A Travellerspoint blog

Tissa and environs including YALA NATIONAL PARK

A relatively straightforward bus journey (plus auto rickshaws at each end) got us to our next stop (Tissamaharama - Tissa for short) in around 3 hours. Tissa itself is of no particular interest but it is the town from which most tours into the Yala National Park are organised. We stayed three nights at a very pleasant guest house where the charming Justin saw to our needs - arranging the tour to the park and, together with his assistant, producing excellent breakfasts and dinners. The dinners, where we opted each time for fish and vegetable curry, were great with 6 different bowls of vegetables which varied each night and included vegetables we had never seen before! YALA NATIONAL PARK Yala has the largest population density of leopards in the world, elephants and lots of other mammals and particularly rich bird life and is set in very pretty countryside with lots of lakes. We opted for a full day excursion which, with the time to reach the park from Tissa being not much short of an hour, meant we were out from 0500 to 1730! We had our own jeep with driver (as is the norm) and it was an absolutely brilliant day. We had good weather, an excellent and knowledgeable driver (Sanjaya) - who judged the pace just to our liking and who seemed to know just where to be to get the best views (and manoeuvred the vehicle expertly when needed), and we were lucky! We saw a female and then male leopard at close quarters before breakfast and, in the afternoon, we came upon a female leopard resting at the side of the track. At both times the leopards walked calmly around unbothered by the presence of jeeps. Stunning. In between, along with many colourful and exotic birds, crocodile, mongoose, monitor lizard, sambar and spotted deer ... ... , we came across a troop of elephants before lunch who again came very close to the jeep and were unworried by our presence, Our driver was convinced that they would head for a waterhole not far away later and checked out before lunch but no joy. Then we had lunch at a beautiful location by the sea (a tourist bungalow had been there, but nothing remained - destroyed (along with 43 persons) by the tsunami). When we had finished lunch (normally 2 hours), our driver suggested we head off straight away to check out the waterhole again for the elephants and, just as we arrived, there they were, just in the undergrowth. Incredible! They casually ambled in front of us and into the water and seemed to have a very good time bathing and playing before ambling off again into the vegetation. Lovely to see. Tissa environs On the final morning we took a bus down to the coastal village of Kirinda (deserted and impressive looking beach but far too dangerous for swimming, but otherwise uninteresting place with too much rubbish strewn around (so no photos from there)). After a lunch stop back in Tissa we took the bus to Kataragama (apparently one of the holiest places in Sri Lanka) to have a look round the temple area there. Things hot up after dark for the evening Puja but that was too late for us so we had a walk round whilst it was quiet and peaceful. A pleasant and interesting afternoon, made particularly so by the mix of Buddhist and Hindu images and the relaxed feel of the place.

LEOPARD - WILD!

LEOPARD - WILD!


Female and young elephant

Female and young elephant


Painted Stork

Painted Stork


Wild Water Buffaloes plus Cattle Egrets

Wild Water Buffaloes plus Cattle Egrets


Darter with fish

Darter with fish


Darter drying wings (later in the day)

Darter drying wings (later in the day)


Yala scenery 1

Yala scenery 1


Yala scenery 2 (large bird top of tree = Peahen)

Yala scenery 2 (large bird top of tree = Peahen)


Changeable Hawk Eagle eating prey (snake?)

Changeable Hawk Eagle eating prey (snake?)


Changeable Hawk Eagle (later in the day)

Changeable Hawk Eagle (later in the day)


White Breasted Kingfisher

White Breasted Kingfisher


Yala scenery 3

Yala scenery 3


Black Faced Lemur Monkeys

Black Faced Lemur Monkeys


Yala scenery 4

Yala scenery 4


Green Bee Eaters

Green Bee Eaters


Leopard - first clear sighting

Leopard - first clear sighting


Leopard (female)

Leopard (female)


Leopard (female) 2

Leopard (female) 2


Leopard (female) 3

Leopard (female) 3


Leopard (male) follows female a few minutes later

Leopard (male) follows female a few minutes later


Leopard (male) 2

Leopard (male) 2


Leopard (male) 3

Leopard (male) 3


Mongoose

Mongoose


Wild Boar

Wild Boar


Black Headed Stork (v rare)

Black Headed Stork (v rare)


Egrets etc and ... ... crocodile!

Egrets etc and ... ... crocodile!


Yala scenery - lilies

Yala scenery - lilies


Solitary male elephant

Solitary male elephant


Monitor lizard

Monitor lizard


large Monitor lizard on track later in the day

large Monitor lizard on track later in the day


First encounter with elephants 1

First encounter with elephants 1


First encounter with elephants 2

First encounter with elephants 2


First encounter with elephants 3

First encounter with elephants 3


Driver (Sanjaya) and jeep at breakfast stop

Driver (Sanjaya) and jeep at breakfast stop


Yala scenery 5

Yala scenery 5


Blue tailed Bee Eater

Blue tailed Bee Eater


Lunch stop

Lunch stop


Lunch stop - behind a deserted beach

Lunch stop - behind a deserted beach


Deserted beach by lunch stop

Deserted beach by lunch stop


Beach by lunch stop

Beach by lunch stop


Elephants at waterhole - sighting as we arrived

Elephants at waterhole - sighting as we arrived


Elephants at waterhole - 2

Elephants at waterhole - 2


Elephants at waterhole - 3

Elephants at waterhole - 3


Elephants at waterhole - 4

Elephants at waterhole - 4


Elephants at waterhole - 5

Elephants at waterhole - 5


Elephants at waterhole - 6

Elephants at waterhole - 6


Elephants at waterhole - 7

Elephants at waterhole - 7


Elephants at waterhole - 8

Elephants at waterhole - 8


Elephants at waterhole - 9

Elephants at waterhole - 9

Yala scenery 6

Yala scenery 6


Spoonbill and black winged stilts

Spoonbill and black winged stilts


Indian Roller

Indian Roller


Yala scenery 7   male elephant

Yala scenery 7 + male elephant


Yala scenery 8

Yala scenery 8


Female leopard lying at the side of track

Female leopard lying at the side of track


Afternoon Leopard 2

Afternoon Leopard 2


Afternoon leopard 3

Afternoon leopard 3


Afternoon Leopard

Afternoon Leopard


Afternoon leopard 4

Afternoon leopard 4


Afternoon leopard 5

Afternoon leopard 5


Peacock

Peacock


Malabar Pied Hornbills

Malabar Pied Hornbills


Sambar Deer

Sambar Deer


Spotted deer

Spotted deer


Guest House 1

Guest House 1


Guest House 2

Guest House 2


Guest House 3

Guest House 3


Guest House 4

Guest House 4


Guest House - Justin at your service!

Guest House - Justin at your service!


Is that the bus going to where we want?!

Is that the bus going to where we want?!


Inside the bus viewed in the mirror

Inside the bus viewed in the mirror


Kataragama outside the Sacred Precinct - offerings

Kataragama outside the Sacred Precinct - offerings


Kataragama - washing   temple elephant at back

Kataragama - washing + temple elephant at back


Kataragama - washing the temple element

Kataragama - washing the temple element


Kataragama - temple with mix of Hindu/Buddisthe im

Kataragama - temple with mix of Hindu/Buddisthe im


Kataragama - thirsty Lemur monkey

Kataragama - thirsty Lemur monkey


Kataragama - overrun with Lemur monkyes ...

Kataragama - overrun with Lemur monkyes ...


Kataragama - Maha Devale 3

Kataragama - Maha Devale 3


Kataragama - Maha Devale

Kataragama - Maha Devale


Kataragama - Maha Devale 2

Kataragama - Maha Devale 2


Kataragama - Maha Devale

Kataragama - Maha Devale


Kataragama - Maha Devale small Buddha and Bo tree

Kataragama - Maha Devale small Buddha and Bo tree


Kataragama - Kiri Vihara dagoba

Kataragama - Kiri Vihara dagoba


Kataragama - Hornbill

Kataragama - Hornbill

Posted by Lindseyalan73 17:00 Archived in Sri Lanka

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