Yala National Park: A Complete Guide

Yala National Park is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, attracting tourists from all over the world. Covering an ar...

Yala Safari Fun

Yala National Park is one of the most popular wildlife sanctuaries in Sri Lanka, attracting tourists from all over the world. Covering an area of 978 square kilometers, the park is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. In this article, we will provide you with a complete guide to Yala National Park, including location and directions, entrance fees and permits, the best time to visit, safari tours, and the animals and birds you can expect to see.

History of Yala National park

Yala National Park, located in the southeastern region of Sri Lanka, has a long and interesting history. The park was originally designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 by the British colonial government, with the aim of protecting the area's wildlife and ecosystems. It was later declared a national park in 1938.

During the early years of the park's existence, it faced numerous challenges, including poaching, deforestation, and encroachment by nearby human settlements. Efforts to protect the park were stepped up in the mid-20th century, with the establishment of park boundaries, a park office, and a staff of rangers.

In the decades that followed, the park's ecosystems began to recover, and its wildlife populations grew. The park became increasingly popular with tourists, who were drawn to its natural beauty and the chance to see rare and exotic wildlife.

Today, Yala National Park is one of the most important conservation areas in Sri Lanka, and is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species, many of which are endemic to the region. It continues to attract thousands of visitors each year, who come to explore its rugged terrain and discover its rich wildlife heritage.

Location and Directions to Yala National Park

Yala National Park is located in the southeast region of Sri Lanka, in the Hambantota district. The park is about 300 kilometers away from Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. To get to Yala National Park, you can either take a bus or a private car. If you are coming from Colombo, the journey will take approximately 6-7 hours by car. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for any assistance you may require in planning your trip to Yala National Park. We are pleased to offer our assistance in arranging your car travel and are committed to ensuring a stress-free and comfortable travel experience.

Location of Yala National Park
Figure : Location of Yala Notional Park Entrance

Best Time to Visit Yala National Park

The best time to visit Yala National Park is from February to July, as this is the dry season and the animals tend to gather around the water sources. Yala National Park is open from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm every day of the week. However, The park is closed for visitors during the month of September for maintenance purposes. It is also advisable to avoid visiting the park during the monsoon season from August to January, as the park is prone to flooding and some parts of the park may be inaccessible. It's always recommended to check the park's website or contact "Yala Safari Fun" team for the latest information on park timings before planning your visit.

Animals and Wildlife in Yala National Park

  • Yala National Park is home to a wide range of animals, and it is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to spot wildlife. Here are some of the most common animals you can see in the park:
  • Sri Lankan Elephant: Yala National Park is home to the highest concentration of Sri Lankan elephants in the world, and you're almost guaranteed to see them during your visit.
  • Sri Lankan Leopard: Yala National Park is also one of the best places in the world to spot the elusive Sri Lankan leopard. Although they are hard to spot, you might get lucky and see one during your safari.
  • Sloth Bear: The sloth bear is another rare and elusive animal that can be found in Yala National Park. They are most active during the early morning and late afternoon, so make sure to plan your safari accordingly.
  • Spotted Deer: The spotted deer is one of the most common animals you will see in Yala National Park. They are easy to spot due to their distinctive spotted coat.
  • Wild Boar: Wild boars are a common sight in Yala National Park, and you might even see them running across the road during your safari.
  • Water Buffalo: Water buffalos can be found grazing in the grasslands of Yala National Park. They are usually found near water sources.
  • Crocodile: The park's many water sources are home to several species of crocodile, including the mugger crocodile and the saltwater crocodile.

Yala National Park Bird Watching

  • In addition to its wildlife, Yala National Park is also a great place for bird watching. The park is home to over 200 species of birds, including several endemic species. Some of the most commonly spotted birds in Yala National Park include:
  • Indian Peafowl: The Indian peafowl is a common sight in Yala National Park, and you might even see them strutting around near the park entrance.
  • Grey Heron: The grey heron can be found near the park's water sources, and they are often seen standing motionless in the water, waiting for their prey.
  • Painted Stork: The painted stork is a large, beautiful bird that can be seen fishing in the park's water sources.
  • Sri Lankan Junglefowl: The Sri Lankan junglefowl is a colourful bird that is endemic to Sri Lanka. They can be found scratching around on the ground for food.
  • Lesser Adjutant: The lesser adjutant is a large bird that can be found near water sources in the park. They are often seen standing in shallow water, waiting for fish to swim by.

Yala National Park Safari Tours

Yala National Park is home to some of the most magnificent wildlife in Sri Lanka, and taking a safari tour is one of the best ways to explore this stunning park. As the best safari tour operator in the area, we offer a variety of tours ranging from half-day to full-day safaris. Our knowledgeable guides will take you on a thrilling jeep safari through the park, where you will have the opportunity to spot a range of animals, including leopards, elephants, sloth bears, and crocodiles. They will provide you with fascinating information about these animals and their habitats, making your safari experience an unforgettable one.

Entrance Fees and Permits

To enter Yala National Park, you need to purchase an entrance ticket from the park office. The entrance fees vary depending on your nationality, with a higher fee for foreigners. It is valid for one day only. You can purchase the entrance ticket from the park office when you arrived.


Yala National Park is a must-visit destination for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. With its diverse range of animals and birds, beautiful landscapes, and rich cultural heritage, Yala National Park offers something for everyone. Whether you're looking to go on a safari, explore and enjoy the natural beauty of Sri Lanka, Yala National Park is the perfect destination. So, pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Yala National Park!


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Yala Safari Fun: Yala National Park: A Complete Guide
Yala National Park: A Complete Guide
Yala Safari Fun
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