Sri Lanka is blessed with an enormous diversity of flora and fauna and you can even see blue whales – the world’s largest animals – if you please.
This clearly is an activity for earlybirds, as the boats set out at about 6am form the cute port of Mirissa. I went with Raja and the Whales and fully recommend them. They are more eco-responsible than many of their competitors and put the wellbeing of the animals first. This means you might not get as close to the whales as some other boats, but I think respecting the animals is a clear priority.
In any case, don’t expect a Free Willy-like jump over your boat. We saw a couple of whales from the distance – but that was all it took to make me happy in those early hours of the day. Seeing the water fountains blowing out of the backs of these majestic animals was pure magic.
Another highlight was seeing a giant turtle as it was chilling in the sea before we approached. It’s hard to describe those kind of encounters, but seeing those majestic animals in their natural environment is a very emotional experience, which I highly recommend.
At about 60USD, whale watching was not exactly the cheapest of activities one could find in Sri Lanka. But due to many years of experience, the guides will almost always know where to spot some whales, so it’s worth the experience. And you get a very yummy breakfast on board!
Just beware that going whale watching is not exactly a good idea if you have a weak stomach. Even though the boats are quite big, things can get quite shaky on the deck.
And speaking of wildlife, I actually also went on a safari to Yala National Park. This, however, is one of the rare things I should have missed out on. Of course, you never know how lucky you get and if the elephants feel like showing up or not. Well, they didn’t seem to be in a good mood on the day I went, as we only spotted a single one – from very far away… If you really want to go on a Safari, I recommend going to Udawalawe instead, as everybody I know who went there was raving about it. But in any case, keep in mind that Sri Lanka is not Africa and that going on a safari in South Africa should definitely be way more exciting.