The region of Aragum Bay is often quite secluded, yet famous for backpackers who come in throughout the year to check out the surroundings and a hotspot for surfers to catch the best surf waves in the country. High end luxury resorts have yet to come here. I stayed at a bed and breakfast named the Hideaway and it was certainly that- a place to hide from most things conventional. Run by a friendly Sri Lankan lady who spent many years living in Hawaii, I found the place unpretentious, with attentive staff and good home-cooked food.

This bed and breakfast provided much needed tranquility off the beaten path and was very  close to national parks where you can take safari tours. One of the most visited national parks in Sri Lanka is the Yala National Park, but there are adjoining parks – such as Kumana National Park.

These parks offer visitors a chance to see wildlife up close and personal – be on the lookout for leopards, elephant herds and water buffalo. Exploring a national park is a perfect way to experience a safari, just be careful where you roam, you don’t want to upset an elephant or two! On my safari trip, the most exciting moment came from crossing paths with an elephant who wasn’t so happy we had intruded its territory.

I was also very fortunate to spot the leopard, which rarely makes an appearance, but he was too fast for a good shot. Luckily, there were many birds and other animals to find some nice shots.