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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for 8 Tips to spot a Leopard in Yala - Keep your eyes open!
Joanna James Joanna James
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8 Tips to spot a Leopard in Yala - Keep your eyes open!

Though many visitors head to the Yala National Park to see the beautiful leopard, spotting one is by no means easy. Follow these tips to improve your chances at a sighting.


Choose the right guide

The right guide will be one of the deciding factors in whether you'll get to spot a leopard or not, as they know the rules to follow to spot these big cats. Book a tour with an experienced guide before your trip, don't rely on the guides offering their services at the park entrance. Some of the leading hotels in Yala may even have in-house guides or recommended guides for this purpose.


Book Multiple Game Drives

Many aren't lucky enough to spot a leopard as these beautiful animals are very rare and are careful to stay hidden. You can, however, improve your chances by spending more time in the park, which will require you to book more than one drive. You can try your chances at different times of the day, giving yourself time to rest in between.


Stay Alert and know where to look

Your guide can only look in one direction at a time, so they could miss signs of a leopard or even miss seeing a camouflaged animal. Stay on the lookout too, ask your guide what to look out for and keep your eyes peeled. You need to stay alert, a leopard could leap across the street or only be visible for a few seconds, and if you're distracted, you could miss the sighting.


Take Binoculars

Leopards can be well camouflaged in the grass or in the trees, especially when there is such a vast expanse of the jungle to look through. The leopard may also be quite far from the road if you do see one, so having a pair of binoculars at hand will help in both spotting the big cat as well as in getting a closer look if you do. If you have a pair, don't forget to pack it when visiting Yala.


Stay Quiet

The loud noise of flash photography will scare aware the leopard so not sure to stay quiet while on safari. After a long day of looking you may be tempted to exclaim in joy when you finally spot one, but resist the temptation, and watch the animal in silence. It may begin to get difficult to stay silent when the search for feeling tedious and frustrating, but watch the scenery and other wildlife in detail to keep from getting bored.


Dress Appropriately

In addition to choosing colours that will keep you blended into your surroundings, dress appropriately for the climate. Wear comfortable and cool clothes for the drive, preferably cotton and other thin fabrics, and don't forget a hat or cap. Avoid bright colours, you don't have to buy expensive khaki gear for the trip, but avoid colours that will stand out in the environment.


Visit in the dry season

The Leopard is more active in the dry season and so is more likely to be out and about in these months. They are also more likely to come out to drink water at the large water holes during these months, making spotting one more likely.


Don't be too optimistic

There is, unfortunately, no guarantee that you will, in fact, be able to spot a leopard during your visit, so don't be too set on it, to avoid disappointment. Make sure you don't make your entire trip about obsessing over the leopard, if you're staying at a place like Cinnamon Wild Yala there will be so many other adventures to try, so take the time to enjoy them as well.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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