Yala National Park

Did you know that the first time this Park was named was in 1560 and a Spanish cartographer made it?

Yes, Cipriano Sánchez pointed out on the map that “… it was abandoned 300 years ago because of its unhealthy conditions”.

Practically 100% of travellers coming to Sri Lanka want to go on a safari in Yala Park.

So let’s explain what’s special about this national park. The most visited in Sri Lanka and the second in extension.

Where is it?

Is located in the south-east of the country, in the province of Uva.

The distance between the most important cities of Sri Lanka and Yala is as follows:

from Colombo: 280 km
Galle: 175 km
Kandy: 215 km

Extension and physical characteristics

Yala National Park covers 979 square kilometres.

This huge expanse of land is divided into five blocks. But to safeguard the animals, only two of these blocks are visited by the public.

Furthermore, next to the park we have two other important national parks: Kumana and Lunugambera.

And a few miles away we have the Bundala National Park, reserve and bird sanctuary.

It is incredible that there are so many parks and nature reserves on such a small island, right?

Topographically, the area is a flat and slightly undulating plain that extends towards the coast with a height of 30 meters near the coast while it rises inside for 100-125 meters.

Yala national park

A brief history of Yala National Park

As we have already mentioned, Yala was already registered on the map in 1560, under Portuguese colonisation.

Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and in 1938 it was officially listed as a national park.

So it was, along with Wilpattu, one of Sri Lanka’s first national parks.

Precipitation and climate

The reserve is located in a semi-arid climatic region and the rains are mainly received during the northeast monsoon.

The average annual rainfall varies between 500-775 mm.

On the other hand, the average temperature varies from 26 ° C in January to 30 ° C in April.

Biodiversity in the Yala National Park

Yala NP ecosystem

Has a variety of ecosystems including wet monsoon forests, dry monsoons, semi-deciduous forests, spiny forests, grasslands, marine and freshwater wetlands and sandy beaches.

Naming all the animals that live in Yala is an almost impossible task, but we will talk about them approximately all.

Among the mammals we have …

There are 44 species of mammals resident.

Of course the most popular are the elephant and the leopard. Especially the latter, since Yala is concentrated one of the highest leopard densities in the world.

In addition to these mammals, we have buffaloes, cows and bulls, wild cats, macaques, owls, lories, among others.

Mammals in the Yala National Park

In the bird world …

Yala is one of the 70 important bird conservation areas in Sri Lanka.

The most remarkable thing in the bird world in Yala is that of the 215 bird species recorded in the park, 6 are endemic to Sri Lanka.

grey horbill Yala national park

On the other hand, the endemic birds in Yala are the following:

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
Sri Lanka Wood-pigeon
Crimson-fronted Barbet
Black-capped Bulbul
Brown-capped Babbler

Wild rooster Sri-lanka

Probably the birds that we will see more easily is the harrier and the white-bellied eagle.

As well as the heron of waterfowl, the black-headed ibis, the Eurasian spatula, and the painted stork.

We can also see other more common birds such as the green pigeon, the hornbills, the old world flycatchers, the Asian flycatcher of paradise, the Asian barbers and the Rigogoli.

About the reptiles …

While herpetology highlights the fact that of the 46 reptiles registered at Yala, 5 are endemic:

black lips lizard Yala

It is important to know and respect the coast of the park, since its beaches are visited by the five sea turtles in global danger that we detail below:

Leatherback turtle
Bastard Olive Turtle
Sea turtle
Hawksbill turtle
Green turtle

Green turtle Yala National Park

Furthermore, we have crocodiles, cobras, crabs, prawns, butterflies, etc. in Yala

Crocodile Yala National Park

How to access the Yala National Park

Most of the accommodations are located in the nearby cities of Tissamaharagama and Kataragama.

Normally safari jeeps that are used on organised trips to Sri Lanka pick up travellers in hotels where they are staying.

Tourism in Yala

Yala National Park is the most visited park in all of Sri Lanka, especially during the summer months.

Fortunately we are there to organise your next trip to Sri Lanka.

So be sure to prepare your binoculars and safari suits to visit the Yala National Park!