Yala National Park in Sri Lanka, which is approximately 260 KM from the country’s capital, Colombo is as big as 26 Colombo cities when put together. Situated in the vicinity of Hambantota city, Yala National Park is on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, having almost 215 species of birds, 44 kinds of mammals and boosts of one of the highest rates of endemism and highest leopard density in the world.
Timings to visit Yala National Park
Yala National Park opens at 06:00 AM in the morning up to 06:00 PM in the evening.
Entry fee in Yala National Park
Best time to visit Yala National Park
Yala National Park, located in the southeastern coastal region, is dry most of the year except during the monsoon. As Sri Lanka experiences two monsoon season in the country at two different time period, tourist preferences of visiting the place as per monsoon also change. Southeast region experiences rainfall from October to January, so February to July is preferable for the visit. The water level is low during this time because of the heat. This also ensures experiencing more of aquatic animals.
How to reach Yala National Park
Gate access in Yala National Park
The entire area entitled under Yala National Park is divided into 5 blocks. Neither the blocks are accessible to the public nor is there is a single gate for all the blocks. There are 5 different blocks in 5 different regions.
History of Yala National Park
It started with 14,101 hectares of land in Block I and gradually expanded as wildlife in this area flourished. Mythologically, Yala National Park holds significance, too. It is said that Ravana from the Ramayana, had his Kingdom established here as the Ravana Kotte, which is now under the waves. During British colonisation, Yala was used as a popular hunting place. Apart from this, settlement of Sithulpawwa, water tanks made by Sri Lankan kings can also be seen in Yala National Park, even after dozens of years.
Wildlife in Yala National Park
Wildlife in Yala is diverse and indigenous. The aim of Yala National Park is to strike the chord and keep a balance between man and nature, celebrating life in all forms. Leopards have the highest concentration in Yala National Park in the world. One can see elephants playing and walking off the streets, accompanied by deer, buffaloes, golden palm civet, fishing cats and sloth beers too. The lagoons of Yala are not vacant as well. Filled with crabs and prawns, the other water areas have more than 20 varieties of fishes like stone sucker, olive barb, orange chromide and many others. In the shabby water areas, crocodiles yawning in the sunshine is a very common scene spotted in Yala National Park.
The coastline of the park is frequently visited by turtles and other endangered species like the hawksbill turtles, green turtles, olive ridley and few more. Indian Cobra and Russell, two extremely dangerous snakes carrying the most poisonous venom, can also be found loitering around. 215 species of birds can be heard chirping around Yale National Park. There are Sri Lankan endemic birds like the hornbill, jungle fowl, wood pigeon and also migrating birds of different areas like egrets, painted stork, Asian Hornbill, little cormorant and more.
Things to do in Yala National Park
This huge national park cannot bore anyone. The diversity Yala National Park inherits is vivid and attractive. There are many things that one can do on their visit to Yala National Park :
1. Safari Rides in Yala National Park
2. Beach Walks in Yala National Park
3. Birdwatching in Yala National Park
There are around 215 species of birds that are found in Yale National Park. There are both endemic and migrant birds. Even if not interested in bird watching, the birds are varied in colours that will definitely amaze the visitors.. There are birds like Orange Breasted Green Pigeon, Hornbills, Ruddy turnstone, Eurasian Curlew and many others. Witnessing so many birds together will be an exhaustive experience.
4. Camping in Yala National Park
5. Night in Yala National Park
6. Sightseeing in Yala National Park
Tips for visiting Yala National Park
- While visiting Yala National Park, few things must always be kept in mind. These are :
- While venturing into the wildlife, one should strictly not come out of the jeep for any activity. It might lead to unwanted and dangerous situations.
- While one is on a tour to venture wildlife of Yala National Park, one should not click pictures with flashlights. This irritates the animals and as animal behaviours are not pre-decided and unpredictable it may lead to problems.
- No alcohol, drugs or smoking is allowed inside the Yala National Park premises.
- It is preferable to keep mobile phones on silent or on vibrate. The sudden upbeat sound might create unwanted movement within the animals.
- One should not start eating anywhere and everywhere. There are restrictions to that which the guide or the driver is aware of. Consultation of what are the eating norms must be known.
- No strong odour food must be carried inside.
- Nobody should attempt to throw food or feed any animal inside Yala National Park. This might invite unwanted problems.
- Guns, knives, matches, lighters - everything that might harm animals and wildlife should not be carried.
- Unnecessary honking of the jeeps should be avoided. It disrupts the normalcy of the wildlife ecosystem.
- Nobody should take or touch anything that belongs to the wildlife, be it stones, sand or any remains.
- In case of emergency, keep each other calm and try not to make noise because it may further worsen the situation. The trekker who is with the jeep can take care of the situation.