Did you know the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka has the highest density of leopards anywhere in the world? What this means is that you have a great chance of spotting these majestic creatures on a safari here!
Introducing Panthera Pardus Kotiya
The endemic Sri Lankan Leopard or “Panthera pardus kotiya” has a rusty yellow coloured coat with characteristic dark spots. Generally a solitary hunter, it is the island’s apex predator and has been listed as endangered.
Planning Your Excursion
Leopard spotting is best done early in the morning or later in the afternoon. It’s best to stay at a Yala hotel right near the park itself. Such hotels generally provide their own guided safaris which add to the convenience.
For a truly unique experience look to undertake a safari at night! One such experience you can try is the Infrared Night Drive offered at Cinnamon Wild Yala that features night vision goggles to spot leopards and other creatures of the night without disturbing them.
Best Times to Visit
Leopards may be spotted at Yala all year round, though the park is generally closed in September. May to August is usually the rainy season and you have a better chance of seeing leopards early morning. December to March marks the dry season and an afternoon leopard safari is ideal. Of course, the king of Sri Lanka’s jungle doesn’t follow a particular schedule so you never know when you may spot it!
The Bundala National Park is located in the Southeast of Sri Lanka. Of course the more frequented, Yala National Park is located in close proximity to it. But it is important to know the distinctness of the National Park in Bundala. It lives up to its status as a popular birding ground and attracts the quiet wanderer and the keen bird watcher. The National Park is said to be the home and temporary home of 197 species of bird. And you will not be disappointed because on merely one visit you are certain to spot over 50 species of bird. Cinnamon Wild Yala is amongst the Yala hotels, in the region that provide easy access to such national parks. If you are keen to spot more and more birds, you simply need to be an early riser.
Arrive at the park at 5.30 am, this is when these flighty beings relax in the watery areas of the park. Hop onto a rickety jeep at the entrance and make sure you request the assistance of a ‘bird tracker’. The fact that your tracker is immersed in his surroundings, gives him the ability to spot the birds of the area with far greater skill than you would imagine.
You will be surprised to find that the birds are quite accustomed to the noise of your rickety jeep. In fact, they crave some attention. Colourful Painted Stork, Asian Openbills, Spot-billed Pelicans , Black-headed Ibises and flocks of Greater Flamingos are a few birds that you will be able to spot in the park. You will be thrilled at the variety of birds and the great skill of your tracker in spotting these beautiful beings.
It is impossible to keep count of the birds you will spot and there are countless amounts at the Bundala National Park.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+