Sri Lanka 2007

Scars of Civil War and Tsunami

We completed an independent circumnavigation of Sri Lanka, the world’s 25th largest, but 7th most populous island nation.

We had a few problems to tackle. The country was still under the grip of a long and bitter civil war*. Sri Lanka had been also scarred by the December 2004 tsunami. This gave us unrivaled insight into the national psyche.


For two weeks we drove a marathon of over 2000km, from the militarized capital, to remote villages in Ampara District. We paid intimate visits to Tamil families that were displaced by the civil war and the tsunami, and met small business owners in Pottuvil and Akkaraipattu. We marveled at the traditional Sri Lankan architecture of the ancient cities of Kandy and Sigiriya and the Buddhist cave temples of Dambulla. We had close encounters with wildlife: elephants in the pristine Gal Oya National Park, monkeys, peacocks and endemic birds in the coastal jungle. At the end of this physically and mentally demanding adventure we had crossed hazardous territories, photographed wildlife, experienced local cuisine and met the Sri Lanka that rarely makes it in the news.