Ceylon Safari 2019 - An Expedition around the Pearl
As written by Rtr. Kasuni Ranushika
“Travel leaves you speechless, but makes you a storyteller”
– Ibn Battuta
Fifteen days of sharing the beauty of Sri Lanka, with young travelers from different parts of the world was an incredible opportunity created by Ceylon Safari 2019. This signature project which was initiated by Rotaract Mora is a round-trip across Sri Lanka that gives the participants a travel experience like no other, as the memories collected during the wondrous journey and the bonds created between the participants last a lifetime. The fifteen-day round-trip was brought in three phases covering different parts of the country and ten foreign Rotaractors from Belgium, Germany, Romania, Mauritius, Egypt, and India got the chance to join with Ceylon Safari 2019.
On the 16th of December, the travel began with a 13 hour long night-mail train journey to Ella, in the hill country. The picturesque nature in Ella which was a healing experience was worth every minute spent on the travel. Also, the participants were able to enjoy South Asia’s most scenic travel by train, from Ella to Nanuoya, a once in a lifetime opportunity. The stay at the jungle campsite, Ella was able to add a different flavor to the travel while the hike to Little Adams Peak and the RAVANA zip line activity were filled with extraordinary adventure.
Famous Nine Arches Bridge was the next place visited, where more memories were created. Moreover, the travelers were amazed by the chance of visiting a tea factory and tasting different flavors of world-renowned Ceylon tea.
The next day destination was Nuwara Eliya and there the travelers visited the Ramboda falls which had an exceptional view. In Kandy, the last destination in the hill country, the participants visited the temple of tooth relic where they were impressed by Lord Buddha’s philosophy. Even though the days were not enough to explore the beauty of the hill country, the first phase was concluded with loads of memories and laughter.
With new hopes, the second phase was started on the 21st of December, visiting “Rangiri Raja Maha Viharaya”, Dambulla. The foreign travelers were amazed by the wall paintings and the stone carvings inside the cave temple and also about the history related to the place. Despite the rainy weather, the participants were able to enjoy the hike to the top of Pidurangala. The unique view of Sigiriya, the 8th wonder of the world, was worth the barriers faced along the path. On the way to the next destination, Polonnaruwa, the travelers were met with elephants which brought excitement.
Polonnaruwa ancient city visit reflected the advanced technology used by our ancestors and the proud history of Sri Lanka. After enjoying a traditional Sri Lankan meal, the journey continued for the next destination, Trincomalee. Overcoming the challenges of unfavorable weather conditions, the travelers were able to enjoy the breathtaking views of Nilaweli and Marble beach. Ending the second chapter of the journey, the travelers enjoyed the time spent with elephants at the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala.
At the beginning of the third phase on the 25th of December, a meaningful Christmas was celebrated where the participants visited the Apeksha Hospital for children with cancer. The love and joy they shared with the little souls would be unforgettable. Also, a Christmas party organized by the Rotaractors led the way for many enjoyable moments filled with warmth and care.
On the 26th, the travel continued to Down South with the expectations to enjoy the beauty of the coastal area. The adventures started with a boat safari in Madu River followed by an enjoyable time at spectacular beaches of Unawatuna, Jungle beach and Mirissa. Snorkeling at Jungle beach was an awesome experience for the travelers and they were pleased with the fascinating view of the sunset at the beach. During only three days the participants were able to discover many beaches which brought a blissful end for the journey. The round-trip remarked the end with a tour in the city of Colombo and visiting places like national museum, Pettah and Gangarama Temple.
With countless beautiful memories, Ceylon Safari 2019 will be cherished in the hearts of the Rotaractors who participated and will continue to extend beyond the horizons of travel.