Yala National Park

The Yala National Park, located on the south eastern coast of the country, is the second largest national park and the most visited national park in the country. Established in 1900, the reserve is also considered to be one of the oldest and one of the most diverse national parks in Sri Lanka housing many endemic species, along with other migratory species as well. It is the ideal location to delve into wildlife Sri Lanka.

Best Known For

Nature and Outdoors:

  • The park is best known for preserving certain endangered animals in Sri Lanka such as the Sri Lankan elephant, the Sri Lankan leopard and other aquatic birds.
  • One such animal that has made the reserve a haven for itself is the Sri Lankan leopard that can be witnessed specially in the Western block of the park and has made wildlife safaris a staple for nature lovers to observe the majesty of this spotted cat.
  • Apart from the wandering leopards that can be witnessed, the park is host to 353 or so recorded species of birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish and other invertebrates, out of which 17 or so have been classified as endemic to Sri Lanka making it one of the most prominent reserves in the country.

Interesting Facts

  • The Yala National Park spans over 900 square kilometers and is divided into 5 blocks, each block boasting of a unique feature, be it the flora or fauna.
  • The most interesting area being Block I located in the Western part of the park that has one of the highest leopard densities in the world giving sanctuary to around 44 leopards.
  • The park has been mentioned in many ancient texts that depict the park as a centre of past civilisations. The most notable being depicted as the only surviving part of King Ravana’s kingdom which is now believed to be submerged in sea.
  • The park also serves as a haven for the 400,000 or so pilgrims that partake in the ‘padayatra’ or foot pilgrimage to the Kataragama Devalaya making it a cultural landmark as well.

Times, Seasons and Tips

  • The best time to visit the park is between the months of March to April when the weather is hot and dry making it easier to spot the unique species, especially the Sri Lankan elephants and leopards.
  • Do keep in mind that the national park does close its doors for the wellbeing of the animals, since they can get distracted from the frequenting of tourists going about in the safari jeeps.
  • The periods in which the park closes is generally during the months from September to October, however, it is subjected to change depending on the management of the Wildlife Department. Therefore, it is best to call beforehand and confirm.
  • Entrance to the park is met with strict guidelines set forth by the Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka that only enables you to enter the park through official safari tours conducted by specialized firms.
  • As of 2018, a day pass to the park would cost LKR 3,700, however, the cost would increase depending on the type of safari tour you select and the amount of people you are going with.
  • The park is opened for visitors from 6.00am to 4.00pm, however, it is possible to arrange overnight stays in the various authorised campsites in the reserve.
  • Pre-booking safaris and tagging along with other keen safari goers is a smart idea as it would reduce the cost of the safari tour and would reduce many of the shortcomings if you were to go spontaneously.
  • It is important to adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by the relevant authorities.

In short, the Yala National Park serves as a biodiversity hotspot of Sri Lanka not to be missed by anyone, as it displays not only the ecological heritage of the country, but also the cultural heritage of the country.

Title image by: Kimaya Wickrama-Adittiya The information displayed is provided by Yala National Park


March - April


LKR 2,400
LKR 1,200

Tickets At


Nature and Outdoors

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