Yala National Park
A leopard sliding like a shadow through the landscape, scouting for its next prey. Monkeys crashing through the trees and peacocks dressed their finest gowns. This is the jungle book in real life; this is Yala National Park.
Yala National Park is spread across the plains of southeastern Sri Lanka; squeezed in between the south and east coasts. It is known for a leopard density higher than anywhere else in the world, but now also for its rows of up to 200 jeeps following the same tracks. If you prefer a more solitude experience, look to Uda Walawe National Park (insert internal link) instead where it’s still somewhat possible to beat the crowds.
But Yala National Park is still well worth a visit if you are in this part of Sri Lanka. The park itself is a protected area of nearly 130.000 hectares and home to 44 varieties of mammals and more than 200 bird species. Beyond the menacing prowling leopards, you can also spot wild elephants roaming the grassland, hungry crocodiles luring in waterholes and sloth bears, jackals, spotted dears and colorful peacocks wandering the light forest.