Yalafor the Family
Shrouded in natural splendour, the Yala National Park is one of the key attractions of the island for both adults and kids alike. Yala also affords the opportunity to experience the history and cultural diversity of Sri Lanka. Here’s a list of things to do with your family when you visit Yala.
Go on a safari at Yala National Park and be enthralled at the site of majestic elephants quenching their thirst at watering holes. Silently watch the glorious Sri Lankan leopard emerge from the wilderness or be captivated by the stunning plumage of the strutting peacocks. An experience within a wildlife park, especially one as lush and diverse as Yala, is something that is bound to excite the kids. The Kumana National Park and Bundala National Park, also offer wonderful opportunities for seeing animals in their natural habitat.
If your kids are the outdoorsy type, Yala is a great place to let them experience the wonders of nature. Choose from proper rough-it-out camping or glamping experiences, depending on how authentic an experience your family is willing to have.
Kataragama & Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya
Delve into a world that is both spiritual and educational when you visit the pilgrim town of Kataragama. The town is significant to Buddhist, Hindu and Islam religious groups, and carries tales of myth and reverence that are bound to interest children. If you visit between June and August, you will be able to experience an ancient foot pilgrimage from the northern region to the south of the island, along with festivities that boast of colourful pageantry – the Ruhunu Maha Kataragama Devalaya Esala Perahera.
In addition to the fascinating town of Kataragama, the isolated Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya located in the Yala National Park is a vestige that showcases the importance of Buddhism in the country. Built during the 2 nd Century BC, under the guidance of King Kavantissa of the Ruhuna Kingdom, it is believed to have housed more than 12,000 arahants that meditated on the rock outcrop of the temple. There are many structures and ruins from the original temple that can still be seen today.
Visiting the Yala National Park with a toddler?
While it is indeed wonderful to introduce your youngster to the natural world at an early age, you may want to consider the following to ensure your trip is enjoyable for all.
- Organize a car seat for your child with your tour manager. The roads in the park are pretty bumpy, so you may feel more secure to strap in your little one.
- Remember to take along hats and sunscreen as the sun can get rather strong towards mid-morning.
- Pack plenty of water and snacks for the kids, and yourself too! Please carry a bag to store package wrappers or empty bottles as you must ensure not to litter within the park.
- Wet wipes or baby wipes will be useful to wipe dust off faces and hands, especially before they tuck into snacks.
- As this is a safari in the wilderness, it is very likely there will be quiet periods of simply driving down tracks. It might be helpful to pack a few toys or books to keep the kids occupied during this time.