There’s a common saying about the folks- Yala is the place you need to be, if you need to see elephants and leopards, So, we hope this saying shows our urge to bring you everything you need to learn about this fantastic place-Yala National Park, Sri Lanka!
Located in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is one of the most visited places by local and tourist travelers who love wild animals. This is the heart of Sri Lanka’s wildlife, home to many animal species. You can go on a wonderful safari deep into the jungle and explore many other places around Yala.
So, here’s the ultimate guide to spectacular Yala National Park if you wish to sneak into the wilderness in Sri Lanka.
Getting To Know About Yala National Park…
World famous as the leopard paradise of Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is the perfect place for anyone who needs to indulge in ultimate wildlife. Located in the southeast corner of the country, Yala National Park covers about 980 square kilometers of land.
It borders the Indian Ocean and contains various ecosystems ranging from freshwater wetlands to jungles, which provides shelter to several species of precious wildlife. This is also the second largest national park in Sri Lanka and consists of five blocks, and three blocks are open to the public.
Other blocks are kept safe only for the animals to preserve the natural habitat. Yala National Park is located about 43 miles to the south of the capital city of Colombo, and the nearest cities are Hambantota, Kataragama, and Thissamaharama
A Flashback To The History Of Yala National Park
Initially, in the 18th century, the park of Yala was used as a hunting ground for upper-class British people. Then later in the 1900s, the government proclaimed this forest reserve under the Forest Ordinance.
It was declared a National Park in 1938 and has been open to the public since then. In 2004, this national park was struck by the Tsunami tidal wave killing over a hundred visitors. But interestingly, no animals were harmed by this destruction. However, now you’ll be able to see a Tsunami memorial inside the park.
The Exceptional Experience At Yala National Park
With all the other beautiful places in Sri Lanka, Yala holds a special spot in your Sri Lankan itinerary. This is one of the best places on earth to spot leopards, known for its higher density of this animal. You shouldn’t miss out on the rich flora and fauna, along with its varied ecosystems during your stay in the country.
If seeing leopards is your priority, you should visit the park during the leopard season, which usually falls through February and March. In addition, the scenic and rare views of herds of majestic Sri Lankan elephants with their babies are also a common scene in Yala National Park.
Your Experience Inside The Park…
You’ll be taken into the wilderness through a jeep safari. A guided jeep safari can be arranged on your desire, where you will be accompanied by an experienced guide who will explain the park’s whereabouts and show you the animals.
This can be a very inspirational, thrilling, and educational experience to have in one’s life, especially when you visit here with your family. You can also visit the beach inside the park located near the Tsunami memorial.
The beach area is an excellent spot to get down from the jeep, unwind and indulge in the warm sun. You will not be allowed to engage in watersports here, but it is an ideal spot to relax during the journey. Yala National Park is also an excellent location for enthusiastic wildlife photographers.
Watching and observing the behavior and movement of animals and birds in their natural habitat will be incredibly exciting.Not only leopards and elephants, but you will also spot deer, vibrant peacocks, crocodiles, buffaloes, aquatic birds, and many more captivating animals throughout your safari ride.
How Long Does It Take To Explore The Park?
Yala National Park can give you a promisingly wonderful experience within a day. Depending on how you plan your itinerary, it will generally take around four to five hours to complete a safari ride inside the park. However, If you’re looking for an ultimate park experience, we suggest you allocate at least one to two nights.
What Are The Things You Can Do Out Of The Park and Nearby?
Your trip to Yala does not confine to only watching animals and safari tours. Outside the park, you have many more places to explore and can even arrange a dreamy, adventurous camping night under the night sky.
Camping Experience in the Jungle
There are many organizations and companies that will help you arrange your camping night accordingly. They will choose the right location to place the tent, provide luxury tented accommodation and even provide you with the required gear.
Some companies also host cooking workshops where you can learn to cook a delicious Sri Lankan meal. Enjoy a true jungle experience under the stars making your trip to Yala more memorable.
Head Out Sightseeing To Ancient Religious Sites
Yala is renowned for its large number of ancient Buddhist religious sites. If you’re an archeology enthusiast or a heritage seeker, you can certainly visit these amazing places to learn about the rich Buddhist heritage of Sri Lanka. Here’s a list of places you can visit:
- Magul Maha Viharaya
Once you’re done with the Yala itinerary, you can arrange your trip straight toward Galle along the beautiful southern coastline. You can find a range of beautiful beaches throughout your journey, such as Kirinda, Hambantota, Dikwella, Mirissa, Unawatuna, etc. And, once you are in Galle, you will have plenty of things to do and places to explore here.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Yala National Park?
How To Get To Yala National Park?
Reaching the Yala National Park depends where you wish to start your journey. No matter where you are, there are two possible modes of transportation you can count on- public and private. Traveling by bus is the most budget-friendly if that’s what you need.
Assuming your current location is Colombo, you can take a bus from the Fort bus station to Tissamaharama and then take a tuk-tuk or a taxi to reach the park. You can also travel by a hired vehicle or a taxi for a more convenient ride.
Another possible method is to book a domestic flight to Tissamaharama and then get to the park. Flying to Yala would be a next-level experience, but it can be heavy on your pocket. If you wish to travel by air, you may have to contact the relevant companies and book your flights in advance.
Where To Stay In Yala National Park?
If you spend a night or two inside the park, the park operates a series of wildlife bungalows. These bungalows come with basic amenities but will give an unforgettable experience inside the park. If not, you can choose a comfortable stay near the park that will match your budget.
There are plenty of luxury, eco-friendly, and comfortable resorts, cabanas, and hotels around Yala. Here are some of our suggestions so that it will help you to pick out during your next trip to Yala:
- Cinnamon Wild Yala
- Jetwing Yala
- Kaaya Eco Resort
- Hotel Elephant Reach
- Uga Chena Huts
Essential Tips, Safety, and Security Measures You Need To Know When Visiting The Yala National Park
Like every other place in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is also a safe zone to travel with your family. However, there are a few more important things that you should keep in mind when arranging a visit to this place.
- First, you should thoroughly remember that you’re about to enter a wildlife zone, so behave accordingly and do not attempt to surpass the jungle rules.
- Yala is one of the most-visited locations in the country, so it can get hectic during the peak season. So, if you need a more relaxed tour, try to dodge the peak and visit the park in the shoulder season.
- Digital equipment like cameras, phones, and video cameras are allowed inside the park. But you may have to carry a zoom lens to capture the best shots without disturbing the wildlife.
- Carry water and snacks to enjoy during the safari. There are no washroom facilities inside the park, so make sure to empty your bowels and not to overhydrate during the trip!
- Do not forget to apply sunscreen and carry sun protection gear, as the area can get hot and sunny. Also, take an insect repellent to protect yourself from the bugs.
For more updated information on Yala National Park, log onto their official website. We will mention the link below: https://www.yalasrilanka.lk/
Enjoy The Ultimate Wildlife In Sri Lanka And Experience An Epic Jeep Safari Deep Into The Wilderness!
Yala National Park is undoubtedly one of the best places to explore and observe various exciting wild animals in their natural habitat. You will be mesmerized by the wild, rustic beauty inside this park, while the jeep safari will give you so many memories to take back home. So, we hope this informative article was helpful enough to plan and arrange your trip accordingly if Yala was on your Sri Lankan itinerary.