Sri lanka Wildlife Tours
Despite Sri Lanka being a relatively easy destination for independent travellers, those with specialist interests or limited time may find an organised tour a better option. Birders and photographers, especially, may find that the services of a skilled guide make all the diference. Trip reports on the internet can be a good way to evaluate whether your best option is to go it alone or take a tour. Sri Lanka has a good structure of licensed tour operators who handle ground arrangements. This could be for travellers making direct bookings, as well as travellers booking through a tour operator in their home country. Only inbound tour operators licensed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board are supposed to handle the ground arrangements for tours. If you are making a booking from overseas, it is advisable to have your tour organised by one of the reputable companies in Sri Lanka. This will ensure a safety net of being licensed and insured. Such companies will also use reliable vehicles and dependable accommodation, plus other services. There is a good system of licensed chauffeur guides and national guides. The latter are licensed to handle large groups. They are not allowed to take bookings directly but will be engaged by the tour operators to lead a group of clients. Some are freelance while others are exclusive to a particular company. Serious wildlife enthusiasts, birders and photographers may be better off booking with a specialist tour operator that caters to them. The quality of the guide makes a big impact on the experience. Some specialist tour operators have chauffeur guides and national guides who are also naturalists. The national guides tend to handle the larger groups. The fee structure depends mainly on the skill level. However, national guides cost more, as they enjoy a standard of accommodation that matches that of their clients.
The cost of a tailored leopard safari or an expert-led birdwatching tour will start at about US$250 per person per day, from a specialist company. A good guide alone will cost around US$50 a day. Cheaper packages are available, but, as with so much in life, you get what you pay for.