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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2018
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Must do things in Yala -Fascinating destination to explore unbelievable biodiversity in many forms

Home to the country's second largest national park Yala is a wildlife enthusiast's dream come true. Although most of Yala is made up of verdant parkland, it also consists of thick jungles, virgin beaches and freshwater lakes & rivers providing exotic backdrops for thrilling adventures in the wild. From safaris to cultural tours here are some top tourist activities in the holiday destination.

1

Yala Wildlife Sanctuary

As the country's most visited national park the Yala National Park is the central point of interest for all visitors vacationing in its namesake township. The 2nd largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka, Yala gives the island a 'wild' touch to it because it prides itself on being the site with the highest leopard density in the world. Offering wildlife enthusiasts the safari of a lifetime the park's organized tours takes visitors to the heart of the wilderness to witness the parks more than 44 mammal varieties and over 215 bird species. Among the most popular inhabitants of Yala are leopards, elephants, bears, and deer. Safari's inside the Yala National Park are either half or full day long but to be able to maximize your chances of spotting the most predatory species it is best to get started on your tour by the early hours of dawn. Safaris in the national park can be organized by Cinnamon Wild Yala and several other hotels in Yala Sri Lanka that are ideally located right nearby. The vehicle utilized in the safari is an open hooded jeep that affords excellent views of the many inhabitants of the national park. Most drivers are well versed with the park and its residents and hence also serve as a guide for inquisitive explorers.

2

Bird watching

For those with an admiration for nature and a love for animals, Yala is the best place to visit for nature watching. Being located in an arid climate, the National Park features various types of habitat types. Yala is a sanctuary for birds and the mere sound of mingled calls does wonders to the soul. For those who are planning to enjoy some bird watching or Avian photography, then October to April is a good time to visit as this is the winter period for the Northern hemisphere when Yala becomes the temporary home for a wide array of migratory birds.

3

Spiritual side of Yala

Mingled with all the wildlife is a strong culture and spirituality which gives plenty of essence to Yala. A tour of the Lunugamvehera Park is no less impressive than any wildlife safari encounter in the island. Easily accessible via Tissamaharama the sanctuary which opened its doors to the public in the mid 1990's serves as key habitat for the area's elephant and wildlife population as it provides a catchment region for the Lunugamvehera reservoir Sithulpawwa is one such location. With a name derived from 'Chittalapabbata' which means 'the hill of the quiet mind' this temple has for years been a sanctuary for meditating Buddhist monks. Kirinda Temple is another popular activity among seasoned visitors to Yala. Located at the edge of a rocky promontory overlooking the ocean the centuries old temple attracts pilgrims from across the country to its sacred grounds.

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