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Yala National Park

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Yala National Park

When Is the Best Time 

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.

Sri Lanka, Yala
Review and Tips 

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.

More information about Yala 

Where to Stay


Aug 29, 2015

A very beautifull place, but at the time we did not see any leopards though.

Oct 23, 2015

We spent 4 nights close to Yala and discovered this huge leopard on our third day. We had a fantastic guide Wicky and driver Amare. Amare knows this park very well. He even organized a full day for us with lunch at a river. I have the contact details of both. If you want to get in contact with them let me know.

Jul 21, 2016

We were there for a few days and found our evening and early morning explorations the best. Mid-day, the animals tend to be having a siesta! I've only been there in December so I don't know about the rest of the year but we had perfect weather. No rain but not dry or overly hot either.

We had a fantastic family vacation in Sri Lanka. December was a great time to go. Not too hot, not too cold. The visit to Yala National Park was great: lots of wildlife including a few leopard sightings. Not as diverse as a more rugged African safari but we were traveling with young children so this was perfect. We also went to a tea plantation in the highlands, spent a weekend at the beach, and went whale watching. Sri Lanka definitely has a lot to see and do.