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Wild Life/Nature

Nuwara Eliya

 

nuwara_Eliya

Also known as “Little England”, the scenic town of Nuwara Eliya lies nestled in a valley more than 2500 m above sea level and is surrounded by misty mountain ranges covered in pine forests and tea cultivations. Nuwara Eliya has a much cooler climate, which is in stark contrast to the tropical climate experienced in other parts of the island. The mountains surrounding Nuwara Eliya is covered witha carpet of tea bushes and the whole process of tea manufacturing, from green leaf to the fragrant contents of a packet of Ceylon Tea, can be watched at many of the tea factories in the area. Also close by is the Hakgala Botanical Gardens.

 

 

Peradeniya Gardens

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Situated just 4 km outside the city of Kandy, and on the Colombo – Kandy road, the Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya has a reputation as one of the most beautiful in the Asia. With a collection of over 4000 plants, it is beautifully laid out expansive garden, with an incredible variety of spices, palms, orchids and creepers.

With elegantly laid out routes to roam through the gardens, man-made lakes and aesthically pleasing landscaping, it offers a peaceful and invigorating experience to the nature lover.

This garden had its beginnings from Royal times when Kandy was still ruled by Kings. After the British took over control of the country, the garden really entered its most important phase in the 19th century, when much was done to increase the variety of plants and the layout of the garden.

Among its highlights, the garden boasts of a massive Javan fig tree whose branches covers almost 1600 sq metres of area, providing an ideal shady hideout for the visitors, also a suspension bridge over the Mahaweli river and many plant-collection greenhouses that will provide you with an informative and refreshing experience

 

 

Matale Spice Garden

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On the way to Matale(1 1/2 hrs) from Kandy, the Matale Spice Garden is the best of many spice gardens that you will encounter on this route. Here you can flood your sense of smell with the spices that have made Sri Lanka famous for centuries in history. Nutmeg, pepper, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom are only some of the many spices you will find here. You can also see and experience many herbs and plants used to make oils, as well enjoy some herbal drinks and learn about how different herbs and herbal concoctions can help alleviate many medical conditions. Used in cooking and in Ayurveda medicine, Sri Lankan spices are also used to make soap, perfume, aromatherapy oils and various cosmetics. Before you leave the spice garden, make sure to get for yourselves some mementos of the spices and herbal plants, from the sales outlet in the garden.

 

 

Yala National Park

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The Yala National Park in southern Sri Lanka has the world’s highest concentration of leopards. Much of the nature reserve is parkland, but it also includes jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland. In addition to leopards, the Yala National Park is also home to substantial numbers of elephants, crocodile, wild boar, water buffalo, grey langurs and many more varieties of large animals.The park is also home to birds of prey such as the white-bellied sea eagles, waders, painted Storks, the Indian peafowl and the Sri Lanka jungle fowl. In the southeast, the Park is bounded by the sea and unspoiled natural beaches and sand dunes provide an absolutely beautiful environment.

 

 

Minneriya National Park

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Minneriya National Park gives you the opportunity to observe a gathering of hundreds of elephants during a period from July to October, a sight that you can experience only in Sri Lanka. Based around a reservoir built over 2000 years ago by King Mahasen, this nature reserve is mainly filled with elephants, deers and birds.

Always take a guide and ensure that you stick to the established route to avoid disruption to the environment.

 

 

Willpattu National Park

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Apart from Yala, Willpattu is the best place to catch sight of the Sri Lankan leopard. Located in the North Central Province of the country, Willpattu National Park contains numerous natural lakes, and just like the other national parks is filled with wild life of many varieties.

Jeep safaris are a popular method of experiencing the beauty of the wildlife and the plants of this national park.

 

 

Bundala

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Situated where the land and sea meet, in the south of the country, Bundala National Park, offers the opportunity to see various types birds. Bundala will give an added experience of a seaside nature preserve as well as a land based nature preserve.

 

 

 

Uda Walawe

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A place that can be fully appreciated during an open-top jeep safari, and home to hundreds of elephants. Uda Walawe offers a wonderful experience to any nature lover. You will even find elephants crossing your path and staring directly at you as you venture into this popular nature reserve.

On the way to Uda Walawe you can also visit the elephant orphanage, to see orphaned, baby elephants, make sure to visit during feeding time, when they are at their most mischievous and cutest.

 

 

The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

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Pinnawela is an orphanage for elephants, mainly baby elephants who have been separated from their mothers or elephants that have been injured due to human activity. On the way to Kandy from Colombo, this orphanage is about 5km to your left soon after you pass the town of Kegalle.

It will take you about 2 to 2 1/2 hrs to reach this orphanage from Colombo. Started in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife on a twenty five acre coconut plantation, the orphanage seeks to provide care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers, either due to the death of the mother, or due to being lost and stranded from its herd. It started with only 5 elephants those many years ago, but today it boasts of more than 80 elephants.

The orphanage has a set schedule of daily activities, involving feeding and bathing the elephants, which are arranged in such a way that visitor interaction is also encouraged. This is designed to attract tourists and thereby and income to keep the orphanage in running condition. At the orphanage not only will you have many opportunities to take photographs and admire these cute and awesome creatures, but you may even be able to feed milk to one of the very hungry baby elephants.

 

 

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