Sri Lanka is famous for its excellent wildlife watching opportunities, but with only 10 days at hand, we had to make choices… Wildlife came short! Obviously, Leopard spotting is still easily possible if you have enough time in the National Parks (and there are not that many places where your odds are good), and Asian Elephants are a common sight.
- Wilpattu National Park
Somehow this National Park was on the way to Anuradhapura, and since fellow travelers had told us Wilpattu was almost void of visitors, we decided to give it a chance and went for a 3 hour Safari. The good news is: you can just show up at the entrance of the Park and book a jeep with excellent and knowledgeable drivers, eager to share with you their knowledge of the National Park and their love of wildlife.
What we had overseen was that the day we arrived was the National Holiday, the day of Independence, and therefore, the National Park was full of local visitors. Well, we saw Peacocks, Spotted Deers, a few birds, period! Probably not the best day to go on a Safari…
- Whale Watching in Mirissa
Whale Watching in the Peninsula Valdes, Argentina was one of the most breathtaking wildlife experiences ever! Spotting Blue Whales, the largest mammal that ever lived on this planet, was indeed very tempting. Fellow travelers had warned us that it would be a very disappointing and an extremely touristy undertaking. But somehow we couldn’t resist, and joined the throngs.
Let’s put this straight: this was the most disturbing and anti-ecologic experience I made in years… Around 30 boats rushed at see searching for the Holy Grail at sunrise. First dolphins were spotted and repeatedly surrounded by this small army. Then, after more than 3 hours search, the so much expected Blue Whale (a single one) was found. As soon as it came to the surface, an army of boats rushed at full speed and surrounded the poor animal, sometimes closely approaching her. Several times, when the Blue Whale reappeared, the rushing and surrounding was repeated, until she finally dived for good.
After 5 hours at sea, we were told that we would now go back… which took that day approx. 2.5 hours! A long (7 hours), but especially frustrating and highly disturbing experience, one we strongly advocate against! Simply DO NOT go on a Whale Watching tour in Sri Lanka!
The only positive side of this trip was watching the fisher boats coming back when leaving the harbor early morning…