Animal magic without the safari price tag!


We’ve packed a huge amount into our 2 weeks in Sri Lanka but we didn’t manage to book a safari tour around one of its national parks. We needn’t have worried; we encountered a huge variety of wildlife just going about our daily business!

There was the troop of monkeys foraging for scraps on the mountain road out of Ella; the water buffalo grazing roadside; peacocks presenting their vivid plumage in the back garden of our Air BnB, iguanas slipping through front gardens; a herd of elephants in the distance as we drove alongside Uda Walawe National Park and, most bewitchingly of all, dozens of baby turtles hatching on Weligama beach at full moon, confused by the glimmering beach bar lights and eager smart phone flashes as they broke for the freedom of the sea.

One organised tour we were keen to do was whale watching from Mirissa. Famous for blue whales just off shore, dozens of companies claim their eco credentials to attract ethically conscious westerners.


In truth, the dozen or so boats chasing each sighting felt like a homogenous entity, speeding towards the first sight of a fin or tail.


We were amazed to see whales in the wild, but the whole experience left a slightly bitter taste in everyone’s mouth. We were just glad not to be on the boat pumping out acrid black smoke!


Lesson: do your research but don’t expect an environmentally conscious trip, each company appears to work in the same way.

A Kenyan safari has always been on the list for me, but with such a dazzling variety of wildlife quite literally on your doorstep here, Sri Lanka must be hard to beat.


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