Wildlife Safaris & Camping Experience in Yala

The South Eastern region of Sri Lanka is probably the best place to visit if you are a wildlife enthusiast, as it is home to both the Yala National Park and the Kumana Bird Sanctuary. Enjoy exciting safaris and camp out in the wilderness for a truly authentic bush experience. Here’s a list of what’s possible in Yala.

Safari Game Drive

See elephants, spotted deer, buffalo, peacocks, jackals, crocodiles, sloth bears and the famed Sri Lankan leopard when you go on a safari game drive within the Yala National Park. The park is home to 215 bird species, 44 mammal species, 47 species of reptiles, 18 amphibian species, and various other invertebrate species. Yala is a wonderful place to truly experience the beauty of nature, and to snap some stunning photographs.

The Kumana National Park, which is situated right next to Yala, is also a great place to take a safari game drive. It is much less crowded than Yala, although the larger mammals may be harder to spot here.

Excursions into the park should be pre-booked with your tour operator or through your hotel/lodge, to avoid hassle and disappointment. It would be best to request a naturalist to accompany you on the drive, so that you make the most of the experience.

Bird Watching

Yala has many bird species that will undoubtedly fascinate any bird watcher. However, a visit to Kumana is imperative if you are a true enthusiast. The Kumana Villu – a 200-hectare natural swamp lake where many water birds nest – is a birdwatcher’s paradise. If you are in luck, you may be able to spot the elusive Sri Lankan black-necked stork. However, Malabar pied hornbills, herons, pelicans, spoonbills, blade headed orioles and painted storks can be commonly spotted at the sanctuary.


If you are a lover of the outdoors, you can experience the wilderness of Yala by staying at a tented camp. There are many hospitality groups that offer luxury camping in Yala, in addition to more rustic and authentic camping experiences. Whatever your level of tolerance for the great outdoors is, there is an experience to suit your need.