Location: Southern and Uva Province, 310 kilometers from Colombo
Area: 979 square kilometers
Avg. Temperature: 26 °C – 30 °C
Avg. Annual Rainfall: 500 – 775 mm
Located in the Dry Zone lands of the region, the Yala (Ruhunu) National Park is the second largest popular national park in Sri Lanka! Home to a wide assortment of animals, the park is a distinctive place which holds a spectrum of eco systems ranging from lush monsoon forests, dry grasslands, freshwater and marine wetlands and sandy beaches. The park consists of five blocks of which only block one (Yala west) is accessible to visitors. Yala West is a home to thorny scrub jungles, brackish lagoons and stunning rock monoliths with its eastern edge bounded by the coast. A recent study has shown that Yala has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world!
Yala is extremely diverse in terms of flora. The vegetation found here is typical of dry monsoon forest. Plains are interspersed with pockets of forest containing tree species such as Palu, Satinwood, Weera, Maila, Mustard and Woodapple. Among this habitat, lives a high population of several bird species. Endemic bird species found here include the Ceylon Jungle fowl, Brown-capped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Ceylon Swallow. The park is also a good habitat for dry zone specialties like Indian and Great Thick-knees, Sirkeer, Blue-faced Malkohas and Malabar Pied Hornbill. The Park is probably the best place to see the rare Black-necked Stork.
The biggest draw to Yala is the abundant and thrilling wildlife. The majority of the 44 mammal species include Elephants, Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Jackals, Sloth Bears and Leopards. Among the trees you are bound to spot Hanuman Langurs and Toque Monkeys. Land and Reptile species include the Water Monitor and Marsh Crocodile. After the North East Monsoon, the park is an ideal place to spot many species of butterflies and dragonflies.
About 40 km beyond Hambantota on the A2.
Yala Safari Game Lodge
Elephant Reach Hotel
Yala Village Hotel