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Updated by Joanna James on Jun 23, 2019
Headline for Things to see and do in Yala National Park - A wildlife adventure awaits the nature enthusiast in you
Joanna James Joanna James
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Things to see and do in Yala National Park - A wildlife adventure awaits the nature enthusiast in you

Yala National Park is the most famous national park in Sri Lanka, offering a plethora of wildlife for you to see and several other activities to engage in.


Spot a leopard!

The Sri Lankan leopard is the most renowned resident you’ll find in Yala National Park; however, these animals are not easy to spot as they are the most secretive of the large carnivores. The Sri Lankan leopard is one of the largest subspecies of leopard found in the world, due to the lack of other large cats which puts the leopard on top of the food chain. Yala supports the highest concentration of leopards in the world. When you plan your tour with Cinnamon Nature Trails, make sure you keep an eye out for these beasts!



It’s been recorded that over 400 species of birds, including 33 that are endemic, are found in Yala. The number of water birds that surround the wetlands of Yala is around 90, out of which half are migrant birds. The wetlands of Yala, shallow lagoons and coastline make the area a reliable place to view the variety of birdlife. If you visit the park in the early hours of the morning, you’re likely to spot the bird as they emerge from the scrub around you.



Since the park is heavily protected, camping within the park is not possible, however, there are camps nestled in the park’s buffer zone. You’ll be given a 20 x 20 ft. land to build your temporary dwellings and the campsites are open for any bookings of not more than 3 days. If you are planning on camping at Yala, you must be fully aware of the rules of the park, while strictly adhering to them. The mobile camp at Yala moves every season in order to protect the environment.


Beach Walks

Yala has a long coastal stretch, however, most of the coast that hugs the park is out of bounds for humans. There are certain parts that you have access to, giving you the chance to exercise your legs and take a stroll! The primary beach that was open to the public was hit by the Tsunami, and the remnants of the destruction will give you a moment of reflection and solitude.


Wildlife Safaris

While most people visit Yala for the leopards, there are numerous other wildlife encounters that you’re bound to experience. The park is split into five sectors, out of which two are open to visitors. Sloth bears are elusive creatures; however, your guide will be able to spot their claw marks left on the trees. The elephants are hard to miss, as they trample through the scrub in groups. You’ll also spot crocodiles sunbathing, and deer and jackals emerging from the undergrowth. It’s important to remember however that you’re not bound to spot every animal when you’re on any Sri Lanka wildlife tours, it is the uncertainty that makes this experience an adventurous one.

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