For my last post on our Sri Lanka adventure we went to a national park safari hoping to spot some leopards then stay over at an ecolodge in the middle of the forest!
If you haven’t read my other posts on our Sri Lanka adventure during our honeymoon, you can read them here.
From Nuwara Eliya’s Horton Plains, we drove all the way to Yala, southern part of Sri Lanka. We will be spending our New Year’s eve at Jetwing Yala Hotel near the Yala National Park. We were set for a morning safari to see some “wild” animals.
Yala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and was designated a national park in 1938. Ironically, the park was initially used as a hunting ground for the elite under British rule. Yala is home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species. Among its more famous residents are the world’s biggest concentration of leopards, majestic elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted dear, peacocks, and crocodiles. The best time to visit Yala is between February and July when the water levels of the park are quite low, bringing animals into the open.
We had a New Year’s gala in the hotel. There were no fireworks since we were very close to the park and it will disturb the animals. The hotel prepared a bonfire and mini poppers to welcome the new year as well as live band for dancing.
We woke up really early, around 5AM to start our “safari”. After continuos early mornings, when we heard the alarm we were actually thinking twice of going to the park since the bed was so comfy and this was the most glamorous hotel we ever stayed at during the whole trip. But with this kind of view, it was worth it after all.
It rained a little bit and a pang disappointment hit me because for sure we won’t be able to spot the leopards. You know why? Because cats, (technically they are cats) doesn’t like wet areas/places. So instead of going out to play and hunt they will hide themselves wherever they were staying. But still, I kind of have a little hope that I will see them roaming around.
I honestly felt happy being able to see these animals roaming around freely. Unlike going to a zoo where animals are caged and captivated. It was a nice feeling to watch the animals play with each other, feed, and take baths on the lake. We even saw a male peacock showing off his beautiful tail and dancing in front of a female peacock he was trying to impress. Too bad I wasn’t able to capture it.
Unfortunately we were not able to see the leopards just like what I expected because of the rain. We waited for more than hour for them to come out wherever they are but nada. They didn’t show up at all. Not even a glimpse of their tail. Our tour guide said they usually stay up on the trees to chill. Oh well, we’ll be back next time when we have kids, I guess.
After our mini safari we are off to Sinharaja Rain Forest for two nights stay in the ecolodge as well as trekking in the rainforest. On our way there we passed by a Turtle rehabilitation where the fishermen collects the eggs of turtles from the beach and eventually release them after a week or two.
This institution runs through donations and ticket sales. Government aren’t supporting them but the fishermen continue to take care of the eggs to prevent them from dying. Those turtles with abnormalities or disabilities are kept with them until they die since they won’t make it out in the sea. There are also bullies under the water noh?
The views on the way to Sinharaja were breathtaking. The road is going uphill and can only fit one car but they can manage to fit two cars regardless whether it is very narrow. It was a bit scary.
I don’t have better words to describe what I felt when I saw the place. I was excited, nervous and scared at the same time. I was excited because it was new for me to stay in the middle of the jungle. Nervous because you’ll never know what might happen or what you can see at night! haha. And scared because it was just us in this remote area.
I couldn’t sleep the first night because it was too quiet. And I imagine that there might be creepy crawlers, wild bears or snakes that will sneak inside our room. Thank God I was able to sleep after sometime and Mr. B told me in the morning that there were monkeys on the roof in the middle of the night! I was so tired and sleepy that their noises aren’t loud enough to wake me up.
The next morning, we went for bird watching and trekking in the rainforest. The weather was perfect for long walks. We spotted some monkeys and lots of birds whose names I already forgot.
The trek leads to a beautiful waterfall where you can swim and relax. Reminds me of Biak na Bato in Bulacan.
The next day we began our 6 hour drive to Colombo for the night then we’re off to Maldives for our last leg of honeymoon.
If you are into nature tripping, hiking, trekking, and other outdoor adventures, Sri Lanka is for you. The people were really nice and friendly. The air is so fresh your health will improve, your skin will glow and your mind will relax. What better way to spend your honeymoon right?