When you think safari it’s often Africa which springs to mind, but Sri Lanka is bursting with National Parks and wildlife. Yala National Park is the largest in Sri Lanka, and attracts scores of visitors each year with one thing on their mind leopards!! Yala has the highest concentration of leopards making it the most likely spot to, well for want of a better phrase, spot one!
We set out on the safari jeep with front row seats and cameras in hand. It didn’t take long for the driver to slow down and point out into the bush – elephants. Four of them minding their own business and foraging in the branches. As we continued the sightings came thick and fast – crocodiles, peacocks and peahens, water buffalo, and countless bird species including kingfishers, herons and egrets.
But when the driver received a call and sped off down the tracks we knew it was the big one – a leopard sighting! From the road we were told to look to three o’clock – across a vast arid plain towards the bushes and trees in the distance. Now the naked eye could only see so much, so out came the binoculars and there he was, a large male leopard relaxing in the sun – it was majestic!! We watched for over 20 minutes as he rolled, stretched and wandered back and forth. It was the absolute highlight of the safari journey and one of the main reasons I would so highly recommend a visit to Yala.
I thought nothing could top the leopard sighting but we carried on throughout the park stopping to admire the stunning landscapes and saw several more herds of elephants in plain sight, including some adorable babies. Then as the sun began to set and we made our way back to the park exit to conclude our journey we slowed to see our last elephant of the trip. And as if he knew we were on the last stretch of our adventure he walked out from the bush and crossed the path directly in front of us, before disappearing back into the trees. A truly magical end to a truly memorable safari experience.