I am Sri Lankan working professional passionate with wildlife and nature photography. Though I have a basic camera and lens (camera body: canon 70D and lenses of 18-55mm & 55-250mm) and budgeted life style, I always prefer to go wildlife photography tour as low cost as possible.
With god grace I got a friend who could travel with me on same basis with lower budget of less than USD 50 per day tour to Wilpattu National Park of Sri Lanka(though 7 people could occupy in jeep we always prefer only 2 per jeep, because from any angel you can take photograph without disturbing other partner).
We planned to visit Wilpattu National Park on 22nd October 2015 for one day tour (Fullday tour from 6.00 AM to 6.00 PM) so we left from colombo 21st October 2015 night 10.30 Pm to Petteh private bus stand. Once we reach the bus stand we had a plain tea with rotti to boost us and then proceeds to a small shopping of 4 soft drinks (canned drink) and biscuits (250g) for our breakfast for our next day at Willpattu National Park. By11.15 pm we were at Colombo- vavuniya bus terminal and took Colombo – vavuniya Bus (via Puttalam route) at 11.40 pm.
By 2.45 AM bus stopped at madurankuli for a snack & breaks of 15 minutes and reaches Wilpattu Junction by 4.00 AM. As we discuss in advanced with our safari jeep driver, once we get down at Wilpattu Junction we called our safari tour coordinator (jeep driver) for pick up us and drop to room for a quick refresh, by 4.20Am safari driver came and pickup us and drop to room by 4.35 AM. After a quick refesh within 30 minutes we were get ready for a safari, we ask our jeep driver to come early as possible to go entrance as first visitor (commonly leopard sighting are high in early morning, so get into park early may bless us for a leopard sighting). So our jeep driver came by 5.10 AM and we reach Wilpattu National park Entrance by 5.25 AM as first visitor and 2nd visitor came by 5.35 AM.
By 6.00 AM counter was open and we proceeds to our wildlife photography experience. The month of october is known as rainy month at Wilpattu National Park, therefore we really felt we may not see a leopard for a whole day, but we may see a bear; even our safari driver said same. So from the time of entrance we could able to see a golden jackals, spotted deers, wildbore, peacock, bee eaters, fish eagle, serpent eagle, malabar hornbill and for the first time we show a sri lankan endemic hornbill and many more birds.
But luckily by 9.30AM our jeep driver spotted a Leopard at Talawila Villu(Lake) and this leopard sighting was lead till 12.00 Noon almost for 2.5 hours and I was filled my memory card with more than 400 photos of leopards. Than we proceeds to Kumbuka Villu for our lunch and after lunch we napped for an hour inside jeep. So this time would be good sleeping time for us and rest time for jeep driver too.
Than by 1.30PM we again proceeds to thalawila for spot a leopard again but we didn’t get a chance, so we were wait sometime at mannika villu as it is nearest lack to talawila lake. But no luck, but while waiting we could see again a couple of golden Jackals, Spotted Deers, Wildbore, Peacock, Bee eaters and many birds.
Due to a rainy season we left from there by 3.45 PM and reach entrance/ exit location by 5.30 PM. Just we entered to exit, a elephant was cross the road, so we were lucky to an elephant in that day too J.
Than we proceed to room and had a quick refresh; than same jeep driver drop us again at Willpattu Junction for us to take bus to Colombo. by 7.30 PM we taken jaffna –colombo bus and reach Colombo pettah Bus Stand by 11.00 PM and reach home by 11.45 Pm.
Our tour Cost Breakdown
|Tuk Tuk charges from Home to Pettah Bus Stand||LKR 150.00|
|Plain Tea and Rotti||LKR 100.00|
|4 Soft Drinks and Biscuits||LKR 1,365.00|
|Bus to Wilpattu Junction||LKR 560.00|
|Snack at Mathurankuli||LKR 130.00|
|3l Water Bottles||LKR 180.00|
|Willpattu National Park Entrance Feel (3 Inclusing Jeep Driver)||LKR 810.00|
|Safari Jeep Cost||LKR 7,000.00|
|Tips to Jeep Driver||LKR 1,000.00|
|Bus to Colombo||LKR 560.00|
|Tuk Tuk charges from Pettah Bus Stand to Home||LKR 250.00|
|Room Charges||LKR 1,250.00|
|Per Person||LKR 6,947.50|
|in USD – USD 1 = LKR 140||USD 49.63|
If you like to see photograph what we taken visit my Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/iloveyouprasanna
Or visit to youtube video : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYGeKXlI5nE
If you have any questions please do write below comment, I am so passionate to give my answers.