abby and i went to the south of sri lanka for the diwali weekend. the highlight for us was a safari at yala national park, which is known for its leopards and elephants, among other animals. we spent the day in the bush, braving morning sun and afternoon rains, and saw lots of animals, including water buffalo; spotted deer; eagles, storks and other birds; grey langur monkeys; elephants; and even a rarely-seen sloth bear.
we didn’t see any leopards – the closest we got to seeing one was these pawprints – but it wasn’t for lack of trying. our driver was amazing, able to both keep his eyes on the road and simultaneously spot a rabbit in the brush 40 yards away, and at one point we went barreling through deeply rutted roads for 40 minutes to chase down a rumor of a big cat sighting across the park, but it was to no avail. still, the game we did see was pretty spectacular, especially when the elephant momma-and-baby pair walked right past our truck.
the next morning we drove out to do some sight-seeing beyond the nature park, and the first thing our driver chirped to us was “did you go on safari? i went this morning and saw three leopards!” how wonderful, i thought. still, i was grateful for all the things we did see, which i present below.
next: more leopard photos.