Yala National Park


  • Location: 811A, Jayanthipura, Battaramulla, Siri Lanka
  • Area: 377.92 square miles
  • Reason to visit: The second largest national nature reserve in Sri Lanka; The forest park with the highest density of leopard in the world.
  • Our ratings: ★★★★★
  • Entrance fee: 3500Rs
  • Opening hours: 06:00am-18:00pm(Jan 01-Dec31, from Monday-Sunday)
  • Recommended tour for you9 Days Amazing Sri Lanka Budget Tour


Yala National Park is located on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, about 300 kilometers from Colombo, with an area of 979 square kilometers. The park is the second largest national nature reserve in Siri Lanka. Also, it's the most visited national park by tourists in Siri Lanka. Yala National Park not only has a diverse ecological environment but also has many rare wild animals.

Yala National Park

Yala National Park is the only primitive wild jungle park in Asia. The visitor could experience jungle Safari-like Kenya National Park. It is also one of the two remaining wild jungle parks. The Yala National Park spans the southern province and Uva province, occupied an area of 1,250 square kilometers, accounting for 2% of Sri Lanka's national area. The southeast is directly connected to the oceanic Indian Ocean.

History of the Yala National Park

Yala National Park was recognized as a protected area in 1900, and it was also recognized as a national park in 1938 along with Verapatu National Park. Yala National Park consists of five areas, only two of which are open to the public. The first area is called Ruhuna National Park, also known as the West Yala. It is the main area for seeing leopards and elephants, and the most visited area; the second area is called Kumana National Park, also known as East Yala, which is the main area for bird watching.


What to see in the Yala National Park

There are moist monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi-deciduous forests and tropical dry forests, in addition to grasslands, beaches, rivers, lakes, swamps and wasteland in the Yala National Park. It is famous for its rich and diverse wildlife. It is a paradise for crocodiles, elephants, deer, bears, wild buffalo, peacocks, wild boars, and various birds. It is also recognized as the forest park with the highest density of leopards in the world.


The wildlife reserve

In Yala, you can see almost all the wild animals in Sri Lanka. There are more than 30 species of mammals and 215 species of birds, 6 of which are unique to Sri Lanka. Among them, the most striking are the herds of wild elephants and cheetahs. The park is inhabited by a large number of native Sri Lankan animals. Flocks of bald cranes inhabit the ponds in the park. Crocodiles and peacock monkeys are common animals in the park. Indian sloth bears, leopards, Asian elephants, buffaloes, wild boars, sika deer, etc. are the objects that people chase.

The main part of the park protection area is a wide lake, and the Kumbukkan River is injected into it. Surrounded by dense bushes and swamp plants, many dead trees die in the lake, making the whole park more vicissitudes. There are tropical hills and many primitive small caves in the forest, which have long been natural nests for wild animals. Visitor could see many kinds of wild animals by car in Yala National Park. There are elks in the park. Wild elephants can be seen everywhere.

Yala National Park has 109 species of mammals such as elephants, monkeys, wild boars, wild buffalo, bears, foxes, wolves, pangolins, porcupines, and many reptiles and marine animals. According to records, there are 44 species of mammals in the park, among which leopard has the highest density. The leopard is very similar to the jaguar, but the leopard is a leopard, and the leopard is another felid.

Here, the visitor can see monkeys jumping between branches, peacocks opening their screens, and Ceylon leopards lurking in the bushes like shadows. This large area of land with dry woods and open grassland is one of the most shining bright spots in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka. The Ceylon leopard is unique to Sri Lanka. There are 25 Ceylon leopards in one area of the national park. The visitor could get a good picture of them. There are a lot of wild animals here, and the visitor can also see furry lazy bears or jackals that look like foxes.

Yala National Park


The bird sanctuary

The Yala National Park is famous for its abundant bird population, which is said to be more than 400 species. To this end, the park opened Kumana Bird Sanctuary. Among the birds are rare birds such as pelicans, Ibis leucocephalus, spoonbills, flamingos, necked Stork, especially necked Stork,  it is estimated that there are only about a dozen in Sri Lanka. There are various tropical fish and crocodiles in the lake.

The Yala National Park is one of the 70 key bird areas (IBAS) in Sri Lanka. This area hides 215 bird species, including 6 endemic species from Sri Lanka. It is also a paradise for bird-watchers. There are many big trees on the lake in the park. Some trees are 6 to 9 meters high, with dense foliage, forming a small tree island in the water. Various birds live here. Many different types of birds are mixed together, and it is difficult to distinguish.

The Yala National Park stretches from the coast to the interior of Sri Lanka, with dense forests, sandy land, plains, lakes and swamps. In addition to touring by off-road vehicles, Yala National Park has two wildlife observation areas for visitors to get off and enjoy. One is Butuwa area where visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery of the seaside here; the other is Yala area where visitors can enjoy the riverfront.

The resting place is a very unusual place. From a distance, it looks like a rock similar to a volcano, extending into the middle of the water. It is impossible to imagine that a national park is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The general national parks are basically in the deep mountains. The most you can see are lakes. In the distance, some fishermen's fishing boats were parked on the shore. The waves broke on the fine sand and made waves of white, which stood out against the dark blue sky.


The best time to visit Yala National Park

♦ March and April are the best months to visit the park when the dry season is almost over and the water level is low, so many animals come out to drink water. During the rainy season, the animals disperse.

♦ February to June is the best time to see the Ceylon leopard.

♦ Yala National Park is closed every year from September to October.


How to get to the Yala National Park

♦ The small town of Tissamaharama is a distribution center to Yala National Park. There are frequent coach buses to and from Matara, and daily shuttle buses from Elah and Nuwara Eliya to Kandy.

♦ There are no buses to Yala National Park, and the visitor could only rent jeeps to get there. These jeeps can bring tourists into the Yala National Park, and the cost is generally Rs5000-6000. The park starts selling tickets at six o'clock. The journey from Tissamaharama to Yala National Park takes about 20 minutes.


Travel Tips

♦ The visitors cannot drive into the Yala National Park. A special six-seater sightseeing jeep is needed. Jeeps can be compared according to the kind of price, as far as possible to choose the seat toward the front.

♦ You can ask the driver in advance whether he will provide a telescope, drinking water, food and other services.

♦ There is no toilet in the park. If you need to use the toilet, you can only find a place by yourself, but there is danger. Therefore, it is recommended to use the toilet before departure.

♦ Driving in the park by jeep will raise a lot of sand and dust, and the road conditions are not good. Please protect the photographic equipment to avoid falling out of the car.

♦ If you want to photograph wild animals in the distance, especially the rare cheetah, it is best to bring a telephoto lens.

♦ Please do not leave objects such as plastic bags in the park because the animals may eat them.

♦ It is recommended to bring sunglasses to block direct sunlight, take good sun protection measures, and wear a veil or mask dust.

♦ Don't feed the animals.