After Tangalle, we planned to go to Ella and were considering to visit the Yala National Park on the way there. Luckily, the couple we met on the bus to Tangalle, Valery and Vladimir from London, and hanged out together at the beach, suggested us to go there together with on a private tour: they negotiated about the tour one day before in Tangalle. We happily agreed as the timing and price seemed very reasonable. In total, the journey Tangalle – Yala National Park safari – Ella cost us 30000 rupees divided by four.
We were picked at 4 am from our hotel (oh my goodness, only after three hours sleep it was harsh!) with a van and after one hour drive we switched to a jeep and drove another hour.
By the way, it is quite chilly so early in the morning; think about taking a jacket or a scarf with you into the jeep. At the border to the park, we had to wait about one-and-a-half-hour while our driver was getting us the tickets. It seems like a normal procedure, to wait for the tickets. So, our advice would be to use the time the best way you can, leave the jeep and just cross the road to go watch buffaloes. Besides, you have to definitely use the opportunity to go to the bathroom before the safari starts: believe me, the road is very shaky! At the border, you can also buy some basic drinks and food.
Thus, the safari started at 8 am and lasted about three hours. We were very lucky to see three elephants (they were basically walking along the road we were driving at, so close, yeah!), two mongooses, five crocodiles, countless peacocks (who unfortunately were not willing to open their tales for us), buffaloes and several cute monkeys.
Yala national park borders with the Indian Ocean: in the middle of the safari, we visited the Yala beach to stretch our legs and admire the wild ocean.
After safari, we drove another two hours and reached Ella by about 2 pm.