With careful planning, two days are enough time to explore three of the area’s parks: Yala, Uda Walawe, and Bundala. See lots of animals (maybe even a leopard), spend the night in high-end safari tents, and get a taste of village life or Buddhist history along the way. Here’s how.
Day 1: Into the wild
**Morning:**Animals are at their most active around dawn and dusk, so aim to get to the Yala area the night before, ready for an early-morning game drive. Start the day in the wetlands of the less-visited Bundala National Park, looking for sea turtles, monkeys, elephants, crocodiles, and a wealth of birdlife.
**Afternoon:**Head to either Uda Walawe (known for elephants) or Yala (famous for leopards) for a classic safari camp experience. On your way, join a cultural village tour followed by a local meal, or check out Sithulpawwa Rock Temple, once home to Buddhist hermits.
**Night:**Savor the magic of tented camp living, with rangers to ensure your safety. Dine and drink around a campfire, shower alfresco, then sink into clean linens on a teak bed as the sounds of the wilderness echo around you.
Day 2: Safari and sunset
**Morning:**Rise before dawn and enjoy a light snack before your game drive. The goal is to spot Sri Lanka’s big three—leopards, elephants, and sloth bears—but even if some of these are elusive, expect to see deer, crocodiles, and much more. Refuel with a leisurely breakfast back at camp.
**Afternoon:**Time to experience the park you haven’t yet visited. If you spent the night in Uda Walawe, opt for a leopard-spotting safari in Yala. If you spent the night in Yala, discover Uda Walawe’s jumbo herds, and stop by the Elephant Transit Home orphanage.
**Night:**Wrap up your stay in the area with dinner under the stars. Feel the romance of a 4-course dinner on an Indian Ocean beach, surrounded by fire torches; gather around a roaring bonfire; or take a sunset cruise.