Elephant Wildlife

Yala National Park -Remarkable wildlife experience in Sri Lanka

yala national park
Written by Lakshan Dinuka

Yala Nation Park is the second-largest national park in Sri Lanka.  Another important thing is its face to the Indian Ocean. Situated in the southern region of Sri Lanka. The size of the whole park area is close to 979 square kilometers. It’s a property and maintained by the Wildlife Conservation Department of Sri Lanka. Under their supervision, a lot of activities are conducted to conserve the park and animal and to take the income through the park.  

It became a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, after that in 1938 it was designated as a National Park. In the previous era, the area was used for hunting activities under British Rule. But nowadays it’s a tourism hotspot in this small country. There are 5 blocks to the Park. If you interest in animals and nature, this is one of the best places that you should visit in Sri Lanka.

Animals you can see in Yala National Park

Yala national park is a hotspot for biodiversity in the tourism field. As a visitor to this small country, this park should be one of your destinations. There are 44 varieties of mammal and 215 bird species in this park.

Leopards in Yala

yala national park Leopards
yala national park Leopards

This place is known as the world’s biggest concentration of leopards. The reason is the number of leopards that live in here. In the park website, they mentioned the number as 40 leopards, but according to the ranger’s ideas there maybe 60-70 of them. These creatures are the biggest mammal that you can see from the cat family in Sri Lanka.  It’s like lord of the jungles in Sri Lanka. Height is close to 45 to 80 cm with the shoulder. Normally the weight is 170 lb of a male and female is close to 64 lb. they are good hunters like other members of the cat family. Mostly small mammals, birds, reptiles, wild boar, and spotted deers are hunted by leopards in this environment system.

Elephants in Yala

yala national park Elephants
yala national park Elephants

            After the leopards, the second major animal that we should talk about is elephants. Yala National Park is a famous destination for elephants as well. But those are mostly family or alone. If you want to see a large number of gathering you have to visit Minneriya or Kaudulla National Parks.  These elephants are very special when we talk about Asian elephants. They are the darkest and largest from Asian elephants (Sri Lankan elephants). Normally you can see them as groups.

But here in Yala national park it somewhat different. Anyhow the leader of the group is the oldest female one. Because adult males do not stay in the group when they grow. They eat approximately 150kg per day. Water also close to 200ml. and the way they are communicating is very beautiful to see. That’s why elephant watching brings you a memorable experience.

Sloth bear in Yala

yala national park Sloth bear
yala national park Sloth bear

In Yala national park you can see another famous animal of Sri Lanka known as Sri Lankan Sloth Bear. They are a subspecies of common sloth bears. It’s hard to see even in Yala national park. Because the amount is very low and they are not coming to show themselves easily. These animals are omnivorous. Because of that, nuts, berries, roots, meats, insects have included their meals. Record says that there are only 1000 of bears or less than that in Sri Lanka.

Spotted Deer in Yala

yala national park Spotted Deer
yala national park Spotted Deer

 The potential to see spotted deer is very high in Yala national park. There a huge number of groups in the park. Sri Lankan spotted deer is a subspecies of axis deer. Normally they eat grass and fallen fruits and leaves. In a group, there may be a 10-60 animal. And they closely with peacock, sambar dear, wild buffalo and langur monkeys. They have white color spots on their brown color body.  That’s the easiest way to identify them.

Crocodiles in Yala

yala national park Crocodiles
yala national park Crocodiles

In Yala national park there are swamps close to the tracks. That’s the reason you can see these raptors in a park like this. There are two species of crocodiles in Sri Lanka. Mugger and Saltwater crocodiles. In this park, you can see both of them. But saltwater crocodiles are rare. Mugger crocodiles close to 4-5 meters from the length, weight close to 700kg. But saltwater crocodiles are bigger than this. Length is approximately between 14 and 17ft. Weight is 400-1000 kg. Mostly every time you can see them in this park.

Not only these animals. Yala national park is a home for a lot of species. Such as wild boar, wild buffalo, land monitors, jackals, and more.

Yala national park Safari

This is a marvel experience that you should add your tour to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is a famous safari destination like Africa. If you are a wildlife photographer, nature lover, researcher safari in Yala national park is highly recommended. If you wish to do this, you have to find out the best service. But that’s not much difficult. When you reach the park, jeep drivers are there with expecting you. And also through the hotel, you can join a safari.

There is a lot of hotels that provide this service when you book their hotels. Sometimes this jeep service owns by the hotel or they linked with another jeep service provider to continue the better service. But if you have your own vehicle that suitable for safari you can enter the park with the permission of the wildlife department. But they don’t take any responsibility for your vehicle. If you visit the park with your vehicle you should enter with a wildlife officer or guide.  

      Mostly you have to visit the park in the early morning to see leopards and elephants easily. A anyhow jeep services have their packages at various time durations. A lot of them are work with these three.

5.00 AM to 10.00 AM – Morning Safari

2.00 PM to 7.00 PM – Afternoon Safari

5.00 AM to 7.00 PM – Full Day Safari.

You can select anyone base on your budget and your need. These drivers are very clever to catch the animals by their eyes. If any naturalist or a guide under the wildlife department doesn’t come with you, the drivers are always ready to help you. with the experience, they have some knowledge about animals. Otherwise, you can ask for a guide from the park.

      But when you do this activity you have to follow some orders. Because you enter to a highly sensitive wildlife area.

  • Don’t make loud noises inside the park.
  • Don’t smoke within the park premises.
  • Don’t feed the animals.
  • Don’t disturb to animals.
  • Don’t get off from the vehicle without permission.

These rules and regulations help to manage this tourism activity without harming wildlife.

Yala Safari Cost

yala national park safari
yala national park safari

For a day visit

Local adult or locally resident adult – Rs60.00

Foreign adult – 15.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Local child or locally resident child – Rs30.00

Foreign Child (6-12yrs) – 8.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Overnight Visit

Local adult or locally resident adult – Rs120.00 per day

Foreign adult – 30.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Local child or locally resident child – Rs60.00

Foreign Child (6-12yrs) – 16.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Two visits during daylight hours of the same day

Local adult or locally resident adult – Rs100.00

Foreign adult – 25.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Local child or locally resident child – Rs50.00

Foreign Child (6-12yrs) – 12.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Common for every visits.

Service charge – 8.00U.S.Dollars or its equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees.

Vehicle fee-Jeep/Car/Van/Bus – Rs 250/125/250/650

VAT – 15%

School Children – Rs20.00

For a party consisting of not more than 10 persons-for a visit to block ii of Ruhunu (Yala) National Park – Rs2,500.00

Cost for rent a jeep is approximately Rs 5000-6000. (it depends on the visit that you selected)

Best time to visit Yala National Park.

Between February and July is the best time of Yala national park to visit. The reason is the water level of the park somewhat low. Base on that you can see a lot of animals in open areas.

To Yala National Park from Colombo.

If you wish to travel by train, there is a train from Colombo Fort Station to Haputale. The time is 9.45 am and 8.00 pm. For 1st-3rd class seat bookings, the cost is approximately LKR 95-320. From Haputale to Yala it takes only one hour.

            If you wish to select a bus to travel, you should start your journey from Colombo Bastian Mawatha Bus Terminal to reach Kataragama. From Kataragama to Yala it’s only 30 minutes drive. For the bus ride, they will charge between LKR 100-230.

Hotels near to Yala National Park.

The park is a very crowded destination from tourists every day. That’s why a lot of hotels you can see near the park. For your convenience, we have mentioned here a few hotels that we can recommend.

yala national park hotels
yala national park hotels

Yala Safari

This hotel occupied marvelous beauty among other hotels in Yala. They have designed their cabanas with two separate rooms. Mostly those cabanas have the best sea views. The design inside the cabanas always good for relaxation of your mind.

      If talk about their facilities you will feel very comfortable as your home here.

  • A restaurant with a variety of international cuisine.
  • Bar & Coffee shop
  • Swimming pool and Jacuzzi.
  • Spa
  • Gymnasium
  • Laundry Service
  • Free driver accommodation
  • Safari arrangement

If you want to see more details and pictures visit their site.  


Cinnamon Wild Yala

It’s located near to a lake. If you accommodate here that will be one of your best memories. It feels like living around a jungle. They have designed everything nature friendly. A lot of rooms are completely finished by woods. Sometimes they have monkeys on their roof and wild boars around the house. They have open tables close to the lake that bring you nice experience.

            If you want you can book your rooms through their site. And also this hotel ready to arrange Safari packages for you. because of these reasons this hotel is one of the best hotels in Yala.


Jetwing Yala

You shouldn’t have any doubts about this hotel. Because Jetwing is a leading hotel chain in Sri Lanka. They have a lot of hotels covering the whole country. If we talk about Jetwing Yala, the location of this hotel brings you a picture like heaven. From the hotel, you can reach easily both sea and road. They have a beautiful sea view for the hotel.

If talk about their facilities,

  • 24 Hours Room Services
  • Spa
  • Gym
  • Pool Table
  • International Trained Lifeguards
  • 24-Hours Travel Desk
  • Doctor on Call
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Parking Facilities.

By visiting their site you can go for more details and pictures. www.jetwinghotels.com/jetwingyala

Chena Huts by Uga Escapes.

This one also come through leading hotel chain call Uga Escapes in Sri Lanka. When you accommodate in places like this, tour benefits are very high. They don’t want to damage their brand name. That’s why we recommend this.

            This hotel is a unique one from others. Uga Escapes always having some different ideas. Here you are offered beautiful and luxury huts to stay. And the location also unique. Situated in a border of the Yala national park and Indian sea. They have provided private pools for each cabin. Experienced rangers are there to make your safari better.

And also in their site they mention about these three

  • Best Rate Guarantee
  • Exclusive Offers Up To 50% Off
  • Free Cancellation

If you want to know more details, follow their site. www.ugaescapes.com/chenahuts

Ruhuna Safari Camping.

‘Adventure with a touch of Luxury’ to get this both at once, they invite you. They are providing you a different experience through tented safari camps. They have designed these camps within their own premises covered by a jungle. They are operating these camps since 2009.

Another special thing is they are offering not only safari, but they also have another activity for you.

Base on your request they ready to arrange cooking lessons for you. You can learn how to cook south Sri Lankan foods.

Otherwise, you can go with them to golden beaches bordering the nearby Bay of Bengal. You can walk and swim and rest. If you interest in this place and if you want to know the price rates and others, visit their site and watch it.


Effects of tsunami incident to Yala National Park.

26 December 2004 was a dark day to Yala Park. Tsunami waves came into the country from the side of Yala as well. But it was not harmful to animals. They felt it early, all animals have been escaped from the waves. It was identified by the wildlife staff because there were two elephants with having GPS collars. But the human was not much luck. 47 visitors died by the incident.

We think that these details and information may help you to manage your journey to Yala national park. This is a place that you should go to. See the beauty of nature, also you can travel udawalawa national park. listen to the voices of birds, you will love this green environment in this small island.


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