About us

About us

About Aves Nature Trails
Thilanka and Sanka met each other at Thilanka’s parents' place in Ratnapura, Sri Lanka in December of 2015. Due to their common passions for hospitality, travel and wildlife, they immediately connected and maintained their close friendship even though they were separated by 15000 KM. They did quite a bit of travel around the world separately since then, but made sure to share their good and bad travel experiences with each other after every single trip. With a combination of 5 continents and over 50 countries traveled between them, Thilanka and Sanka understood off the beaten path, yet personalized and non commercialized local experiences were the ones they would remember fondly, when they looked through the rearview mirror. During the COVID Pandemic, Thilanka and Sanka though living in two different continents, came to the same conclusion on pursuing their lifelong passions together. This was just a matter of time given their extensive travel experiences and common passions. This led to the formation of Aves Nature Trails exactly 5 years after Thilanka and Sanka first met.

Thilanka and Sanka formed Aves Nature Trails in Sri Lanka, based on three principles with a focus on maximizing positive travel experiences. Three principles include Conservation, Community Development because they strongly believe there is no conservation without community development and Promoting biodiversity/culture of Sri Lanka. The tours are carefully designed in alignment with the three principles with handpicked partners and personalized experiences.
Our Partners
Maulie spent her childhood in pristine wilderness close to Kandy. Such unique experiences she encountered in her formative years plus travelling extensively in Sri Lanka and abroad with her parents, kindled a passion she never outgrew even when she moved to Colombo to work in the Apparel Industry. Two decades of a very demanding career in dynamic contexts of merchandising for international buying houses, could not wean her off her passion: her love for wilderness of her beloved country.

She firmly believes that we each have a responsibility, to return to our planet what we consume from it. With that concept was born: Galkadawala Forest Lodge!
Luis is a biologist from the Universidad de Tolima with 19 years of experience in the observation of birds and scientific investigation of species at risk of extinction. Together with his wife, Andrea, he is the co-owner and founder of MANAKIN NATURE TOURS. For 12 years, Luis has worked intensively in the area of birdwatching tourism for foreigners as a co-leader and local guide for ornithology tours for the most recognized companies in the world. He has worked as a guide with famous leaders such as Steven Hilty (author of the book “Field Guide to the Birds of Colombia – 1986), Barry Walker, Nick Athanas, Richard Webster and Frank Lambert, from whom he has received experiences and skills. Additionally, he won an “observer’s prize” from the BP Conservation Program when working as director of an important project with the enigmatic Blue-billed Curassow in 2004. He is an expert in the logistics of birding tours in Colombia and is able to organise, direct and carry out birding tours in any of the destinations or routes operated by MANAKIN NATURE TOURS.
Pema G Bhutia is a Conservationist, Bird watcher and a plant enthusiast. He has extensively trekked through different locations of Sikkim and has photographed and documented the rich flora and faunal wealth of this region. Co-founder of an environmental NGO, Khangchendzonga Conservation Committee (KCC) based in Yuksam, West Sikkim in 1996, Pema has been actively involved in conservation activities, promotion of community based sustainable Eco-tourism and building capacity of tourism stake holders by providing skill development training since 1996. He has been an ‘Honorary Wildlife Warden, member of State Wildlife Advisory Board and State Biodiversity Board.

He is an avid photographer, Bird Watcher and also has been involved in rescuing wild orchids from highway extension and construction sites for conservation purpose.

He is the co-recipient of the first edition of “Responsible Tourism Pathfinder of the Year 2019” by leading Outlook Magazine.

He has also co-authored a book “ Pictorial Handbook on Flora of Sikkim”
Our Accommodation Partners
Galkadawala Forest Lodge
In 2006 Maulie bade farewell to her corporate career and “invested” in a land in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka; a plot of 4 acres totally destroyed by ‘slash and burn agriculture’. Her architect friend Vijitha Basnayaka advised her that reforestation of a destroyed land would be more beneficial and meaningful. The treehouse like structures of Galakadawala were designed by him, mostly reusing old building materials like timber from a dismantled tea factory, discarded cable trunking from a power station et cetera.

More than 600 trees were planted. After a decade of toil and nurturing the land, Galkadawala revived its Nature‘s bounty; more than 100 species of birds and rare creatures like the Kangaroo Lizard, Fishing Cat, Wood Owl, Forest Eagle Owl and the Slender Loris found a safe haven here.

Galkadawala is an inspiration to all, that one can live in comfort and harmony with nature if one is willing to reduce consumption through awareness. By avoiding a lifestyle of excess one will find peace and happiness within oneself.
Ellerton Bungalow
ELLERTON was built for the manager of a large tea estate more than 100 years ago. Now owned by Luca and Iromi Poloni, it retains the character and tranquillity of times past. At 2,400 feet ( 800 meters) Ellerton combines the best of Sri Lanka’s weather. The sun in the day is warm, while the evenings and nights are relatively cool without the stickiness of the coast, nor the distinct chill of the hill country.

Close to the geographic centre of Sri Lanka, 3 hours drive from Colombo, 30 minutes from Kandy, Ellerton is ideally suited for exploring the Island. Set in beautiful gardens, Ellerton has 9 comfortable rooms, of which 4 are suites which can house up to four people. All rooms have en-suite facilities.