Skip to Content

Essential Safari Travel Tips for Yala National Park in Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is one of the biggest and famous national parks from Sri Lanka. It is located on the south side of the country very close to the beach.

It is one of the best places to spot wildlife and the perfect place to see leopards.

The park is split into 5 areas out of which 2 are open to the public and the rest of the park is accessible only for researchers and documentary filmmakers.

travel tips for Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Yala National Parks Sri Lanka Safari

Because of its beautiful landscape and high biodiversity of wild creatures, Yala Park is one of the most crowded parks from Sri Lanka. It is the ultimate destination for safari lovers and the best place for wild encounters.

Here are 5 useful travel tips for Yala National Park Sri Lanka to help you prepare for the ultimate adventure!

1. Get a guide for your safari

Most of you would choose to take just a driver in the safari. Obviously it is cheaper, but you will miss much interesting information about the park and its wildlife. Most of the jeep drivers speak very poor English and has really limited knowledge about the animals from the park. So, instead of an interesting safari in which you might find much useful information about the park and its wildlife, you will have a simple drive along the park without communicating with anybody.

Sri Lanka Yala National Park Safari Jeep

Sri Lanka Yala Park Safari Jeep

2. Take the morning safari

I know that you are on holiday and you don’t want to get up very early but if you do it once is not that critical! Take the morning safari is one of our travel tips for Yala National Park Sri Lanka!

Morning safaris are the best. In the morning safari, you have higher chances to spot the animals than in the afternoon.

sunrise in Yala National Park Safari

sunrise in Yala Park Safari

Leopards especially are more active in the morning. Spotting a leopard is a beautiful moment and is the ultimate dream of every person who goes to a safari in Yala Park.

Leopard in Yala Sri Lanka

Leopard in Yala Sri Lanka

I know it is hard to wake up at 4.30 a.m. but worth the effort.

The only downside of the morning safari is that it is very crowded. Everybody wants to spot as many animals as possible so, sometimes the traffic inside the park became a little bit difficult.

Get your Sri Lanka Travel Guide

Created by

3. Bring a sweater with you for the morning safari

Here is one of the least expected of all travel tips for Yala National Park Sri Lanka. Don’t forget the sweater when you leave to safari early in the morning! It is pretty cold outside and a sweater is just perfect until the sunrise and it became warmer.

When I had the morning safari I took with me a softshell jacket and it was just perfect! After the sunrise and it became warmer I don’t use it but until than it was really useful!

4. Invest in a good camera

Those unique moments from the safari should be captured for posterity using a good camera. Words are not always enough to describe the beauty of a place but an image reflects very clearly the view. Sometimes the animals are pretty far or are moving continuously so you need a good camera mirrorless or DSLR to catch them and also a good long lens or zoom lens.

Pentax DSLR Camera with long lens

Pentax DSLR Camera with long lens

Smartphone camera might be a good option especially for landscapes and for animals close to you. But for smaller animals and far away phone camera is not that useful. For those images, you’ll need a good camera!

5. Don’t set up high expectations

Each safari is unique and each time you will see different things, different animals. Two safaris are never the same, not even when you do them inside the same national park. Don’t let yourself influenced by what others say and don’t create a high expectation for what you are about to see. Just go and enjoy the moment, and keep your eyes open.

WorldWide travel tips for Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Always choose to stay in accommodation somewhere close to the national park. You win some precious time because of the shorter distance to and from the park so you can sleep more before your morning safari and also get more time to spot those wild animals in their habitat.

Mongoose in Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Mongoose in Yala National Sri Lanka Park

We did so! We booked two nights at Laya Safari , a very beautiful accommodation located very close to the park entrance, right on a beautiful sandy beach in the middle of the wilderness. The rooms are big and clean and the breakfast and dinner varied and tasty.