Sri Lanka – Yala National Park

We arrived in Yala delighted with our hotel pick, Cinnamon Wild Yala (thanks Rob). Set on the outskirts of Yala National Park with the pool overlooking a large watering hole which was full of buffalo cooling themselves from the sun, an array of birds and plenty of crocodiles. We spent the afternoon enjoying the pool and watching the wildlife.

Dinner was buffet style with everything from local to western and we of course chose local and filled our plates with curries and sambals. It was delicious. No photos unfortunately – hard to take a decent pic of a buffet to be honest.

We did manage a pretty nice sunset before the heavens opened and we had to be escorted back to out room incase we came across any wild animals!

We were up early for our safari the next day with a 5am pick up by Shehan Safari Tours. In our own private jeep we entered the park and soon after we were tearing along as a leopard had been spotted. Mayhem ensued and our driver drove like a maniac. That said he got us there in time to see the elusive leopard.

Hiding in the trees we got to admire this amazing animal – all pictures are on the SLR camera I’m afraid. It was just amazing to see a leopard up close.

We moved on to see what else we could spot. Lots of peacocks, mongoose, wild boar, buffalo, crocodiles, a jackal and later we finally came upon an elephant.

Such majestic animals and just amazing to watch them move about. We only saw a couple of elephants, I was hoping for more but hey ho. After three hours of racing around we headed back to our hotel for breakfast. The remainder of the day was spent chilling by the pool.

The next day we were headed to Mirissa beach, a three hour drive away. The journey gave me an opportunity to really take in some local life and I watched as mothers took their kids to school shading them from the sun with their umbrellas. Farmers herding their buffalo. Older kids playing cricket on sandy pitches.

We drove through or on the edge of Bundala National Park and saw two elephants heading into the trees, too quick for a photo op unfortunately. Lots of monkeys and beautiful birds everywhere. We occasionally had to swerve to get out the way of the oncoming herd of cows down the road whilst king coconut sellers sliced the top off their coconuts with a machete.

Needless to say the three hours flew by and we arrived in Mirissa.

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