One of the more untouched National Parks on the island, Kumana National Park (previously known as “Yala East”) allows visitors to get up close to nature and animals without the crowds, as is consequently far less zoo-like. Located at the southern tip of the Eastern Province, it's a perfect day trip from Arugam Bay.
In the same region sits Gal Oya and Luhugala National Parks, two additional key safari locations in the south eastern corner. The density of animals is lower compared to neighbouring Yala, but it’s not rare to spot a leopard, along with elephants, crocodiles, turtles, white cobras, wild buffalo and tons of birds. There are a small number of accommodation options to stay overnight close by to all safari parks. Entrance to the parks includes a compulsory guide.
Open all year, National Park hours are 6am – 4pm
28km (approximately 45 minutes) south of Arugam Bay by car
Top tip: For bird lovers, Kumana is Sri Lanka’s key destination