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In high season, the seven-bedroom villa for 12 people costs from ,034.Cape Weligama, Abimanagama Road, Weligama ( 9411-774 5700; from 5 for half-board, including drinks.Ethnic tensions exploded into full-scale civil war in late July 1983.During the next quarter century, violence touched the life of everyone here and many beyond (the LTTE can legitimately claim credit for inventing the suicide vest, popular with terrorist groups worldwide).“In Colombo alone, the Urban Development Authority is showing unbelievable forethought with the Dutch Hospital, the Racecourse and Independence Arcade.When I think of municipalities elsewhere…” Present trade, economic and commerce opportunities, along with overseas fundraising – which has already brought in an estimated bn from Chinese government sources, and a 3m loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to metropolitan Colombo – pleases Balmond. Everyone is seizing their chance.”As the war was coming to a close, the architect, who has also collaborated with artist Anish Kapoor on the Arcelor Mittal Orbit for the 2012 London Olympics, started to work here with his son John.Leopard Safaris’ Toyota Land Cruiser heads alone into the park at 5.31am, as a bee-eater with electric-blue and neon-orange feathers criss-crosses the beryl-hued sky.

Jetwing Yala, Palatupana, Yala, Kirinda ( 9411-234 5720; from 0.

Elephants may come to drink from the stream in front of your tent,” warns Noel Rodrigo, Sri Lanka’s preeminent wildlife tracker, in lieu of saying goodnight to me.

“Don’t run or scream.” As I zip myself into one of the comfortable, South African-made canvas accommodations at Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris camp, located just outside Wilpattu National Park on the Indian Ocean island’s northwest coast, what I feel is not fear, but relief.

Noel Rodrigo’s Leopard Safaris Camp, Katagamuwa, Yala ( 9471-331 4004; from 0 for a double tent all-inclusive.

Palagama Beach, 12 Palmyra Avenue, Alankuda, Kalpitiya 61360 ( 9477-781 8970; from 8.

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