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Yala National Park

Yala National Park: Our most recommended tours and activities

Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

1. Yala National Park: Private Safari at Golden Hours

After being picked up from your hotel in the local area or Park Entrance you will enter Yala National Park to explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals. With your private 4WD Jeep and expert guide, the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day will be used to focus on leopard spotting, either the first 2 hours or the last 2 hours of the day. Throughout this safari, you will search for the world’s most concentrated number of leopards, sloth bears, and elephants, as your knowledgable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads. The morning tour will begin at 5am from your hotel, to take in sunrise as the park opens at 6am. Whilst the afternoon option allows you to explore from 2pm until sunset when the park closes at 6pm. Situated on Sri Lanka’s south-east, hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala is a wildlife sanctuary and home to 44 varieties of mammals and 215 bird species. Leopards, elephants, water buffalo, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted deer, peacocks, and crocodiles can all be found in this rich environment.

Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

2. Yala National Park All-Inclusive 2-Day Safari

Spend the night in a treehouse at the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka and look for wildlife on an evening and early morning nature trek. Benefit from the expertise of a game ranger as your personal guide. Day 1: Following pick-up at your hotel, journey towards Yala National Park in southeast Sri Lanka. Upon arrival at Tissamarama, head to the luxurious Leopard Nest campsite and check in to one of the treehouses. Enjoy lunch at the campsite's main restaurant or at one of the many outdoor locations before some time to relax. Get back to nature with an evening game drive and look for wildlife, such as leopards in their natural environment. Return to the campsite to freshen up before drinks and appetizers around the campfire. Dinner will be served at one of many locations throughout the camp. Day 2: Enjoy breakfast at a private location by a lake whilst listening to the singing of birds and feeling the fresh breeze. Start to trek through thick bushes with a pathway access to a wonderful lake which offers breath-taking views and bird watching opportunities.

From Ella: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari Tour

3. From Ella: Full-Day Yala National Park Safari Tour

Visit Ruhunu National Park and explore its 126,786 hectares including the Strict Natural Reserve (Block II). The most familiar is Block I, established in 1938. Yala is famous for its big herds and large number of elephants, leopards, spotted deer, sambhur, crocodiles, mongoose, wild boar, wild buffalo, and many other animals. More than 130 bird species are recorded, including the resident and winter visitors. Head to the National Park to take an afternoon safari around 1:00 PM, as the time of day when you can see leopards and sloth bears emerge out of the shady jungle and roam around. Head to great spots for birdwatchers. The water holes and tanks are a birdwatcher's paradise, offering the chance to see the famous peacock dance. For wildlife lovers, Yala is a must see site in Sri Lanka. Once you've finished your tour, return back to your hotel in Ella.

Sri Lanka: Yala National Park Private Safari

4. Sri Lanka: Yala National Park Private Safari

Enjoy the unspoiled natural beauty and amazing wildlife of Sri Lanka on a private safari through Yala National Park. Discover leopards, elephants, water buffalo, and more among tall trees, scenic lagoons and golden sand dunes. With the highest concentration of leopards of any national park in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is a great place for wildlife enthusiasts to get their fill. Catch a glimpse, and maybe some great photos, of these elusive predators. Watch elephants playfully bathing in the mud, and encounter other fascinating animals, including sloth bears, wild boars, spotted deer, and golden jackals. Check out the vast array of interesting birds. Keep your camera ready as you roam through these animals' natural habitat on this wonderful private safari through Yala National Park.

Mirissa, Weligama, or Galle: Transfer to Ella & Yala Safari

5. Mirissa, Weligama, or Galle: Transfer to Ella & Yala Safari

Combine a transfer from Mirissa, Weligama, or Galle to the town of Ella with the adventure of a Sri Lankan animal safari day trip. Experience the immense biodiversity in Yala National Park and stop for a delectable packed meal. Be picked up from your accommodation in Mirissa, Weligama, or Galle. Relax and take in the local scenery on the drive to Yala National Park. Board an an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views and photo angles. See the animals during the day when they are the most active. Watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalos, and a large variety of bird species. Get some great shots of these magnificent creatures. Hear about about the wildlife and get photography tips from your local guide. Let your guide show you the spots where the animals are likely to congregate. Have a nice packed meal before heading back to your air-conditioned car for the ride to your accommodation in Ella.

Galle/Unawatuna/Weligama/Mirissa: Yala National Park Safari

6. Galle/Unawatuna/Weligama/Mirissa: Yala National Park Safari

Your experience begins with a pickup from your hotel in either the Galle, Unawatuna, Weligama or Mirissa areas. From there, relax on your drive to Yala National Park. Upon arrival you'll go for a safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Other indigenous wildlife which are able to be spotted in this park includes sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, spotted deers, buffalo, wild boars, sambhur, and hare. Now the most-visited park in Sri Lanka, Yala is also an important nature reserve for 50 species of butterflies and many species of birds. After the safari, journey back to your point of origin to be dropped off back to your accommodation.

Luxury Camping and Safari Experience in Yala Park

7. Luxury Camping and Safari Experience in Yala Park

Embark on a glamping adventure at the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala. Upon arrival at Tissamarama, check into your luxurious campsite and get acquainted with the onsite amenities. Spend some free time relaxing and enjoy a delicious lunch at the campsite’s main restaurant or at one of the many outdoor locations. After your lunch it’s time to head out into the wilderness and immerse yourself in the fascinating natural landscape of Sri Lanka. On the game drive, look out for leopards and elephants in their natural environment and learn about these animals from your experienced guide. After your safari, head back to the campsite to freshen up before drinks and appetizers around the campfire. Dine on a BBQ dinner and mingle with the other guests as you talk about the wonders of the safari. Wake up early on the second day to freshly brewed local tea or coffee, then head out for another game drive to search for animals at their most active part of the day. After the drive, enjoy a tasty breakfast of freshly squeezed juices and seasonal fruit before check out at 11am and the return journey back.

Bentota: Yala National Park Safari Jeep Tour

8. Bentota: Yala National Park Safari Jeep Tour

Head off on a wildlife and nature adventure on a Jeep safari tour in Yala National Park. Keep an eye out for indigenous animals, including sloth bears, jackals, and more. Learn about Sri Lanka's most-visited park from your local guide. After your hotel pickup in Bentota, sit back and relax in your car as you make your way to Yala National Park. The park is Sri Lanka's second-largest wildlife park and an important nature reserve for around 50 butterfly species and many bird species. Upon arrival, embark on your safari drive by Jeep, keeping an eye out for local leopards and elephants in their natural habitat. Spot other indigenous animals, such as sloth bears, jackals, mongoose, axis deer, buffalos, wild boars, sambar deer, and hares. After the safari, journey back to Bentota to be dropped off back at your accommodation.

1-Day Tour of Both Yala and Udawalawe National Parks

9. 1-Day Tour of Both Yala and Udawalawe National Parks

Start the day with an early morning pickup at 5 AM from your hotel and make your way to Yala National Park, home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species. Meet your private guide and climb into a sturdy 4x4 vehicle. Enjoy sunrise at the park — the ‘Golden Hours’ of the day — and explore the light forests, scrubs, grasslands, lagoons, and magnificent range of animals Following the safari, there will be a picnic lunch before the drive to Udawalawe National Park. Arriving here in the afternoon allows you to explore from 2:30 PM until sunset when the park closes at 6 PM. Search for the world’s most concentrated number of elephants, spotted deer, jackals, wild boar, wild buffalo, crocodiles, and many other animals as your knowledgeable guide and driver expertly navigates the vast area and roads.   After the closure of the park, the trip concludes with a drop-off at your hotel.

From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle & Yala Safari Day Trip

10. From Ella: Transfer to Mirissa/Galle & Yala Safari Day Trip

Combine a transfer from Ella, Haputale, or Bandarawela from Mirissa or Galle with a thrilling day trip to Yala National Park. Experience the immense biodiversity of this park on this Sri Lankan animal safari and stop to eat a delectable packed meal. Be picked up from your accommodation in Ella, Haputale or Bandarawela. Relax and take in the local scenery on the drive to Yala National Park. Board an an open-topped safari jeep to get the best views and photo angles. See the animals during the day when they are the most active. Watch for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, crocodiles, monkeys, water buffalos, and a large variety of bird species. Get some great shots of these magnificent creatures. Hear about about the wildlife and get photography tips from your local guide. Let your guide show you the spots where the animals are likely to congregate. Have a nice packed meal before heading back to your air-conditioned car for the ride to your accommodation in Mirissa, Weligama, Unawatuna or Galle.

Other Sightseeing Options in Yala National Park

Want to discover all there is to do in Yala National Park? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Yala National Park

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 61 reviews

Nuwan was an excellent driver and guide. He was very knowledgeable about where to find the wildlife including the leopard. He also stuck to the lesser tracks rather than the main straight roads that run through the park that are far less scenic. Much better than the tour we had the previous day that we’d organised through our high-end hotel (which was also more expensive). Recommend morning over afternoon tour although you do see different wildlife and activity depending on time of day.

Amazing day combined with the convenience of a transfer to Ella! Picked up promptly at 5 AM, and driven to Yalla. The Safari was incredible! Our guide was amazing! He helped us spot tons of animals, and the most gorgeous scenery in the park! Our highlight was when he found us a leopard! So rare! We were so lucky! After the Safari, our driver took us to our hotel in Ella. Start to finish was approximately 8 hours. Highly recommend!

We had a very nice guide who went to a lot of trouble so that we could see all the animals once. But he always switched off the engine so that the animals would not be disturbed. I highly recommend the tour

Fantastic tour! Our driver tried very hard, we saw leopards, sloth bears and elephants despite the rainy season! 100% recommendation for this tour! :-)

Everything was great Picked up from the hotel Brought to the yala Ride along the yala Saw a leopard Arrived at the hotel in Galle