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Your Sri Lanka dragonfly tour begins in Colombo. Upon arrival to the city, you will be received and transferred to the hotel. Colombo is the largest city and 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 a brief siesta, you will visit Talangama Tank, located on outskirts of Colombo city, to see dragonflies. The surrounding paddy fields offer an assortment of colorful Libellulidae Dragonflies. You would get a chance to sight the damselflies including certain pond species, Pinflies, Blue-tails, and Orange-headed Sprites that will be found along the canals and paddy fields. The list of species for the Tank area is around 24 and growing.
After breakfast, we drive for about five hours to reach Sinharaja around lunch time. 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. The park is known lowland endemics and mixed species bird flocks. According to a study of the mixed species bird, on average 42 individual birds occur in the flocks, which makes this region as world's largest mixed species bird flock. The mixed species Bird flock study of Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered to be World's longest bird flock study. The birds commonly seen here include Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Scaly Thrush. Stay overnight at the hotel.
Today we spend the entire day game driving in Sinharaja Forest Reserve.
After breakfast, we drive for four hours to Kitulgala. On the way we visit the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve, built to protect the watershed of river Kelani. Here we are likely to sight some river and stream Dragonflies, Damselflies and a few more varieties of forest dwelling flies. We spend rest of the afternoon walking through the rain forest and enjoying the serenity of the place. We also visit Beli-lena archaeological site, known to have the largest caves in Sri Lanka that are about 12,000 years old.
We spend a full day visiting rivers and streams around the Kithulgala area, looking at forest and river damselflies and dragonflies, both adults and larvae. We are likely to find the more rare and endemic forest species (Drepanosticta) and Blurry Forest Damselfly (Platysticta maculata) and beautiful Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens) and Green-wing Damsels (Neurobasis chinensis) on the rivers and streams. Dragonflies next to the streams include colourful Dropwing (Trithemis species), and in the fast flowing water include Iris Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus) whose larvae cling to stones in waterfalls.
We drive for two hours into the hill area to reach Nuwara Eliya, look out for some more endemic species of dragonflies. An afternoon walk around nearby wetlands and on St. Andrew's Hotel's nature trail should give us some new sightings, including some different forest species.
In the afternoon, we visit Hakgala Gardens located about 7 miles outside Nuwara Eliya. Established in 1860, Hakgala Botanical Gardens is the second largest garden in Sri Lanka. The garden should give us some glimpses of several new species of dragonflies such as Mountain Emperor and Red-veined Darter.
The full day is spent exploring the area for dragonflies. Morning walk around the nature trail, estate and streams to look out for Gossamerwings, Emeralds, Brook damselflies (Platycnemididae) and other stream species plus Jewels (Libellago), Skimmers (Orthetrum species) and several others to add to our growing list.
Today we leave Nuwara Eliya, soon after breakfast. We drive for three hours to reach Kandy. On the way, we visit the world famous Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, which houses Lord Buddha's left upper canine tooth as a relic.
Later in the afternoon a stroll around the the hotel's gardens and ponds, which should give us a chance to spot an uncommon species Blackheaded Basker (Aethriamanta brevipennis), known to reside around the area.
We have a full day in Kandy to go out in the wild and look out for some more exotic species of dragon flies and damsel flies.
We drive for three hours to reach Dambulla around noon. In the afternoon we visit Sigiriya Rock Fortress, which was the pleasure capital of a king, called Kashyapa in the 5th Century A.D. It is a UNESCO recognized World Heritage Site and is renowned for its ancient paintings.
Sigiriya Sanctuary is also fantastic for dry zone dragonflies that inhabit the ancient water gardens at Sigiriya Sanctuary and surrounding tanks. We look for Stripe-headed Pinfly (Prodasineura), Featherlegs (Copera marginipes), and various Skimmers (Orthetrum), Gliders (Tholymis) species and Darters (Sympetrum).
We spend the morning on the tank at Amaya Lake and observe the dry zone species. Rest of the day is at leisure. You can go on an optional afternoon trip to Dambulla Caves, famous for its murals and statues. This Cave Temple is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.
In the morning we drive for four hours to reach Katunayake. The international airport of Colombo is located in Katunayak. Our hotel is located at just about 15 minutes drive from the airport. You can spend the rest of the day at leisure or go on an optional city tour of Colombo.
The trip officially comes to an end today after breakfast. We will arrange for your transfer to the airport according to your scheduled departure.
Please Note:Accommodation providers are subject to change without notice. The accommodations listed in this dossier are our preferred suppliers, but sometimes due to availability issues, we are unable to make use of the properties listed in this dossier. If we cannot use an accommodation provider as listed we will substitute another property of similar standards.
For Advanced level tours, we recommend previous experience of the activity involved. These are our most challenging and advanced expeditions. They include long walks, cycling, trekking, hiking or rafting in variable weather conditions for more than ten hours a day. These trips may often be over three weeks in duration. Ascents and descents are over 1000m at altitudes up to 6000m and the climate can be rigorous and challenging. Excellent physical condition and previous mountain trekking experience or appropriate preparation is essential.
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