Yala National Park and Wild Coast Tented Lodge

Yala is an experience like no other! Forget whatever you may know about safaris in Africa! There are no rules that apply here, no limit on the number of safari vehicles entering the park or at a sighting - it is a complete free for all! (If this place was controlled it would be PARADISE). This is Sri Lanka's 2nd largest Park and is spectacularly located on the Indian Ocean in the south eastern corner of Sri Lanka. It has the highest concentration of leopards in the world as well as elephants, sloth bears and a variety of other fauna and birdlife. On 26th December 2004, the tsunami waves flooded the middle of the park killing 60 visitors. 35,000 people lost their lives in Sri Lanka. Interestingly enough there were only two water buffalo deaths and no other animal corpses found. Elephants and wild boar were seen running away from the beach with their tails raised three hours before the tsunami struck fuelling the notion that animals possess a 6th sense....

We were up bright and early for a 6am stroll on the beach in search of the elusive stilt fisherman, but sadly they were still nowhere to be seen! We headed back and enjoyed our absolutely divine Sri Lankan breakfast with egg hoppers, coconut milk rice, curried fish and sambals – DELICIOUS!

We were highly excited to visit Yala National Park for two reasons: Wildlife and the stunning Wild Coast Tented Lodge.

🙂 FANTASTIC Location, Sublime Food, Extraordinary Service

🙁 Proper Ferrari Safari

We had been told the best time to visit Yala was between February and June. Leopards number at circa 25 and elephants numbers are estimated at 350. It is a mix of forest, open grassland and lagoon areas bordering the Indian Ocean. Wild Coast Tented lodge is a remote safari camp made up of cocoon like lodgings which are inspired by the egg shaped boulders which are found strewn across the beach. It is absolutely FABULOUS! An elephant had just strolled through before our arrival leaving evidence of his departure strewn on the walkways.

After a welcome drink we were shown to our Family Cocoon Unit…amazing! We had opted for the spacious All Inclusive Family suite which had an adjacent ‘urchin’ room with two single beds and a shower etc in the same rustic colonial safari style of an era gone by. The brass bath is a real treat. If Paul and I had been travelling alone we would definitely have chosen the Cocoon Pool Suite which has a private plunge pool overlooking the Indian Ocean – next time! Our rate was inclusive of a game drive and we had paid the supplement to make this private with a guide plus an additional morning drive to increase our chances of spotting leopard or sloth bears. Absolutely LOVED this accommodation – one of our top ever accommodations spots in the world along with World’s View at Ant’s Nest in South Africa. So many special touches! The cooler box is the fridge! The elephant feet coffee mugs are now our prized momentos reminding us of this special place at home.

The urchin was extra special as it also had an outdoor shower which the girls took advantage of.

On to another favourite subject of ours: FOOD AND DRINK! Sublime and in the most perfect surroundings – we wished we had booked several nights here. The cocktails are amazing and made with fresh fruit and LOTS of alcohol – all are delicious – none of those awful processed flavours. Just WOW.

YUM!

Quite hilariously a bird perched above our heads and deposited a gift on Caitlyn’s head – we were convinced that it was a sign of good luck! (Never believe these myths! lol!)

We headed off on or safari drive with our Guide shortly after lunch. We spent time at waterholes enjoying the antics of the various birds. Alas, no sightings of any leopards. Lots of bird photography on our other lenses though! The many shades of the sun setting were spectacular. We were treated with a wonderful sighting of an elephant just outside of camp with the full moon shining down on us.

We freshened up and headed for the beach BBQ. Yet more wonderful food… served in the most amazing location with the most amazing ambiance…special and treasured memory. Sadly the bird poo had not helped our luck and neither had the promise of the full moon… However, it was Easter and we were comforted by the presence of the Easter Bunny …

We were awoken at 5am ready for our morning drive. We raced the other Jeeps to the gates overtaking on dangerous corners to secure our 7th place in the undetermined queue! Having arrived 30minutes earlier than the gate opening we had time to enjoy a snack prior to the next sprint.

First call on the cell phone network was a sloth bear – we raced frantically to the end of the queue to be met by a wall of jeeps.

We urged our driver to leave this chaos…so we made some chaos of our own by traversing a route not even meant for our 4×4 Jeeps – safe to say we could smell that the clutch was burnt out on the rocks! The smell of metal on metal was overpowering! YIKES!

We did see some monkeys

Despite our best endeavours in sticking around the area that the leopard and cub which was sighted the previous evening we had no luck … but fresh prints over recent tyre tracks were evidence that they were around – so we waited for 30mins but to no avail.

However, this old man graced us with is very calm presence and made up for the morning’s lack of productiveness…. Caitlyn especially enjoyed a close encounter.

Time for Team photos before breakfast and then heading off from Yala to Ella. Next time we will ask our driver to let the rest race and suggest that we follow our own path for a more enjoyable safari…. Wild Coast Tented Lodge is incredible and would love to return.

Go Back To: Mirissa Beach

Go To: Ella – 98 Acres Resort

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