Keith Pigdon, Nancye Pigdon and Margaret Wilson, from Melbourne, Australia
Nancye, Manju, Upali and Margaret
Three retired adults were met at the airport on arrival in Sri Lanka and driven to our hotel in the wee small hours of the morning by our careful and very pleasant trip driver Manju. A great way to start a visit to a new country! We had been well prepared for the visit through numerous email contacts with Jith and the detailed information he provided on currency, tipping, food, health, clothing etc...
SRI LANKA – 18th March to 4th April 2013
by John Diley
John and Anne Diley
It is always a problem deciding on where to go for a holiday for me [a keen birder of over 50 years] & my wife Anne [a non-birder]. When we went last year to Trinidad, a number of people there recommended Sri Lanka for its birds, wild animals, culture/historic sites & fantastic scenery. It took some persuasion on my part to get Anne to warm to the idea which I`m pleased to say in the end, she did. She had her reservations regarding the many apparent safety issues – malaria, dengue fever, cholera, rabid dogs, venemous snakes, civil conflict, tsunamis, not to mention blood-sucking leeches & monsoons.....
This report summarize our 15 days trip to Sri Lanka with notes on sites visited and a list of the species of birds and mammals seen.
As our first visit to South East Asia we chose Sri Lanka because of the country’s rich nature with a great biodiversity within a rather small geographic area.
The tour was planned after contact to some of Sri Lanka’s tour operators specializing in birding and wildlife tours. We chose WalkWithJith and agreed on a program staying only in 4 different lodges/hotels in order to make the tour easy without too much driving. The driver Senarath Bulathsinhala not only took us safely from place to place (from day 5), but he was also a very knowledgeable and helpful birding and wildlife guide. In some of the national parks local guides accompanied us, and they were helpful too. During the first days in Sinharaja Forest Reserve Sandun was our guide and he introduced us to many new species as well as cultural matters.
The tour introduced us to some of the main habitats of Sri Lanka: The rain forest in the south-west lowland wet zone (Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Hiyare Forest), the central highlands with montane grassland and cloud forest (Horton Plains National Park), highland tea country (e.g. Ella), freshwater wetlands (Tissamaharama tanks and paddy-fields, Yala National Park), coastal lagoons/saltpans (Bundala National Park, Yala National Park) and finally the ocean to the south with marine mammals...
My wife and I have just been on an intensive 15-day bird watching in Sri Lanka by the company "WalkWithJith" (www.walkwithjith.com.) We had over birds peeping also 3 days with cultural insights, however, it was possible to have binoculars with all locations. The trip was very well organized and we were lucky with good weather and many birds. Thus it was possible to see all the endemic species. We were fortunate to have an excellent guide in addition to the birds could mammals, butterflies, dragonflies, botany and cultural history at your fingertips. We arranged themselves the trip and booked flights with Emirates. I highly recommend WalkWithJith for the well-developed program where all clapped to the smallest detail.
SRI LANKA HOLIDAY LOG – 5th to 21st January 2013 by John Kirman
John Kirman, Ginny Smith and Jan Kirman
Kirmans report is filled with interesting details of his tour. Facinating, full of information...
Travel Report by Hans Westerlaken
22nd of December 2012 – 3rd of January 2013
Nandana, Hans Westerlaken and Caroline
Bird Trip Sri Lanka, 22nd of December 2012 – 3rd of January 2013
We used the services of Walk With Jith. This is one of the lesser known companies than for example Bauer or Jetwing. Walk With Jith charged us $500 less than Bauers, namely $1550/1180Euros. We managed to see all 33 endemics and more. This was mainly thanks to our excellent guide Nandana. He is a free-lance guide who also works for Bauers and other companies and his skills and determination in the field are excellent. He worked hard to show us all the required species and we actually only missed seeing one much sought-after species, Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher.
..... My partner and I were guided by Nandana for a period of 3 weeks in November 2012.
Our tour cover eight important areas of Sri Lanka with an emphasis on Birdwatching, but also including general elements of the natural world as well as important cultural sites.
Nandana has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the birds of Sri Lanka and an ability to spot different species accurately at some distance. He is patient with his quests and always takes considerable trouble to ensure that they are able to see and identify whichever bird or animal is in view. He clearly has a passion for ornithology and a deep desire to see the environment of Sri Lankan cared for and protected.
Throughout our trip he was courteous and discreet. He was never critical when we showed tiredness or lack of interest, but would always do his utmost to ensure our safety and comfort at all times. He drove us for many miles, but always with care and consideration for our comfort, we both considered his driving to be safe despite many different road and traffic conditions. He always knew where he was and which road to take to get us to our destination.
Our experience in Sri Lanka was of the highest quality, largely due to the expert care and attention of our guide, Nandana.....
Sarah, Nandana Hewagamage & Tony, Sinharaja, 19th Jan 2012.
Sarah and Tony from Ireland came to Sri Lanka on their honeymoon in 2012. Their tour was organized by Walk With Jith. Include in it was a 7-day bird watching tour to top birding sites in Sri Lanka, in which they bagged 209 birds including 32 endemics.
Images of Sri Lanka -
A photographic essay of Sri Lanka’s people and wildlife
by Brian Pollard
Top: From cover of Brian Pollards book and Brian when he was touring with Walk With Jith in which he took all the photos of this book.
Brian Pollard with his wife Sue and two friends, Joan and Dave Carman, toured with Walk With Jith in December 2010.
Brian Pollard is a keen photographer and captured the beauty of wildlife and nature as well as interesting cultural elements in Sri Lanka through his professional lenses. About 100 of these photos were published in the 78-page color book “Images of Sri Lanka - A photographic essay of Sri Lanka’s people and wildlife". The complete book is now available for viewing on http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2002585 and you can order a print copy through the website.
We spent 1 week in southern Sri Lanka at Yala NP and Sinharaja Forest Reserve in May 2011. Our guide, Nandana, was wonderful - he explained the culture of Sri Lanka and was well versed in the wildlife and natural history of Sri Lanka. We spent 3 full days in Yala undertaking full days safari drives from 6.30am to 6pm in the evening. The birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies were numerous. We saw some amazing behavioural moments while just sitting and watching. The most memorable was the leopard launching an attack on a wild boar herd, subsequently catching and killing one of the baby wild boars. The incident was dramatic and I never expected to see the aggressive response with which the boars tried to fend off the leopard. We also saw water buffalo chasing away a leopard, a ruddy mongoose digging up and wrestling with a land monitor, and a mongoose desperately trying to work out how to catch a 2m Sri Lankan python. Birds were also numerous and we saw plenty of endemic species. After leaving Yala we drove to Sinharaja Forest Reserve, a completely different habitat to that of the dry, rocky, shrub-filled Yala. We did a couple of morning walks through the forest. Rain prevented afternoon expeditions. Seeing green pit vipers and Sri Lankan frogmouths were amongst the highlights. However, the icing on the cake was our guide finding the Serendip Scops Owl in the depths of the jungle. Braving leeches and bogs, we had a fantastic view of this recently discovered for nature species. We would definitely recommend Walking with Jith tours of Sri Lanka.
Jane Dixon and Dudley Adam
Walk With Jith tour - Travel Report by Nicholas King, 2011
Leopard - Photo by Nick King taken during the tour in Yala National Park
Walk With Jith tour to Kandy Botanical Gardens January 2009
Julie and Terry Doman with their friends Ian and Lynn Cowgill, Melanie and Roy Rovill from Bath, UK. met Prasanjith for the first time at the British Bird Watching Fair in 2007.
Afterwards they did a bird watching tour in January 2009 lead by Walk With Jith. In the tour they visited the Kandy Botanical Gardens in Sri Lanka. In this video at that place, Mr. Palipana an expert at the garden does an excellent commentary on trees, orchids, etc.
Kandy Botanical Garden is also called as Peradeniya Botanical Garden or Royal Botanical Garden.
Walk With Jith bird watching tour in Sri Lanka February 2009
Prasanjith Caldera of Walk With Jith first met David Nelson and his friend Bob Crawford from Middlesbrough, UK at the British Bird Watching Fair in 2007. Subsecuently they went on a bird watching tour in Sri Lanka in February 2009. In this very successful two weeks bird watching tour they spotted more that 230 birds including Serendib Scops Owl in Sinharaja rain forest. In Yala national park they were lucky to spot two big Leopards at very close range.
Whale Watching in Mirissa Sri Lanka. A Walk With Jith tour of Barrie and Shirley Bird with Peter and Jackie Bourne, UK, 2009
Barrie and Shirley Bird with Peter and Jackie Bourne from Kent, UK met Prasanjith Caldera at the British Bird Watching Fair in 2007. Subsecuently they did a wild life and culture tour in Sri Lanka in February 2009. The tour included whale watching in Mirissa. During the 3 hour boat ride, they spotted about 08 Sperm Whales.
Bird Watching trip report by Ian Hillery,
Ian Hillery from UK did a 7 day tour with us in March 2009. He visited 3 main birding sites in Sri Lanka; 1. Sinharaja Rain Forest, 2.Nuwara-eliya highlands and 3.Kithulgala.
Your can read his full trip report and/or buy his DVD of the trip from www.birdseen.co.uk >>
Mary and Martin Leathwood's Trip Report
Mary and Martin Leathwood from United Kingdom toured with Walk With Jith from 10th March to 28th March. During their tour they visited Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Knuckles mountain range, Kandy, Adams peak mountain, Nuwra-eliya, Bundala National Park, Sinharaja Rain Forest, Kosgoda and Negambo.