Jun 29 2015. view 497
A photographer with a passion for capturing images of the wild, Riaz recently held a very successful exhibition of wildlife photography. His love for the wild has taken him to some exotic destinations across the world and his trips amply rewarded with some amazing photographs.
Why do you love travel?
I particularly enjoy travelling to wilderness areas which have an abundance of wildlife or spectacular landscapes. My camera is always on me and I cherish the different photographic opportunities on offer when travelling. It is also a good way to de-stress and take your mind away from work, which one needs to do from time to time.
Your favourite travel destination and why?
Not been there as yet, but I would say the continent of Africa for the sheer abundance of wildlife found across the region. Within Sri Lanka, I would say Yala or Wilpattu, for the opportunities to spot a leopard in the wild which never ceases to thrill me even after hundreds of sightings over the years. I fell in love with the dry-zone jungles from childhood and need my fix every now and again to know that all is good with the world.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
Some interesting wildlife encounters, comfortable (does not have to be super luxurious) accommodation and good company. Having interesting people to travel with makes it so much more memorable.
In which country have you felt most at home?
Sri Lanka! I love travelling around our little island as there is such a variety of things to do in different parts of the country, whether it would be chilling at a beach, cooling off in the mountains, visiting the iconic cultural sites or watching wildlife in a national park. Being very familiar with the surroundings and the people I suppose makes it very homely.
Most unusual souvenir you have brought home?
I bought a tiger pugmark clay mould from the Kanha National Park in India as a souvenir when I visited in 2007 which sits in my room.
Worst holiday or travel experience?
Getting food poisoning from an unsealed water bottle and having to miss a game drive at Ranthambore National Park in India was a bummer. I am a very keen safari goer and don’t like to skip my rounds. Apart from that my travels have been pretty smooth sailing so far.
Best piece of travel advice?
Research and read up on your travel destination. Talk to friends who have been there or live there as first hand travel information tends to be the most reliable for finding out the do’s and don’ts.
Your top five travel destinations?
East Africa – Would love to visit the Masai Mara in Kenya or the Serengeti in Tanzania.
Brazil – Seeing the Amazon rainforest is on my bucket list.
India – I love the diversity of wildlife, the interesting cultural sites and the sheer craziness of the place.
Australia – Lived here for nearly 7 years and made some good friends. Particularly enjoyed travelling on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.
Sri Lanka – I love travelling around our country. Whether through work or leisure I head out of Colombo at least once a month.
What has travel taught you?
You learn something new each time you travel to a new destination. You get a visual idea about the place and its attractions, learn about the hardships and challenges faced by the locals particularly when visiting developing countries and learn about new cultures which you don’t find at home.
Which country did you taste the best ever cuisine?
India. I love the North Indian cuisine. Singapore ranks high up there for the variety of food from different parts of the world.
Next travel destination?
Not sure. I’d like to think I would visit the Masai Mara in Kenya at some point next year.
By Tina Edward Gunawardhana