Sri Lanka Leopard, Kulu Wildlife Photo Safaris
We visited Yala National Park in Sri Lanka in October 2011 with Kulu Wildlife Safari. The first leopard that we sighted was in the first afternoon game drive on the day we arrived Yala National Park. To our surprise, the leopard was resting on the tree branch ignoring all the attention it got from all the visitors to the park. Besides leopard we also photographed common Kingfisher, crested Hawk Eagle, Malabar Hornbills, Sri Lankan Grey Hornbill in the beautiful afternoon light.
The next morning, we woke up at 4:30 am by the loud alarm calls of the peacocks with a feeling that it could be a Sri Lanka leopard, wild boar or buffalo lurking near our tent. Kulu Safaris in Sri Lanka is the premier safari operator that put you right in the heart of the leopard country in the Yala National Park and Uda Walawe National Park.
We left the camp at 5:30 am after a cup of tea or coffee which was a Sri Lankan tradition for the morning routine. The forest was still pitched dark. The jeep head lights were turned on as we drove into the dusty road in Yala National Park in October in search of the endangered leopard of Sri Lanka. We were probably the only ones driving on the road at that early hour. Our eyes were searching in every direction for the elusive leopard as we headed to one of the boulder rocks which was a favorite stop for leopard at 6:00 am in the morning. Gaffa was in our jeep. Believe me, Gaffar could see a leopard 1 mile away without binocular.
The jeeps stopped. The daylight was just creeping in but our guide spotted a mother leopard and her cub playing on the road. We were all excited as we did not expect to see any leopard until we reach the boulder. The light was too dim to shoot. But the scene was so magical seeing mother and cub playing. I quickly took my camera mounted with 300mm f/2.8 lens, rested it on the bean bag and started shooting with ISO 2000 with my image stabilizer turned on. At ISO 2000, f/2.8, my shutter speed was about 1/20 second. We kept shooting. Within 5 minutes, both mother and cub disappeared into the thick bush and never to be seen again as we waited there. Wow, what a day to start a Leopard Safari with Kulu Wildlife Photo Safaris. At about 6 am, the sun had risen and the light was bright and warm.
Gaffa spotted a crocodile and leopard on the boulder. By that time more visitors were inside the park already. There you had encountered a jungle massive traffic jam not due to any traffic accident but just leopard sighting.
Our breakfast with Kulu Safaris was at 9:30 am after we finished the morning game drive. We returned to the camp site and sat in the river for a glass of cold fresh squeezed juice, cut tropical fruits and traditional Sri Lankan breakfast complete of course with Ceylon tea. What a relaxing way to enjoy nature while we soaked our feet in the Yala’s Gem Stones River (Menik Ganga) with Sri Lanka Kulu Wildlife Photo Safaris . While sitting in the river, we saw Common Kingfisher, Crested Hawk Eagle, wild buffalo and elephant sharing their drink by the river not mentioning that a few Brahminy Kites, White-bellied Sea-eagles, Malabar Pied hornbills and the endemic Ceylon Grey hornbills flying above us. There was really so much to see even while having our meals by the river.
If you like to experience the unique Sri Lanka Leopard, Kulu Wildlife Photo Safaris, join us next year in September/October 2012. You can drop me your contact and we will be more than happy to keep you informed about the future Wildlife Photography Trips.
Here are a few tips in photographing leopard in Sri Lanka.