I said goodbye to the Hotel River Front at 10am for the journey to Eco Villa-Sinharaja which is in Deniyaya on the south side of the Sinharaja reserve. A trip of 5 hours. I've never been on a dual carriageway with "Beware of the Elephant" signs before!
The hotel had on a few more surprises before it let me go with great views of Flap-shelled Turtle and House Toad.
The scenery on the way was very dramatic in places with roads becoming very narrow or washed away by heavy rain. This led to some "very close" encounters with other traffic.
This car hit the rear wheel of my taxi with its front driver side corner. A few scratches to the taxi but the car was a write off. Broken ball joints, broken suspension, ruptured radiator, ruptured brake pipes and the right wing was now on the left! I never felt a thing.
There was always the threat of thunderstorms.
In the highlands, Tea plantations and Estates stretch for miles and encroach on the remaining rain forest.
Water Monitor, Sinharaja
After a few hours we found the Eco Villa Sinharaja in Deniyaya. A friendly, well placed lodge with an amazing owner & guide. I was quickly ensconced in my room looking at the local wildlife.
Oriental Magpie Robin
Cinereous Tit, a recent split from Great Tit.
Asian Koel, female
View from my room at Eco Villa. Not a place you will starve. Viewable in the photograph are bananas, papaya, pineapple, chillies, curry leaves and Mandarin orange.
Morning of the 8th was the start of trip into the lower Sinharaja which included an hours walk before we got there. It was nearly 90% humidity in the forest and it took its toll as I took ill almost 2 hours from the nearest excuse for a road. It was a scary time and I owe my thanks to the various people of several nationalities who helped me.
Here are some of the photographs taken before that afternoon.
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Crested Serpent Eagle
Eastern Cattle Egret
Indian Pond Heron
Bandala, the Eco Villa owner and guide, was amazing in the forest. He would stop the group and say he was just looking for something...which he invariably found.
Green Pit Viper
Sri Lanka's largest lizard (monitors not included). The endemic Hump-nosed Lizard.
Green Vine Snake on yours truly.
One of the most amazing animals was the Sri Lanka Giant Squirrel
It was quite difficult to see birds due to the high number of people present but we did manage some beauties.