Yala wildlife safari

by: Dhananji Liyanarachchi

Thinking of unforgettable  Yala wildlife safari? It is not about luck, we can help you to find an experienced and professional operator, who knows the best spots to see leopards.

An experienced wildlife ranger and Yala Safari Glamping founder  Marc Thenabadu

Although most of the forest reserves are endangered, this is a national park with a wide range of ecological conditions, including wildlife, coastal areas, springs, rivers, and scrubland. This scrubland is populated by scattered rocky remnants. The park provides habitat for a large number of species.

What to expect in Yala?

Yala is one of the best places to spot the “big four” of Sri Lankan wildlife. This includes elephants, sloth bears (a small Asian bear),  leopards, and wild buffalo. The records show that Yala National Park has one of the highest densities of leopards, anywhere in the world. But with our experience, it is difficult to spot a leopard straightaway unless you go with an experienced ranger.

The animals come out in the early morning and the evening due to heat. So many safaris operate early morning and in the evening.


Yala is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka and the park is situated 300 km away from Colombo. Yala national park is spread between Uva and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The national park is divided into five sectors that are open to the public.

Blocks in Yala  (Credit to Campleopard)

Block 1 has 2 gates: is in Palatupana via Tissa and Katagamuwa via Kataragama. Block 1 gate to Palatupana is the most popular due to being the main gate before the other gates and sectors were open to the public recently.

Block 2 can be accessed via the same gates through Block 1.

Block 3,4 & 5 can be accessed from Galge entrance on Buttala-Kataragama road.

You also can find the location through Google Map

How to get there

There are three main routes as below;

  1. Take Colombo to Hambantota Tissamaharama on Kirinda Road exit at the junction Palatupana Gardens headquarters an approach.
  2. Embilipitiya, Ratnapura Suriyawewa Mirijjawila Hambantota  Colombo through Ratnapura Tissamaharamaya of Udawalawa Thanamalwila Come to Yala Junction, Thanamalwila
  3. This is from Lunugamvehera junction and then take Kataragama dam over the reservoir dam then you can reach the park. 

Mahiyangana Bibile Buttala  Sellakataragama Katagamuwa is also one  A gateway.

Yala Safari operators

  1. Shehan’s Yala Safari Tours is specializing in Eco-Tourism adventure tours in Sri Lanka and they are the top Yala Safari provider in TripAdvisor. They won certificate of excellence of their dedicated service. 
  2. Bigcat Safari Yala – A small family-owned safari operator in the Yala National Park with great reviews 
  3. Sugathe’s Yala Jeep Safaris – provides jeep safari drives into Yala and Bundala National Parks. They provide good service with over 20 years of experience.

Accommodation in Yala

Yala is such a beautiful rural area in Sri Lanka.if you’re looking for the best accommodation in Yala then you are in the right place. We can help you find the best Boutique and Luxury hotels in YalaSign up for FREE and save up to 50% on all our hotels. 

  1. Glamping is one of the great ways to explore Yala. The Campleopard  is our top choice and it is hosted by Marc and his team.



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