Things to do in
Yala National Park

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Yala National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

1. Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area, you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. With your private 4WD Jeep and expert guide, the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day will be used to focus on leopard spotting, either the first 2 hours or the last 2 hours of the day. Throughout this safari, you will search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. The morning tour will begin at 5am from your hotel, to take in sunrise as the park opens at 6am. Whilst the afternoon option allows you to explore from 2pm until sunset when the park closes at 6pm. Situated on Sri Lanka’s south-east, hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala is a wildlife sanctuary and home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. Leopards, elephants, water buffalo, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, and crocodiles can all be found in this rich environment.

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Galle/Unawatuna/Mirissa: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari

2. Galle/Unawatuna/Mirissa: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari

Your experience begins with a pickup from your hotel in either the Galle, Unawatuna or Mirissa areas. From there, relax on your drive to Yala National Park. Upon arrival you'll go for a safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Other indigenous wildlife which are able to be spotted in this park includes sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, spotted deers, buffalo, wild boars, sambhur, and hare. Now the most-visited park in Sri Lanka, Yala is also an important nature reserve for 50 species of butterflies and many species of birds. After the safari, journey back to your point of origin to be dropped off back to your accommodation.

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All-Inclusive Afternoon Yala Safari with Beach BBQ Dinner

3. All-Inclusive Afternoon Yala Safari with Beach BBQ Dinner

Get picked up from your Tissamaharama, Yala, Kataragama or Hambantota hotel. Hop into the Safari Jeep and travel to Yala National Park for an exciting game drive. Yala Park is situated in Sri Lanka's dry zone, made up of scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. It has the highest population density of leopards in the world, and is also home to a herd of 300-350 elephants. As well as leopards and elephants, keep an eye out for animals including sloth bears, black-naped hares, spotted deer, sambar, hanuman langurs, toque monkeys, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, wild boar, and golden jackal. You may also see the enormous land and water monitors and, of course, marsh crocodiles. You will be taken to a private beach where you have a couple of hours to explore, dip your toes in the cool water, and enjoy a 4-course barbeque dinner with a glass or two of wine. The beach is located in an exclusively private area and dinner is set up only for your group. The Jeep will take you back to your hotel.

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Yala National Park: Leopard Safari Full day tour with Lunch

4. Yala National Park: Leopard Safari Full day tour with Lunch

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area at around 5:00 AM, you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. Over nearly 400 square miles, the park consistently wows visitors, with its range of lagoons, riparian zones, monsoon jungles, and more, supporting a veritable arc of fauna. As you traverse the park, get the best view of it all from a modified game viewing safari Jeep. After exploring the vast park for a few hours at the helm of your knowledgeable guide, you’ll stop for a picnic lunch at a beautiful viewing spot. Unwind for a while after lunch and get ready to enjoy your second round of the game drive.  As you criss-cross through the stunning landscape, you have the opportunity to see elephants, sloth bears, toque monkeys, wild boar, water monitors, marsh crocodiles, and perhaps the crown jewel of Yala National Park, the spotted leopard—of which the park has one of the highest densities in the world. After your full day of safari exploration, you’ll be transported back to your accommodation, thrilled at the preserved piece of nature that you have experienced.

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Tangalle: Yala National Park Wildlife Safari

5. Tangalle: Yala National Park Wildlife Safari

The tour starts with pickup from your accommodation in Tangalle, then the adventure begins as you head out to Ruhunu Yala National Park to explore its 126,786 hectares. Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of elephants, leopards, spotted deer, sambhur, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boar, wild buffalo, along with many other animals. In addition, more than 130 bird species are recorded to live here, including the resident and winter visitors. Throughout the safari, search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgeable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. Learn about the animals that live here and the work that is done to preserve this natural habitat. Admire the stunning scenery of the park, which sits alongside the Indian Ocean and is a rich haven for over 250 varieties of animals and birds. This is an unforgettable adventure that will leave you with a lifetime of memories.

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Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

6. Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

Spend the night in a treehouse at the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka and look for wildlife on an evening and early morning nature trek. Benefit from the expertise of a game ranger as your personal guide. Day 1: Following pick-up at your hotel, journey towards Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Tissamarama, head to the luxurious Leopard Nest campsite and check in to one of the treehouses. Enjoy lunch at the campsite's main restaurant or at one of the many outdoor locations before some time to relax. Get back to nature with an evening game drive and look for wildlife, such as leopards in their natural environment. Return to the campsite to freshen up before drinks and appetizers around the campfire. Dinner will be served at one of many locations throughout the camp. Day 2: Enjoy breakfast at a private location by a lake whilst listening to the singing of birds and feeling the fresh breeze. Start to trek through thick bushes with a pathway access to a wonderful lake which offers breath-taking views and bird watching opportunities.

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Luxury Camping and Safari Experience in Yala Park

7. Luxury Camping and Safari Experience in Yala Park

Embark on a glamping adventure at the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala. Upon arrival at Tissamarama, check into your luxurious campsite and get acquainted with the onsite amenities. Spend some free time relaxing and enjoy a delicious lunch at the campsite’s main restaurant or at one of the many outdoor locations. After your lunch it’s time to head out into the wilderness and immerse yourself in the fascinating natural landscape of Sri Lanka. On the game drive, look out for leopards and elephants in their natural environment and learn about these animals from your experienced guide. After your safari, head back to the campsite to freshen up before drinks and appetizers around the campfire. Dine on a BBQ dinner and mingle with the other guests as you talk about the wonders of the safari. Wake up early on the second day to freshly brewed local tea or coffee, then head out for another game drive to search for animals at their most active part of the day. After the drive, enjoy a tasty breakfast of freshly squeezed juices and seasonal fruit before check out at 11am and the return journey back.

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From Galle or Mirissa: Yala Safari with Lunch at Campsite

8. From Galle or Mirissa: Yala Safari with Lunch at Campsite

Get a great start to your day, with this tour collecting you from your hotel at 5:00 AM. Where you will then drive to the Yala National Park. Once at the park, hop into a Safari Jeep, for your exciting game drive.  Yala Park is situated in Sri Lanka's dry zone, made up of scrub jungles, water reservoirs, brackish lagoons, and riverine habitats. This diversity of landscapes makes it an ideal place for so many animals to live. This park has the highest population of leopards in one place in the world. No doubt you will see some elephants, with a herd of 300-350 wondering about the lands.  Enjoy at 12:00 PM, a 4 course lunch at Leopard Nest Campsite. Relax and compliment lunch with a beer. The tour will conclude after lunch, and begin heading back to your hotel, where you will arrive back at approximately 6:30 PM. 

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Yala National Park: Morning or Afternoon Game Drive

9. Yala National Park: Morning or Afternoon Game Drive

On the afternoon of your tour date, you will be picked up from your hotel in Yala or Tissamaharama and driven to the National Park. Start your game drive at Yala National Park. During this 3-hour game drive, you will be able to see elephants, spotted deer, sambars, hanuman langurs, toque monkeys, stripe-necked and ruddy mongooses, wild boar, golden jackals, land and water monitors and marsh Crocodiles in addition to leopards. The Sri Lankan leopard is also known to be the biggest of the eight-known species of leopards world over, except for Amur leopards. These leopards are more elusive because they’re primarily nocturnal in other countries but are easier to spot in Sri Lanka than any other place in the world. We provide light refreshments and water bottles during the safari.

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From Bentota: 2-Day Tour to Wild Wonders and Galle Fort

10. From Bentota: 2-Day Tour to Wild Wonders and Galle Fort

Day 1: Bentota-Weherahena-Yala Upon starting your journey at 4:00 AM from your hotel in Bentota, you will be met by your designated chauffeur guide. After exchanging formalities at your hotel, you will be escorted to your air-conditioned vehicle in which you will proceed to Yala. En-route, visit the Mirissa fisheries harbor, and partake in a whale watching tour. Whale watching in Mirissa is one of the most sought-after activities in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is one of the best places to spot blue whales after a short period of time from the harbor. Mirissa is one of the best places to see not only blue whales but also sperm whales and dolphins. Visit Weherahena Poorwarama Raja Maha Viharaya is situated in the Matara District of Sri Lanka, about 6 kilometers from Matara town. This unique temple is known as the first tunnel temple in the world. The temple hosts a massive 130-foot Buddha image that was built following the Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa eras. It also consists of all the main features of a Buddhist temple, such as the pagoda, a sacred bo-tree and a Samadhi Buddha statue. Following this tour, you will proceed to Yala National Park, one of the best national parks in the world to spot leopards. Here you find a large concentration of leopards in a small geographical area. Yala is home to many species of wild animals such as leopards, elephants, crocodiles, and monkeys.  Day 2: Yala-Galle-Hikkaduwa Early in the morning, you will proceed to Yala National Park to go on a lovely jeep safari. Yala National Park is the second largest on this island based off the southeastern coast of Sri Lanka. You will get a chance to see the famous Sri Lankan leopards, indigenous wild water buffalo, Sri Lankan Sloth Bears and large herds of Sri Lankan Elephants. The park is also home to many other species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. Later, visit the Galle Fortress and Hikkaduwa Beach. Galle Fortress is the best preserved Dutch fort in Asia, and it is one of the 7 UNESCO world heritage sites on the island. The Dutch Fort is a fortified city built in the 1600's and is home to hundreds of houses, palaces, shops, churches, museums, bars, pubs, hotels and much much more. On completion of this day, you will begin your journey back to your hotel in Hikkaduwa.

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Other Sightseeing Options in Yala National Park

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What people are saying about Yala National Park

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 28 reviews

We start at dawn and experience the awakening of nature. In the morning we saw single animals, apart from the elephants who were in a group, with two cubs. The landscape is very beautiful, all the various types of birds are fascinating. The courses have holes, but the cars used are suitable, the experienced and capable drivers warn each other as soon as one of them spots some animals or groups. Very difficult to see the leopard. Nice experience, also valid for those who want to take pictures. Excellent lunch, typical and genuine.

Sasangan was an excellent driver and guide through our safari in Yala National Park. He perfectly navigated some flooded and bumpy roads allowing us the smoothest ride possible. He was also excellent at spotting the animals, pointing them out to us, and telling us about them a bit. He even spotted a leopard for us and we were the first jeep that day to spot it! It was very exciting!

Booking process was very easy. We were picked up exactly on time and were the first at the gate when Yala opened. Our guide Yasanka asked what we were most interested in and made that the priority for the morning. We saw the leopard, elephants, black bear and crocodile along with water buffaloes and deer. Amazing.

Amazing trip! Brilliant English speaking guide that ensured I saw all the animals and easy transfers picked up directly from your hotel. Would definitely recommend to anyone wanting a brilliant day out.

The experience was great our driver was helpful and worked hard to show us the animals there. We were able to spot black bear, elephants, leopards, and lots of birds.