…Continued from Journey to South Eastern Sri Lanka-Part 1

In the morning we drove an hour south to Tissamaharama and checked into our new hotel that would be our base for exploring Yala National Park and diving at the Great Basses.

Peacocks are everywhere

Hibiscus Garden Hotel. This is a fantastic hotel and quite affordable. The staff are great and very friendly. The pool was exactly what we needed to cool down after long days under the tropical sun.
After checking into the hotel we arranged for a safari tour of Yala National Park. Almost all national parks in Sri Lanka only allow visitors to enter in jeeps. The park is home to a variety of animals including elephants (which we never saw) and the elusive leopard. The park is said to have the highest concentration of leopards anywhere in the world…although finding the shy nocturnal cat is still rare.
Thankfully I left my gun and banjo at home

Our driver was great at finding animals
I seem to be missing something
Wild boars

We surprised a troop of grey langur monkeys

They blend into the trees perfectly

Nice beard

Spotted deer

Mugger crocodile

Painted stork

We spotted a leopard in the distance.

Ten minutes and a digital camera latter we decided it really was a leopard. Our guide said that we were lucky to get this view as many in the park didn’t see any leopards at all.

Elephant rock

As we were leaving the park we rounded a corner and came face to face with this beauty.

She walked right up and past us. What a great way to end the safari!

The next day we woke up at 5 am and headed down to the fishing harbor in Kirinda. We hired a diving company from the East Coast in Hikkaduwa to bring us out to the Great Basses. They hired two small fishing boats and we set out on the one hour trip to the lighthouse. The Great Basses are a long strip of rock and coral that have been sinking ships for a thousand years.
Getting the boats loaded up and organized

The lighthouse sits in the middle of the open ocean. Below we can already see fish as the deep ocean gives way to blue tropical waters.
Visibility was about 25-30 meters…nice!

The visibility was much nicer than my fogged over camera showed

A lobster

We decided to head back to the harbor after 2 dives. The wind had changed and the waves were starting to get bigger.
On the way back to Colombo we drove along the edge of Udawalawe National park. Who needs to enter when the elephants come right to road?
A thicker wire would be nice…
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One Response to “Journey to South Eastern Sri Lanka-Part 2”

  1. Kirigalpoththa says:

    That was a great photo and video of the leopard.
    You are lucky to see one of them

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