The thing about travel for me is how enriching it is, how it brings you new sights, new knowledge and new memories. Our trip to Sri Lanka pre children is one that has stayed with me for so many reasons. It gave us the opportunity to experience a country that is extremely bio diverse with rolling tea plantations up in the mountains, to rice paddys below, jungles, stunning coastlines and national parks all showcasing the most incredible flora and fauna.
On our 10 day adventure touring this stunning island, we saw an abundance of wildlife living in harmony with people and felt so lucky to see them in their natural habitats. I wanted to share my top five, not to be missed, Sri Lankan wildlife experiences in case you are planning to visit anytime soon:
1. Releasing baby Sea Turtles at Kosgoda
This for me was undoubtedly the highlight of our trip and something I will never forget. The Kosgoda Sea Turtle Conservation Project is operated by local people with the help of international volunteers and it was wonderful to learn about the very important work they are doing to protect these beautiful creatures.
Sea turtles are endangered thanks to predators and poachers so the conservation project have a hatchery where they rescue and hatch baby turtles before releasing them into the sea at night when they are ready. At sunset we headed by tuk tuk to the beach and wished some baby turtles well as they scuttled into the surf, I can't really explain how emotional it felt seeing them being given the best possible chance at survival and freedom and how lucky we felt to have witnessed it.
2. Asian Elephants in Udawalawe National Park
Seeing majestic animals like elephants in the wild absolutely takes your breath away and is an entirely different experience to seeing them in captivity. We were amazed at how close we were able to get to them as they grazed whilst on safari in Udawalawe National Park. The move so gracefully for such a large animal and being in their presence really centres you.
We were hoping to spot the elusive Sri Lankan leopard during our safari but sadly it was not to be. The safari experience was really special and definitely something we would like to do again, I know the girls would love it when they are older.
3. Monkeys at the Dambulla Cave Temple
We loved spotting the monkeys on our travels and the cheeky little things were the source of much entertainment. They were clearly very used to humans visiting the temples as they watched us and leapt about. Some had tiny babies gripping on tightly, some slept and others scrapped or played, it was fascinating to see.
Despite these world heritage site temples being thousands of years old the monkey's were a reminder that primates existed way before humans although they have certainly made themselves very at home here.
4. Lizards up Sigiriya Rock
One of our most challenging and hair raising experiences of our trip was climbing Sigiriya Rock -although it was totally worth the hot ascent up the rather precarious 1200 steps for the outstanding view at the top. Sigiriya Rock is a is seriously impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must see if you are visiting Sri Lanka. Even with lots of fellow tourist it felt very serene up there and we were luck to spot this little fellow basking in the sun...
5. A Cow on the beachCows are sacred in Sri lanka so expect to see them wandering freely. One of my favourite sites was this cow grazing right next to the beach, she looked so content and so incongruous at the same time I had to take a photo of her and even though it is an animal I see every day back in the UK it is one of my favourite travel wildlife moments.
The culture and wildlife in Sri Lanka totally stole our hearts and if you're thinking about visiting I'd say absolutely go for it. We really only scratched the surface and will definitely return to this beautiful country again.
This post is an entry to the Trips 100/Audley Travel Blogger Challenge for the chance to win a once in a lifetime safari adventure to Kenya, something that has always been on my travel bucket list. You can find more details here: https://www.trips100.co.uk/2018/06/win-a-safari-for-two-with-audley-travel/