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  • Day109

    A leopard and lots of other things

    October 18 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    Up at 5am for our morning safari to Yala national park 15 mins away.
    We were greeted by a large group of brits who must have arrived yesterday but luckily we took our packed breakfast boxes and met our driver (his name we never quite got at that time in the morning in the dark!!)
    15 mins later we arrived at the park gate....to a queue!!
    A queue of jeeps and tourists- and this is quiet season.
    Once the park opened at 6am in we went and after being under and over taken by kamikaze jeeps we parked up whilst driver joined the queue to get the actual park tickets.
    6.20am In we went .... after being joined by a park guide we never asked for and didn’t want!
    The park was a beautiful mix of water holes and greenery with heaps of water buffalo wallowing up to their horns bathing in the water.
    Suddenly there was a blockage of Jeep’s and whisperings there was a leopard. Anyway to cut the next 10 mins of manic Jeep driving, 7 point turns in front of us and general jostling it was decided the leopard had gone.... then came a call on the guides phone.... another leopard was up ahead.... just from whence we had turned!
    Back up we sped and just got in place to see a male leopard cub 1 yr old walking through the bush just at the side of the road. He was pretty well camouflaged if he wasn’t moving and although we weren’t in a spot for a great photo we did have a clear visual with our eyeballs - we were extremely lucky.
    Despite Yala having the biggest population of leopards in the world (30) they r nervous animals and not easily seen so our sighting this am was special.
    However that was it for leopards. We spent the next 3 hours spotting everything from monitor lizards, mongoose, sambar deer, 100’s of peacocks, to skinks, spotted deer and jackals.
    We arrived back at the hotel at 10am hot and a bit tired.
    Also we hadn’t taken any cash so the guide and driver were pissed off we didn’t tip them- tipping has been the bane of our trip so far- pay your staff properly and do away with tipping!
    Despite this little bit of a sour taste it left us with we had a fabulous am on our Sri Lankan Safari
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