I have always wanted to go on a safari and see exotic wild animals. In my dreams I pictured going to Safari in Africa, but after reading about the safari opportunities in Sri Lanka I was sold – Safari in Yala National Park here we come!
We were only on our fourth day in Sri Lanka, staying outside of Unawatuna, and it was a loooong way from Unawatuna to Yala National Park (basically on the other coast side of the island). As we sat in our rental car with our Sri Lankan driver and he told us that the trip to the Park would take 3 hours, it occurred to us that we had done sloppy research and should probably have waited with the safari until we got a bit closer to Yala. Well, well, it was a really nice car trip to the Park, most of it along the beautiful southern coast of the island.
There are two times each day for entrance into the Yala National Park; 6 am in the morning or 2 pm in the afternoon. As the non-earlybirds we are, we chose the 2 pm time….. 🙂
Once we got to the small town Tissa, we joined the organised safari which our hotel in Unawatuna had pre-booked. The only way to visit the Park is as part of a Safari in one of their Jeeps. We got a Jeep all to ourselves and had a really nice driver who managed to spot animals that were impossible to see, at least for us non-trained-animal-spotters.
The entrance to the Park is about 21 km from Tissa town.
Once inside, the landscape opened up into a beautiful scenery of lakes, open patches of grasslands, jungle and complete silence and peacefulness!
We saw a lot of different animals, here are some of them:
The animals we saw most of were deer, heaps of deer. Really beautiful white spotted deer. Some of them were even together with monkeys.
4. Wild pigs
It is apparently around 300 elephants in Yala National Park. They tend to be a bit shy, and keep away from the most visited parts of the park, but luckily we saw some.
Around 215 species of birds have been recorded at Yala, many of them are visitors here escaping the cold winters in the north part of the world. Maybe some of these have flown all the way from Norway?!
The roads around the park were pretty bumpy and dusty.
Towards the end of the of the safari trip, we stopped at a breathtaking deserted beach where we were allowed to walk around. Really nice after a couple of hours in the Jeep vehicles on the bumpy roads.
After a lovely day in the park, we drove back to Tissa town in the sunset.
One animal we did not see, even though this is one of the world`s best parks for spotting it, was the leopard. There are apparently around 25 leopards in this park, but we saw 0 :(.
We really enjoyed our day at Yala! A safari trip to Yala National Park is well worth a visit!
We used the Lonely Planet`s Sri Lanka travel guide on our trip, which we love. You can get that and other great books by clicking on the pictures below:
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Do you dream of going on Safari? Would you like to go on Safari in Sri Lanka or Africa? Which of these 6 animals would you like to see the most? We`d love to hear your opinion in the comment area below! If you like this blog post, and find it useful, please share and like it on social media! Thank you so much! 🙂