A water safari in Sri Lanka
Updated: Jan 1
After the snow of the Azerbaijan mountains, it was paradise to relax for 3 days on the practically deserted beach of Bentota, to feel the sand in my toes and read a few books.
The most movement I made was on a 2 hour water safari along the Bentota River...
We first encountered a lazy black water monitor with golden sparkles on his poisonous skin.
Ambling along the riverbank, we waved at old men fishing and families having breakfast in their waterside gardens.
Soon, a flock of fish eagles were seen circling above the mangroves. One beauty came to rest on the bough of a tree near us and posed haughtily for a snap.
Kingfishers are considered very lucky in Sri Lanka but, as with the rest of the developed world, these creatures are becoming more and more rare. Fortuitously for us, two electric blue Kings with golden breasts flew around us.
This was a good omen and we went on to spot a well-camouflaged chameleon and a green vine snake.
Floating through the mangrove trees had a vaguely surreal feel to it, as if Indiana Jones would emerge from the twisted roots wrestling a crocodile.
Now I'm no intrepid jungle explorer but even I could probably have beaten this little one in a fight:
The second croc was lurking under some trees with only its eyes and snout visible - very creepy. The guide estimated it was 2m long.
A small troop of purple-faced langurs came out the of trees to say hello...
... and eat the banana I offered them.
On the final stretch, we encountered herons and fruit bats in the trees, plus some sleepy iguanas.
And then it was back to the beach for dinner...
The safari cost 3000r (£12.70) for two people in a private boat. If you went with a group, it would be cheaper and you’d also get the benefit of more eyes but I really liked the peace of our little party.