Long to explore vast stretches of rugged territory, where exotic wild creatures roam free, comfortable of their natural habitat? Then, Sri Lanka is the place for you, certainly one of the highest safari destinations on the earth.

Not only does this tropical island nation offer all the things related to the sun, sand, and surf, but it’s also home to 26 national parks, of which Yala National Park is arguably probably the most well-known. Other major ones on the list include Wilpattu National Park, Horton Plains National Park, and Minneriya National Park.

Keep reading to study what makes Yala National Park among the best safari destinations on the island!

Top Safari Destinations - Sri Lanka

Yala National Park Highlights

  • Yala is Sri Lanka’s second biggest national park.
  • Yala claims the very best leopard density of any park on the island, and in truth, of anywhere on the earth!
  • There are a wide range of park ‘blocks’ to safari in (Out of 5 blocks in total, all are accessible except Block 4; Block 1 claims the very best leopard density in addition to, arguably, the least’ vehicle-shy’ leopards).

What to Expect in Yala

Spanning almost 980 square kilometers, the Yala National Park wildlife sanctuary plays host to 44 species of mammals, 215 species of birds, and a wide range of reptiles, amphibians, and insects besides.

Encompassing terrain starting from marine and freshwater wetlands to moist monsoon forests, a plethora of wealthy ecosystems thrive inside its borders. 

Bird lovers shall be excited to notice that Yala has been designated as certainly one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) on the island due to the many endemic and migratory bird species that make their homes, be they everlasting or temporary, throughout the park’s confines.

Situated within the southeast of the country, a part of the park straddles the coastline, offering visitors who stay at cleverly-positioned resorts akin to Uga Chena Huts, a probability to enjoy views of the wildlife-filled inland terrain in addition to the Indian Ocean. 

Wildlife in Yala National Park Sri Lanka

What Wildlife Can You Spot On a Yala Safari?

While sightings of any particular creature are never guaranteed on safari, listed below are just just a few of the creatures for which the park is famed:

– Elephants

– Leopards (the Sri Lankan leopard, Panthera pardus kotiya)

– Sloth bears

– Birds akin to the Sri Lankan junglefowl and Sri Lankan grey hornbill

– Peacocks

Tip:  Keep your fingers especially crossed for a prized sighting of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard!

Yala National Park luxury accommodation

Top Safari Destinations – The Best Way to ‘Do’ Yala

If you’ll be able to, book a stay at a luxury resort or with a glamping experience provider on the fringes of the national park or near it. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself within the wild and revel in the sounds and views of nature, even if you’re not actively on safari – many such accommodation sites often report onsite wildlife sightings. 

Staying at a resort near the park also means you can easily arrange several excursions into the park without wasting loads of time on travel. Safaris are inclined to be popular within the early morning and evenings, with the morning safari being selection to beat the warmth of the midday sun in addition to enjoy viewing the park and its creatures within the soft morning light.

If you’re crazy about wildlife, Yala is a must-visit safari destination in Sri Lanka.

If you’re on the lookout for more travel planning resources, head to my travel resources page next.


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