08.12.2010 - 10.12.2010 26 °C
We arrived in Tissa (our base for Yala National Park) and within a few hours we were picked up by our safari driver in this very cool open Land Rover.
We were very lucky. The weather was great and within maybe the first half hour of the drive we saw a young male elephant and a leopard! The leopard sighting was incredibly lucky even our driver and the tracker guys were excited about it and everyone else we passed that day hadn't seen a thing - including a tour group who had been out since 5am that morning. It was so close to the jeep and possibly the most stunning animal I've ever seen, the photo does not do it justice.
The safari was brilliant and the park itself is beautiful. We were taken to one particular spot on the beach within the park that was hit particularly bad by the tsunami and where 48 people died. Our driver had been in the area at the time and managed to help out some tourists who had lost everything - these tourists were using the same tour company as we were and hence why this driver is always used by the company for safaris in the area.
With the safari done we moved on to Tangalle. We were told by Sampath it was one of the best beaches in Sri Lanka, and he was right. Just a pity it was pissing rain...again. So we spent the day on our balcony drinking beer looking out at the rain. We stayed in a small guest house on the beach far from the town with not a lot to do. Our entertainment for the evening was when we discovered our minivan was stuck in the mud outside the guest house. The local guys were doing their best to dig the front wheels out but what it took was myself and Will and our combined weight (most likely heavier than the four or five lads helping) bouncing on the rear bumper to give the van some weight to eventually get it unstuck.
The next morning of course when we were heading to Galle, the sun was out and it was gorgeous.