Full Day Game drive to Yala National Park is a 7-8 hours game viewing opportunity with Beyond Escapes Safari Team. Yala combines a strict nature reserve with a national park. Divided into 5 blocks, the park has a protected area of nearly 130,000 hectares of land consisting of light forests, scrubs, grasslands, tanks and lagoons. It is situated in Sri Lanka’s south-east hugging the panoramic Indian Ocean, Yala was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and was designated a national park in 1938. Ironically, the park was initially used as a hunting ground for the elite under British rule.
Yala is very rich in wildlife and home to a great variety of species, some of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. The endangered Sri Lankan Elephant, recognized subspecies of the Asian Elephant, can be seen in large herds by the waterholes in Yala. Yala is home to 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species. Among its more famous residents are the world’s biggest concentration of leopards, majestic elephants, sloth bears, sambars, jackals, spotted dear, peacocks, and crocodiles. The leopards are more elusive and primarily nocturnal in other countries but are easier to spot in Sri Lanka than any other place in the world. In the Sri Lankan national parks, they are rather easy to spot due to the lack of natural predators. Your best chance to see a leopard is generally early in the morning. Especially, the young males are very confident, and often they are seen walking on the tracks.
The birdlife in the Yala National Park is amazing too. Over 215 species of birds have been recorded in Yala, with six being endemic to Sri Lanka. Both, the critically endangered black-necked stork and the lesser adjutant, the biggest bird in the island, can be spotted here. When in Yala, the bird enthusiasts may visit several other fascinating birding locations, including the ancient hermitage of Sithulpahuwa, Debarawewa Wetland and Palatupana saltpans.
Since Yala situated in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, the climate in Yala is hot and humid. The vegetation consists of semi-arid thorny scrub, interspersed by pockets of fairly dense secondary forest and small patches of mangrove along the coastal lagoons. The mean annual temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius, but during the dry season, from May /June to October, temperatures may reach 37 Celsius. This time of year, the water levels are low and animals have to rely on specific waterholes that provide an ideal surrounding for observing the wildlife whilst you are on a safari. In Yala, the rain often comes in short and intense bursts before clearing up again, and many animals such as leopards, elephants, buffalos, spotted deers, wild boars, eagles, and owls can be spotted at any time of the year. The rainiest season is from November to January, when the north-east monsoon brings relief to the fauna and flora and the jungles take on lush colors. For bird enthusiasts, the migratory season between October and April is the best. This time of year, thousands of birds migrate from all the way from their northern breeding areas in Siberia to Yala, that one of the southernmost points of their migration.
Elephant, Spotted Deer, Sambar, Hanuman Langur, Toque Monkey, Stripe-necked and Ruddy Mongooses, Wild Boar, Golden Jackal, Land and Water Monitor and Marsh Crocodile also can be seeing during your Safari. We provide light refreshments, water bottles and picnic lunch during the safari.