Stayed a night at Yala Village and had a poke around the national park. The place is teeming with animals. Thank goodness Sri Lanka has national parks like Yala, Uda Walawe, and Wilpattu where these dudes can live. I saw wild elephants, boars, buffalo, jackals, peacocks, crocodiles, and even a leopard. Living in the city I forget that this is their earth too, but in Yala it’s quite obvious. I was chilling on the balcony two feet from a wild boar. On the way to dinner a wild elephant charged me and I ran like a rabbit, of which there are also many.
We came to Yala via the Galle Road, thru Hambantota. We were on a bit of a tour, if you’re coming straight from Colombo I’d recommend the Ratanpura Road. From there you take the Kataragama road to Tissa and then this increasingly crappy road into the park. We stayed at Yala Village. This hotel is basically in the park. We came back late and the electric fence was up even. This is great because there are animals actually roaming around the hotel.
For example, this wild boar with enormous testicles was just hanging around while we were chatting on the balcony. On the downside, however, as we were going to dinner at night when we saw a wild elephant. Peeps were like ‘let’s take the car’ but I think driving short distances is a bit vulgar. Instead, I cut through the underbrush and sorta tried to go around this elephant. As I look over the guy is kinda moving with me, about 15 meters away. Then I get to a path and he turns towards me, and charges.
At that moment I was shit scared and I just ran. Ran way around a cabin and didn’t look back. I didn’t see that elephant again but lesson learned. Wild elephants are indeed wild. In Yala one is a guest in their hotel.
In the morning we got up at like 5:30 to go on a safari. It costed like Rs. 3,500 for the jeep and a competent driver (including tip). This is for five people. Then you go to the wildlife office and get passes. If I remember correctly, it costs like Rs 60 for a local and Rs. 2,500 for a foreign passport holder. I dunno. I think there’s a line between making money and general hospitality, but don’t know where it is. A bottle of arrack at the hotel was like Rs. 4,000 and beer Rs. 450, which I think was obscene.
But I digress. We took a safari. Within about 10 seconds we saw brief glimpse of leopard, on top of a big rock. I saw it’s head and some tail. There were like 35 people parked around waiting for it and the leopard was just trying to eat. Inside there’s all manner of birds (jungle fowl, peacocks), cattalians (deer, buffalo) as well as jackals and elephants. Also a ton of wild boar, with their little wild boar pattiyas running around. I thought they were cute. We came across them eating the carcass of a buffalo and I became a bit more wary.
I dig Yala. It’s far away, you can see the stars, and it’s full of beasties. Right now it’s the non-rainy season and they’re filling the water holes with bowsers, but chaps survive. Especially crocodiles, no shortage of crocodiles. It’s lovely to see, and it’s lovely for these fellows to be.