Since a safari is something so unique that you can only experience it in certain parts of the world, it was a must-do for us whilst in Sri Lanka. We wanted to break up our journey from the hill country to the southern coast, so we decided to go to Yala National Park and stay in a camp called The Big Game near to the safari. We’ve only camped as kids, so spending a night in a tent was something we really looked forward to!
Big Game Camp had a vintage feel to it; I felt like we’d travelled back in time, to the 1930’s which I absolutely loved. The tent was fancy and comfortable, with it’s own bathroom (I know) and to our surprise it had the best wifi we’ve experienced in Asia! Upon arrival, we were greeted with a refreshing juice and shown around the camp. After relaxing (aka watching Hercule Poirot, since it’s the 1930’s…) we had a BBQ dinner under the stars. That was definitely the best bit of the camp, I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It felt like we stepped into a scene from a horror film, which added some more thrill to it! The staff were very kind throughout our stay, as they, for example, respected my request of no meat nor spicy food and so I was given some garlic rice, spring rolls and boiled vegetables for tea – very delicious. The night was hot and our fan was as old as the vintage feel we had in the tent resulting us having nearly any sleep, and we had to wake up 4.30am for the safari. It wasn’t too much fun being so tired, but we did see crocodiles and a leopard, which apparently is very lucky according to our guide!
Big Game Camp Yala + safari: 100eur pp
Since I was very sad that we didn’t see any elephants in Yala, Joe suggested that we’d try another safari in Udawalawe National Park whilst staying in Tangalle. On our first day we nipped to a restaurant called Mango Shade for lunch and the owner, Ruwan, suggested that he’d take us to Uduwalawe with his tuk-tuk for a good price. Online the park is considered the best safari in Sri Lanka, and that it even has a better chance to see elephants than in Africa. We totally agreed with the formal – we saw at least half a dozen elephants close up and a dozen further away! We were both so happy, and definitely want to recommend that particular park for seeing elephants. The roads were, well, bumpy, as they tend to be on safaris but the land was more open which meant a bigger chance of seeing animals such as buffalos, deers and the very much adored elephants. Ruwan stayed with us the whole time as he had called his mate, who is experienced in finding elephants, to take us around. It was such an amazing morning, I’ll never forget it!
Tuk-tuk drive from Tangalle to Udawalawe + jeep + safari: 40eur pp