(Latitude 06°16' - 06°42' North / Longitude 81°15' - 81°42' East)
Yala National Park (divided into Yala East and Yala West) is situated in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka, approximately 300 kilometres from the capital, Colombo. The park covers a surface area of roughly 129,700 Ha which hosts a diversity of ecosystems ranging from dense jungles, grasslands and lakes to waterholes, wetlands, flat plains and sandy beaches. Only a sixth (14,000 Ha) of the park is open to visitors.
the highest concentration of leopards (Panthera pardus) in the world (est. 35) but also elephants, crocodiles. Also Cultural sites, like the Magul Maha Vihara ruins, dating from the 1st century BC.
Generally hot and dry as the park is located in an arid region of the country. There are several rainy periods: November to January, March/April and September. The dry season falls between May and August. The average annual temperature is 27 C.
More than 130 bird species have been observed in the park including five endemics such as the black-necked stork and the endangered red-faced malkoha. The elephant, leopard, sambhur, spotted deer, sloth bear, peacock, monkey, wild boar and crocodile are some of the many animals present in the park.
The vast Magul Maha Vihara site, dating from the 1st century BC and the Ruhunu Kingdom, with ruins spreading to around 10,000 acres among them a palace, a monastery and stupas.
Illegal poaching, logging and gem mining occur within or along the park boundaries. Jeep safaris do cause some animals to retreat into the less accessible areas of the park.
Tissamaharama is the closest town to the park.
3 Days to see the whole park, usually on ‘jeep-safari’.