Left the Heritance on a gloomy, rainy morning after our first real sleep in, and headed through the local township appropriately nicknamed ‘Little Britain’ due to the colonial architecture prevalent throughout. What should have been a short car trip to the station, turned into an hour long negotiation of savage pot holes and unmade road. To be fair, unlike home, the road crews were still working in the rain!!!!! That’s what I call productivity. Due to the rain, the train was 90 minutes late so we availed ourselves of the station ‘restaurant’. Despite our misgivings the delightfully hot coffee and fresh muffins were served on china crockery, not your shitty polystyrene cup or Starbucks cardboard, we were paid several visits by a local dog and birds which added to the atmosphere. The foreigners’ rest room was made available because our guide said the amenities used by the locals were dirty……… Am frightened to contemplate what the local lavs were like considering the state of the foreigners’ loos!! Our first class seats were exactly as we had hoped, glad we were not having to stand for the entire trip of 3 hours. The views during the trip were magnificent, with land on precarious angles terraced and growing vegetables and tea. We were surprised to see numerous, towering gum trees throughout the landscape and were told these had been planted to be used for railway sleepers, however this seemed strange reasoning given where they were growing and the extreme difficulty accessing them. Arrived at Ella at 6pm, sadly too late to climb the nearby Little Adam’s Peak and unfortunately stayed just a night. The accommodation was interesting and opened up to beautiful views. The car journey continued into the low country where it is much drier, finally arriving at Cinnamon Wild, adjacent to the Yala National Park.
An afternoon safari and another 5am get up for a dawn safari were absolutely worth it as we saw our first and only glimpse of a leopard in the wild. However we had to wait until it was nearly sunset, and the Jeep was headed for home, when we came across a leopard running along the road. Just snapped a pic in time before it headed bush.
Over the course of the two excursions we saw a ‘sounder’ of wild boar and numerous piglets wallowing in a mud hole, numerous birds including crocs some huge, some small, jackals, many pea fowl, mongooses, Spotted deer and the rare Sambar deer, nasty red-faced macaque and long tailed langurs and A LEOPARD.
During the early morning trek we came across a young bull elephant destroying some bushes searching for breakfast. They eat 250 kgs of food per day, so are constantly on the move, eating. We also came across a small herd of elephants which were crossing the road but as soon as they had got into the scrub they all but disappeared! Camouflage was very effective but it is hard to believe something so massive could vanish sooooo quickly! We also encountered an old bull elephant who was not happy to see us and actually came up to the back of the car in a menacing manner….the guide and driver very quickly got us going again……apparently during mating season they become quite aggressive……and it had taken one look at Marcus………The rest of our stay at this lovely resort of individual lodges around a central one with pool was spent in the pool. At night, going back to your lodge from the restaurant or bar you need to have a member of staff with you in case wildlife is present..as it is sometimes…we had already seen an elephant on the premises! Don’t want to run into a jackal or leopard if on foot! Next adventure starts tomorrow morning as we are off to Galle.