Few things in life can match the experience of sightseeing Sri Lanka’s beautiful countryside from atop one of nature’s most majestic animals – the Asian elephant.
Habarana – which less than 30-minutes away from the famous Lion Rock – is the best location in Sri Lanka to go on an elephant safari. Being at the centre of Sri Lanka’s famed cultural triangle, you can explore all of the region’s prestigious landmarks and breath-taking scenery while riding a gentle pachyderm. This includes certain villages that are accustomed to regular visits from tamed elephants. Here you can give the giants a bit of a break and explore with your own two feet. As the elephants refuel, take the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture. Stop by for some locally brewed tea and swap tales with the locals. Some of them might even lend you insight on how to better bond and interact with your trusty mount!
Now, down here in Sigiriya there’s more greenery than settlements and a majority of what you’ll see during your safari in this wilderness. The terrain you’ll be trekking through includes irrigation reservoirs, vast tracts of farmland and untouched patches of verdant forest. Keep your eyes peeled when entering the forests, there’s a litany of unique creatures hiding away in the underbrush! It might surprise you to know that elephants can be incredibly silent when they want to be despite their massive bulk. This means that the forest inhabitants won’t feel disturbed and you’ll have a good chance of spotting some of the more reclusive denizens. These include the endemic purple-faced leaf monkey – a curious primate that you’ll find swinging through the treetops. Shy predators like the fishing cat also call these lands home, so be on the lookout for tufts of fur poking through the thickets.
Ultimately, the best part about going on an elephant safari is the elephants themselves. It is a true joy to watch these gentle giants. Feeding them, watching them relax and listening to their quiet but inimitable sounds – these are memories that will stay with you for years to come.