We had only just started our drive through the park and probably had not been there for more than ten minutes when we encountered the huge crocodile in the picture.
Bundala is one of Sri Lanka's smaller and lesser known national parks. It lies on the south coast, just east of Hambantota, and does not get many visitors. On the afternoon of our safari (in March 2022) it appeared that only two other vehicles had gone through the gates.
With plenty of marshland, lagoons, and lakes within the park's boundaries, crocodiles are a common sight - although the one pictured above was by far the largest we came across.
There are also many different types of - mainly, but not exclusively, aquatic - birds, as the next few photos illustrate.
We had been told that we would be unlikely to encounter any elephants at Bundala, but as the sun was sinking close to the horizon several made an appearance. The one pictured below seemed to ignore us and our vehicle completely.
We had tried to pre-book a safari vehicle before arriving in the area, but somehow the wires got crossed and we ended up renting one from a place we happened to drive past.
It turned out to be a lucky choice. The price was right and the vehicle was in good condition. (It also had a full tank—not something you could take for granted). Most importantly perhaps, the driver was attuned to our interests and knew the park well. Srimal's house is on the main road very close to the turn-off leading to the park entrance.