5Once

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - DESTINATION SRI LANKA -

ge­og­ra­phy make this one of the cheapest and eas­i­est places in the world for sa­faris.

The is­land is dot­ted with na­tional parks, na­ture re­serves and bird sanc­tu­ar­ies. En­trance fees are rea­son­able, as are the prices of jeep sa­faris com­pared to coun­tries such as South Africa. Ele­phants, leop­ards and sloth bears make up the Sri Lankan “Big Three”, there are plenty of deer and mon­keys, and the is­land at­tracts an ex­traor­di­nary ar­ray of mi­grat­ing birds from three con­ti­nents.

DON’T RIDE AN ELE­PHANT

a pop­u­lar tourist at­trac­tion, this has be­come a deeply un­cool ac­tiv­ity as peo­ple un­der­stand bet­ter the phys­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal pain it causes the gen­tle an­i­mals. Sadly, some tour op­er­a­tors still of­fer this op­tion. Just say no, and choose an eth­i­cal way to see ele­phants up close, such as a visit to the Ele­phant Tran­sit Home at Udawalawe (eth.dwc.gov.lk). Or­phaned ele­phants are raised here with min­i­mal hu­man in­ter­ac­tion, be­fore be­ing re­turned to the wild at five years of age. Feed­ing times are a joy to be­hold.

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