Yala National Park

Sri Lanka’s second largest national park (at 378 sq miles) and its premier wildlife location, Yala offers an almost African safari experience as well as important Buddhist sites. On game drives by jeep, one can view wild elephant, buffalo and boar, huge monitor lizards, macaque monkeys and many rare and endemic bird species: it is also the best place in south Asia to spot the elusive leopard, frequently seen and admired. Situated in the dry semi-arid climatic zone, the park holds 215 bird species including six Sri Lankan endemics, 46 reptiles (including five endemics) and 44 mammal species. Yala is very popular with both tourists and locals, so weekends are best avoided if possible.