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Yala Travel Guide

Sri Lanka's oldest national park the Yala National Park is located in the south-east corner of Sri Lanka and has an area of about 127,000 ha. The major activities are bird and game watching, especially elephants which are best seen from October to December. It is 305 km from Colombo and access to the Park is via Ratnapura, Tissamaharama. Yala is by far the most popular national park in Sri Lanka and renowned for the variety of the wildlife, largely characteristic of dry zone tropical thorn forest and fine coastline and associated coral reefs.

A large number of important cultural ruins bear testimony to earlier civilization and indicate that much of the area was populated and well developed, with an irrigation system supplying water to the surrounding paddy fields, including those of Yala. The vegetation at the Yala National Park comprises a secondary forest, possibly a few hundred years old. It is predominantly semi-arid thorn scrub, interspersed with pockets of fairly dense forest. In respect of Fauna, a total of 32 species of mammals have been recorded. The lagoon fauna includes various species of prawns, crabs, and fish.