Hambantota, a new port-of-call for us, lies on the southern tip of Sri Lanka. It is not only a new port for us, it is a brand new one too. Built in the hope of attracting passing traffic, (shipping) it is massive and is getting bigger, dredging work is ongoing and expansion is in the offing, all built with Chinese money. It may be huge, however at the moment it possesses but 2 cranes, the remainder of the wharves are empty and its trade consists of car-carriers, for the time being at least.
If one does not take a tour, it has little to offer, no frantic selling from pier-side market stalls, in fact it is empty, as far as the eyes can see. We had a tour planned though and, instead of the bus, we took an air-conditioned van for a trip to Yala National Park, 1½ hour’s drive away to the north-east. There are several parks in the area and guests can choose as to which one to visit. This post is going to be mainly photos, my descriptive prose of Hambantota is already exhausted 🙂
The park has approximately 50 known leopards, however, according to our guide, they tend to come out for ‘breakfast’ and then sleep until ‘dinner’. I’m good at spotting whales, however leopards sleeping in the shade or up a tree defeated me and sadly none were seen. Nevertheless, we had a wonderful day and arrived back at the “Amsterdam”, hot tired and happy. Now for an overnight voyage to Colombo…..