Following the Herd in Sri Lanka.

By Mark Andrews

Travel by Lightfoot. December 2015.

Sri Lanka’s long running civil war was brutal and it looked as if our beaten up Land Rover had taken the brunt of it. Stalling and refusing to start was not the ideal introduction to a herd of elephants.

Uda Walawe is one of Sri Lanka’s best and most popular national parks. Covering 30,821 hectares it is probably the premier place in the country to see wild elephants. Created in 1972 it offers sanctuary to animals displaced by the damming of the Walawe River.

Mobile billboards don’t come much bigger than an elephant and like us you are likely to be greeted by one as you cross the dam on the way to the park entrance. Admission includes a hawkeyed ranger who as in the case of ours may not speak much English but are usually very good at knowing the best spots for wildlife. They expect a tip and will often give a story about how they are a volunteer.

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Mark Andrews has written about everything from Japanese houses to heli hikes on New Zealand glaciers, test drives of Chinese cars to bar and restaurant reviews. He currently specialises in travel articles and reviews of Chinese cars plus articles about the Chinese auto industry.

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