9 day safari

Prices from

£2650

Excluding international flights

Tour Highlights

  • 10 jeep safaris in a specialist vehicle
  • Quality tented camp located in wilderness location
  • Full access to the park with superb naturalists
  • Option to see Blue Whales by private small boat
  • UK tour leader, Allan Blanchard

Yala National Park Photography Tour

Sri Lanka leopard safaris in Yala national park remain one of the best big cat experiences found in Asia. On an island where they are the top predator bar none, they are much more diurnal in behaviour than in India’s wildlife sanctuaries, which thus provides much better opportunities for our wildlife photography holidays to Sri Lanka.  We have been travelling to Yala since 2002 and the safari camp we have hand picked has been chosen because it allows us to access the park from other gates and not have to queue at the main entrance gate which serves the larger hotels. Although we are likely to experience a Yala national park from decades ago, when there were only 10 to 12 jeeps driving around the 5 different zones. Each traveller will have access to a window seat and plenty of space for their camera equipment in a vehicle adapted for wildlife photographers. Ten jeep safaris in Yala will allow us to experience the entire park and focus on leopards, wild elephants and sloth bears.

Yala National Park consists of dry-mixed evergreen forests and scrublands along with open grasslands, water holes, brackish water lagoons and riverine forests. This park’s diverse habitat supports large numbers of mammals, such as spotted, barking and mouse deer, sambar, wild boar, water buffalo and the endangered sloth bear. This is also one of the best places in the country to see wild elephant and the rare leopard. Large water holes and lagoons support the high density of endangered crocodiles. You can also see large flocks of migratory and resident birds—142 species of birds have been recorded in the park. Of particular note is the rare black-necked stork, the largest bird in the country.

Please note, that this tour can easily be extended on a private basis to visit other wildlife sanctuaries or cultural locations of personal interest.

When to Go:
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Best time to visit -

DEC

Safari Style -

Small Group Photographer

Dec 1

Arrive in Colombo and drive to Weligama Bay

Wildlife Trails will help you choose international flights which will arrive into Colombo in the morning so we can start our journey east to Yala national park. We will make our first stop at Weligama Bay and overnight at the Marriott Hotel.

Sri Lanka wildlife holiday stop at the Weligama Bat Marriott Resort

Dec 2

Options for whale watching or local markets

Today we have the morning free for activities which appeal to the group, as the objective is to arrive at Yala national park in time for our first leopard safari in Sri Lanka. For those with ‘sea legs’ we can look at chartering a small speedboat (cost not included) and head out from Mirissa to look for Blue Whales, Sperm Whales and Dolphins. For those who prefer land based activities we can visit some amazing local markets and focus on social photography. After this we will continue with the group in our private vehicle and drive to the beautifully located Ceylon wildlife safaris tented camp. After a sumptous lunch we will head off with our driver and expert naturalist for our first wildlife safari in Yala national park.

Dolphin watchign holidays in Sri Lanka

Dec 3-6

Four days of morning and afternoon private jeep safaris

The territories of both the female and male leopards will be known to our guides as well as their personal behaviours. Some leopards are a lot more bold than others and will tolerate photographers for a longer period if they feel relaxed and not threatened. We will always be ethical in our approach and move on when we feel we have got some great photos and look for other amazing wildlife found within the park. After recent rains you have more chance to see the shy Sloth Bear, as with the softer ground they can more easily access their favourite food of ants and termites.

Leopard safari Yala national park backlit male leopard

Dec 7

Final morning at Yala and drive to Sinharaja

We always want to maximise the variety of wildlife and scenery you will see on a Sri Lanka wildlife holiday with Wildlife Trails, so a transfer back towards Colombo always includes something we feel is special to show our guests. One of the best and most famous birding locations in Sri Lanka is the magnificent Sinharaja forest reserve. Of Sri Lanka’s 26 endemic birds, the 20-rainforest species all occur here, including the elusive Red-faced Malkoha, Green-billed Coucal and Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. After our first exploration we will overnight at the Blue Magpie Lodge.

Sinharaja birding tour photo of Blue Magpie

Dec 8

Morning birding in Sinharaja then transfer to Colombo

We will be up nice and early to explore the Sinharaja forest reserve once again with our expert local guide before driving to Colombo and checking into the beautiful Taru Villas, Lake Lodge. We will use this as a base to drive late afternoon to the Talagama wetland. It is a great place to spot many species of endemic birds. Among the endemic and endangered mammals, the Purple-faced leaf monkey is the most noisy and visible around the lake, as well as the western purple-faced langur which is the subspecies living around the lake is one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world

Sri Lanka wildlife holiday photo of purple faced monkey

Pricing Info & Dates

Costs £2650 based on two people sharing and not including flights. Valid for travel for the dates shown in December 2021.

Includes:

  • Includes £100 donation to Leopard conservation
  • 10 private safaris in specialist vehicle at Yala
  • All meals at the tented camp in Yala
  • UK tour leader throughout

Excludes:

  • Cost of international flights
  • Costs of visas and travel insurance
  • Soft and alcoholic drinks throughout
  • Gratuities and tips

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