Wildlife watching in Sri Lanka At Yala national park

The world’s top magazine, Forbed, proclaimed Sri Lanka as having the Top Wildlife Safaris Outside of Africa for the year 2023. According to the magazine, “the nation has one of the planet’s densest populations of leopards and is arguably the best place to reliably see these magnificent cats, even more so than most of Africa. There are also Asian elephants, peacocks, water buffalo, monkeys, and sloth bears,” it said.

Spotting wild elephants is very common during wildlife watching in Sri Lanka

Luxury hotels, lodges and tented camps from the Yala national park, Wilpattu wildlife reserve and Udawalawe national park offer luxury, seclusion and excellent wildlife watching in Sri Lanka to the discerning traveller.

Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination in Asia and welcomes a large number of travellers every year. With so many holiday seekers on the island, Sri Lankan wildlife reserves, beaches and ancient sites, historical monuments can often cause traffic jams, especially in popular places such as Yala and Udawalawe national park.

On the wide-open grasslands of Yala national park, one of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks for wildlife spotting, sightings of queues of jeeps are a common sight; these jeeps are carrying a larger number of goggled-eyed tourists than it is to see a leopard, elephants or bears.

During the last decade, the influx of foreign travellers increased in great numbers due to improved security, which triggered the end of the civil war in northern Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka holiday packages have become more affordable for foreign travellers over the last few decades, which is also a notable reason for the ever-increasing number of travellers on the island. With an affordable flight to the Sri Lankan capital from all over the world, it is now possible to venture on a Sri Lanka safari holiday and visit national Parks on long weekends, especially from countries like India, Thailand, Japan, China, the middle east and many other Asian countries.    

Indeed, during the winter holidays, thousands of travellers gather at the Yala national park on daily basis in search of rare animal species such as leopards, bears, elephants and many other creatures. With the increasing number of travellers and jeeps in the park, the obstructions to the wild creatures are also heightened. There are instances even wild animals were run over by speeding safari jeeps. In response, the Sri Lankan government has tried to curb the malpractices by introducing new laws. At the same time, the park rangers cracked down on illegal cultivation and hunting within the park with help of the military in a bid to protect the fragile ecosystem.

Then how do you escape the crowd? The best bet for you is to plan your Sri Lanka wildlife tour with a local tour operator that is concerned about long-term sustainability. A large number of discreet lodges, tented camps and luxury hotels, which are located on the fringes of Sri Lankan national parks are providing the discerning traveller luxury, seclusion and proximity to the natural surroundings.

Wildlife watching in Sri Lanka based on Yala national park

Near the eastern border of Yala national park sandwiched between Yala wildlife reserve and the Kumana national park are dozens of camps giving luxury accommodations for travellers. The travellers do not encounter hordes of travellers in these camps and rarely see another tourist vehicle. After reaching Tissamaharama town, which is the nearest city to Yala wildlife reserve, the guests are then escorted to the extremities of the reserve. As you near the camp, you will find yourself alone in one of the most popular wildlife holiday destinations in Sri Lanka.

Many of the camps are built in such a way that they are hidden in the lush foliage and they are hidden from prying eyes – except the permanent dweller in the jungle such as elephants, buffaloes, leopards, deer, bears and many more. Most of the accommodation providers maintain a small inventory and ensure the most exclusive wilderness experience for their visitors.  

Most tents are illuminated with lanterns, they are spacious and bigger than most hotel rooms. The tents are equipped with ensuite toilets and showers, goose-down duvets and fake-fur blankets spread across a hand-carved teak king-size bed.

The camps are giving a breathtaking view over the border section of the park, which is a perfect secluded part near the border of the park for watching elephants, buffaloes, deer, wild boar and a large number of avian fauna species.

By the remoteness, the wildlife safari starting from these camps and lodges also means that if you are lucky enough to see Sri Lanka’s big cat, leopard, bear and elephant, then you will have them all to yourself. Underlining its eco-footprint, during the dry season the park is closed for about 2 months (August and September), during this period the tents are taken down and campsites are temporarily vanishing into the thin air.

For the ultimate seclusion, choose a two-night wildlife trip to Yala (open-air camping with a makeshift tent) into the farther reaches of the park, or take an organized wildlife safari or beach walk along the pristine beaches where you can stop for a thirst-quenching sun-downer with a pre-packed cold beer, Arrack or soda.

Wildlife watching in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan beach life

Sri Lanka is a tropical nation that is most popular for beach tours and cultural tours, however, its natural wealth is an important asset of the country and offers opportunities for wildlife explorations, rainforest explorations and adventure holidays. Most foreign travellers to Sri Lanka are not aware of Sri Lanka’s wildlife spectacles. For a perfect Sri Lanka holiday package and to experience the true beauty of Sri Lanka it is important to experience a bit of all major branches of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.  

Seerendipity tours, which is a truly local company offers a large collection of Sri Lanka trip packages with a fascinating blend of Sri Lanka’s culture, nature, wildlife and beaches. Head on to the Seerendipity tours travel cart and check if they already offer a trip package that you are interested in. Otherwise, you can seek their assistance to plan your dream holiday package to Sri Lanka, which does not cost even a penny.     

For a perfect end of the interesting Sri Lanka safari trip, head to the southern and western Sri Lankan coast if you plan the Sri Lanka trip from November to April or head to the east coast if you plan the trip from April to October to experience a very different side of Sri Lankan life. There is a wide range of accommodation opportunities along the coast from star-class luxury beach resorts to economical homestay accommodations. However, most tourists opt to check into ubiquitous chain hotels, which are the most popular form of tourist accommodation, that are squashed along the palm-fringed beaches.