For the chance to see Leopards, Elephants, Whales and a host of other tropical species within a few miles of each other then Sri Lanka is an ideal location. Our trip started in the capital Colombo travelling up to the cultural sites of therock monolith at Sigiriya and the archaeological site at Polonnaruwa. Before moving on to Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and the Horton Plains, a high somewhat desolate plateau that forms the central highlands. Unbelievably the plain was until the 1940’s home to large herds of Sri Lankan Elephant now the largest mammal most commonly seen is Sambar Deer.
The rainforest at Sinharaja
From the rather chilly Central Highlands we travelled to the tropical rainforest atSinharaja, one of the last remaining primary forests to be found in Sri Lanka.With dense vegetation, wildlife is not as easily seen here but we did come across a number ofattractivelizards. The forest here is also famous for bird waves, a phenomenon wheremixed bird species move together through theforestusuallyled by Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. On our visit we manged to catchtwo as we walk along the forest tracks
Travelling further south we reached the dry lowland forests of the Uda Walawe National Park. Famous for its large population of elephants and for bird-life particularly its raptors.
From Uda Walawe on to Yala, Sri Lanka’s most famous park but unfortunately its most popular because of its Leopards. Although you can get some good views of the wildlife, you are often surrounded by dozens of Jeeps. All shuffling for the best views and packed with visitors whose interest in wildlife is questionable. Having said that our guide managed to get us off the beaten track resulting in some excellent photo opportunities.
Finally on to the Mirissa area with the chance of seeing Blues Whales. After an early start and a search we were rewarded with views of both Spinner Dolphins and Blue Whales.