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Updated by Joanna James on Mar 12, 2018
Headline for 05 Best Activities to Do in Yala – Get a Taste of Wilderness...
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Joanna James Joanna James
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05 Best Activities to Do in Yala – Get a Taste of Wilderness...

The Yala National Park is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka, with a diverse collection of wildlife species including Sri Lankan leopards, elephants, and birds.

1

Yala Jeep Safari

The best and most exciting wild life journey that you can ever experience in Sri Lanka is the Yala jeep safari. The guided tours on sturdy four wheels will take you through the best adventure of your life. The Yala National Park, which is rich in its wildlife with more than 44 mammal species and many other animal species including reptiles, amphibians, and birds, gives a good chance to spot at least a few unique animals wandering freely in their natural habitats. This is one of the places that have the highest population of Sri Lankan leopards, which is generally a rare animal to spot. The wide variety of habitats found in the Yala National Park such as grasslands, wetlands, thorn forests, and beaches account for the species diversification in the area. Many of the hotels in Yala Sri Lanka provide facilities for tourists to enjoy a jeep safari. A few of them like Cinnamon Wild Yala offer even more exciting night safaris using advanced night vision technologies.

2

Camping at Yala

The Yala National Park has a few wildlife bungalows and associate campsites where you can spend up to three nights in the wild. The bungalows provide some basic facilities but are more close to open space accommodation. The campsites can occupy a group of 10 adults and 2 children below the age of six at one go, but only one tent is allowed to be put up at the site. Any additional tents will require being put up at an extra cost. No permanent constructions are permitted within the site and the campers are strictly advised to maintain the natural and clean environment at all times.

3

Bird Watching

If you start an early day at Yala National Park, chances are high that you will walk into a birds' paradise. With more than 215 bird species flying around, this park is one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Sri Lanka. There are 6 endemic bird species, including the Sri Lanka jungle fowl, Sri Lanka grey hornbill, Sri Lanka wood pigeon, black-capped bulbul, brown-capped babbler, and crimson-fronted barbet. Out of the 90 water bird species, half are migrant birds like Indian cormorant, Eurasian spoonbill, and black-headed ibis. The most attractive bird in the park is the peacock with its elaborate tail made of vibrant feathers.

4

Beach Walks and Site Seeing

Yala sanctuary is bordered by a stretch of golden beach but sadly most of it is out of bounds for humans. The few places that are open for visitors make an ideal stop to have a leisurely walk in the evenings. If you are looking for something more than bird watching and animal watching, there are a few interesting sites within the park that you can visit. One is the Situlpawwa rock temple with a chain of rock caves, pagodas, ponds, and other architectural structures belonging to the 2nd century BC. The other one is the Magul Maha Viharaya located close to Situlpawwa, which is believed to be the place where the brave Princess Vihara Maha Devi married King Kavanthissa.

5

Nearby Attractions

There are some other attractions close to Yala National Park. The Great and Little Basses Reefs are ideal for whale watching, dolphin watching, and sea diving. Kataragama is a famous pilgrims' city with attractions like Kiri Vehera, Menik Ganga, Murugan Kovil, and Sella Kataragama. Bundala is a nearby bird sanctuary with great species diversity. The three lakes Debaraweva, Tissa, and Weeravila are also a good sight to see.