Shankar Narayan's Trip Report

Trip Report Title: 
From India Shankar Narayan with wife Asha and daughter Soumya
Tour Strat: 
Thursday, April 27, 2017
Tour End: 
Sunday, April 30, 2017

Trip Report Year:

Shankar, Asha and Soumya with Upali touring in Sri Lanka

Shankar, Asha and Soumya with Upali touring in Sri Lanka

This was our first trip to Sri Lanka,as we did not have many days to spend, we just decided to visit Yala National Park. We engaged the tour company, Walk With Jith for our pick up from Colombo, drop off at Cinnamon Wild Hotel and the next day full day safari at Yala National Park.

Mr. Prasanjith Caldera, Managing Director was ready to meet us early in the morning at our hotel in Colombo, to explain to us about the tour arrangements. I had already explained to him that I have keen interest in wildlife photography and I possess a tele-lens.

We were then accompanied by our chauffeur cum guide Mr. Upali Nissanka, who is a die-hard birder and a storehouse of information on birds and wildlife.  The van was quite comfortable for 3 of us -  my wife and daughter.  It was a long drive of 5 hours.

We visited Bundala National Park on the way, where we saw birds like Pied Kingfisher, Great Thick-knee, Peafowls and several other wading birds.   The highlight of this trip was the Monitor lizard – a massive one, and a lone bull elephant.  We also saw several Langurs and macaque monkeys.

Sri Lanka Leopard

Sri-Lanka-Leopard

 

On the way, we were treated to the ultimate sight of a female Sri Lankan Leopard having a drink at a waterhole very near to the Cinnamon Wild Yala Hotel.  I got the opportunity to take some decent pictures of the leopard at a very close range, which is something I will cherish the whole of my life.  We were told that the leopard was seen around the area with two of its cubs.

The hotel room was cozy and comfortable.

Little Green Bee Eater

Shankar_Srinivasan_Little Green Bee-eater

 

The next day Mr. Upali was waiting for us at 5.30 am at the hotel with the jeep and a driver.  We were soon inside Yala National Park.   The ever-enthusiastic Mr. Upali was keen in spotting several birds and mammals. Some of my first were Malabar Pied Hornbill, Blue faced Malkoha,  Sirkeer Malkoha, Green Imperial Pigeon, Orange Breasted Green Pigeon, Lesser Whistling Duck, Brown headed Barbet, Common Woodshrike and many others like Little Green Bee-eaters, Black naped Monarch, Paradise Flycatcher, White Rumped Shama, Bulbuls, Munias, and Kingfishers.

We had our packed breakfast at a rest area in the park.  It was getting hotter by the day.  Soon we met a lone Tusker which was almost blocking our way and several other jeeps.  Just then our driver got a call from some other guide that they have spotted Sloth bear.  He sped towards the spot and there we saw a sub-adult Sloth bear foraging among the thickets and then coming in full view on the rocks. The place was crowded with other vehicles, but I managed to get a decent click of the bear.

As the day passed, we encountered several herd of elephants, spotted deer, sambars, crocodiles, hares and jackals.  We then reached a large tree where a family of three leopards were resting on its branches away from the scorching mid-day sun.  It was too difficult to spot them as they were hidden among the leaves and branches.  We waited under the tree for more than an hour almost sure that the leopards will come down and give us good view.   There were also some other jeeps waiting.  We saw some movement up there and scrambled to get our cameras at the right position, and alas the leopards were down in a jiffy and disappeared into the bushes from behind the large tree.  That was quite a disappointment, but that’s how wildlife is and won’t work your way always.  Soon after, we got a decent sighting of a male leopard drinking at a water hole.  We were in the leopard country and had seen 5 leopards that day, which is not a small achievement!

The packed lunch was not bad consisting of sandwiches, fruits and juice. We again drove through the park, now along the rocky terrain.  We were quite exhausted by now owing to the hot sun and it was soon time to leave the park. 

We were dropped off at the Colombo airport the next day by Mr. Upali.  On the way, we visited a wetland.  Sri Lanka has great roads, greenery, clean environment and the Sri Lankan people very courteous, not different from our native Kerala.

At the end of the day, we can say that the tour was great, memorable and well managed by the tour company Walk with Jith.  Mr. Prasanjith and Mr. Upali are true professionals with wide knowledge on guiding and wildlife.

I am hoping to be in Sri Lanka again to visit Sinharaja Forest Reserve and Horton Plains National Park.

Cheers,

Shankar, Asha and Soumya

Dubai

Pied Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher

 

White-rumped-Shama

 

Shankar_Srinivasan_Malabar Pied Hornbill

Shankar_Srinivasan_Malabar Pied Hornbill

 

Scaly Breasted Munia

Scaly Breasted Munia

 

Shankar_Srinivasan_Leopard at the waterhole

Shankar_Srinivasan_Leopard at the waterhole

Author/s of the report: 
Sankar Narayan

Country:

Places Visited in the tour:

Group size: 
3
Members of the group (clients): 
Shankar Narayan
Asha
Soumya
Tour Guide: 
Upali