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Updated by Maggie Tulliver (Umanga Kahandawaarachchi) on Aug 28, 2015
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Things To Do In Yala - Top Activities in the wilds of Yala

Home to the country's second largest national park Yala is a wildlife enthusiast's dream come true. From safaris to cultural tours here are some top tourist activities in the holiday destination.

1

Wildlife Safari in Yala National Park

Wildlife Safari in Yala National Park

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. Spread out across a vast space of 979 square kilometres the verdant natural enclave is the country's second largest wildlife sanctuary. 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. Divided in to several zones leopards and elephants are not the only majestic creatures that call this expansive parkland home as countless other mammals including Sri Lankan Sloth Bear are frequently spotted on safari excursions. The Secret Yala and other resorts offering packages for Yala safari Sri Lanka are ideal bases for vacationers in the area.

2

Tour Lunugamvehera National Park

Tour Lunugamvehera National Park

Another must-experience activity for holidaymakers based in 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. Sprawled across nearly 23,500ha the park's impressive list of inhabitants includes 43 mammal species, 21 fish varieties, 33 types of reptiles and 183 bird species. Known as the best venue to spot Sri Lankan Sambar Deer and Sri Lankan Axis Deer in the wild the area is also home to countless Spot-billed Pelicans, Black-headed Ibis and Painted Storks.

3

Discover Lahugala

Discover Lahugala

Although it is one of the smaller national parks in the country the Lahugala Kitulana National Park is another wildlife hub worthy of exploration. Occupying a total area of 1554ha the part is a key area of the 'Elephant Corridor' in the island. A popular gathering point for the gentle giants the Beru grass and three water tanks in the park makes it the preferred haunt for elephants and other wildlife. Visitors trekking across the park should also stopover at the Magula Maha Viharaya, an ancient Buddhist shrine in the park which is connected to the local legend of Vihara Maha Devi. Palace ruins are also found in the area as are other ancient remnants and a moonstone.

4

Explore Kirinda Temple

Explore Kirinda Temple

Tipped to be one of the island's most picturesquely located temples a trip to 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.

5

Rural Village Walking Tour

Offering visitors a glimpse at Yala's pastoral landscapes and the traditional communities that occupies its confines a walk across the area's coconut groves and paddy fields is another relaxing activity holidaymakers can enjoy while on vacation.

6

Jeep Tours

Jeep Tours

Perfect for adventure junkies with a flair for four by fours jeep tours of Yala's best attractions are also organized by hotels, resorts and tour operators in the area.

7

Cycling Excursions

Taking in the sights at one's own pace cycling enthusiasts can take a scenic tour of Yala and its farming regions. Biking past the lake and fishing communities occupying its fringes tourists can also get a closer look at rural village life on a cycling tour around Yala.