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Updated: 4th August 2015
A safari in Sri Lanka is sure to be a highlight of your trip if, like me, you are a complete animal lover.
From the Ceylon Junglefowl (the national bird) right through to the beautiful and gigantic Elephants, the amount of wildlife to be discovered on this relatively small island is impressive.
With monkeys playing around on roads, chipmunks jumping about, and huge lizards crossing the streets, you are spoilt before evening setting foot into one of the many national parks.
Elephants, Leopards and Peacocks are among the offerings a safari in Sri Lanka can delight you with. Although, each national park is famous for its different animal inmates.
My journey took me to Minneriya, which is easily visited and arranged from popular tourist spots Polonnaruwa or Sigiriya. An early start is your best bet to ensure you are not fighting through jeeps to get a front-row seat of these magnificent giants.
Even before entering the park, we were greeted by a herd of Elephants just next to the main road, which skirts around the park. Beyond excited and only a few meters from them, I knew we were onto a winner.
Due to the large water lake in the middle of the park, during the dry season, it is especially known for its great migration of reportedly up to 700 elephants. At any time, between 100 and 200 elephants can be found here, making it a likely bet you won’t take long to spot one.
Home to two rare breeds of Monkey, the Toque Macaque and the Purpe-face langur, these are two kinds you are less likely to find just hanging around elsewhere. The endangered Sri Lankan Sloth and Leopard also reside here, although sadly, neither came out to play on my visit. With Water Buffalo and Deer making up some of the other 20 mammals in the park, a stakeout isn’t necessary to start getting the rewards of your early morning jeep journey.
The painted Stork and Great White Pelicans are just a couple of the hundreds of bird species that call this beautiful land their home. Naturists and animal lovers and well catered for.
Wherever you decide to take a safari in Sri Lanka, you are sure to discover another side of this surprising country. With a private Jeep, entry and pick up from as little as £60, it is also really great value for a day trip out. Most of these photos were shot with a normal lens, which gives you an idea of just how close you are able to get to the wild here. Why not head over to my top ten things to do in Sri Lanka list for some more inspiration?
Read more: Sri Lanka travel guide