A lone elephant lumbers into the water in Gal Oya National Park and slowly submerges his frame like a submarine. When he resurfaces, his trunk swoops into the air and splish-splashes water about.
From a ship, floating within the center of the park’s reservoir and armed with binoculars, I’m looking—with awe—as this outstanding creature seems to be going via his morning ordinary.
It’s the first safari on my properly-rounded REI Adventure itinerary, “Discover Sri Lanka: Temples, Tea Trails and Safari.” The adventure clothes shop’s journey branch offers more than one hundred seventy-five journeys around the world, with various degrees of bodily interest ranging from one to 5. Sri Lanka is a newcomer on the roster and clocks in at a degree, with safaris that, yes, get your heart racing. But, the hikes and motorcycle rides will deliver the actual aerobic workout routines.
While Africa is an apparent draw for safari-seekers—and, I suspect, can be getting renewed vacationer interest after the discharge of Disney’s “The Lion King”—the island united states of Sri Lanka is a lesser-acknowledged vacation spot ripe for safari lovers. In addition to wildlife treks, journey-seekers right here can balance out their vacations with hiking, temple excursions, and culinary studies.
A few days after the boat safari, my small organization becomes geared up for an extra exciting safari. This time, we have been in Yala National Park, and loaded into an off-street automobile at dusk and, more than one hours in, hit the safari jackpot: We spotted a leopard graciously sauntering into the forested location. This turned out to be a multi-sensory enjoy, with the soundtrack supplied by using monkeys howling and scuttling within the treetop, alerting one another of the predator’s method.
The animal kingdom was just waking up in the course of our subsequent safari, one at dawn in Yala, which blanketed water buffalo and elephant sightings further to colorful birds flitting approximately.
But beyond these deliberate safaris (and there are three awesome ones in this unique REI itinerary), there’s sufficient opportunity to clearly appreciate flora and fauna. Elephant instructions a roadway, wanting an apple as a toll as we’re en direction to a national park. Near the place in which Disney’s “Monkey Kingdom” turned into filmed, monkeys are as a gift as squirrels are in an American park, and that they almost seem to be putting on improv comedy indicates. Are they conspiring to trip away on this motorcycle?
Beyond safari, the experience provides a spotlight reel of the numerous geography of Sri Lanka, with probabilities to swim in the Indian Ocean and motorcycle inside the jungle.
The itinerary consists of an early-morning hike to the top of Sigiriya, a historic rock fort that might be a stable contender for the national postcard of Sri Lanka if any such component existed.
Another hike meanders through the luxurious tea fields, and includes in a single day remains in nearby glamping-style tents at a mountaintop lodge. The infinity pool right here is a great perch to take within the sweeping views, and, yes, you must book a rubdown within the serene open-air spa.
The ride additionally reserves an afternoon devoted to Kandy, to pattern the hustle and bustle of town lifestyles in Sri Lanka (in addition to avenue food and markets) and to go to the Temple of the Tooth, which homes Buddha’s sacred teeth relic.
The grand finale is a life at a beachfront hotel in Galle. For one final adventure, head to the Dream Cabana on Dalawella Beach. There, 5 rupees (which is much less than an American dollar) will get you 3, epic swings on a rope that launches from a palm tree and over the sea, Tarzan-style.