Cheat days, tactical shells, and the endangered Indian star tortoise

Yala National Park

Fun Facts

Though the Indian star tortoise is a herbivore – usually eating leaves, fruit, berries and flowers – decaying animal carcass is secretly on the menu in the wild! Their striking and practical shell pattern of yellow-striped stars helps them camouflage within dry grassy patches, and thanks to its shell shape, flipping back on their feet if turned over is a breeze!

Did you know?

Though the Indian star tortoise may live up to 80 years, it is a threatened species notably popular in the exotic pet trade – the primary reason it’s now endangered. The Indian star tortoise was upgraded to CITES Appendix I in 2019 (threatened with extinction), giving it the highest level of international protection from commercial trade. Over 6000 tortoises were seized across the globe, fated to be sold in the pet trade.


Indian star tortoises are native to India, Sri Lanka and South Eastern Pakistan. They can be found in grasslands, scrub forests and coastal scrublands across Sri Lanka.




Much more than just a great place to stay

"Thanks to our guide Avinka we had five great safaris staying four nights just after reopening this February. The staff made us feel so very welcome during the entire stay.

The safaries are just wonderful, and having a great guide in your vehicle makes a big difference. Avinka can spot animals you would never see and we were even lucky enough to sight leopards on the trees, close to our vehicle, and also running through the field. The wildlife is so exciting that you will have a great experience even if you don‘t see any leopards. We also had a great driver, which is essential if you drive through difficult territory. You are being taken care of the entire time, so even for those who do safaris for the first time, you will always feel safe.

The camp itself is very comfortable, you get everything you can think of, and on top of the great food being served with so much attention and friendliness. You also get wonderful vegetarian and vegan options. They put on bonfires at night, which makes it unforgettable.
When booking and making plans, you get great support from the headquarters, even if it gets difficult since you have to change your plans.
The best thing what can happen to you at the end of a vacation is when you are a bit sad to leave the place, having experienced something to remember forever, and the team does everything for this to happen. Thank you so much"

Axel S wrote, Traveled with family
January 2021

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