Yala National Park

yala-detailSpeak to any Sri Lankan about safari and one of their first questions will be: ‘Have you visited Yala?’ It is by far the most famous national park, as well as being the largest. Sri Lankans are proud of their national parks and this one rightly sits at the top of the list.

Yala accommodation options are attractive and the park is flanked by the ocean on its eastern side, giving it the most spectacular backdrop. The interior of the park is savannah-like – dry and arid for most of the year.

This is nature as if from the pages of The Jungle Book, with monkeys partying in the trees and resplendent peacocks stalking around. Believe us, you’ll feel like a Jungle VIP…

Spot the big cat!

Amazingly, Yala is home the world’s largest concentration of leopards. We have been lucky enough to have visited many times and on each occasion we have seen these beautiful big cats in their natural habitats.

We’ve also seen a sloth bear, elephants, wild dogs, crocodiles, water buffalo, snakes and more beautiful birds than you can point a camera at.

Most Yala National Park safaris will involve a minimum of two game drives – one in the early morning and one after lunch. You’ll be armed with binoculars, a dedicated naturalist (or guide) and a driver who knows every hidden hillock in the park. On top of this, your jeep will  be laden with drinks and snacks to keep you going during a mid-way pit stop.

If you only do three things in Yala National Park…

  • Yala is all about leopards. Grab every opportunity to jump into the jeep in search of this elusive but awesome cat. It’s one of life’s most awesome encounters.
  • There are five zones inside Yala. Speak with your naturalist and driver about which are open and head for the furthest to get away from the crowds.
  • Ask the driver to stop, crack into the onboard refreshments and just listen to the soundtrack of the bush.

And unlike other national parks, Yala National Park accommodation around the boundary can be superb. Forget the bare necessities, being cosseted in comfort and style is as much a part of the Yala experience as the wildlife itself.

Out and About

Yala is a massive national park, perfect for nature lovers. No more. No less. Your only entertainment is observing the unruly residents. And what could be more absorbing? So just let your senses soak it all up, and then back in the comfort of your accommodation, relax and enjoy fine Sri Lankan hospitality.

Eating and Drinking

Best not to wander too far for dinner… unless you want to be on the menu. All of our selected hotels have magnificent outdoor dining options so savour the moment and, if you are lucky enough to have a cloudless night, the stars are probably more astonishingly numerous than you’ve ever seen before.

Thoughts on a postcard

Our hearts were racing when we saw the leopard crouching in the long grass. A sudden explosion of speed and it pounced to bring down a spotted deer. Breathtaking!

Yala National Park : The map

Pillow Talk

Our Escapologists only recommend hand-picked, delectable properties we have sampled and savoured ourselves. We judge all our hotels by their excellence, the sheer hedonistic pleasures they have to offer. And we reject a lot that don’t meet our exacting standards.

Some of our selections are classics, with reputations recognised the world over. Others are discoveries: boutique havens where hospitality, relaxation and fine cuisine have been distilled into a rare art form. You’ll find a few options for the budget conscious too, where Yonder’s principles are still to the fore. And for those who just need an airport stopover on their way to paradise, there’s one or two convenience choices, too.

We provide in-depth descriptions of every property, based upon our own experiences there, along with our unique Yonder rating and icons that will give you further insights into what’s on offer. We even tell you the types of clientele you might soon be rubbing shoulders with!

Now that’s choosing a hotel Yonder style!



Here at Yonder we have devised some exciting itineraries that will illustrate just what amazing journeys you could enjoy through Yonder’s exciting far-away destinations.

Of course every one of Yonder’s clients is a unique individual and we only create personalised itineraries that reflect those personal desires and wishes. So your Yonder journey will be as individual as you are. But to help you envisage just what amazing adventures might be possible, we have devised sample itineraries that we are confident will inspire you. You only have to pick up the phone to explore how any one of these ideas might be adapted to create your own perfect journey Yonder.


Chat to your dedicated Escapologist about the latest offers available

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Whether you're looking for one perfect hotel stay or to create an exciting itinerary, all our properties are hand-picked and only selected if we absolutely love them!