Yala national park

What did I see in yala?
Leopard x 3. Lounging on a rock like something out of Kipling. Sprawled on a tree camouflaged almost beyond recognition. I wonder how aware they are of us? Sitting there in our jeeps, forbidden to step on the path, straining with our underpowered lenses to capture a woeful and disappointing faraway shot. Something to show friends. Look I did see a leopard. The jeeps converge en masses each time one is spotted, drivers liaising by phone then putting their foot down on bumpy rutted muddy paths ignoring the deer, peacocks and whatever else may be in the undergrowth to get us to the place in time to catch a glimpse of the big cat. The 20 or so jeeps vie for position reversing, squeezing together. It’s a circus and exactly what I hoped we wouldn’t be doing.
The park is extensive and very beautiful. Big rocks. One that looks like an elephant. One with hundreds of black faced monkeys scampering around. Lakes, wetland, filled with storks, hornbills, crocodiles blending into the rock, pink lilies. Herds of deer, males with metre high antlers, another spotted breed hanging out at the edge of the forest. Peacocks display their plumage to disinterested females. Eagles swoop, a serpent eagle squats on a mount looking for prey. Wild boar moosie along the path. A stray baby elephant stumbles through the bush then behind our jeep to find its mother on the other side.
Birds are in colossal abundance. Little yellow green and orange kingfishers, cormorants, cuckoos, ones I don’t know the names of. I should try to research these.
By the beach is the base of an ex-bungalow. All that remains from a camp from before the tsunami. There is a memorial to the 40 or so tourists killed on that day.

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