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Elephants in Udawalawe

I remain completely overwhelmed by our experience in Udawalawe. After a long tuk tuk journey to the town we were greeted by a safari truck that took us to our accommodation, Leesa homestay. The unassuming little homestay is run by the most beautiful husband and wife team, for only £4 a night they welcomed us with open arms, cooked us the most incredible rice and curry, and provided us with an endless supply of bananas! After filling our tummies with delicious dahl we had an early night in preparation for the 5am safari start.

As the sun rose we drove the 11km to Udawalwe National Park. Past lakes, fishermen, monkeys, and even elephants, the journey to the park was a great safari on its own!

There were so many elephants!! I have never seen so many elephants! The three of us were completely silenced every time we saw one of the amazing giants wander through the bushes. Due to the off season, we were lucky enough to be one of the only trucks on the park, this meant that most sightings were only witnessed by me, Pip, Anna and our driver. It seemed pretty common place for the driver to see mini herds of elephants wandering around, so he just stayed in the driver’s seat and watched from his windscreen. Soon after our breakfast of honey on toast and bananas, the driver all of a sudden stopped the jeep and leapt out! He excitedly came to point out a wild cat hiding in the shadows. He explained how rare it was to spot one, so we stopped there for a while and tried to get a decent photo! (unsuccessful!) I must say, it kind of looked like a house cat…I was far more excited to move on and spot our next elephant.

The most memorable sighting was witnessing a family of nine elephants taking water from a lake. It really felt quite surreal to see so many elephants all in one place, and it is an experience that will stay with me for a long time!

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