I booked a full day safari with my father for Yala on the 2nd Feb. From the booking to the pick-up the whole process was simple and seamless. We were one of the first vehicles to enter the park, and almost immediately saw our first leopard lying on a rock, as well as the reclusive porcupine (a 1st for me despite being on many wildlife tours throughout the world). Yala must be one of the best national parks to view leopards.
Our driver was Nalaka and he was really superb. As Ajith Safaris jeep operate several vehicles they communicate sightings to each other, which is essential due to the jungle expanse of Yala. In total we saw 5 different leopards (most other tourists only saw 2!) due to our driver's knowledge of the roads, and instinct as to where the animals might be. We took some great photos as result of impressive "jostling", necessary when there are numerous other vehicles crowding around the same position. I felt the driver wanted to take the time to show us as much as possible, even though he must have been here hundreds of times. Even when the sweltering heat was beginning, we were enlightened to many different bird species that are on show- each one identified by the driver's whose knowledge cannot be underestimated.
As we were on a full day safari (in order to save on paying the obligatory park entry fee twice), we spent a few hours in the middle of the day when most of the wildlife are sleeping, at a beautiful spot on the sandy banks of a slow-flowing river which was as tranquil and idyllic as we would have handpicked ourselves.
In my opinion, the most important person for a jeep safari is the driver, who doubles as a tour guide. His effort and determination to show and identify the wildlife by driving around and around was magnificent. By comparison the day before the jeep safari organised by our UK travel agent exited Yala at 8am. I saw Ajith's half-day vehicles leaving at closer to 10 am. Considering we were still seeing leopards and elephants at 9.30am, it is pretty obvious which safari provided better value, and fulfilling experience.
I now know who to call when I next visit Yala!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.