Yala National Park is a large African Safari type park in Sri Lanka. You can read more about the history in it’s wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yala_National_Park
Apparently it has been only been opened a few years back and thus it is largely untouched by any major human driven developments.
Basically it is a huge wildlife sanctuary where animals just roam around in the wild in their own habitats. Humans like us will hire jeeps and will be driven around by a ranger. On the trip inside the sanctuary, if you are lucky will come across the animals.
Apparently the animal most hard to spot are leopards. According to the ranger there is quite a high concentration of leopards in the park. But they rarely come out in the day and only comes out to hunt at night. We did not spot any leopards during our time there. The second most rarest animal to spot are elephants. We were luck to spot a elephant but only for a brief time while there. Nevertheless, it was still worth the experience.
Other animals commonly spotted are water buffaloes, deer, crocodiles, peacocks etc. We even managed to take a picture where the peacock have spread it’s beautiful feathers fully (look at the picture below).
I have not been to the African Safari, so I could not compare the experience between the both. But travelling on a jeep into a wildlife sanctuary where animals roam around in their homes and humans remain away at a safe distance reminds me of the role reversal that has taken place (Gives you the hunter becomes hunted kind of feeling).
At the end of the safari, you will end at a seaside which has a splendid view of the Indian ocean. Apparently tsunami has struck this place and at that time there was a concert taking place. There is a memorial to indicate this there.
It was a humbling experience to remind us that even though human has achieve great technological advancements, we are still the lesser beings compared to the power of nature.
Another lesson is life is unpredictable. Those who have attended the concert on that day would not have even thought that such an incident would be taking place. Life is short and we should make full use of it. Live every moment fully!!!
After travelling around Yala National Park which took us till the late afternoon, it was back to Banderawela. We reached Banderawela after sunset. It will be our final day in Banderawela the next day before going back to Colombo to catch flight back home.
On our final day it will be a visit to Dunhinda Falls. Supposedly, the most beautiful waterfall in Sri Lanka.