Yala National Park is renowned for its leopard population & a host of other appealing mammals. However, timing your visit is crucial to your prospects, and provided is a guide to help you plan better.
May to June
This is when you are able to tour and enjoy the wonders of Yala at one’s own pace owing to it being the dry season which in turn, does not see too many tourists around.
July to August
Adventure seekers will stand a far better chance of delighting in animal sightings but would have to deal with increasing crowds as a result of the European summer holidays. Thus, if you’re not a fan of waiting for your turn to catch a glimpse of that elusive leopard or elephant, then it is best to avoid these two months.
September to October
Although the reserve closes its doors to the public come September which extends up until the middle of October, the last two weeks of October are excellent to head out as you are likely to stumble upon varying species of mammals and even crocodiles and peacocks.
November to March
Though one will be confronted with the risk of downpours in November, fewer crowds are ably complemented by outstanding sightings that will have you reaching out for your camera at almost every turn. Undoubtedly, the most popular period for a visit is between December to March for Yala National Park is frequented by locals and foreign nationals alike eager to embrace its magical vibes. Ardent birdwatchers, especially those residing at Kithala Resort which is a preferred Tissamaharama hotel will discover that November through February is prime season as this is when numerous species of migratory birds descend over Yala.
The well-known Yala National Park in Sri Lanka would be a delight for nature and wildlife enthusiasts; if you undertake a safari here, you would have the opportunity to spot many kinds of enthralling wildlife to be seen here.
Undoubtedly, the Sri Lankan elephant would be a highlight at Yala National Park, with as many as 300 to 350 of them residing here. You will see these magnificent creatures roaming around or bathing in waterholes and lagoons. An accommodation choice to consider from which you could easily experience the Yala wildlife and which will help to organise safaris would be the appealingly located Cinnamon Wild Yala.
You will find that Yala National Park boasts the greatest density of leopards to be found anywhere in the world. These majestic creatures, which are Sri Lanka’s apex predators, feed mainly on wild boar and deer and could often be spotted in lowlands and scrubland. Keep in mind that morning and dusk would be the best times for spotting leopards at Yala.
The Sri Lankan sloth bear would be another intriguing creature that could be spotted at Yala National Park. These bears have shaggy thick fur, a long snout and a head similar in shape to that of a dog. These creatures feed mainly on termites, ants, various fruits, honeycombs, nuts, plants and rodents and are great to photograph.
Yala is also renowned for the engrossing kinds of birds to be found within it. Birdwatching enthusiasts would have the opportunity to spot varieties like the blue-tailed bee-eater, peacock, painted stork, grey heron and so on. Of particular interest would be endemic species of birds including the Sri Lanka junglefowl, Sri Lanka grey hornbill and crimson-fronted barbet.
Situated in the Central Province, surrounded by the Knuckles and Hunnasgiriya mountain ranges, Kandy enjoys a colder climate, making it the ideal trail for hiking enthusiasts.
Mutukeliyawa View Point
If you have gone through the list of all the things to do in Kandy, you may be looking to step out of your comfort zone. However, it is understood that not everyone considers hiking for hours at an end fun. Thus, this hike is ideal for novices, as it can be completed in under 3 hours.
Hantana to Galaha
If you are looking to burn some calories after a hearty breakfast at a property such as Hotel Topaz, then consider embarking on the first stage of the Pekoe trail. This is another easy trail that is ideal for newcomers. This hike starts at the Ceylon tea museum at the Hantana estate, which is a must-visit.
While this is a popular hiking trail, it is more suitable for experienced hikers as the final steps of the journey involve a steep slope that is difficult to navigate.
This hike is open to anyone as it is relatively easy, and offers a breathtaking view. From the top, you would be able to observe both the Victoria reservoir and the Knuckles mountain range, which is absolutely worth the 1-kilometre hike.
The water sports scene in Bentota warrants checking out where you can take turns going diving, enjoying some banana boating and even a quiet yet engaging snorkelling expedition.
Comb the very depths of the ocean floor in search of an array of colourful marine mammals that inhabit the waters off Bentota during a snorkelling trip. Considered a good way to kick off your adventurous pursuits in this section of Sri Lanka, one may avail of professional expertise that will see to it that you are well placed to enjoy the brilliance of what the ocean will reveal to you.
Suiting those in groups, banana boating will have you clinging on for dear life to the person seated in front of you. This is because the banana-shaped vessel that you will be riding can easily throw you off as the power of the speedboat and the waves can combine in sending you the odd curveball.
Satisfy your cravings for the ocean in no uncertain manner with a riveting dive. When in the water, you will come into contact with coral reefs that showcase a cross-section of fish whose varying hues, shades and sizes will leave you in awe. Given the diving centres around town, you can pick and choose from beginner courses, advanced courses to even those that would attract the little ones.
Bring along your adventurous spirit and a will to succeed en route to trying your hand at some water skiing. If based at one of the 5-star hotels in Bentota such as the Cinnamon Bentota Beach, then you will have ease of access to Bentota River. This water body provides a conducive environment for you to perfect your balance on a ski and be towed by boat as you glide through the water with impeccable accuracy.
If you’re looking for a challenging yet rewarding trekking experience, Hanthana Mountain is a must-visit destination. With its rugged terrain, stunning views, and diverse flora and fauna, this mountain offers an unforgettable adventure for hikers of all levels.
Getting to Hanthana Mountain
Hanthana Mountain is located just a few kilometres from the city of Kandy, making it easily accessible for visitors staying at properties likes Hanthana Boutique Villa by Amaya. To reach the mountain, take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the trailhead at the University of Peradeniya. From there, it’s a steep climb to the summit, so make sure you’re prepared with sturdy shoes, water, and snacks.
The trek up Hanthana Mountain takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on your pace and fitness level. It is one of the most popular things to do in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The trail is well-marked and offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including tea plantations, waterfalls, and wildlife. Along the way, you’ll encounter several rest stops where you can take a break, refuel, and enjoy the scenery.
Flora and Fauna
Hanthana Mountain is home to a diverse range of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. Keep an eye out for sambar deer, purple-faced langurs, and a variety of bird species, including the endemic Sri Lanka junglefowl. The mountain is also known for its rare and endangered plant species, such as the Hanthana blueberry and the Hanthana tree fern.
Cultural and Historical Sites
In addition to its natural beauty, Hanthana Mountain is also home to several cultural and historical sites. Near the summit, you’ll find the ruins of an ancient temple and a cave that was once used by Buddhist monks for meditation. These sites offer a glimpse into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage and are well worth a visit.
The Yala National Park is a designated wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka and is well known for its diverse range of flora and fauna, including leopards, elephants, and crocodiles. If your holiday itinerary includes a visit to the Yala National Park, be sure to take a peek at these nearby wonders.
Ruhuna National Park
This is the most visited area in the Yala National Park and is known for its high density of leopards. Ruhuna National Park, also known as Area 1 is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including elephants, spotted deer, and peacocks.
Kumana National Park
Counting the number of things to do in Yala? Why not pay a visit to Kumana National Park, once known as Yala East? Located in the southeast part of Sri Lanka, Kumana National Park is known for its wide range of bird species, including migratory birds from Europe and Asia. It is also home to elephants, crocodiles, and several species of deer.
Located on the coast of Yala National Park and only a 15-minute ride away from Cinnamon Wild Yala, Palatupana is a coastal town with beaches of clear, turquoise waters and white sandy shores. It’s a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing, and is also a great place to spot a variety of sea creatures, including dolphins and whales.
Situlpawwa Magul Maha Vihara
This ancient Buddhist temple is located within Yala National Park and is a popular spot for visitors interested in the park’s cultural history. The temple is surrounded by the lush green jungle and is a peaceful spot to take a break from the rest of the park.
Located approximately 22km from Yala National Park, this ancient Buddhist monastery is built on a beautiful rock. It’s a peaceful spot for meditation and contemplation and would be the ideal visit for those who appreciate a touch of spirituality in their vacation.
There are many reasons why Kandy, the hill capital of Sri Lanka, is considered one of the best locations for trekking. Kandy is surrounded by beautiful mountains, waterfalls, and forests with diverse flora and fauna. The city is also home to cultural attractions and can be reached easily from other major cities in Sri Lanka. What’s more? Kandy is considered a safe destination for travellers; this makes it the perfect location for an unforgettable trekking adventure. Here are several tips to keep in mind when planning your trek in Kandy.
Wear Comfortable, Sturdy Shoes
Trekking in Kandy can involve walking over rough terrain, so it’s essential to have shoes that can protect your feet from rough areas and provide good support. If you want to be on the safe side, opt for hiking shoes; this will help you navigate various locations with ease.
Ensure to bring only the essentials and leave any unnecessary items at home; this will help you to travel to various locations in Kandy more comfortably and enjoy exciting things to do in Sri Lanka as you traverse the area. Bring a backpack with you with a few water bottles and some snacks.
Wear Protective Clothing
Depending on the weather and the type of trek you are doing, it may be wise to bring protective clothing such as a rain jacket or sunscreen. Kandy observes both the rainy season and the sunny season. So, make sure to prepare yourself in advance. If you want to travel to Kandy safely and quickly, useCinnamon Air.
Protect the Environment
Remember to protect the natural environment and take steps to minimize your impact – this may include disposing of trash properly or avoiding disturbing wildlife. Be an environmentally conscious traveller and preserve the environment for younger generations.
It is no secret that Sri Lanka is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. If you are looking for something more exciting than just lazing by the beach, here are some thrilling water sports to try while holidaying in this tropical paradise.
Home to a host of natural reefs and sunken ships, Sri Lanka is a hotspot for divers. You can choose between dive stations offering easy dives and those offering full PADI certifications. Some of the most famous scuba diving destinations in and around the island may include Unawatuna, Mirissa, Kalpitiya, Trincomalee and Hikkaduwa.
The rippling ocean waves in this tropical paradise are ideal for surf lovers. Considered one of the best things to do in Sri Lanka for some fun under the sun, there is no reason to be discouraged if you are still an amateur in the sport, simply because there is a host of places offering surf lessons to level up your skills. With waves that can be surfed all year round, next time you are holidaying on the island, make sure you ride these swelling waves.
With ample rivers, lakes and rainwater tanks scattered across the island, Sri Lanka is one of the best destinations to have a fun kayaking expedition. As you paddle across the river, you are bound to encounter exotic wildlife not to mention plenty of exquisite flora, you have never seen before. Interestingly, if you are staying at a beach resort belonging to the famous chain Amaya resorts & spa, a range of water sports including kayaking expeditions can be easily arranged at your convenience.
White water rafting
As dangerous as it may sound, white water rafting is one of the most exciting watersports to be enjoyed. As long as you are above the age of 10 years and are equipped with all the safety gear, you meet all the requirements to try this watersport. Kithulgala would be one of the best places to try this thrilling sport.
Being one of the biggest national parks in Sri Lanka, a visit to Yala National Park is a must if you are ever on vacation on this charming island. Here are some of the highlights.
Yala National Park
Spanning a total area of 900 sq km, Yala National Park is easily one of the most enormous national parks in Sri Lanka. This exotic sanctuary was once a popular hunting ground for the British but now claims to have the highest leopard density in Asia whilst sheltering a host of other fauna the likes of sloth bears, deer, crocodiles and exotic bird species.
What to see and do
The Yala National Park tops as a hotspot for spotting leopards. Hop on board a 4 x 4 safari ride with binoculars in your hand during dawn or dusk to catch these inimitable animals in action. Whilst catching a glimpse of leopards has become a coveted attraction among travellers, there is a host of other wildlife to be seen amidst these exotic savannahs. During a ride along this wildlife sanctuary, you can easily spot some sloth bears, ample endemic birds emerging out of mangroves and elephants roaming across the land.
Hotspots for Accommodation
From small boutique hotels and eco-friendly villas to opulent hotels and retreats by the jungle, you are spoilt for accommodation choices when holidaying in Yala. Amongst the top-notch accommodation spots in the area, a Yala hotel the likes of Cinnamon Wild Yala is indeed a wise pick for the hotel is kin to camping in the wild except with luxurious amenities brought to your arms.
Best time to go on safari
The dry season from February to June is the idyllic time to go on a safari in this exotic wildlife paradise. With water levels decreasing, there is ample opportunity to witness wild animals emerging out of their habitats in search of water. The park also boasts a serene year-round temperature of 29°C and only experiences heavy showers during the months from September to December.
Sri Lanka is home to many wildlife parks, and Yala is one such popular park that is also UNESCO recognised. If you want to travel deep into the forests and take a closer look at the wildlife, Yala is the ideal destination for you. Planning to visit Yala National Park for the first time? This guide is for you.
How to Get There!
Yala National Park can only be accessed through Tissamaharama City. You can get to the city via a bus or your private vehicle. Before you visit the park, it is best to leave your belongings at one of the Yala hotelsyou choose for accommodation and travel light. Leopard Safaris Yala can be an ideal destination to save your travel time.
What to See!
This gigantic park stretches from the jungles to the beach and is divided into five blocks. You are only allowed to explore blocks 1 and 5, and the rest remains close to the public to leave the wildlife as undisturbed as possible. Elephants, leopards, deer, crocodiles, monkeys, and buffalos are some commonly sighted animals, while you can also see a range of birds.
When to Go!
The dry season for the area falls between February to June, and this is the best time to visit the park. You can easily spot animals as they frequently gather at ponds to drink water. If leopards are who you’re excited to see, February and March are the ideal months to visit Yala. The park is usually closed in September, but you can visit any day of the year for affordable rates.