Got up at 4.30 in the morning to go to Yala National Park. The hotel provided a really nice breakfast pack to take with us. The jeep picked us up (cost about $35 - 4500rps - for about 6hrs) and it took 30mins to get to the gate of the national park. A very bumpy open air experience! A park employee jumped onto our jeep - I think to keep an eye out for any tour operators that may be doing the wrong thing. Turned out to be a bonus, cos he was a fantastic spotter. Within a few minutes of driving through the gates we saw a leopard on a rock. Amazing!!! Took heaps of photos thinking this would be the only one we would see. Happy if we saw nothing else, we carried on through the bush. Well, we saw elephants, wild boar, buffalo, lizard, crocodile, mongoose, a fish eating owl, crested eagle, spotted and sambar deer, kingfisher bird, a black lipped hare. To top it all off we saw another leopard sitting in a tree, on a branch overhanging the track. Snap snap snap. How lucky! Then, to our amazement, the leopard got up, walked down the tree and slowly walked passed our jeep (and the 4 other jeeps that had turned up) - I could have stretched out and stroked it!!! It wasn't bothered by us at all! Wow!!!! The parks man said he'd worked there for the last 3yrs and had never seen one that close up!!! Lucky or what!?!
Even on the way back to our hotel the driver spotted some monkey's with little babies. Cute! One monkey copied me when I raised my eyebrows and opened my mouth. It was really funny cos he did it a few times.
We got back to our hotel at around 11.30am and went for a well earned swim in our lovely pool. It was so refreshing as we were really hot and dusty after the jeep ride. Lazed around, face timed Hillary, Grace and Eliza, then went for dinner at a local restaurant called Refresh. Tried the traditional Sri Lankan desert - watterlappen. Mom liked it but I preferred my ice cream.
Today was the highlight of the trip for me - seeing a leopard so close up!!!