Elephant Safari at Arugam Bay

Nancy has really wanted to engage with elephants while in Sri Lanka; she so loves them. We looked into the possibility of visiting elephant orphanages and retirement centres.
One at Kegalle on the way to Kandy looked like it might work. It’s run by a Westerner, but wea??ve heard some murmurings about questionable ethics as it maintains a breeding programa??for what purpose? A clearly legitimate sanctuary, also at Kegalle, was a possibility, but the gate fee is rather expensive for our budget.
The third option was one we took up while visiting Arugam Baya??an elephant safari, something thata??s offered in a number of Sri Lankan national parks. Of course, you cana??t get too close, so photographs are only possible under unexpected circumstances or with good telephoto equipment. We hired a tuk-tuk and driver through our hotel and at 4:00 p.m. headed out along the main highway to Lahugala National Park about fifteen kilometres out of town. In the excitement of the journey, I wasna??t as attentive as I might have been to the amazing savannah landscape and arid woodlands as I was on the return journey; so our first palpable experience was the goal of arriving at a huge expanse of savannah grassland with shallow lakes off in the distance Elephant Between Tres

Elephant Between Tres

. Our guide informed us that the entire landscape would remain under shallow water during the rainy season and become a sea of wetland sanctuary for all manner of water and wading birds that would share the land with the hundred or so wild elephants that live there.

No sooner had we arrived than we saw off in the middle distance three elephants browsing on the grassland with another seven or eight in the far distance. We left the Cheap midamor vehicle and made our way cautiously and quietly along a track a little distance toward the nearest elephant who clearly sensed our presence. I dona??t know how, since elephants have poor sight and we were definitely downwind of them. I was mesmerized by the elephants in their landscape and found all my senses attenuated to it alla??how silent and how huge nature can become as it fills the space that silence graciously provides. I was so intent on all this that when I turned to ask our guide a question I was surprised to find two Sri Lankan soldiers with automatic weapons standing immediately behind him. I acknowledged them and they smiled in return. Nancy was a little further back of them. They began talking to our guide in Sinhala in obvious curiosity about us. “Theya??re from Canada”, it was obvious he told thema??and that was it, although they stayed close by the entire time. Because there were several military checkpoints on the stretch of road wea??d travelled, Nancy and I werena??t quite sure whether their presence was a more focused interest in us and what we were about Elephant  On The March

Elephant On The March


When it was time to return to the road and our transport, we discovered that whatever interest the soldiers had in us was secondary to their main duty. Our guide informed us that the soldiers will remain in this location until after 7:00 p.m. when the elephants cross the very road on which we were parked and retire into the woodlands on the south side of the road for the night. The soldiers stop the traffic going both ways, protecting both the elephants and the travelling public.

With my senses sharpened on the return journey, things unseen or out of focus on the way out to the park became sharp and interestingly alien. The arid woodlands on both sides of the road contained many banyans parasitically a??eatinga?? their host trees. It was as if each of the victims, even hard ebony, had slowly contorted in agonizing demise while the banyans faithfully recorded their struggle; and yet the effect was nothing short of beautifula??the exquisite architecture of nature. Termite hills, too, were prolific and large, taking their share of both the decaying and living booty; they didna??t even spare the occasional banyan. I must confess that they now occupy a macabre corner of my imagination since our guide at Buduruwagala told us that cobras and other snakes often use termite hills as their lairs. So much reality masquerading as fantasy! The hundreds of wild peacocks and other exotic birds we saw on the way back added their own soft glow of fantastic beauty that deepened the fantasy shadows. All was as it should be.

Before Potuvil Purchase nootropil 800 we entered vast stretches of parched paddies waiting for the rains that turn them prolific in their production of rice; but even now, supporting coarse grasses and marginal scrub, they serve the large herds of buffaloa??buffalo that wea??ve come to associate with a fine breakfast or dessert, which we could now anticipate as darkness drew ita??s warm shroud around the dying day.



0 Responses to “Elephant Safari at Arugam Bay”

  • No Comments

Leave a Reply