Elusive leopards, majestic elephants, dancing peacocks, playful black bears, a lone wild buffalo, ferocious crocodiles, herds of spotted deer, and over 200 species of wild birds are but a few of the attractions that bring thousands of foreign and local travelers to the Yala National Park in the South of Sri Lanka every year.
The Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It consists of five blocks, three of which are now open to the public. Yala was designated as a national park in 1938, and, along with Wilpattu was one of the first two national parks in the country.
The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. The leopard is one of the main attractions at the Yala National Park. The spotted creature’s success in the wild is due to its well camouflaged fur that blends in well with its surroundings. Even skillful trackers sometimes miss these majestic creatures lounging in the trees.
The herds of elephants and spotted deer are not so hard to track, but one would be lucky to catch a glimpse of the elusive black bear that sometimes comes out of its hiding place to roam the trails. Peacocks dancing and prancing to impress a mate are also a common site.
Experienced trackers and tour guides will tell you that the early morning or sunset hours are the best times to see the many wonders that the Yala National Park has to offer. Setting off in to the park as the sun rises or sun down is an epic experience to say the least.
Dodging branches and thorn bushes that brush against the jeep, felling the bumps and potholes of the forest trails, and inhaling a considerable amount of dust is all worth it when you come up close and personal with the untamed wild. Even if you’re a seasoned traveler, the sights and sounds of the forest will always leave you awestruck and wanting to return again and again.