supplement fee of $500 will be assessed.
A $1,000 deposit per person is required to hold each space on this tour. Deposit may be made online by clicking the "Book Your Trip Now" button and using any credit card. If you prefer, you may call us at 888-875-9453 to pay by phone. You may also mail us a check, however, remember that all space is held on a first come-first served basis as deposits are received.
If fewer than the minimum number of required participants are registered, we may still be able to run the trip by adding a small-group supplement fee, per person, determined by the number of participants registered.
How to Book
In order to hold your space, click the "Book Your Trip Now" button above and complete the deposit process, including payment of the deposit through our Paypal portal using ANY CREDIT CARD. Upon completion of deposit, please visit our secure, online CLIENT INFORMATION FORM to complete your registration.
For all land-based tours: full payment by check is due 120 days prior to the departure date.
For all boat-based adventure cruises of 7-days or longer: full payment by check is required 180 days prior to departure.
NOTE: If you prefer to use credit card for final payment, a 3% fee may be added to cover the credit card merchant fees we incur.
Arrival Hotel- Goldi Sands (http://www.goldisands.com/) Room- Economy Room
Basis- Full Board Basis
Day 2 – Hotel- Mandara Resort, Weligama Room- Standard Lagoon View Room Basis- Full Board Basis
Day 3 & 4 – Hotel – Laya Leisure- (http://www.layahotels.lk/layaleisure.php) Room- Deluxe Room
Basis- Room Only ( All 3 meals from Runakanda Conservation Center)
Day 5 & 6 – Hotel- Villa Pinnawela- (http://www.villapinnawalarest.com/) Room-Standard Room
Basis- Bed and Breakfast
Day 7 & 8 – Hotel- Sir Johns Bungalow Room- Standard Room Basis- Full Board
Day 9 & 10 – Hotel – The Other Corner- (https://www.tocsrilanka.com/) Room- Standard Room Basis- Full Board
Day 11 & 12 – Hotel- Vayu Resort- (https://www.kitesurfingmannar.com/) Room- Deluxe Room
Basis- Full Board
Day 13 & 14 – Hotel- Big Game Camp- (https://www.srilankabiggamesafaris.com/big-game-camp-wilpattu.html) Room- Safari Tent
Basis- Full Board
Activity Level Rating: 3 (Note: 1 is easy and 5 is difficult)
Hot and humid is expected in Sri Lanka. We will have some long days with early mornings plus night hikes in areas located a distance from our lodging, which means we will need to be out all day. Some of the lodging will be basic (but comfortable) so we can be close to our herping locations. Others locations will require and hour or more drive to return to lodging.
Smoking is not permitted at any time during our tour.
Do not purchase your flights until the trip has been confirmed to go.
Detailed Trip Information
Upon notification that final payment is due (120 days prior to departure for land based tours / 180 days for boat based tours), you will receive a trip package of detailed information for your tour.
Any additional information about the trip, including lodgings, contacts, participants, meeting locations, etc., will sent about 2 weeks prior to the trip departure, or after final payment is received for late registrants.
As with all tours, we highly recommend purchasing Travel Insurance to cover your investment. Please see our section on Travel Insurance.
Passport & Visa
US Citizens may require a visa to enter certain foreign countries. See above for any required visa information.
Participants arriving to the USA from a foreign country may need to get a travel visa to enter the United States. Be sure to check the requirements for your country of origin.
The trip itinerary is developed many months ahead of time. Occasionally, despite our best planning, changes may occur during the trip, or we may be forced to alter our plans. Changes may occur because of weather, road conditions, safety concerns or other circumstances. In these situations, it is the leader(s) responsibility to carefully consider and implement appropriate alternatives. Any additional costs incurred because of changes will be the responsibility of each individual participant. Refunds will not be issued as a result of itinerary changes.