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Jeep Safari in Northern Sri Lanka

sunny 31 °C

The roadsides around the town of Minneriya in Northern Sri Lanka are littered with billboards offering Jeep safaris so we thought we should give it a try.
After almost an hour driving on rough tracks through a dense jungle of teak and bamboo our guide spotted a lone Jeep at a watering hole...
We approached cautiously, but the Jeep seemed skittish and took off before we could get our cameras properly trained. We quickly forded the shallow river at the same place and hoped to pick up the Jeep's tracks on the other side. Unfortunately, it looked to our guide as if a herd of Jeeps had recently passed the same way and he was unable to identify the tracks of the one that had fled on our approach. Undaunted, we pressed on. The Jeep tracks were quite fresh and we still had a few hours before nightfall.
A large monitor lizard slithered off into the bush at our approach, but there was still no sign of the Jeeps. But then we stopped to listen and to our delight we heard the purring of Jeeps just ahead of us. We crept silently through the undergrowth, cameras at the ready, and there, in a wide clearing by the side of a lake we found a group of 50 or 60 Jeeps of all ages and species...
We watched for awhile and marvelled at their agility on the mud that had been churned up by the pack leaders. We were so engrossed in admiring these magnificent specimens that we didn't notice a commotion behind us. Finally a warning shout went up and we turned just in time to see a herd of wild elephants charging towards us...
Caught between the Jeeps and the elephants we had no choice but to stand our ground and take photographs...
A female with babies was clearly not happy at our presence and flapped her ears aggressively as a warning...
We began backing off but our path was blocked by some belligerent Jeeps and for a few moments we seemed trapped, then the Jeeps slowly backed off and we were able to get several more shots of the elephants...
In no time we had counted more than a hundred wild elephants – many with young - What a bonus – two herds in one day. And when we finally got back to civilization in Minneriya we found a wild elephant wandering along the highway...
Maybe he was going to the tourist board to get them to change the roadside billboards from “Jeep Safaris” to “Elephant Safaris”. Just a thought!

Posted by Hawkson 17:43 Archived in Sri Lanka

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What an amazing site. And sight. Thank you. It must be kind of unbelievable to see elephants on the side of the road. Love your reports from the road. Xoxo

by Trudy

I can see another Inspector Bliss book in the making, the suspense, the plot, all is there... only with jeeps and elephants...
Very good indeed

by Gottfried

What a fabulous trip so far. I loved the photos from the last adventure and caught a sense of danger in this one between the elephants and the rushing off jeep. Such interesting animals the elephants.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Lucky for you the Jeeps remained passive. The law of the jungle presides. What an unbelievable privilege to see this big wild herd - your trip so far sounds fantastic.

by Ginny Miller

Just amazing!! What an incredible sight to witness. Looks like you are having such a great time!

by Pippa

Good Jeeps Bliss! What an adventure.

by Janet

How marvellous! Thank you for sharing this amazing encounter.

by Diane

Good for you guys to be caught up in the middle of all those elephants. You should have got a picture of the ones charging.

by keith

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