Speak to any Sri Lankan about safari and one of their first questions will be: ‘Have you visited Yala?’ It is by far the most famous national park, as well as being the largest. Sri Lankans are proud of their national parks and this one rightly sits at the top of the list.
Yala accommodation options are attractive and the park is flanked by the ocean on its eastern side, giving it the most spectacular backdrop. The interior of the park is savannah-like – dry and arid for most of the year.
This is nature as if from the pages of The Jungle Book, with monkeys partying in the trees and resplendent peacocks stalking around. Believe us, you’ll feel like a Jungle VIP…
Amazingly, Yala is home the world’s largest concentration of leopards. We have been lucky enough to have visited many times and on each occasion we have seen these beautiful big cats in their natural habitats.
We’ve also seen a sloth bear, elephants, wild dogs, crocodiles, water buffalo, snakes and more beautiful birds than you can point a camera at.
Most Yala National Park safaris will involve a minimum of two game drives – one in the early morning and one after lunch. You’ll be armed with binoculars, a dedicated naturalist (or guide) and a driver who knows every hidden hillock in the park. On top of this, your jeep will be laden with drinks and snacks to keep you going during a mid-way pit stop.
And unlike other national parks, Yala National Park accommodation around the boundary can be superb. Forget the bare necessities, being cosseted in comfort and style is as much a part of the Yala experience as the wildlife itself.
Yala is a massive national park, perfect for nature lovers. No more. No less. Your only entertainment is observing the unruly residents. And what could be more absorbing? So just let your senses soak it all up, and then back in the comfort of your accommodation, relax and enjoy fine Sri Lankan hospitality.
Best not to wander too far for dinner… unless you want to be on the menu. All of our selected hotels have magnificent outdoor dining options so savour the moment and, if you are lucky enough to have a cloudless night, the stars are probably more astonishingly numerous than you’ve ever seen before.
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