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yala national park sri lanka

Yala National Park Accommodation and Yala National Park Safari

The Yala National Park is easily one of the most visited national parks in Sri Lanka. This is due to the extreme prevalence of Sri Lankan Leopards that call it home. The population density is as high as one leopard per square kilometer in Block 1.


Yala National Park Accommodation :
Finding right accommodation in Yala National Park Sri Lanka

leopard at yala national park image copyrights alleyn plowright our client from swedenEvery wildlife safari in Sri Lanka will have the same objective; to see the most of what the Park has to offer in the shortest amount of time.Mahoora tented safari camps provide an experience that will give you just that.

With Mahoora, you will have the option of setting up base on the borders of the Yala National Park itself, cutting down significantly on your travel time. Tented safari camping is widely popular as a choice for accommodation around Yala, and it is definitely an experience worth trying. However if you do choose accommodation outside the park like a hotel, we can arrange for that as well.

Getting the most out of your Yala National Park Safari

One of the most important aspects of a Yala National Park safari is having the right kind of guide.

Though wildlife is abundant, animals like the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Sri Lankan Leopard and other big game require the skills of an experienced naturalist guide who knows about the movements of game throughout the Park at certain times, a facility which Mahoora can easily provide.

Jeeps are usually the way to go on safaris, and we at Mahoora have excellent vehicles which can easily navigate the varied terrain that the Yala National Park is known for. You may want to hang on to your hats though, Yala definitely has areas which provide for some off roading situations, for which suitable safari jeeps are a must.

The Wildlife at the Yala National Park

birding at yala national park by our guest alleyn takenplowright from swedenThe Yala National Park is among the oldest and best known of Sri Lanka's 15 National Parks. It covers approximately 1,300 square kilometres and is home to a range of ecosystems found nowhere else in Sri Lanka.

With vegetation including moist and dry monsoon forests, thorn forest, savannah grasslands and fresh and saltwater wetlands, it comes as no surprise that the Yala National Park has the perfect habitats for the large number of endemic plant and animal species unique to the country, thus making it one of the chosen wildlife safari destinations that features on everyone's tour itineraries. There are 44 species of recorded mammals in this National Park, which include the Sri Lankan Leopard, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear and Sri Lankan Elephant, 215 species of birds, 46 species of reptiles and 21 species of amphibians.

Leopards Safari Yala National Park

Yala West, often referred to as the Ruhuna National Park, is well recognized as one of the best locations in the world to observe and photograph leopards in the wild. It has been confirmed that the Yala National Park has the highest density of leopards to be found anywhere in the world and is as much as one leopard per square kilometer.

Though the prevalence of the Sri Lankan leopard population is high (300-350 leopards in total, of which 30-50 roam around Block I), it still takes a well trained eye to observe these elusive big cats in action, as well as to know when and where to look for one - and that is where the experienced guides at Mahoora come in.

Sri Lankan leopards are a distinct sub-species from their Indian neighbors, and are the largest leopards in Asia. The best times for observing these impressive animals is early in the morning and then again at dusk.

This is when the Mahoora Safari Adventures take place, although it is possible for visitors to make a full day safari. With Mahoora tented safari camps, visitors can stay until just after dark inside the park, thus maximizing the chances of a leopard encounter. The male leopards display a sleek confidence and are often seen walking the tracks during the day. Young male leopards in particular seem to have no fear of the jeeps and this has led to some excellent photographic opportunities. There are similarities between the Yala National Park and the best National Parks in India for photographing tigers, where in both cases the big cats have become used to the jeeps, thus enabling guests an up-close and privileged view of these magnificent creatures. All in all, an encounter with a leopard is a highlight in any Sri Lankan wildlife safari, and one that will not easily be forgotten.

More About Yala National Park



Mahoora Yala Hosts Special Guest, Marco Pierre White

marco pierre white visit to yala national park sri lanka

World-renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White spent a night of Sri Lanka safari at Mahoora Tented Safari Camps Sri Lanka, and enjoyed a host of delicious dishes that showcased some of Sri Lanka’s traditional cuisine, during his visit to the Yala National Park last month.

White, who had numerous Sri Lankan chefs and food enthusiasts buzzing when he visited the island in January, is widely considered to be one of Britain’s most recognisable food pioneers and has been dubbed the world’s first celebrity chef, even being introduced as the godfather of modern cooking during a special appearance on MasterChef Australia.


Over the years, he has specialised in British, French and Italian cuisine while working under legendary chefs such as Albert and Michel Roux, Raymond Blanc and Nico Ladenis. His inspiring journey through the culinary world saw him earn celebrated status at a young age, becoming the youngest chef ever to have been awarded three Michelin stars, at the time, for his illustrious ‘The Restaurant Marco Pierre White’. White inspired an entire generation of culinary magicians and his prowess as a mentor has seen the likes of celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Curtis Stone and Shannon Bennett who have gone on to open some of the best restaurants in the world.


While exploring the Yala wildlife park on 24 and 25 January, he spent a night in the luxurious Mahoora Elite Tent. White was also treated to a fine dining experience in the wilderness, which aimed to fuse all the culinary traditions of the tropical island with some of the techniques he himself has perfected throughout his celebrated career.

The in-camp chef pulled out all the stops with a host of traditional dishes designed to impress even the most critical of palates. Some of the dishes presented to the culinary master included a beautifully prepared fried lake fish with crunchy vegetable salad, which was accompanied by a warm and comforting bowl of wing bean soup (Dambala). White also enjoyed juicy barbequed seafood skewers along with an assortment of crunchy local vegetables as well as a Sri Lankan favourite, vegetable kottu followed by another local classic in the form of pancakes stuffed with panipol.marco perrie white at mahoora camps yala national park sri lanka


White was also presented with a mouth-watering assortment of all of the island’s favourite sweets including thalaguli (sesame balls), puhul dosi (pumpkin preserve), milk toffee, pol toffee (coconut toffee) and Kalu dodol.

He also enjoyed a traditional breakfast in the camp, as he was presented with
an assortment of local breads with freshly squeezed papaw (papaya) juice and a variety of tropical jams. White was presented a fusion of some of
Sri Lanka’s favourite breakfast dishes including a warm bowl of Kurakkan Kenda, made of finger millet along with jaggery. A full course of Kiribath
soon followed with an appetising list of accompaniments such as lunumiris (hot chilli paste), seeni sambol and malu ambulthiyal – a traditional preparation of fish curry.marco perrie white with channa jayasundera

White was also taken on two thrilling safaris in the most esteemed wildlife park in the country, famed for its unmatched range of endemic flora and fauna which includes the regal Sri Lankan leopards, elephants and sloth bears.

Before parting company with the Mahoora team, Marco gave a glowing review of the luxurious outdoor setting as well as the team’s efforts to provide him with a taste of Sri Lankan cuisine and its wild treasures.

marco perrie white giving feedback for mahoora tented safari camps yala sri lankaThe legendary chef wrote:

“The jewel in Yala’s crown. Words cannot express
the visual impact. Wonderful, beautiful, magical are just a few. I’m moved and humbled with respect.”

Accompanying Marco on his journey through Yala was Andrew Bennett – Chef Director of Black and White Hospitality which handles the
operations of Marco’s New York Italian and Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. Meanwhile, the Mahoora team was profuse in their praises of the event’s sponsors – Cinnamon Hotels, Land Rover, Sri Lankan Airlines and Knorr.


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Excellent photographer's package

"Amazing experience. We'd been on safaris before so was immensely happy that the photographer's package included our own jeep and a naturalist guide who's also a photographer!"
James - Sydney, Australia
January 2017

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