A tour will definitely be incomplete without a wildlife adventure in Sri Lanka. There are a total of 26 national parks to explore the rich wildlife in the wonder of Asia, Sri Lanka. And Yala National Park is the most popular one. It was a great pleasure to go for three-hour jeep safari tour at Yala National Park which located in the southeast part of Sri Lanka in Southern and Uva Province.
Yala is the second largest (almost 130,000 hectares) national park in Sri Lanka. This park established in 1938 but declared as ‘Wildlife Sanctuary’ in 1900. There are almost 44 types of mammal, and 215 collections of the bird inside the Yala National Park. Here best to explore many wild animals, but popular for Leopard, Asian Elephant, Deer, Water Buffalo, Crocodile, and many Aquatic Birds.
Table of Contents
Yala Safari To Explore Wildlife of Sri Lanka
Tissamaharama & Neem Villas Hotel
To visit Yala National Park, I traveled by road from Ella to Tissamaharama.
Tissamaharama is a small town in Hambantota District in Southern Province. On the way to Tissamaharama, you might see Tortoise, and Iguana on the road. It was interesting!
The beautiful road of Tissamaharama
Tortoise while crossing the road
Also, I loved to explore Tissa Wewa Lake and one beautiful Stupa which known as Tissamaharama Stupa in Tissamaharama.
Tissa Wewa Lake
But it is also possible to visit Yala by road from Ratnapura District. Even you can fly with Cinnamon Air (weekly one flight) from Colombo to Hambantota to enjoy Sri Lanka safari tour at Yala National Park.
One night I had stayed at Neem Villas Hotel in Tissamaharama, very near to the park. There are many Neem trees inside the hotel. It was really amazing to stay very close to nature at Neem Villas Hotel.
Neem Villas Hotel
Jeep Safari Tour & Yala National Park
Before sunrise one must have to start for a jungle safari tour at Yala National Park. Else you have to face a long queue nearby the park. Yes, Yala is also the most visited national park in Sri Lanka. The only way to explore inside the park is to hire a private jeep. And have to collect entrance ticket from the gate.
Either you can go for a group tour or solo also possible. Per ticket (for an adult) will cost you nearly 28$ (4260 LKR) and for the jeep, you have to pay 35$-40$ (5000-6000 LKR). Remember the cost might vary.
Jeep Safari at Yala National Park
There are many tour companies to operate jeep safari tour at Yala. The authority of most of the hotels also helps to arrange a jeep safari tour even solo apart from a group tour with family or friends at Yala National Park. If you’re traveling with kids no worries, they’ll love this place and find here more fun.
The climate is almost dry at Yala, so the best time to visit in the dry season. And the perfect time between February to April.
Palatupana is the most popular entrance and known as the Gate No. 2 to take an entry inside the Yala National Park. To explore the Block 1 at Yala under Southern Province, this gate is perfect for all kinds of visitors and tourists.
And the Gate No. 2 (Katagamua Entrance) is only allowed for pilgrims, those travel for sacred purposes.
Though there are total 5 Blocks inside the park, only Block 1 (Ruhuna National Park) and Block 2 (Kumana National Park) is open for all.
I took an entry through the Palatupana Gate to explore Ruhuna National Park. And during that time the sun was just rising. And the view was simply terrific.
Sunrise Moment at Yala National Park
The largest land of Yala National Park is covered with jungles, lakes, ponds, lagoons, grasslands, and tanks. There is also one beautiful beach, where you’ll love the extreme beauty of the Indian Ocean and the famous Elephant Rock.
Yala National Park
The Indian Ocean from Yala National Park
The total area of Block 1 is nearly 34,000 hectares and can be found 50 elephants, 15-20 leopards and a large number of deer, and water buffalos.
During three hours safari, I saw different mammals to reptiles, and birds, but couldn’t see Leopard. I came to know it is not much common to see Leopard and Asian Elephant.
Apart from Leopard, I have seen Deer, Asian Elephant, Crocodile, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, Monkey, Iguana.
Actually, as it is a jungle safari tour, you can not always predict to see all animals. It causes much sound pollution while passing through the road and if any animal comes out of the jungle, then you can be lucky enough to see them. Sometimes you also need to wait.
But what I really loved most is that here at Yala National Park all animals and birds are so protected and in the meantime so free. Various wild animals and birds can freely move around at Yala. They are living together happily.
Deers, Crocodile, and Great Egret
I truly loved to watch many types birds from Migratory to Aquatic at Yala National Park. You can find here different types of egrets. There are many male and female peacocks as well.
Yala National Park is also recognized as Important Bird Area or IBA in Sri Lanka. As there are many many collections of the bird at Yala.
I had watched Great Egret, Green Bee-eater, Red-wattled Lapwing, Black-headed Ibis, Kingfisher, and Parrot. I was surprised to see one Peacock on the top of the tree. There is also Jungle Fowl (national bird of Sri Lanka) at Yala National Park.
There is one lake covered with many Water Hyacinth Flowers. I think the favorite place for many Migratory birds. And the remote view of the Elephant Rock from this lake is simply mind-blowing.
Water Hyacinth flowers and Elephant Rock
Yala Beach & Elephant Rock
I believe Yala Beach working as a bonus attraction at Yala National Park for tourists. I never thought that I’ll be walking through a beachside and enjoy the pristine beauty of the Indian Ocean at Yala. Simply the moment at Yala Beach was priceless.
Only here you can get down from the jeep for 15-20 minutes and had your packed breakfast before exploring Yala Beach. You can also get public toilets here to be refreshed.
The whole area is so picturesque for the beautiful Elephant Rock, sandy beach, and the ocean. And also you will enjoy nature photography here.
In the entire Yala Safari, who else will not love photography? Yes, you’ll completely enjoy wildlife photography and play with your camera at Yala National Park.
All of my wildlife photos were captured with Nikon Coolpix P600. Normally I don’t like zooming much but here I enjoyed to use the power of optical zoom with my Nikon camera.
A herd of Deers
Yala National Park has been damaged much by the Tsunami in 2004. But still you can find here the highest visitors, and tourists those love adventure. The whole environment inside the park nicely maintained by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka. No illegal activities, including hunting prohibited.