Yala National Park
Most visitors want to see the leopards at Yala National Park! What is the best time to spot them? Read on for our detailed tips:
The highest chance to spot them is around new moon combined with a safari/tour in the afternoon when it’s also less busy. They are more active around dusk during new moon days.
In general, you can visit Yala year-round. It's never really bad. The dry season runs from May to October. The ‘mild’ rainy season runs from November to January and some more rainfall again in April.
It’s often very busy with many jeeps. Avoid weekends and public holidays. The busiest time of day is before midday. Many people stay one night and leave at noon.
The best time to spot leopards as well as other wildlife such as elephants and wild boar is from May to August. More animals gather around the waterholes during these months. From October to December it’s more likely to spot deer, crocodiles, and birds. The park is often closed in September / October (too aggressive animals after a heavy drought). The best TIME OF DAY to spot wildlife is either early morning or from afternoon till evening. From late morning until afternoon they usually hide under thick foliage.
Yala designated as National Park in 1938 is the oldest one of Sri Lanka. It is divided into 5 blocks, two of them are open to the public at the moment (July 2016). Yala is home for more than 40 mammals and about 215 bird species. It’s leopard country! The leopard density is higher than anywhere else on this planet. This species is endemic to Sri Lanka. Those predators and the sloth bear make Yala an amazing wildlife destination, together with many other fascinating mammals, birds and reptiles. Unfortunately, we didn't spot any sloth bear in four days but several leopards always in the late afternoon.
If you are into birding schedule an additional morning for Bundala National Park.