Yala National Park is the most visited and the second largest National Park in the country. Situated 260km South East of Colombo, the park covers an area of 378 sq miles, in a climate that is dry most year round. Yala national Park can be reached from several destinations. These include Colombo via Thanamalvilla and Tissamaharama to Yala Block 1 (243km), From Kandy, via Nuwara Eliya to Tissamaharama Yala Block 1 (245km), Galle via Tissamaharama Yala Block 1 (169km), Arugam Bay via Buttala, Kataragama to Yala (36km).
What is the best time to visit and go safari in Yala National Park
Avoid going in Mid-December to End January as it can be too crowded. Again, in July and August is also very crowded. Avoid long weekends in the month of April due to school holidays. February, March, May, June are the best month is terms of lesser crowds and weather for going safari in Yala National Park. In September, Yala National Park is closed for 30 days in every year.
How to get in to Yala National Park?
Closest town to Yala National Park is Tissamaharama which is 3 ½ hours drive away from Capitol Colombo. Yala National Park could be reached from Ella by 2 hours and from Galle by 2 hours drive. Tangalle to Yala National Park drive is just under 2 hours.
How to Explore Yala National Park?
Only mean of visiting Yala National Park is by a Jeep safari. An experienced Jeep safari driver will ensure you are at the right place on right time for best game viewing opportunities.
Opening times of Yala National Park
Yala National Park is opened from 6 AM to 6 PM every day of the year.
Wildlife of Yala National Park
The park is mainly made up of dense jungle in addition to unspoiled beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers, scrubland, and rocky outcrops, all of which makes the location a comprehensive habitat for the many species of wildlife who call it home.
The Yala National Park with its varied ecosystems such as the moist and dry monsoon forests, thorn forests, grasslands, wetlands, and beaches is home to 44 species of mammals, which includes a herd of about 350 Asian Elephants, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Wild Water Buffalo, Toque macaque (an old world monkey endemic to Sri Lanka), Golden palm Civet (also endemic to Sri Lanka and listed as vulnerable by IUCN), Red Slender Loris and the Fishing Cat (A wild cat of South East Asia classified as endangered by IUCN in 2008).
Nevertheless Yala National park is best known for its leopard population, which is believed to be one of the highest leopard densities in the world and is the key attraction among the thousands who visit the park.