Yala National Park

Yala National Park

If viewing a diverse array of wildlife is at the top of your agenda then Yala national park is the place to visit. The vegetation consists of scrub jungle, lakes, and brackish lagoons to riverine habitat. Is one of the most visited national parks in the country and is divided into 5 Blocks and it is Block 1 which covers over 14,000 hectares that is most frequently traversed.

Yala’s main draw is the leopard and it is said to be one of best places in the world to view leopards. It has been theorized that Yala may have the highest density of leopards in the world. However, on a safari with Leopard Trails we make it a point to showcase the diversity of wildlife that Yala has to offer. On a two night stay it is possible to spot and identify over a 100 species of birds. The density of mugger crocodiles within Yala is also quite an underrated feature of the park. Yala is also one of the better places in Sri Lanka to come across tusked elephants. At the end of the North-east Monsoon (February), the park is also very good for butterflies. There are 2 main rivers flowing through Yala, the Manik Ganga and the Kumbukkan Oya and these two rivers serve as the lifeline to the park during the drier months.

In Yala watch out for:

  1. Leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya)
  2. Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus)
  3. Mugger Crocodiles (Crocodylus palustris)
  4. Sloth Bear  (Melursus ursinus)
  5. Ceylon Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii)
  6. Sri Lanka Woodshrike (Tephrodornis affinis)
  7. Sri Lanka Swallow (Cecropis hyperythra)
  8. Stone-curlew (Esacus recurvirostris)
  9. Sirkeer Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus leschenaultii)
  10. Blue-faced Malkoha  (Phaenicophaeus viridirostris)
  11. Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus)
  12. Black-naped Hare (Lepus nigricollis)
  13. Water Buffalos (Bubalus bubalis)
  14. Spotted Deer  (Axis axis)
  15. Sambar Deer (Rusa unicolor)
  16. Grey Langur (Semnopithecus)
  17. Toque Monkey  (Macaca sinica)
  18. Stripe-necked Mongoose (Herpestes vitticollis)
  19. Ruddy Mongoose (Herpestes smithii)
  20. Indian Grey Mongoose  (Herpestes edwardsii)
  21. Brown Mongoose  (Herpestes fuscus)
  22. Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)
  23. Jackal  (Canis aureus)
  24. Land Monitor (Varanus Bengalensis)
  25. Mouse-deer (Tragulus Nigricans)
  26. Sri Lanka Green Pigeon (Treron pompadora)
  27. Indian Rock Python (Python molurus)


“Old world hospitality with a contemporary flair”

Leopard Trails bespoke tented safaris redefine the original tented safari with convenient modern-day amenities, all the while staying true to the romantic ambience of a by-gone British colonial era filled with adventure. Mobile Camping is the most authentic form of safari, a true immersion into the sights and sounds of the wilderness.

We have two types of tents at Leopard Trails Yala camp: Air conditioned luxury tents, and Classic mobile tents.

Air conditioned Luxury Tents

Ideal for families and those that require a little bit of extra luxury. These tents come equipped with
– similar facilities as the classic mobile tents. In addition
– the tent has both air conditioning and fans.
– flush-able toilet, dual sinks, and shower (with hot and cold water) are all within the bathroom area of the tent.
– total tent footprint of 700 sqft including verandah (the much larger square footage makes it ideal for families or groups that are sharing)

Air conditioned Classic Mobile Tents

These tents are equipped with

– the tent has both air conditioning and fans.
– queen size beds (arranged as double or twin)
– bedside tables
– dressing tables
– luggage racks
– towel racks
– fresh linen
– bathrobes, towels and bath amenities
– Water bottles and mosquito repellent
– coat hanging stand with hangers
– fans
– charging points for phones and cameras
– flush-able toilet, and sink within bathroom area of tent
– your own personal outdoor shower with hot and cold water (at rear of tent)
– additional beds and baby cots may be placed in the tent
– total tent footprint of 300 sqft including verandah

General Campsite Images

Jungle Cuisine

American chef and tv personality Anthony Bourdain once compared a plate of rice and accompanying curries to an artist’s palette because different ratios of each curry mixed into a mouthful can give rise to completely varying flavours on the tongue. Eating Sri Lankan cuisine is both art and science, and managing this collision of flavours on your plate does take some practice to master!

Sri Lankan food is underrated, uncommercialised and waiting to be discovered by the global foodie. At Leopard Trails, our jungle kitchens remain simple and authentic. At Wilpattu, a utilitarian contraption of welded steel and canvas serves as a kitchen. Racking and other facilities are built by the chefs themselves within a matter of days but this does not detract from the authenticity of the food made within its canvas walls. Fresh curry leaves, freshly grated coconut and a host of different spices are married together in various forms to produce an endless array of colourful and fragrant curries and sambols. The smell of frying spices starts to emanate from our kitchens as early as 7am and the unhurried labour intensive preparation continues throughout the day to prepare the best local food, not just for our guests but also for our hungry staff. It may seem counterintuitive but a diet of spiced foods complements the relentless equatorial sun. Spicy foods increase circulation and ultimately cools you down!

Here’s a quick look at the fresh intensity of Sri Lankan food prepared at Leopard Trails! It is best enjoyed by eating with a new adventure on every plate.


Please note: occasionally during the wet season we offer an alternative campsite.