Local Communities by the River
The local communities wash and play unabashedly in the many rivers and lakes along the way while loaded vehicles zip by. The women have transformed the act of washing themselves discretely into an art, all done easily wrapped in a single piece of cloth.
Part and Parcel of Everyday Sri Lankan Life
A washing machine costs too much money, so different families have come to this river by the road to wash their children and laundry. Cars drive by and birds waddle on; it is part and parcel of everyday Sri Lankan life.
Generous Vesak Atmosphere
It was the eve of Vesak and it is tradition for dansälas (Buddhist devotees) to set up stalls giving out free food and drinks to passersby. My driver made several breakfast pitstops along the way, sampling various home-cooked fare and soaking up the generosity of the joyous atmosphere.
Vesak Koodu Adorn the Streets
Many big lanterns with flowing tails known as Vesak koodu adorn the streets during the Vesak festival. Colourful strings of light are also wound around objects, flashing their gaudy colours to light up the darkness come nightfall.
Tiny Blue Bea-Eater Blending Into the Foliage
These tiny blue-green birds blended into the foliage and were difficult to spot initially. After some practise, one starts to notice that they are everywhere.
A Majestic Eagle Soaring Free
A majestic eagle soars proud and free in the open blue sky.
Free Range Peacocks
Peacocks roaming the safari as they please, gaudy and beautiful as always.
A Warrior’s Gaze
Perched on a tree branch, this bird of prey looks like a natural warrior with its precise gaze and sharp beak.
A Quick Drink by the River
A sole deer breaks away from its herd for a quick drink by the river.
A Shy Herd of Deer in the Sun
A shy herd of deer disappears back into the wilderness with the approach of our jeep.
Water Buffalo Cooling Off in the Heat
A herd of water buffalo casually graze and soak themselves in the many lakes and mud pools around the park, taking things easy in the heat of the afternoon.
Wild Grassland and Bodies of Water
The wild grassland and bodies of water in the park are shared amongst various animal groups. A herd of water buffalo has taken full claim of this one.
The Verdant Landscape of Yala National Park
The verdant landscape of Yala National Park, and yet another picture of the many water buffaloes roaming its grounds.
Wild Boar Crossing
A wild boar crosses the dirt track in front of us with a defiant swing of its head, unafraid of strangers.
Patanangala Rock Outcrop
Patanangala Rock is visible from the beach at Yala National Park. This area was destroyed during the 2004 tsunami with many human casualties, yet almost no animal corpses were found.
A Short Stop at Yala Beach
Sri Lankan ladies taking a stroll near Yala beach – the only spot our driver stopped at during the safari tour.
A Friendly Hello
My driver leans against his jeep in a comfortable slouch, barefooted and waving happily for the camera.
One of Five Sloth Bears Spotted at the Park
Not the best shot of a sloth bear, but it was a rare sight as there are only five of them at the park. My driver sped down narrow, bumpy dirt tracks after being tipped off by colleagues from passing jeeps, eager to show the best of Yala National Park despite it being the worse time of day to spy animals. I am told the best time to catch them in their natural environment is at 5am, when they all come out to hunt for breakfast.
Monkeys Perched Amidst a Tangle of Branches
A family of monkeys hang out far above the ground, safely perched amidst a tangle of branches.
A Crocodile Regulating Its Body Temperature
Being a cold-blooded animal, the crocodile has to regulate its body temperature by basking in the sun. Throughout the park, many of them remain frozen in the heat to conserve energy, with their powerful jaws hanging wide open to allow evaporative cooling for the brain while the rest of their bodies grow warm.
A Candid Shot While Stuck in Vesak Day Traffic
A candid shot which brought about roars of amusement from the group of teenagers teasing me from the back of their lorry. The entire journey to Yala from Mirissa took 15 hours as we were stuck in Vesak day traffic, yet the journey was made pleasant surrounded by happy people and an easy-going, responsible driver.