Yala National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka, located in the southern part of the country. It is a natural paradise that covers an area of 979 square kilometers and is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
The park is divided into five blocks, of which two are open to the public. Block 1, also known as the Yala National Park, is the most visited area and is the most densely populated with wildlife. Block 2 is less crowded and has a variety of landscapes, including beaches, lagoons, and rocky outcrops.
Yala National Park is known for its large population of Sri Lankan elephants, with around 300-350 individuals living in the park. Visitors can also spot other animals such as leopards, sloth bears, water buffalo, and several species of deer.
The park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 215 species of birds living in the park, including several endemic species. Visitors can spot a variety of birds, including the Sri Lankan junglefowl, painted stork, lesser adjutant, and black-necked stork.
The park is also home to several reptiles, including crocodiles, lizards, and snakes. Visitors should be cautious when exploring the park, as some snakes, such as the Sri Lankan krait and Russell’s viper, are venomous.
One of the most popular activities in Yala National Park is the jeep safari. Visitors can explore the park with a knowledgeable guide and see the animals up close in their natural habitats. The safari takes visitors through the park’s many ecosystems, including dense forests, open grasslands, and waterways.
Another popular attraction in the park is the Sithulpawwa Rock Temple. The temple dates back to the 2nd century BC and is believed to have been built by King Kavan Tissa of Ruhuna. The temple complex consists of several cave temples, stupas, and a large rock carving of a reclining Buddha.
Yala National Park is open to visitors year-round, but the best time to visit is between February and July when the park is less crowded, and wildlife sightings are more common. The park is closed during the annual monsoon season, from September to January.
Yala National Park Entrance Fee
The entrance fee for Yala National Park for foreign visitors is as follows:
Full Day Safari: USD 40 per person for adults, USD 20 per person for children (ages 6-12)
Half Day Safari: USD 30 per person for adults, USD 15 per person for children (ages 6-12)
It’s worth noting that these fees are subject to change, and visitors should check the official website of the Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka for the most up-to-date information before visiting. Additionally, fees may be different for local residents and SAARC nationals.
How to get to yala national park
Yala National Park is located in the southeastern part of Sri Lanka, and there are several ways to get there.
By Private Vehicle or Taxi:
One option is to hire a private vehicle or taxi to take you from your starting point to the park. This can be arranged through a local tour operator or your hotel, and the cost will depend on your starting location and the type of vehicle.
By Public Bus:
Another option is to take a public bus from your starting point to the nearby city of Tissamaharama. From there, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to the park entrance. Public buses are a more affordable option, but they may not be as comfortable or convenient as a private vehicle.
It’s also possible to take a train from Colombo or other major cities to the nearby town of Matara or Kataragama. From there, you can take a tuk-tuk or taxi to Yala National Park. However, keep in mind that this option may take longer and require multiple transfers.
If you’re coming from outside of Sri Lanka, you can fly into the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo and then take a domestic flight or hire a private vehicle to reach Yala National Park.
Once you arrive at the park entrance, you can purchase your entrance ticket and arrange a jeep safari with a licensed guide. It’s important to note that visitors are not allowed to enter the park without a guide, and jeeps are the only vehicles allowed inside the park.