Yala National Park
Yala National Park is 309 km south of Colombo on the southeast of the island. It covers an area of 1,259 sq km, and is one of the
best parks in the world to observe and photograph leopards in the wild. With its considerable size, the terrain of the National
Park is varied from flat plains to rocky outcrops.
The vegetation ranges from open parkland to dense jungle. There is also an abundance of water for animals and birds ranging from waterholes, streams and small lakes to lagoons. The National Park is divided into Yala West (also called Ruhuna) and Yala East.
Yala West or Ruhuna National Park is now well recognised as being the best park in the world to observe and photograph leopards. There are about 35 leopards in the park which is probably the highest density anywhere in the world. It is possible to take a one-day jeep-safari trip through the park although it takes three days to see the entire park. Or split your day safari into morning and afternoon drives.
The park usually closes relatively late in the day (about 7 pm) and. therefore, the chance of seeing a leopard is quite high.
The male leopards in Yala are very confident and are often seen walking the tracks during the day. Young males in particular seem to have no fear of the jeep, which can lead to some excellent photographic opportunities.