UK and Sri Lanka 2011 travel blog

We arrived at Yalle Nationnal Park in darkness, but soon the sky...

For a while, we saw little other than attractive scenery

The peacock was the first sighting......

....then other birds, including a crested fish eagle

Monitor lizard

The same lizard! He posed nicely on a branch at the roadside.

A lone elephant on the opposite bank of the waterhole


We felt as if the leopard was a bonus as we were...

I couldn't get a really good picture, but it was an excellent...

For a long time the deer were oblivious to the presence of...

Another fish eagle, this time without the crest

In the afternoon, we visited Galle

A group of school girls, more reminiscent of Malaysia then Sri Lanka

It was lovely to explore Galle's narrow streets....

...with many churches







Thursday, January 27th –Tissamaharama to South Coast

We were up by 4.30 am for a 5.30 departure for Yala National Park, where we were to have a morning safari. At the gatehouse, we transferred to two jeeps and set off into the park as the sky started to lighten.

At first we saw little except trees resembling yellow elder in full bloom – many of them, which in the early morning light was lovely, but not what we were here for. After a little while, we started to see some birds, a few distant deer, a crocodile or two and a couple of wild boar, but nothing very close and certainly nothing in any numbers. When we arrived at a waterhole, we found a monitor reclining on a tree limb and a lone elephant on the opposite back. All in all, it was very disappointing compared to the safaris I have done in the past.

At about 10am as we were heading back in the direction of the entrance gate, the driver suddenly got some kind of sign from somewhere and he swung around and headed back towards where we had a seen a herd of deer grazing on a lakeside. There were already two jeeps there and, at first, it wasn’t really clear what we were supposed to be looking at. But then we saw it! A magnificent leopard, not far from the road, stalking the deer!

We watched for quite a long time. He was never in a position, in relation to the jeep, for me to get a really good picture, but it was an excellent sighting, nevertheless. He did eventually make his move, but, on this occasion, didn’t manage to catch a deer. I didn’t want for him to go hungry, but neither did I want to see a deer killed.

We left the park satisfied that it had been a good safari, and returned to the hotel for a late breakfast before checking out and heading south for the coast. The drive was about three hours.

After checking into the beachside hotel, we drove for another hour along the coast to Galle, an old fortified Dutch town, which is a world heritage site. It was lovely to explore the narrow streets with the lovely old houses, churches and other buildings, built not only by the Dutch but also by the Portuguese and British, all of whom once traded spices there. I could have spent much longer there but it wasn’t to be.

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