The Primate Center Eco Lodge at Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka, offers you a variety of heuristic experiences with nature: educational tours of scenic and fascinating natural experiences with monkeys, nocturnal creatures, birds, elephants and local history and culture.
Let the Primate Center Eco Lodge enchant and wow you with unique insights into the soap opera dramas and antics played out in monkey society. With nearly 50 years of scientific research and more than 20 documentary films to its credit about monkey societies in Sri Lanka the Primate Center Eco Lodge offers to entertain and enlighten you; you will come away with a new appreciation of human behaviour in relation to the grand phenomenon of primate social evolution. Your scientific hosts are Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, a Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution (USA), and his Sri Lankan team of researchers and naturalists. Under their guidance you will visit the three primate species that inhabit the Nature Sanctuary at Polonnaruwa: the colorful Toque Macaque, the regal looking Hanuman Langur, and the shy white bearded Purple-faced Langur. The most popular tour, suited also for children, is the “Human Family Meets the Monkey Family” tour: Primate groups of the different species are visited in their natural forest habitat inside the nature sanctuary that also doubles as the Archaeological Reserve. Monkeys make their homes in the verdant forest among the backdrop of the ruins of ancient temples of the Hindu and Buddhist cultures that reigned here over a thousand years ago – like a page from Rudyard Kipling’s “Jungle Book.” Visitors have plenty of lovely photo opportunities. The monkeys have learned from the researchers not to behave shyly or aggressively - as is all too common elsewhere. Tours (nature walks of about 2 hours) are best done early in the morning when the temperatures are cool and the monkeys most active. You can meet some of the film characters, like “Maya” or “Raja” from their films. Back at the Primate Center, the tour package also includes a lecture and viewing the recent documentary film, Disney Nature “Monkey Kingdom” that was produced under the guidance of the Primate Center Eco Lodge at their study site.
For a slice of Madagascar in its backyard the Primate Center Eco Lodge offers after sunset tours to observe the slender loris, a prosimian primate with most of its relatives in Madagascar. Other nocturnal creatures include owls, the mouse deer, a variety of civets and for the lucky, the fishing cat.
The Primate Center Eco Lodge is located in the hub of six national conservation areas. Elephants can be seen in large herds year round at easily accessible parks within 30 to 40 minutes by vehicle. Elephants occasionally visit the Eco Center’s Lodge area.
The diversity of bird species that one can observe is really a function of the range of different habitats available to them. During the winter season, October to April, The Primate Center Eco Lodge also benefits from the migrants visitors from the north. Within a short distance by foot, boat or vehicle the Eco Center naturalists can point you to the over 120 species of birds seen at the Primate Center Eco Lodge
Polonnaruwa has a rich thousand year history not only of the temples and palaces of the ancient city but the surrounding area has wonderful remnants of irrigation works of practical and unique architecture. The tour takes you along scenic routes through forest, along waterways and through small villages. The irrigation works supported the rice fields for a thriving ancient population.