Main attraction today was visit to Yala National Park. The park is famous for largest concentration of leopards in the world and most tourists are coming here for leopard “hunt” with their photo/video cameras.
I have been on safaris in Namibia, Bostwana and Republic of South Africa, but didn’t see anything like this that was happening at Yala National Park. I am not talking about animal spotting.
The gates of the park opens at 6:00 and you must be there before that time. That’s way we went to bed very early yesterday as it took about an hour to get to the gates from our guest house. Even with such early start we were at the end of long queue of 4wd cars.
Everybody was there for a leopard and when the gates were open it looked more like start of a rally, but not a safari trip. In the park cars did split, but after awhile the race was on again as somebody spotted leopard and announced it by radio. The arrived to the place and yes, it was leopard there, except it was about 200 meters (650 feet) away from the road in the shadow on the tree, so silhouette of leopards was all we could see. But I can’t complain I didn’t see it.
The park is plenty of other animals – elephants, water buffalo, crocodiles, different lizards and a lot of bird species – but that leopard “hunt” overshadows everything else.
It was interesting experience thought and I would go for another safari during day or just before sunset if I would have time. I feel it would be totally different experience as you could enjoy park without crowd of jeeps in one spot. But I was on the mission to see Sri Lanka in 5 days and need to keep moving. It was no time for another safari.
We wanted to spend this night near the beach and have a rest after intensive trip around Sri Lanka, but we did one short side trip before heading to the beach. Not far from South coast there is Mulkirigala Rock historical temple.
In the guide book was written it has little of Dambulla and Sigiriya. I am not sure about Sigiriya except you need to climb a steep rock to get to the rock temple. It is much smaller comparing to Dambulla rock temple, but still it is very interesting and very quite as not many tourist are coming to this place.
And now is beach time
Mirissa beach still is not overdeveloped with holiday resorts, has great restaurants with fresh sea food and was perfect place to spend my last night in Sri Lanka.