Without any doubts Sri Lanka could aspire to the title of Eden on Earth. Here stretches miles of paradise beaches with its fine sand, flanked on one side by 20-foot coconut palms, and on the other by the blue waters of the Indian Ocean. Here rainforest, a few km away bush, yet elsewhere never ending tea fields, and all this among majestic mountains. Such diversity sometimes makes me to forget on how little island we are. Even more so when on a piece of land 5 times smaller than the Poland, rich fauna and flora is simply overwhelming.
Nearly every step by man here is accompanied by monkeys, which for food on the trees are competing with colorful birds as if they had been edited in Photoshop. Slightly below the branches, a slow strolling elephants, sharing the forest with lots of deer. Lakes are usually occupied by buffalo, excluding of course the area where are crocodiles. Closer to the ground are staying monitor lizards, snakes and mass of insects. And above all there’s the king of the whole forest – a leopard. So come with me to get know it all! :)
And the nature was what attracted me to Sri Lanka in the first place. Although the exploration of the island we started with the places strongly associated with Buddhism and the history of the state, but already from the beginning everywhere we were companioned by monkeys. Of the three species present on island we saw two. Endemic – Macaque disheveled and Hulman.
Although I’ve seen so many monkeys in the world, for some communities, their presence is something totally normal and for others it can be even annoying, but I’ll be always amazed by their similarity to man!
And as far as physically similar to them are only some of us ;) it’s their behavior what is exactly like humans,
This for example is how we’re trying to discover what pimp again appeared on our thigh
And this how we have some reflection about our life
We look for protection and love in mom’s arms
Or when you just look at someone like at a moron
My first safari! : D
But the less common animals I wanted to see here the most. And where to go for such a purpose if not to the national park? We chose the Uda Walawe and Yala. On these two examples, you can see perfectly what impressions after such a sanctuary of nature, which are national parks, we’d like to experience, and what definitely avoid.
5.00 am, the sun hadn’t yet risen, and we’re already going in jeep for 6 ppl, to the gates of Uda Walawe National Park.
Landscape which slowly brighten with the rising sun, gives the impression that we could just as well be somewhere in East Africa. Bush, earth of reddish color, but most of all the main actors of the play for which we came here. The first rushed to us in the eyes of buffaloes bathing at a safe distance from the crocodile swamp.
This one so far for lack of food or water can’t complain. However, when it’s really dry, buries itself in the mud at the bottom of the drying lake and falls into a state of stupor, until the advent of the rainy season.
However, for the pictures quite like Africa, we had to wait a little longer. Until we came across little family of elephants. The first time I saw the elephants in their natural habitat! Not in the Zoo, not in the circus! In a real bush! :) Ladies and gentlemen, here is the Indian elephants (subspecies: Ceylon)
I wanted to listen how the parents educate a young one, but none of that. These elephants, communicate with each other in a frequency inaudible to the human ear. And even from a distance of two kilometers!
Along the way we saw even monitor lizards, deer and a plenty of birds
And when we thought it was the end, we saw this little guy taking a shower :)
Heart just rejoices seeing all these creatures in their natural habitat. What’s more, I could admire them among a small number of representatives of my own species – Homo Sapiens :D
Circus on wheels
Our senses have totally drunk from experience, and it’s not over yet! Before us most famous wildlife sanctuary of the island – Yala National Park! Right here is the largest concentration of leopards in the world and the biggest ones! Bigger than in Africa ?! Oh yes. In Africa, leopards must compete for food with lions and hyenas. But here there’s no other predator over leopards. So they can freely chase a deer in the bush, monitor lizards or small African pigs.
So to Tissamahara, which is the nearest major settlement to the park, we go in the local bus full of hope to see next wild animals in their home.
How big disappointment we had to face… Coming to the most popular national park in Sri Lanka, I was expecting the large number of people. I’m also aware that tourists brings money which discourage the locals from poaching and the destruction of their natural habitats.
However, the number of jeeps chasing with one another, honking at each other, brought to mind that instead of the national park, we’re in a circus.
Jeep rides a gravel road with reddish color. In focus we’re looking at bush hunting with our eyes on leopards, elephants, and other creatures living in it.
Suddenly the driver’s cell phone rings. Jeep accelerates. Overtaking another two jeeps and reaches the place where the number of jeeps per 1 km2 was higher than the number of ants. Somewhere in the bush was seen a leopard! However, given the roar of a dozen engines, a few random horns, I didn’t have the slightest hope that we’ll see anything.
Although I’ve seen chasing leopard for a deer, a few charming elephants emerge from the bush, herds of buffalo bathing in lakes, crocodiles, monitor lizards and a few other creatures, after all, if I could go back in time, I would choose another national park in Sri Lanka. And the same I advise you, if you ever have the opportunity to come to Sri Lanka. And there’s a wide choice! Sri Lanka has as many as 11 national parks. Plus nature reserves.
To the forest for health
And to one of the reserves we decided to go as well. To Sinharaja Forest Reserve. The last of the larger complex of rain forest in Sri Lanka, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, so this isn’t just any forest ;)
Forest we were exploring with a local guide – biologist, who with his extensive knowledge about the local fauna and flora, shared with us at every opportunity. But what caused our admiration, was his eye, which was able to spot almost everything!
From lizards blending the color of the surroundings, spiders, centipedes, snakes, monkeys, to the unheard of anywhere else birds, hidden somewhere high in the treetops.
But this time, not a specific animal or event gave me the greatest joy, but just being in this oasis of nature. Living green, so intoxicating eyes, all the sounds at once made by dozens of animals. And the smell! It all made me just happy. Despite the high humidity and a few leeches drinking my blood around the ankle, I just boasted everything that surrounded me.
Yes, I love nature, but I assure you that this place would affect any of you. In South Korea are planted anew forests and employees are being send there for a walk to rebound stress. In Finland patients are prescribed walks through the forest.
Recently, Danish researchers found that the incidence of diseases such as eg. Depression, coronary heart disease, migraine, diabetes, asthma is definitely lower among people living within a radius of 1 km from some oasis of green than other people.
So from time to time let escape the concrete jungle and just go into the forest! :)
In the hunt for the giants
But Sri Lanka can be proud of not only the natural world, which is located on the island, but also to the one around it. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean surrounding the Ceylon hide a lot of wealth. And the one quite exceptional!
And I don’t mean only the playful dolphins.
Near the southern coast you can meet the greatest creatures ever to inhabit the planet – blue whales! These giants reach 33 meters in length and weigh 190 tons! The largest land animal an elephant, with its weight of 6 tons, can at best compare to the whale’s tongue.
They’re found in all oceans, but the ones here are quite unique. Usually, whales migrate to other places by example to copulate. These ones, however, live off the coast of Sri Lanka throughout the whole year!
And no wonder. Why take your beloved to some Caribbean, if here are beautiful beaches, heavenly views and blue, clear water.
No doubt, the whales know their stuff. The beaches of Sri Lanka are probably perfect. Wide, of fine sand, huge coconut trees, and very easily you can find here kilometers of beaches without the people.
And it’s cheap :)
If, therefore, you want to choose somewhere to enjoy nature without mass tourism and to not spend a fortune on it, Sri Lanka is the place! :)
And if you ever chose to go there, feel free to write to me through FB for directions, and I’ll try to help you as much as I can :)
Here you’ll find a short report from the trip:
…Unfortunately, webcam has been swept away by the wave and all videos are resting somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean :( So to not be let me being sad anymore, give a like on Facebook if you liked the post and if you didn’t give an expression of disapproval in the comment: D