I know it’s wired to say that I’ve never been to Yala before, but that’s the truth. Me and a couple of people I know planned this trip to Yala. We managed to book the hotel ‘Yala Village’ which happened to be inside the Yala jungle.
Around 5.00 am 3rd October we left Colombo towards our destination. There were two main routes to Yala from Colombo, the Coastal road and the road which goes through Rathnapura & Embilipitiya. We chose the coastal route which is about 30 kilometers longer than the other road. Around 9.00 am we reached Tangalle and stopped for breakfast. It was a poya day and most of the shops were closed, but there was a small shop opened in Tangalle where we had breakfast. After that we continued the journey to Yala. We arrived at the Yala Village hotel around 11.00 am. The hotel was indeed located inside the jungle; the rooms were separate cottage separated from the main building. Our cottage was about 40 meters away from the main building. We’ve received instructions from the reception not to step outside from the cottage after the sunset because of the wild elephants *sigh*
We checked in to the rooms unloaded the bags. After that we went to the main building for lunch. The buffet was good but I wished there were more stuff :D. We spoke to the reception and arranged the Yala Safari. The Jeep came around 2.30 pm and we went on the Safari. Somewhere down the road we stopped and the driver got down and got the tickets. They’ve allocated a guide for every 3 vehicles. There was a small museum and we took couple of snaps there.
Yala Museum - Leopard
Yala Museum - Bear
In the very beginning of the safari we saw many peacocks, dears and loads of wild boars. The Yala jungle is in the dry most part in the island. We saw lot of crocodiles eating dead buffalos. According to the driver the buffalos just come to the places where the water is and just die (super wired).
Somewhere down the road the driver has spotted a leopard and we tried to locate that for more than 10 minutes but it has vanished already.
Came back to the hotel safely and we were in the mood for a swim, it was past sunset and Yala wasn’t hot as I thought. After we got out from the swimming pool we came to the entrance of the main building to go to our cottage and guess what the wild elephant has already come and people told us not to go. We were there for a while till the elephants make a move from our cottage and quickly ran towards the cottage had a change and came back for dinner. After the dinner also the same drama, another wild elephant has come and we were stuck in the main building for some time.
In the early morning Sunday, 4th October we got up and went for breakfast. The sea is located not too far away from our cottage and we went to the beach, we again received a warning from the reception not to go to the sea as it is rough. We saw the red flag displayed on the beach so just walked here and there in the beach and came back to the cottage to watch the Formula 1 Japanese GP. Unfortunately BBC sports was not available, the only option was Star Sports with loads of lame Indian commercials.
We packed our stuff and went for lunch, after lunch we directly got in to the car and was on our way home. We stopped the car in less than 15 minutes drive because there was a giant wild elephant.
We used the Embilipitiya, Rathnapura road to come back to Colombo. For a nature freak Yala might be thrilling but for me, well I prefer Hikkaduwa more :)