Yala National Park is the most famous national park in Sri Lanka and experienced by many tourists as the highlight of their visit, especially when they have seen the leopard. This animal makes a visit to Yala popular, although not the only interesting specie to watch, Yala is the place with the highest possibility to see this beautiful animal in the wild. However Yala has so much more to offer, like elephants, jackals, deer, sloth bears, snakes, lizards, many flocks of birds, buffaloes and crocodiles. A disadvantage of getting so popular is that it is getting quite busy, especially during the morning hours. There is a long line of jeeps following the road to the entrance of the park between 06.00 and 06.30 am, mostly from Tissamaharama, the centre where to start your safari. Most of the visitors book for a 3 hours safari, so after 10.00 o’clock it will be much quieter in the park. Nevertheless the overall majority enjoys a visit to Yala. Near the park entrance a small collection of hotels can be found, of which some are very comfortable with a view on the drinking place from the hotel terrace. If you prefer to stay in such an accommodation, consider a relaxing more days’ stay according to the experience of several visitors. Another ‘close to nature’ experience is to book for a so called camp safari. Some of them are well reputed with an excellent staff in all ways. Don’t miss to consider them as one of your options; although more expensive than a jeep organized at Tissa, the experiences are great.
- Best for: leopards (about 30)
- Season: Year round; best time for leopards: February, March and July to October; for bears: May and June.
- Entrance fees: US$ 30 (LKR 4,000) (price in 2013)