Yala National Park is Sri Lanka's most popular wild life safari park. Situated in the south-eastern corner of the island, it is famous for its high density of leopards, perhaps the highest in the world. You are also sure to see elephants – grumpy loan males during the dry months and large herds in the wet season. Sloth bears are also a big draw. You will also see mammals such as wild boars, several species of deer and wild buffalo.
Yala is also home to a plethora of reptilian species and platoons of crocodiles. Common in Sri Lanka, there is a huge diversity of spectacular birdlife including migratory species such as the flamingo. It is also one of the few places in the world where the severely endangered black-necked stork can still be seen. The uniqueness of the park is the sheer diversity of the habitat: dense jungles suddenly give way to lagoons and open plain areas and the park has a simply beautiful sea front. Huge, stark boulders dominate the horizon and the elegant, languorous leopard can often be seen basking atop the sun-baked rock.
The best months to visit the park are between January and May when the vegetation is at its most lush. The dry season, from June to October, offers a different view of the scenery as the waterholes dry up and the land takes on a parched, dry appearance. The park has been divided into different blocks and you will need to camp to visit more than one in a day. Most visitors hire jeeps for the day and venture in for both morning and afternoon drives.
As a result of its incredible natural beauty and plentiful wildlife, Yala gets quite busy during the peak months and you will likely share your viewing time with many other jeeps. If the chance of spotting animals in a wilder and less visited setting sounds better to you, we would recommend trying Wilpattu or Wasgamuwa National Park.
Kulu Safaris operate their luxury camping service in Yala, which is undoubtedly the best way to experience the park. You will be on a safari drive long before and after all the other jeeps have left, giving you the massive park to yourself.
Accommodation around the park is wide and varied and ranges from super top-end luxury to a couple of glorious but simple jungle lodges. Talk to our specialists to find out which place might suit you.
Selected Wildlife Holiday Ideas:
Classic Sri Lanka With A Wildlife Focus
Enjoy the incredible wildlife of animals without missing the culture, beaches and local life.
Birdlife and Natural Wealth of Sri Lanka
This holiday is ideal for those who love nature, especially birdlife. Visit the beautiful rainforests, coast, and wetlands of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Big Mammals
Tailor-made for wildlife enthusiasts. Travel off-the-beaten-track with expert guides in search of elephants, leopards, whales and more.
Nature & Wildlife Explorer
Get a feel for the wide variety of natural sites, birds, and animals that Sri Lanka has to offer whilst staying in tucked away accommodation.