The Best Elephant Safari Adventure In Sri Lanka
By Phillip Krynski
Fiery beams of sunlight seep through the morning haze, painting a mystical silhouette of the distant mountains. As our van nears Udawalawe National Park, the group gradually rises from a brief nap to witness the eye-capturing scenery. The 119 sq miles in the south of Sri Lanka is an important sanctuary for wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir on the Walawe River. Our van arrives at the gate where our 9-person Talalla Wellness group transfers onto safari-ready 4×4 vehicles and rumbles off through the entrance to the park. Echoes run through the mind of the Colonel Sanders looking paleontologist announcing, “Welcome to Jurassic Park” (cue theme song).
Our eager elephant-spotting crew begins taking bets on how many elephants we will spot throughout the 2-hour experience. Numbers are thrown around between 7 & 24.. “One!” shouted a voice from the leading Jeep. We all turn our heads to see a gigantic boulder-sized elephant lumbering behind a collection of small trees. The majestic creature yanks whole bushes from the ground with her trunk and chews them up whilst sporting a cheeky grin all the while.
Our Jeep pushes on and after passing a number of elephants, our view opens up to a vast plain complete with a freshwater lake that stretches far to the horizon. Along the banks we spot a herd of buffalo, some basking in the sun, others wading through the shallows of the lake. They appear undeterred by the nearby ominous scaley figure peeking mere inches above the surface and gliding across the water in their direction..
“15, 16, 17…” The count continues as our attention turns to an entire family of elephants strolling in the sun whilst throwing sand over their backs to protect themselves from being burnt. The onlooking crowd of Jeeps begins releasing a chorus of “awws” as a baby elephant comes bounding out from behind one of the larger adult elephants. The little guy prances about having the time of his life, whilst warming the hearts of every tourist watching on.
There’s something incredibly special about these beautiful creatures that Udawalawe Park tastefully makes accessible to animal-loving travelers. Along the journey, we not only spot elephants, but we also come across jackals, lizards, rabbits and a mixture of vibrant bird species. By the end of the safari, we tally at least 35 elephants, however our group lost the exact count in the midst of safari excitement.
Talalla Wellness runs regular retreats at Talalla Retreat year round. They are the epitome of a balanced, healthy holiday. Taking a light-hearted and holistic approach to wellbeing, with a focus on mind, body and soul. Enjoy daily Pilates, Yoga, Boxilates, Surfing and Meditation along with a 1:1 Postural and Wellbeing Consult and Spa treatments. To balance out the body and mind we enjoy cultural activities such as Udawalawe Safari or a Local Village Bike Ride (and a sunset cocktail!).
Upcoming Wellness Retreat dates:
+ 12 more dates for 2018 (check website).
Please share this blog with any elephants lovers or wellness seekers you know!
If you have any questions, please email Jenna: [email protected]
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