I decided on Yala Wild Safaris because of the good reviews, and I am super happy with my decision.
I contacted Malith back and forth to arrange the trip, and right from the very beginning I can tell that Yala Wild Safaris offers a very good service. Super fast response.
For the first safari, we did the Yala National Park for one full day. Malith made sure that we left our accommodation at 4:30 am sharp, and he was there even before that (punctuality is a big plus for me). The reason we left so early was so we could reach the ticket booth earlier that everybody else and amongst the first to enter the park too (which we did ).
I think all the safaris operators are familiar with the leopards’ behavior, but what make Malith more special is because he is actually tracking all these leopards. He could tell you which leopard that we are looking at. He has a good eyes too, he could spot the leopard behind the trees and bushes, and I was like “he? what? where?”. He was super patience with me and my brother (thank you Malith).
I think Malith took us everywhere in the park. There’re times when we did not meet anybody else (which is so great). He took us to a great spot for our snack break (I love that spot).
Second day, we visited Udawalawe National Park for half day (for the elephant). Unfortunately, Malith was not our guide, but we had a great time too. The guides were super super patience with me. I was so excited to see the elephants so close, and the guides decided to stay in one spot for a while and let me took 1,000 pics of the elephants. Most of the time, we’re the first to reach one spot and the last to leave.
In summary, Yala Wild Safaris made my first safari an incredible experience for sure. Their service is beyond expectations. I think all people must understand that: in safari there is no guarantee that you will see the wildlife that you wanted to see. It is wildlife after all. But we're lucky enough to see the leopard, elephants, Sri Lanka national bird (junglefowl), green bee-eater, a lot of peacocks, the grey langur, and so so much more.
Btw, Malith will bring his own DSLR camera and he will share his pics of the leopard with you. OK, which other operators will do that for you?
Thank you Malith and team for the incredible experience.
They arranged our pick up from Ella and all the transportation and safaris (Udawalawe, Yala and Bundala) for a fair price. It was our first experience in a safari and we absolutely loved it! Saw plenty of animals except the elusive leopard.
3 safaris in 2 days plus the travel was a bit exhausting, nonetheless we highly recommend Malith and his company for giving us a great experience.
Visiting the nearby national parks is high on the agenda with catching sight of the big four in Yala and seeing herds of elephants in Udawelewe. We did a full day at Yala, which is fully recommended to see everything (and there’s lots), and only an afternoon half day at Udawelewe.
Booking: we visited the store front on Main Street and were met by Malith the boss who helped explain all possibilities without overselling. We asked about water, which is included, cost (9500Rs for yala and 5500Rs for Uda), binoculars are in each Jeep, and start times: 4am pick up for full day til 6:30 for full yala, and 1:15 for Uda.
Yala’s organisation was fantastic. We were driven by Prasanna who definitely knew knowledge of the animals just required questions of interest. 1L of water was given each for morning and afternoon per person. Lunch involves a packed buffet of rice, dahl, potatoes, green beans and chicken. Watermelon and pineapple were also provided. This was during our mandatory 2hr break during the day at the beach (cannot swim or wander), a good time for a nap. Bring snacks for the long day! Lots of animals were seen, especially in the morning. Or perhaps we just managed to spot them. The day was definitely worthwhile! It wasn’t packed with Jeep’s. Our driver found us wonderful places with no one else in sight. We felt really special and attended to to see a range of animals. His skill for spotting was amazing.
Only negatives/suggestions: some seats were broken and the Jeep could use some oil (squeaky). The binoculars promised were actually broken.
Udawelewe was a little less organised in that we did not get a confirmation text of our drivers name (can use WhatsApp). Our driver, Susa, didn’t speak much English, couldn’t confirm the company name. Luckily I also asked whether he had water, he misunderstood and took us to a supermarket to buy. After a phone call he bought each person 1L as initially expected. The park is 1hr’s drive from town which you drive to via your Jeep. Our driver once asked for directions which made us doubt his experience. Once in the park we basically followed lots of other Jeeps. We were easily lucky to see the elephants congregate around the large lake. Lots of Jeep traffic though. If felt like our driver kept following other Jeeps and never having initiative to go off and find animals. Thankfully what we saw (a large herd with 3 babies) made everything all the better but we still felt that we were given the most basic of services/safari’s. Also to note the driver had no binoculars either. Seats and comfortability was reasonable.
Pick up from and to our hostel for each safari was excellently prompt. Our experience with the company overall was definitely positive and we achieved seeing all animals considering the time of year. The company is recommended but make sure you ask questions, both at booking and on safari. Enjoy!