Yala National Park

Yala National Park

Check Yala National Park on the Sri Lanka map

Yala National Park or Ruhuna National Park is the second largest and most visited national park in Sri Lanka. Yala is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. It had originally had been designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of its wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds.
There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. The national park hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami caused severe damage on the Yala National park and 250 people has died in the park.
Yala is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. The area had been a centre of past civilisations. Two important pilgrim sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul vihara, are situated within the park. The number of visitors has risen in 2009 since the security situation in the park improved.
Get more information here

You can also stay a night in luxury tents near the park, Elephant Lake Yala Campsite

Recommended review time for sightseeing: 4 h

Tourist reviews about Yala National Park

nice but busy
michael w [TA], , Rotterdam, The Netherlands

we didn't see so many animals except some crocodiles and few elephants it was bit difficult to stay 3 hours in the jeep with the children, and for my opinion there are too many cars going around i was expecting more wilderness.

Just a perfect day
Guliz K [TA], , Ankara, Turkey

It was great to see a leopard.. We made an evening safari but i think morning or full day safari is better. You can see elephants, many birds, water buffalos, wild boars, deers and leopards in Yala NP and i am sure i will be impressed :)

Ive seen there a lot of animals
Jakub G [TA], ,

If you love animals its a great place to see them free in their natural enviroment. During our safari we've seen a lot of birds, deers, buffalos, elephants, lepard, crocodiles.
When some driver will see the leopard it could be a lil bit crowdy with jeeps but everyone wants to see them so you must share your view.

It was awesome safari
yasindu [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

we really enjoyed our safari.,.,i would like to tell to the people who taking safari like tour guiders safari cab drivers,,please let every one to enjoy & watch the animals,.,do not be selfish ..,.

Yala National Park
Rohan A L... [TA], , Gampaha, Sri Lanka

This is leopard country, and they are the Lords of the Jungle! With a leopard density that's higher than anywhere else on this planet, these menacing predators prowl majestically in Yala, while elephants roam in their numbers with cautious deer scampering by their side.

Safari trip early morning to Yala
MANOHARI1 [TA], , bgunawar@ap.ansell.com

The jeep ride commenced slightly before 6 am from the hotel which was about a kilometre away from the entrance to the park. The jeep drivers buy your tickets and do not show you the receipt. Make sure you ask for the receipt and check your balance. The sunrise was wonderful. The park had been opened nearly three weeks ago and the were many leopard and bear sightings recorded on the boards at e Cinnamon Wold Hotel where we stayed. We saw many peacocks in various stages of movement. Some were drying their feathers while some were in full display. There were also wild boar, deer and buffaloes not to mention elephants eagles and jungle fowl. However there was one leopard sighting by fellow safarigoers which unfortunately we could not see due to the fact one group reused to move their jeep for a long time and therefore the leopard just climbed down and walked away. All jeep drivers compare notes but there were way too many vehicles inside the park. All in all a balanced experience. However never despair you will still see some in their natural habitat which is rewarding.

Lovely hotel
Rajnikant... [TA], , Coventry, United Kingdom

Like this hotel because pleasant surrounding. Only thing its too far from city so no hustle and bustle.

No better place in the world to observe leopards in the world
jetwin [TA], ,

My wife and I visited Yala on 27th and 28th October.Entering the park on the 27th at around 3pm and going round for 3hrs we were able to see only one onepard on a tree quite close to the road.On the 28th morning we entered the park at 6am and within 15 minutes we were lucky to spot 2 leopards on a 5ft high rockoutcrop just by the road.We watched this male and female cavorting on the rock for over 20mts with surprisingly no other vehicles to disturb us.When they were about to mate 2other jeeps arrived and they were disturbed.In my 50yrs of visiting this park this is the best sighting I have ever had.
In all we saw 4 leopards on this trip but only 6 elephants.The roads in the.park were excellent and the park was.not too crowded.

Pity the wildlife
Beverley... [TA], , Southport, Australia

The park only re-opened after a long drought when we were in Sri Lanka, much to our delight. That must be the reason for the dozens of jeeps tearing around the place at high speed, all arriving at the same time to view the poor leopard! A notice in our hotel said that wildlife had been killed by irresponsible drivers. There needs to be responsible management for this park so that visitors and wildlife alike can enjoy it. We did see a lot of deer, peacocks, buffalo, elephants, etc, but the leopard was lost in the leaves and dust by the time we made our way up the huge queue that had formed. My highlight was seeing a pair of horn bills flying, and hearing their call. If I was to return, I'd certainly stay closer to the park than Tissa, and do an early morning safari instead of the afternoon. I hope there'd be a wake-up call for the wildlife department to take some steps to limit the number of visitors so that you'd need to book a trip.

Early Morning jeep safari
CliveGerr... [TA], , Pontardawe, Wales

We had a really good driver who was patient and knowledgeable. He stopped regularly to pinpoint animals and fauna. He also drove really slowly which was a good thing on those rough parl roads. Some local drivers, drove like typical Sri Lankans, and I felt for the occupants of their jeeps. They didn't see much and were being thrown around inside.

In the park, we saw a leopard, crocodiles, jackals feasting on a kill, deer, numerous water birds, iguanas ... well you get my drift! Its an absolute must if you visit Sri Lanka!

Too many jeeps!
ioan_wils... [TA], , Newtown, United Kingdom

If you are staying in the area you must visit the park but it is so popular that there are jeeps everywhere and when a poor leopard gets spotted they congregate from all directions. Yala 4 is much quieter but you will not see leopard there but there are plenty of other animals and birds there and very few jeeps. You will come across an elephant roadblock on your way there! so have some fruit handy

Great Visit to the park
Alan278 [TA], , Hereford, United Kingdom

afternoon tour of the park...had a great driver who stopped for photo's everywhere he could.... got lots of pics of all the wildlife.... shame I didn't get to see a leopard but what I did see was great... worth a 2.5 hour visit to the park

The worst of Safari
DemarrKla... [TA], , Portsmouth, United Kingdom

I hadn't wanted to go on this trip but went as I was part a group. My fears were confirmed. As the only non Sri Lankan in my group, I had to pay 100 times more than they did, which at best, is unreasonable. So once in the jeep, we sat in a huge queue of vehicles, breathing in noxious fumes while people further down took photos and gaped at god knows what. By the time our jeep got to place whatever was there had long been scared off. It's a pity because it is a magical place, but one that blighted by the dreary commercial spectacle of jeep loads of tourists bombing up and down mud tracks hoping to snap a leopard. We did see a leopard but had to wait in a long queue of vehicles before we had our chance to glimpse. A sad and frustrating experience but with a glimmer of the natural beauty that is Yala.

Spectacular scenery
TrishFD [TA], , Canberra, Australia

See a different Sri Lanka - we did a morning Safari. Sadly with the wet season a little late in coming, a lot of the park was closed and we had to travel further. The scenery is magical and despite not seeing leopards or elephants (except on the road just outside the park on our way home...not leopards, just elephants) we saw many beautiful animals and even more spectacular birds. Depending on your itinerary, a better park choice may be Minneriya according to our dirver...closer to the cultural triangle and the eastern beaches. Colombo to Yala was 5-6 hr drive and the main attraction was the leopards which I do not believe are as abundant in other national parks. The countryside down south is also very different so make the wise choice for you if you have the time.

One of the best National Parks in Sri Lanka
Nugadeniy... [TA], , Maharagama, null, Sri Lanka

Saw most of the animals available in Sri Lanka in the park and it is highlighted the leopard and bear.

Saw other animals also you can see other national parks like elephants, spotted deer, wild bow, wild buffalo, crocodile, peacock and some other animals many other birds.

The park also beautiful and it is very big area that difficult to cover in 1/2 day safari. We can reach to sea at one end of the park.

Park is full of vehicles as lot of people come to do safari there.

One with nature
Amaranthi... [TA], ,

We saw all kinds of birds (peacocks, parakeets, the green bee eater etc), monkeys, deer, wild boars, buffalos, crocodiles, squirrels, etc.. We missed the Leopard and the elephants. The elephants we did see though on our way back to the hotel as they left the park and stood on the street..

Full day safari
Earthling... [TA], , Al Ain, United Arab Emirates

We saw elephants, crocs, water buffalo, monkeys, lizards, dragonflies and damselflies, a sloth bear, a leopard, a jackal, and heaps of birds

Great Safari, watch out for crowds!
Jason H [TA], ,

We had a great Safari and saw almost all of the animal that the park is noted for. The only downside is it can be very crowded at the bottlenecks in the park (or anywhere a leopard is spotted!) Most of the animals are out in the morning so try to get a (very) early start.

good wildlife impression
Veerle M [TA], , Turnhout, Belgium

in Yala you can see a lot of different animals in a short time; unfortunately the leopards were not there when we visited ;-)

Visited in the dry season.
poshian [TA], , Peterborough, United Kingdom

Enjoyed the park, a little out of season so very dusty.
One small tip. Use a toilet before you get to the park.

Dry and hot but worth a visit
MichaelBo... [TA], , Melbourne, Australia

We visited at the end of a long dry spell and the condition for animals was dry but very natural. The safari drivers are good in that they follow the guidelines to stay on the allowed roads. They are keen to get you to see the major animals such as elephants, leopard, bear. We were lucky to see the Sloth Bear up close but waited a long time for a leopard siting which was unsuccessful.

We were concerned about the impact of our visit on the animals but believe it was controlled well enough and there are dates of respite for the animals plus the vast majority of the park is off limits to safari drivers.

We arrived back at the resort hot, sweaty, and tired but certainly enjoyed the park. Staying inside the animal area was exciting in itself waking up with monkeys clambering over our hut roof and the (mild) concern that there was no fence between us and the crocodiles that inhabit the lake nearby.

Close-up experience
LauraisaK... [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Although the trip to get to the national park was roughly 4-5 hours, it was worth it! It was a clear afternoon, with no rain and hardly any clouds! Seeing creatures like buffalo and wild elephant being conserved in area that was so diverse was awe-inspiring! Unfortunately we were unlucky to spot the famous leopard in the area, but hopefully you'll be!

Magical Safari in Sri Lanka
Martin510 [TA], ,

Visited with Samarkoon Tours and had the most wonderful afternoon. Really important that you hire a decent jeep and have a park tour guide (without whom we would not have seen half of the wildlife we did). If you are considering a guided tour of Sri Lanka, I would really strongly recommend that you check out Samarakoon Tours on the web. It was the best choiuce we have ever made and Sam personally ensured we had the best family holiday imaginable (with an ultra safe driver too!).

rajarani2... [TA], , Mumbai (Bombay), India

YALA is a good national park. We sighted bears , crocs, one elephant, many deer, mongoose and peacocks and rabbits and many other animals including the NATIONAL BIRD OF SRI LANKA - THE FOWL. - JUNGLE FOWL.
But no big cats.
And we may go again.
Some times in the enthusiasm to spot something, there is a chaos among the vehicles which makes it a traffic jam in an otherwise silent park.

One of the best national parks in Sri Lanka
Miss-Worl... [TA], , Copenhagen, Denmark

Yala National Park has a variety of birds and wildlife. It is one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka if you want to see many different species. If you are very lucky you can also spot the wild leopard in Yala.

Yala National Park, Jeep Safari and camping
ToyotaWis... [TA], , Singapore, Singapore

The jeep safari is just like any other jeep safari if you had been to the ones in South Africa. But I made sure that was a difference. This was to camp one night in the park because I wanted to have breakfast in the river stream and it was a very good experience.You get monkeys watching you and a monitor lizard strolling past you too while having breakfast. The staff of the company engaged by my tour guide was excellent, so was their service. We were treated like royalty. The one night camp was very comfortable. The tent was huge enough that I could stand straight, and I'm 1.76m tall. The beds were soft, private shower and toilet facilities were provided, including all meals. What we eat and used (cutlery) in a restaurant, we got it here, we were so pampered. Of course not fogetting the animals, the leopards and kingfisher were beautilful

Elephants and leopards
Claire J... [TA], ,

Such an amazing trio. Saw so much wildlife. Make sure you do the full day if you get the chance. You find yourself on your own a lot more, with lots more sightings of animals. This is when we saw the leopard! So amazing!

Half day
RC_Bris [TA], , Bristol, United Kingdom

We did a full day safari which was enjoyable but very long (5:30 am - 6:00 pm). I would think that a half day is better as you would still see all the same animals but without so much driving and waiting. Dusk and dawn are the best times but I would suggest if you only do a half day then dawn was better as there were fewer jeeps than in the evening.

Unfortunately due to the lack of rain lots of the watering holes were dry when we visited but we did still see plenty of birds, deer, monkeys, boar, water buffalo and elephants.

Worth a trip but don't go expecting to see a leopard or you may be disappointed. Our driver said they are only really seen once a week.

Jeewaka J [TA], , Colombo, null, Sri Lanka

my last three visit to yala national park i have seen the leopard!its never forget lot of birds and many more!

pwayland [TA], , Sydney, Australia

Safari jeep, 4 hour visit - herds of elephants, flocks of birds, 2 leopards, a bear and several mongoose. Highly recommended.

Yala Safari
CRJA1964 [TA], , Perth, Australia

Saw a lot of animals - elephants, bears, leopards, crocs, deer etc. Had a great day on Safari. The tracker was friendly and the vehicle that was organised was a high top so we had great view of the wild life and surrounding.

dclarke22... [TA], , Hong Kong, China

Forget zoos. The experience of seeing so much wildlife live is truly memorable. Have been now four times, and each tour has been different. Wonderful. And thanks to the guides for sharing their experiences.

fun trip
Maddy G [TA], ,

I went as a family of 5 and really enjoyed it, we were extremely fortunate to see every type of animal that they had!We had a great time ... the black bears were my favourite!!!!!!

early start but brilliant
missemar [TA], , Reading, United Kingdom

will all depend on what you manage to see ... we were lucky and saw leopard! drivers are excellent and knowledgeable

Sit on the right
Andrew M [TA], , Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

We had an experienced guide and driver. As most of the others have said, there were a large number of jeeps. However most of the time we were only in small groups. On the afternoon that we went (Mon 18), most of the animals were in hiding. On the way back at dusk, our guide took a back road, and we were lucky enough to see what must of been the only Elephant that day.

We were slightly disappointed in not seeing a Leopard, but it is the 'hunt' that counts

Lucky wildlife spotting
chewie999 [TA], , Adelaide

We took 2 safari's in Yala. The first in the afternoon, where we saw a Sloth Bear as well as a lone male Elephant, Deer, Boar, Mongoose and Crocodiles. The 2nd was the next morning where instead of a Sloth Bear we saw a Leopard. It is a good National Park to spot wildlife and reminds me of Kruger National park in regards to the habitat. The negative is that the morning safari's can get very crowded with 80 jeeps in one place if a leopard has been spotted. But overall I would rate it as a must see in Sri Lanka if there for 2 weeks or more.

Excellent Access
VKavasser... [TA], , Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It was a wonderful and close experience. We managed to see 2 leopards and 1 wild Tusker at absolutely hands distance.

The safari drivers are well versed in the area and are very helpful to show the best to the tourists.

Tom G [TA], ,

We had a brilliant time while on safari here. There's an informative museum (complete with certain skeletons) before you enter and stunning wildlife on offer in the park. It's also worth finding the small beach there which has a memorial for those lost during the 2004 tsunami.

Saw 2 leopards drinking at the water hole
evyinmumb... [TA], , mumbai

Totally wonderful place...sadly there are so so many jeeps and people around but the location is lovely and never knew there were so many animals in Sri Lanka

anna-clai... [TA], , Hastings, United Kingdom

Great safari with Nimal Safari Day Tours, enormous park and currently very dry so hoping for rain, but we still managed to see the Big Three: leopard, sloth bear and elephant plus a lot more.

Good for one day Safari
egysioux [TA], , Cairo, Egypt

Enjoyed half day safari their but its ok for one full day too.
Famous for the highest leopards density I Spotted Two leopards brothers from a close distance directly after we got in !
Also easy to see buffalos , crocodiles , monitors , mongooses and deers plus some birds .

It’s not as the African Safari but still something not to be missed in Srilanka

must see place
gwentroz [TA], , gwent

Seeing animals in their own environment, huge national park. Very atmospheric place as on the beach in Yala national park is where the tsunami came ashore in 2004. You will get as close to nature as any of the other more famous parks of Kruger or Kenya.

Great wildlife siting!
Andrea D [TA], , New Delhi, India

Many parks in Asia you can be in all day and only see a couple monkeys and a deer - here I saw a huge variety of animals (leopards, jackals, elephants, wild boar, water buffalo, mongoose, hares, peacocks, kingfishers, eagles, storks, pelicans, crocodiles, monitor lizards, multiple types of deer and monkeys, hornbills and lizards). The park was well maintained, and had a variety of landscapes to view. So far this is the best wildlife park I have been to in South/South East Asia.

Worth it!
Birststra... [TA], , Zurich

Wonderful landscape, vast variety of animals. Visiting off-season meant a lot less tourists/cars. Organisation at the gate is a bit chaotic and it took some time to get the tickets. As everywhere, tourist pay a multiple of the price locals pay. When organising the tour/car it is worth asking around and to bargain.

Beautiful park with lots of animals and beautiful views.
Litllewol... [TA], , The Netherlands

We love Yala. This is the second time we been here and it is gorgeous. We have seen a lot of animals. 4 times elephants, a beer, lot of mongoose, buffaloes, wild boar, crocodiles, beautiful birds and so on. We went with Ajith safari, and the driver Anouske made our trip a great one.

Wonderful Experience
JenMats [TA], , Muscat, Oman

Its an amazing experience driving around in the Jeep, we missed sighting the Leopard twice. Got to see many Elephants, Deers, Wild Boar's, Monitor Lizards and many more animals. We had a good driver who didn't keep following other vehicles as a result of which we were not around the area crowded by Jeep's. It is necessary to limit the number of Jeeps in a day to the Park.

Nice park
Nien1986 [TA], ,

We have done a nice half day safari end were lucky to see a leopard and lots of buffelo's, deers, crocodills, mungoose and birds. The roads in the park are sometimes rough. We didn't like that it is really busy, if some jeep see a leopard the tell the other drivers and it id quickly very busy. In the hole park there are none clean toilets.

Wonderful National Park Full of Wildlife
Aleerak [TA], , Sydney, Australia

Having been on many safaris in South Africa, I was hesitant to do yet another safari, but the chance to see a leopard won me over.

After being picked up at 5am, we drove to the park and waited for the gates to open. All the jeep drivers stop to tell each other where the animals are and we were lucky enough to be told where there was a leopard up a tree. We watched him make his lazy way down the tree and across the road into the bush right in front of us.

We kept driving through the park and almost immediately we saw a pride of elephants with their babies, some as young as six months, communicating through noise and the curling of their trucks with one another, as if holding hands.

Although the sighting of animals is not guaranteed, Yala National Park will not disappoint with it's array of wildlife that you get to experience in their natural setting.

All the promises come true
Jean-Pier... [TA], , Deinze, Belgium

Our second park in Sri LanKa and despite of this an absolute must. We saw elephants, crocodiles , buffalos and in our last half hour we spotted a leopard .

Excellent safari
jenn035 [TA], , Manchester, United Kingdom

My first safari here. It was a truly magical experience. From seeing elephants, crocodiles, buffalo, wild boar, birds, monkeys and the infamous leopard. Highly recommended.

Really enjoyable tour for the family
william d [TA], , San Francisco, California

Lots of animals, not that crowded, really great animal spotter

Did not like that we did not see any leopards but apparently they aren't see every day.

June/July are super dry and there are less animals to be seen. Spring or Autumn would probably be best.

With three youngs kids and a grandfather, a half day tour is plenty with lots of bad roads and lurching around. If a young couple then maybe an all day might work but honestly I think you can do it all in a half day.

Not many animals
ackumar [TA], , London

Its an experince, but not many animals were around when we travelled. But please rememeber animals in their natural habitat, it is not in display they only come out when they feel like

Seeing a leopard made it all worthwhile
Sally E [TA], , Letchworth, United Kingdom

In total our safari tour was around 3 hours. For the first half it was really enjoyable as we saw an array of animals including crocodiles, elephants (many babies) buffaloes, boars, mongoose, deer and many birds. However the second half was tedious driving around the same roads with literally no animals in sight. We were just starting to get fed up when we spotted an elusive leopard! We managed to see the leopard for a while. This experience more than made up for the aimless driving around. The quality of your experience will depend on luck, and being in the right place at the right time! However, definitely worth a visit, a great experience!

Honeymoon Sri Lankan tour
Natasha T [TA], , London, United Kingdom

Local driver took us on safari (can book when arrive as so many safari trucks!)
Our driver was an older chap (slower driver) but this was our advantage as he was very attentive and spent as long as we liked at each sight.
We even saw a sloth bear (very rare!) thanks to his patience.
Very very hot, lots of water needed and lightweight cover up clothes.
We always advise going local rather than booking before you go with a tour. This always works to our advantage as we pay a great price but also help out local people.
You have to be Lucky to see some of the animals there (leopards) we saw everything except for them.
Different level compared to Africa (do not compare it's not in the same league!) but a lovely day safari none the less where you can see some lovely scenery and wildlife :-)

Untouched wilderness!
Amy B [TA], , San Francisco, California

We visited during June ~ the off season ~ and it was amazing. Very light crowds (our driver arrived EARLY to avoid the line entering the park) & it was a great time to see wildlife. Rains had not yet begun, so trolling the watering holds provided lots to see. Next time we'll stay overnight in the park. Stunning!

Lots of animals
chrissieM... [TA], , melbourne

We enjoyed our trip into the park. Saw many elephants, 2 black bears, buffaloes, crocs etc. the leopards were elusive although our guide did his best to track them down to no avail.

Way over rated
K B [TA], , Lafayette, California

Yala is supposed to have the highest concentration of leopards in the world. In our experience, it seemed to have the highest concentration of tourists and leopards were few and far between. We were lucky enough to see one for about 60 seconds in between the jeep in front and the jeep behind.
On the other hand, for people interested in water buffalos, peacocks and crocodiles, there were plenty of those.

Abundance of wildlife
Clarkstra... [TA], , australia

Well done to Sri Lanka for setting aside this National park to let the animals and birds live in their natural surroundings. We saw so much including three leopards which was such a thrill. Also saw elephants, wild boar, jackels, deer, crocodiles, mongoose, lizards and a huge variety of beautiful birds. It was well worth getting up at 5am so that we were in the park at dawn.
Huge tourist attraction but unfortunately no facilities at this stage. They badly need a toilet block and cafe for tourist comfort.
Only jeep tours in the park. No private cars.

So much to see
Joan1249 [TA], , Stockport, United Kingdom

I loved the variety of animals & seeing them in the wild was special. Visiting the beach where the Tsunami hit was an experience.

Stands up to its promise!! All kinds of wild life
SlowTripp... [TA], , Dallas, Texas

It's cheap and worth every penny. You will see all kinds of birds, crocodiles, wild buffaloes, leopards, elephants, monitor lizards, bears, a very rare squirrel, monkeys etc etc. Take a guide with you. I have no idea how our guide spotted all the birds and animals. We would have missed it all.

Amazing animal sitings!!!
manzano [TA], , Washington,DC

We saw wild elephants (which was on top of my list of what I wanted to do during my trip to Sri Lanka), crocs. water buffaloes, deer, monkeys, mongeese, birds, birds, birds, wild boar and more.I only wish that the park employee who is required to travel with all visitors knew more about the animals that we were seeing.

Julescox3... [TA], , Hamilton, New Zealand

Had a fantastic day, saw everything from elephants to leopards, highly recommend it! Your guide will provide lunch

Must Visit Place in Sri Lanka
anuranga [TA], , negombo

See all animals in Sri lanka in this National Park....;) Elephants / Leopards / Birds / Crocodiles and lots of lots of wild Animals....

Must visit place in Sri Lanka
Snehamuda... [TA], , Bangalore, India

Yala National park is one of the most beautiful national parks in Sri Lanka. The is surrounded by the mighty Indian Ocean. The park has the most number of leopards in the world. There are a number of private agencies that organizes the safari. I went into the park with Janaka Safaris. I had an awesome time at the park. I was fortunate enough to spot leopards, sloth bear, elephants, foxes, deers and crocodiles. I was very happy with the safari guide. He is very knowledgeable and knows the hot spots in the jungle where leopards can be sighted. Yala is a must see place in Sri Lanka. June is the best time to visit.

Don't miss it!!!!
RuiakaBug... [TA], , Sintra, Portugal

Yala National Park deserves to be visited!! It has more wild life that you can imagine, we just missed leopards...
It's a perfect place to enjoy the wild life. We we're lucky to see elephants and a baby elephant. We also saw crocodiles, wild water buffalos, lots of birds and wild pigs.
NOTE: Stay away from male elephants... one tried to attach another jeep! Respect it!

12 Leopard sightings.
crazylady... [TA], , ramsbottom

Way beyond our expectations.
5 safaris, 12 leopards, many elephants, snakes, mongoose, spotted deer, samba deer, jackal, wild boar, many birds, monitor lizards, monkeys, crocodiles.
If your interested in wildlife this is a wonderful place to visit. No its not Africa but for its small size it really delivers.

Great afternoon out
Mike S [TA], , Sydney, Australia

Most go to Yala in early morning but setting out at 12.00 and with 30 minutes each way from hotel plus 5 hours in the park we had a wonderful afternoon. We went to South Africa last year and whilst there weren't as many of the large animals there was still Much wild life to see and so much cheaper. Elephants, crocs, leopard, buffalo, deer, wild boar, many colourful and other birds, etc. A good guide is essential and we were lucky enough to get one. The Park is located adjacent to the sea and the stop by the tsunami monument was sad but interesting. Shame they haven't maitained the monument. Yala was our best day outing of the holiday.

Spotted leopards!
Aditi R [TA], ,

We spotted two leopards within the first half an hour of our safari.
Jeeps arranged were very comfortable.

Amazing Yala
priyashan... [TA], , Colombo, Sri Lanka

This was amazing national park we had some great leopards and elephants lots of other wild life
we had an brilliant experience

2nd visit to Yale
allison m [TA], , Folkestone, United Kingdom

This was our 2nd visit to Yale, this time with our family and grandchildren, just wanted them to visit this amazing park. We all loved it, and to see the animals in their own habitat is wonderful. We were not quite so lucky this year only 1 leopard sighting against 7 last year butwith all the other animals to see we were not disappointed and will continue to visit Yala, each year on our return to Sri Lanka.An amazing place to go.

Great Park
DocNewYor... [TA], , New York

If anyone guarantees you a leopard sighting, dont believe them. The leopard is Sri Lanka's apex predator and though Yala is the place with their highest concentration in the world, unless the leopard decides to some out in the open, its unlikely you will see him. That said, the national park itself is really beautiful and you will see a lot of wildlife. Peacocks and crocodiles come by the bucketload. Storks, parrots, beacatchers, pelicans, jungle fowl (Sri Lanka's national bird that so closely resembles a rooster, but with a distinct cry) etc you will likely see. Sambar deer, spotted deer, wild boar and perhaps even the odd elephant may be seen. The flora of the park is also rather nice. There are lots of little and big water bodies. You will probably also take a short break at the park's beach. One thing to keep in mind is that most vehicles seat about 6 and the price of the entrance ticket goes down with the more people that buy together. Use the restrooms by the ticket office.. or else you will have to wait a few hours until you take a break by the beach.

This is the best National Park in Sri Lanka
RanilMoun... [TA], , Mount Lavinia

This is the best National Park in Sri Lanka with different ecosystems/ landscapes ranging from wetlands to beach / scrub forests. Best place to spot out leopards, elephants, deer, several species of birds and even crocodiles

Nice park to visit
Jeanine01 [TA], , Aalsmeer, The Netherlands

Although we did not see any elephant because of nightly rain, we did spot a leopard and a little one in the bushes. We were not the only ones though............

Lucky to see leopard
Stourbrid... [TA], , Stourbridge

This was an amazing experience. We were fortunate to see four leopards and one closely for a long time before any other jeeps came by. We took two safaris. One in the am at 5.30 and one in the afternoon at 3pm. Our driver sadjit and our spotter were brilliant and really went out of their way to find leopard on the afternoon. In the morning we saw so many birds, a little tusker elephant, crocodiles, monkeys, spotted deer, boar, water buffalo. We had breakfast by the ocean next to the tsunami memorial. A sad but beautiful spot. Only two jeeps saw leopards on the morning so very few. On the afternoon we had our amazing encounter with the leopard so close and got some amazing photos which I will post on the site when back home. It is difficult when a leopard is spotted as all the jeeps rush to the spot and it can get a bit blocked but generally everyone took their turn and a yala wild employee in the jeeps was moving jeeps on who were taking too long.

Yala National Park
Marie T [TA], , Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Excellent park, but a lot of cover which makes looking for the wildlife very difficult. We went two consecutive mornings and saw a fleeting glimpse of a leapord each day, but not a very good view of the secretive animals. The jeep drivers work very hard to find what you ask them to. Well worth a visit.

We had a good morning
D C [TA], , Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka

We were here as part of a independent trip to Sri Lanka. We did lots of things in three weeks and this probably was a highlight. Don't expect a wilderness experience with all the vehicles rushing around. The search for leopards was a little over the top, it was nice to see them but we would have rather spent more time looking at elephants. It seems that our predecessors have paid bigger tips when the drivers have found leopards so they are he'll bent on it. We saw other people with guides or rangers, looked like a waste of time/money. If you have some binoculars definitely worth it as due to the noise of the 4x4 's most things are far away.

Wonderful park
EstevaPor... [TA], , Aljezur, Portugal

We went with our two children of 5 and 10 years old, and had an amazing expirience. The children love all the animals they saw. unfortunately we didn't saw the Leopard... but a good thing it is that we know they are there undercover! ... well and also saw another turistic atraction... the President of Sri Lank was there... what christma's day we had!
thanks and keep the park protected!

Raad M [TA], , Frankfurt, Germany

It was a great experience, we had a great guide. We had the pleasure of seeing elephants, wild boars, lots of crocodiles, Lizards and a lot of exotic birds. Unfortunately no leopards, but it was a great time none the less.

Amazing experience!
seascape1... [TA], , Chicago, Illinois

We came to Yala National Park in the hopes of seeing a leopard as it is supposed to have the highest concentration of them in the world. We were not disappointed! Within our first thirty minutes in the park we saw 2 leopard walking single file through the grass in plain sight. Within an hour later we saw one more resting in the forest at the base of a tree. Saw lots of crocodile, elephant, mongoose, wild boar and much more. There is a place on the ocean where the vehicles stop so you can get out and relieve yourself but there are no bathrooms in the park so be advised. We never did seem to get very far into the park as we started to recognize every road we had already been down a dozen times before. The vehicles stay in pretty much just one area of the park it appears. We saw what we came for so it was well worth it. The landscape is very beautiful as well with lakes and open country as well as forest. You cannot go wrong with a visit to Yala.

Off the beaten track experience
kenneth b [TA], , singapore

Sri Lanka is a charming country to visit, and it offers great value for travellers.

WIthin Sri Lanka, there is a diverese range of attractions you can choose from: cultural, nature, history etc

This national park is the most popular in the country, and offers a great safari experience at a good price. As africa was out of our budget, we chose sri lanka and we were very glad with our choice. We saw birds, monkeys, spotted deers, leopards and elephants,

We made 2 trips to the safari area (1 day safari tour, and 1 night tour).

Highly recommended. Tip: do allocate 2 nights at a resort near the park to make sure u get to see the leopards, in case of wet weather.

nice park, lot of animals
123onther... [TA], , Netherlands

We didn't had a high expectation of this park. But we saw a lot of animals! Crocodiles, deer, big lizard, monkeys, lot of birds, leopard (a little far, but we saw one!)
The setting of the park is nice too. Green bushes and trees, nice little lakes.
All in all a value safari.

Quite a lot of wildlife but very bumpy tracks
wolfhill [TA], , Harrow

We spent four hours in the park and managed to see a great deal of wildlife including Elephants, Leopard, Wild Pig, Mongoose, Monitor Lizard, Deer and a host of bird life.
The only drawback is the dust and the very uneven tracks.

My experience was incredible
Emily B [TA], , Chelmsford, United Kingdom

As with all safaris you take a risk, but we got to see everything, our driver was amazing and it was an incredible experience. The park is beautiful with a gorgeous beach stop half way through. We saw lots of monkeys, crocodiles, birds, peacocks and the leopards and elephants. Truly amazing.

bonitaste... [TA], , Hanau, Deutschland

We were very lucky and saw many animals. Lots of crocodiles, deer, elephants, a turtle, birds, and even a leopard. We went on an afternoon safari and had a jeep just for the two of us, so we could move around and stop whenever we wanted. We were among the first to spot the leopard and it was amazing. There were heaps of jeeps in the end and I think it was a good thing that he was across a waterhole so nobody could try to get too close or chase him.

Great trip
roastlamb [TA], , Yorkshire

Great safari with many elephants, water buffalo, water monitor, peacocks, Bee eaters, Kingfishers and more

CliffandA... [TA], , UK

This was an excellent trip, we saw all the animals including the Leopard who was chilled out sleeping in a tree. There quiet a lot of safari vehicles in the park, our driver took us off the beaten track to watch the animals in peace, take a good pair of binoculars with you.

DarlingK7... [TA], , Hulhumale Maldives

We had to leave our guest house at 5AM but was Totally worth it!!! 20 mins into the park we saw a heard of spotted deer and wild boar grazing in the field, then off to the left under the trees were two leopards stalking the potential prey! Oh my was worth the early rise. We were So Lucky!!! Our guide was very knowledgeable and quick to point out the wild life. We did the 1/2 day tour, at first we thought it was a bit expensive, but seeing all that we did it was worth every penny. Saw many elephants, moms with babies and a huge big tusk one walking on the road trying to see if there was any fruit in the jeeps for him:0) Saw almost everything advertised on the website. Most memorable experience for us!

Beautiful verdant park, animals abound
Threebert... [TA], , Brighton, United Kingdom

Title says it all really. If you are used to drier, savannah parks, you should be thrilled with Yala - even when there are no animals to see (and there usually are), the landscape with plenty of little ponds and natural watering holes is a thrill for the eyes, including some weirdly lovely rock formations. Only "big" sighting we didn't have is leopard. Otherwise, feast your eyes, and enjoy!

Do a safari!
Imation [TA], , Queensland

We did a 2 day safari with Kulu Safari's and couldn't rave about it enough. A fantastic way to see the National Park and he safari camp is 5 star .... don't even get me onto the amazing food!

Best of wildlife
Kanishka... [TA], , Kandy, Sri Lanka

Its still the best park in Sri Lanka where you can see almost all the wildlife leopard, Elephant, Sloth bear Crocs, Sambur you name it of course not forgetting the birds. However this place gets very crowded during weekends and you can hardly spend time watching animals at leisure as most of the safari jeep drivers run a race trying to show their clients much as they can. Be sensible if your a traveler and insist they drive slow inside the park and spend time specially on water holes your see more diversity its not only the leopard and elephant.

OK but
powellnor... [TA], , norwich uk

If you have been to Kruger national park in South Africa Yala is a little disappointing. We did have an excellent tracker guide but failed to see leopard. We did however see a black bear close up a tree(the highlight of the visit).

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