Yala National park - Discover Sri Lanka with Bruno

Yala National park

Yala National Park is located in the south eastern region of Sri Lanka and extends over two provinces of Hambantota district of southern province and Monaragala district in Uva province. The entrance to the park is at Palatupana, 12km from Kirinda. The distance from Colombo to the entry point of Palatupana is 305 km.

The habitats found in the park are wide-ranging, from freshwater lakes to beaches, rocky outcrops to green plains and jungle. This creates an area of immense biodiversity and is one of the world’s most popular destinations to spot the elusive leopard, who love to lounge on the huge granite boulders that dot the parkland.

A rather wild and rugged area of the country, Yala has long, windblown beaches with crashing waves that make it dangerous for swimming, many of which are backed by sand dunes and lagoons and a backdrop of forests and plains. The experience of being on safari in Yala is virtually comparable to Africa, as you set off early in the morning by jeep and enjoy afternoon game drives, but it also offers the added cultural element of important Buddhist temples.

Colombo to Yala National park distance 302.3km

Reptiles at Yala National Park

The reptile fauna recorded from the park is 46 and five of them are endemic. Sri Lankan krait, Boulenger's keelback, Sri Lankan flying snake, painted-lip lizard, and Wiegmann's agama are the endemic species. The coastal line of the park is visited by the all five globally endangered sea turtles (leatherback turtle, olive ridley, loggerhead sea turtle, hawksbill turtle, and green turtle) that visit Sri Lanka. The two breeding crocodile species of Sri Lanka, mugger crocodile and saltwater crocodile inhabit the park. The Indian cobra and Russell's viper are among the other reptiles.

Birdlife at Yala National Park

Yala National Park is rich in birdlife and around 130 species have been recorded.Raptors include crested serpent eagle and white bellied sea eagle. Among the water birds attracted to the lagoons are Lesser Flamingo, Pelicon, Spoonbill, painted stork, rare black necked Stork, grey heron, purple heron, night heron and Darter.

The number of waterbirds inhabiting wetlands of Yala is 90 and half of them are migrants.Waterfowl (lesser whistling duck, garganey), cormorants (little cormorant, Indian cormorant), large waterbirds (grey heron, black-headed ibis, Eurasian spoonbill, Asian openbill, painted stork), medium-sized waders Tringa spp., and small waders Charadrius spp. are among the common waterbirds.

Elephants at Yala National Park

A sizeable population – about 300 to 350 – of Sri Lankan elephants (Asian elephant subspecies) resides in Yala, which is a very important site for their conservation. The mammals can be spotted roaming or bathing in lagoons and waterholes.

Leopards at Yala National Park

Sri Lankan leopards (Panthera Pardus Kotiya) are said to be a distinct sub-species from their Indian neighbors. Leopards can be seen throughout the park, though best period for enjoying the sights of leopards is during January to July.

Yala has the highest density of leopards. The best chance to spot them is around new moon combined with a safari/tour in the afternoon when it’s also less busy. They are more active around dusk during new moon days.

Wildlife at Yala National Park

Of all the National Parks in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park gives the best opportunity to witness Sri Lanka’s broad variety of wildlife: colorful painted stork in troops are seen perched at the shores of lagoon where the crocodiles too have chosen to doze off; lovely fantailed peacocks in their resplendent blues and greens parade about amidst the woods where monkeys hang, leap and chatter; in the bush jungle are the Elephants; crossing the tracks and wandering off into the thorny scrub jungle is the star attraction of the park: the leopard.

There is wealth of wildlife at Yala for visitors to enjoy, including sloth bears, crocodiles, wild peacocks, blue-tailed bee-eaters and monitor lizards. Look out for endemic bird species, including the Sri Lanka grey hornbill and black-capped bulbul.

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