Yala National Park, Sri Lanka
Between South Africa & Asia, we have witnessed countless wild animals being exploited by uneducated tourists (ourselves included at one time). Having seen the horrific conditions that some of these animals are subject to & the abuse they experience in captivity, we have grown extremely leery of partaking in any activity based around wild animals.
After mass amounts of research, we decided that Yala National Park looked credible enough to visit during our stay in Sri Lanka. Seeing animals in their natural habitat, mostly unaffected by tourism was exactly what we needed after seeing people stupidly riding elephants around the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia just days earlier. It’s easy to lose faith in humanity when you see tourists still naive enough to ride an elephant in 105 degree heat (or really ever, no matter the climate). (**see petition linked at end of this post)
While Sri Lanka in general presented us with many challenges, we both agreed that Yala National Park was one of our favorite activities during our trip to South East Asia. If you ever find yourself in Sri Lanka, we highly recommend a Yala safari & also booking your stay at the Kumbuck River Tree House. We thoroughly enjoyed both!
Yala National Park Safari
On the road en route to Yala, we came across a hungry roadblock. This is slightly terrifying when you are traveling in a nano car hire.
Luckily the tuk-tuk in front of us had bananas on hand to throw to this majestic roadblock, so we were able to get out of the elephant’s path very quickly while he was distracted!
As we continued down the road to Yala, we saw the Tissa Dagoba.
Across the road from the Tissa Dagoba was a river where 100’s of locals were bathing. Sharing this photos is hard, because we try our absolute hardest to not objectify the residents of countries we visit. We are adamantly against slum tourism, but we also want to share the way other cultures live and thrive. A very verbose way of saying this picture is not meant to offend, but to exemplify the culture shock we experience in other countries.
A few minutes down the road & 7 hours after departing our resort in Kalkudah, we arrived at the entrance gate of Yala National Park!
Not long after entering we were delighted to feast our eyes upon so many beautiful animals!
An interesting fact about Yala National Park emerged in 2004 after a massive tsunami hit the island, killing nearly 22,000 people. There were virtually no animals found to have perished as a result of the deadly tsunami that pounded the Southern shores of Sri Lanka. It’s widely believed that the animals could sense the impending wave and headed inland. It’s hard to deny that animals have a sixth sense when you hear facts like this.
We had a really great afternoon spent amongst the animals & natural beauty of Yala National Park. Things got interesting as the sun began to set and we were in search of an elusive tree house we had booked on Airbnb. More on our search for & stay at Kummbuck River Tree House in our next post!
**Please sign this petition to support the ban of elephant riding in Angkor Wat!
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