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Yala game park

London, United...
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Yala game park


We are heading to Yala reserve park in two weeks time in the hope of seeing leopolds and sloth bears. My understanding is that the only way to travel into the reserve is to take an expensive tour arranged by the hotels. Whilst we are desperate to see the animals, as there are four of us, we don't want to spend $400 a day looking for them.

Can anyone please tell me whether it is possible to privately arrange entrance into the park by hiring a local guide and a vehicle? If so, names or contact details would be great!



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1. Re: Yala game park

There are alot of private hires on the street but we didn't feel comfortable dealing with them. We stayed at Elephant Camp and wnet throught them for the safari - about $50 US each. Saw a leopard and bear. Make sure the entry price to park is included when you arrange it.

Have fun,

Rome, Italy
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for Sri Lanka, Maldives
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2. Re: Yala game park

"My understanding is that the only way to travel into the reserve is to take an expensive tour arranged by the hotels."

not true.

If the hotel is trying to rip you off, then you can just hire a jeep and a driver either at the park entrance, or even at Tissa junction.

The cost for a jeep is around 4000-4500Rupees for half a day.

the entrance fee for yala is aprx 2000Rupees. + you have to pay the entrance fee for the jeep which is 250rupees.

so including tips, you will end up spending less than 30$ per person per safari.

My advice is to go on the Early morning safari, more chances of seeing leopards. and get out of the park before 11am, it gets HOT, and all animals go in to hiding from the sun and the heat.

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3. Re: Yala game park

If you can start the safari early in the morning as the the park opens you have a better chance to spot animals and you can avoid the high traffic in the park too. Also a day safari is an option but you need to rest at some point between 11 am and 3 pm and then start the evening safari before the traffic starts.


Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Yala game park

Hi Owen,

Have you already booked your accommodation? Not all hotel/guesthouses will rip you off. It's hard to get contact information in advance. As most people have recommended, it's best to get a jeep there - often the Independent Safari Jeep Association is where many people go: http://www.yalajeepsafari.com/Tours.html

The prices on their website are pretty close to standard rate (4500LKR half day, 9000LKR full day) except the park entrance fee on the website is wrong. I personally have not tried booking in advance - I stayed at My Village in Tissamaharama who have their own drivers and charge the same rate as this association - so we booked with them.

I did the full day and between 11am and 1:30pm our driver took us by the river to rest and have lunch (our guesthouse packed us a lunch). It was really nice to be in the park while the morning safaris were gone and the evening ones were not in yet. We saw both leopards and a sloth bear. (Leopard in the morning, bear in the evening).

Hope you have a great time!


Fredericia, Denmark
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5. Re: Yala game park

Entrance for a foreign adult is LKR 1,740, so USD 16 is not that far out. Including fee for jeep, service charge and VAT entrance fee for 1 foreign adult is roughly LKR 3,000. Children under 12 are roughly half, children under 6 are free.

Locals pay only a fraction of the above.


Los Angeles
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6. Re: Yala game park

Hmmm.....spoke with at least 6 jeep drivers (for the purpose of enlightening TA readers) when I was there last week and they all said that the price is set at Rs.3500. Full day would be double that. However, there are some hotel employees that are charging the tourists Rs. 4500, and keeping the 1500 profit for themselves.

Also be advised that it is customary to pay for your jeep driver (it's the local rate) and the entrance fee for the jeep.

See my report on Yala on December 8th on TA... you might find it helpful.


7. Re: Yala game park

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