Guest post by Michael Pardo, Cornell University
December 18, 2012
A breathtaking expanse of bushes peppered with trees. That is my first impression of Uda Walawe National Park as we pass through the entrance gate in the early hours of the morning. The shrubs grow densely packed on either side of the ochre-colored road, like a vertically challenged forest. They are interspersed with teak saplings, a reminder of the days when this park was a timber plantation. Towering banyan trees soar above the surrounding vegetation, peacocks perched in their uppermost branches. In the distance, I can see the blue mountains and waterfalls of Nuwara Eliya, and above them, a steely sky striated with rain-laden clouds. A grey mongoose crosses the road ahead of us, stopping briefly to stare at our jeep before disappearing into the wall of greenery. Flocks of Common Mynas and Spotted Doves spring into the air as we rumble past.