5 am wake up call today. Yikes. But we wanted to get to Yala National Park for 6am, so on the road we went. We got our breakfasts boxed up and ready to go. After our Safari yesterday we were so pumped to go on another Safari. Its like the ultimate I Spy adventure.
We had a different Safari guide today. This time we had our driver as our guide. As we went through the park, we found that this is not actually as amazing as having a driver and a guide. On this Safari we had to be more on guard to see the animals, since no one was pointing them out. Our drive to Yala took about 45 minuets. We went from the complete dark to sunrise.
Our experience at Yala was completely different then our experience at Udawalawe National Park. Between the two, I liked Udawalawe National Park more. Yala had a lot less elephants, however it did have lots of birds, crocodiles, deer, mongoose, water buffalo, and a bear.
We started off our tour by circling around a small watering hole. At this watering hole we saw an eagle high in the trees, and a lot of green bee eaters. Bee Eaters are actually a really cool bird. The catch bees then small out the stingers of the bee on a stick or rock and then eat them. Plus they are gorgeous.
Next we saw some painted storks at the watering hole. They are named this due to their pink tail feathers. They love to eat in the watering holes, as they wade along they stir the water with their feet to flush hiding fish so they can eat them.
Next we saw some warthogs, which reminded us of Pumba from the Lion King. The warthogs were not a fan of our jeep and ran away into the bush.
The next animal we saw was the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear. Our guide got really excited – so we guessed this was not a regular occurrence. It feeds on nuts, berries, and roots, as well as carrion and meat. So we saw it poking around with n the grasses looking for insects. This bear was adorable. I wouldn’t try to hug it or anything but I could watch this bear for hours. Eventually it wandered back into the bush. And we moved on.
The crazy thing about this park is how thick the bush is. It makes it rally hard to see animals unless they are in the open.
The next animal we saw was an elephant. It was a bull and it was in the middle of a lake, by itself and had no interest of coming closer. At this point we were really glad we went to the elephant park the day before. All this elephant did was eat lily pads, which to be fair- I don’t blame the elephant for.
Leaving the lake behind, we found two Wild Water Buffalo blocking our path. This left us little to do but wait for them to move of the road. Since they are large animals. Biologists say that the Wild Water Buffalos in Sri Lanka have bred with the domesticated Water Buffalo so they are not officially Wild Buffalo.
After this we were told by another jeep that there was a leopard sighting in the park, so our driver took off to see if we could find it. What we found was a larger number of jeeps, all stuck in “traffic” with the guides pointing to a tree on the other side of the river. I don’t know if we actually saw a leopard. I will post the photo below of what was our “Leopard Sighting.”
As you can see, there is no obvious leopard in this photo….
After looking for about 20 minuets the park rangers came in to break up all the commotion of the 30 or so jeeps parked staring at the “Leopard.” The rest of this time in the park we spent chasing Ruddy Mongoose. So mongoose are adorable. They are all over Sri Lanka if you start looking for them. They are the equivalent of a raccoon, and are considered a pest.
We also saw a lot of blue peacocks, which incidentally are native to India and Sri Lanka. The peacock population has gone down considerably, for, at one time it was considered a delicacy and peafowl were hunted down indiscriminately. They were still everywhere to be seen in this national park.
The Sri Lankan jungle fowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka. We saw that too. It looks a lot like a rooster. We also saw some spotted deer. Lastly we saw the tsunami exhibit. We were allowed to get out of the jeep and eat out breakfast on the beach. Basically this national park was directly on the tsunami path, and lost a lot of animals and plants to the tsunami.
After our safari, we headed to our next hotel, the Koggala Beach Resort. This hotel was outside of the city of Galle, and was basically a beach resort. It was time to get our relaxing on. Koggala Beach is the longest beach in Sri Lanka which is pretty cool. We arrived at 1pm, and discovered they were not ready for us, so we waited in the lobby for an hour, This was frustrating because it was a really hot day and seeing all the guests playing in the pool there was nothing we wanted to do more then jump right in. Eventually we were checked in, and got a great room with an ocean view and a balcony.
We decided to walk to town to find some food before we went swimming. In town there is 1 restaurant, a snack seller and a grocery store. We ended up buying lots of water, some savoury snacks and calling it a day. It was a long walk back to the hotel, so in this instance, it may have been better to stay at the hotel.
Once we got back to the hotel, we decided to check out the pool and the beach. The pool was refreshing but small. So we decided to walk along the beach. The beach was gorgeous, but the waves were huge. We were unable to swim in the water due to the crazy under tow.
Around 4:30 pm the storm rolled in. It was crazy to see how fast the storm rolled in. We went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. It was buffet style.