“The bed of the sea was pushed upwards due to an earthquake, hence the colour and texture of the earth, a hue of burnt brick. A few feet away one sees peculiar mounds of soil which seems to have been placed by some unseen hand. This amazing sight seems like a documentary from the National Geographic planet , but its none other than Kudiramalei Point located on the tip of the land form overlooking the Portugal Bay, which is a few kilometers away from the Wilpattu sanctuary. Imagine the setting, nature in all its glory bursting with colour. That, my dear readers, was our picnic spot at lunch, prior to resuming our safari to Wilpattu.
Wilpattu springs to mind the most elusive cat in Sri Lanka; the leopard and the magnificent elephant but to us, with cameras in tow it was all about capturing the small wonders this treasure trove had to offer. Since it was a clear day the animals could be seen in all their splendour.
The varied eagles, wood pigeons, jungle fowls, star tortoises, butterflies were some. Whilst craning our necks to spot the birds perched on high branches we spotted several other interesting animals, such as the bushy tailed fox in the distance, the cranes, storks and such.
The seemingly calm pond we stopped by was actually a death trap filled with crocodiles, who surfaced after minutes. The thought of seeing them up close and personal was certainly not my idea of fun.
Situated within the park are ruins with a sign “ Kuveni’s Palace.” The lady who mesmerized the young Vijaya, who had set foot on this red-earthed land. My vivid imagination was on a role and I pictured the setting with clarity.
Towards dusk we came across a lone elephant enjoying a bath in the lake, after clicking away, we drove past a bloated wild boar carcass emanating a foul smell which permeated the air. Apparently, we had missed the sight of a leopard feasting on the carrion. Not to be perturbed, we forged ahead in search of the spotted cat but to no avail. The driver manoeuvered the vehicle with dexterity ; covering as much ground as he could muster in a day.
We were blessed to see a family of deer, the scratches and paw marking of the sloth bear and leopard ( but not the animals per se) .
We were gradually driving out of the park but our adventure had not ended. Ashan and Danushka, Little Adventure’s able bodied owners helped us to pitch our tent next to a lake. Since it was a poya day, the moon shone brightly and its light sparkled across the lake, giving it an enchanting feel.
The night was not without its sounds, the lowing of cows, the croaking of frogs , insects and owls but gradually we slept the sleep of the dead and woke up when the sun was shining brightly and it was too hot in the tent. On our way back to the urban jungles of Colombo one thought was prevalent in us … when do we go back….(?) as Wilpattu beckons us once again.
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