Safari in Yala National Park

One of my bucket list dreams landed me in Sri Lanka. That and the flight was cheap.After all- who doesn’t want to experience a Safari. I didn’t really know what to expect from my Safari in Sri Lanka. After all most people plan to take a trip to Africa to do such a thing.

We stayed in Tissa just a few kilometres from Yala. To get here we took the local bus for 3 hours from Ella. After a heap of research we found a newly open villa lodge. The hotel was small and family run. I love staying in smaller places. You get more of a personal service and we’ve found the rooms are cleaner. We stayed in Wild Breeze, our room was great, only costing around $25 a night. The other key factor that made me want to book here was that they also ran their own Safari. No hassle and a great price.

We checked into our accommodation and decided to do an afternoon safari and a full day one the following day. In our minds this gave us even more chances to see these wild animals.

Yala National Park is the 2nd largest national park in Sri Lanka. Situated in in the south – east of the island hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean. The park covers over 700 square kilometres. It’s safe to say that you will not make it around the whole park. But being that big leaves plenty space for the animals.

Yala National Park is home to a total of 32 species of mammals.The threatened species included the sloth bear, leopard, elephant, water buffalo and more. The bird life is incredible with over 130 species found.

Our full day began at 6.30am. We drove to the national park and were on the lookout for some wildlife. Being met with water buffaloes and crocodiles shortly after we entered. The Jeeps are a comfortable way to travel around. Bare in mind if you have a good drive – who is communicating with others to find the animals, you will be going rather fast. After all the animals are wild and may only appear for a few moments. We loved the ride around the park. It was exciting, you never knew what was around the next turn. Sometimes nothing.

We were incredibly lucky on our day safari. Our driver was passionate and dedicated. He wanted us to see everything. We saw groups of elephants, some drinking and playing. Monkeys running down the road and climbing the trees. He even managed to find a sloth bear – that was my highlight. On route to the exit our driver got a call saying a leopard had been spotted. He quickly turned around and raced to the location just so we could get a glimpse. There was a leopard just relaxing on a rock overlooking the jungle.

For me seeing animals in their natural settings was incredible. Don’t forget that these are wild animals and you are not guaranteed to see them. A big thank you to Gihan from Yala safari for making our Safari something that we will never forget.

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