Day 1: driving a jeep through Minneriya National Park and spotting wild elephants
One of the most memorable experiences of my visit to Sri Lanka, is definitely my encounter with the wild elephants of Minneriya National Park. I had never seen those beautiful creatures in the wild before. You cannot drive a jeep yourself through the park, but our guide knew all the right spots and we saw a lot of elephants. We saw them crossing our path, grazing in the distance or running alongside of us. It was nice to see that these animlas really were wild: one of them clearly thought we came too close and chased us away by running towards our jeep at very high speed. Minneriya is the perfect place to admire elephants that run free in their natural habitat.
Staying overnight at Sigiriya Village
Sigiriya Village is the perfect hotel for adventurers. We slept in a chalet among the monkeys and uguana’s. It is strongly advised not to leave the hotel by foot, since there are wild elephants running around. The dinner buffet at the hotel was magnificent and offered a lot of yummy local foods. A big plus was the pool overlooking the Lion Rock.
Day 2: climbing the Lion Rock
Even though the Lion Rock is a big tourist attraction, it is for sure not a tourist trap: it was one of the many highlights of our trip because of the great view we got when we reached the top. I would advise you to start the climb in the late afternoon when the heat is less pressing, but you will be sweating like crazy anyway. On the way up you will also encounter monkeys, as you would almost anywhere on this beautiful island.
… and having a Sri Lankan lunch at Priyamali Gedara
One last tip I can give you, is to have a farmer’s lunch at Priyamali Gedara. There you can enjoy local food with a view on the rice fields.