Places to Visit in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka, Asia
Yala National Park also called as Ruhunu National Park is the 2nd largest national park of Sri Lanka located at the coordinates 6°22′22″ N 81°31′01″ E. It covers an area of Southern Province and Uva Province of the country and is spread over an area of 979 sq. km. Yala National Park is divided into 5 blocks and Ruhuna National Park and Kumana National Park two major sub divisions of the park. It is located about 300 kms from Colombo City, the capital city of Sri Lanka.
Yala was declared as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1900 and later as a national park in the year 1938 along with Wilpattu National Park. It is one of the best reserves of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds. The park is in the proximity of 6 national parks and 3 wildlife sanctuaries and features a dry semi-arid climate. It tops the list of seventy Important Bird Areas of the country and is home to more than 215 bird species from the different regions of the world.
Yala National Park houses 44 different mammals and is referred as one of the greatest leopard densities in the globe. There are two sacred places such as Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara located in the vicinity of the park. Some regions of park were affected with the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and more than 250 surrounding regions peoples died at that time.
Flora of Yala National Park:
Yala National Park houses the rich mangrove species plants and species include Sonneratia caseolaris, Acanthus ilicifolius, Excoecaria agallocha, and Lumnitzera racemosa.
Other variety of plant species are Manilkara hexandra, Ceylon Satinwood, Terminalia arjuna, Limonia, Berrya cordifolia, dumetorum, Pleurostylia opposita, Gymnema sylvestre, Bell mimosa, Schleichera oleosa and Vitex pinnataand Indian blackberry.
Fauna in Yala National Park:
Yala National Park is home to 6 endemic species birds of Sri Lanka among 215 varieties of bird species. The famous bird species in the park include Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Wood-pigeon, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul and Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill.
Yala National Park houses 44 species of mammals including Sri Lankan Elephant. Sri Lankan Leopard, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Wild water Buffalo, Toque Macaque, Golden Palm Civet, Red Slender Loris, and Fishing Cat are the animals seen in Yala National Park along with Sri Lankan Elephant.
Tourism in Yala National Park:
With the visit of about 156,867 tourists in 2002, Yala National Park is considered as one of the most tourist visited national parks of Sri Lanka.
There are few hotels and restaurants located near Yala National Park.
The list of other tourist attractions near Yala National Park is as follows:
- Hambantota Cricket Stadium
- Port of Hambantota
- Yudaganawa Temple
Best time to visit Yala National Park:
Throughout the year is the best to visit Yala National Park, especially from January to March is the ideal time to travel Yala National Park to see rich flora and fauna.
Accommodation options near Yala National Park:
There are few safari camps and hotels located near Yala National Park and for best accommodation facilities, Hambantota is advised. The list of hotels near Yala National Park is as follows:
- Lake View Bungalow, Yala
- Mahoora Tented Luxury Safari Camp
- Mahoora Luxury Mobile Safari Camps
- Bandarawela Hotel
- Chaaya Wild Yala Hotel
- Hotel 4 U
- Elephant Reach Hotel
- The Safari
- Mandara Rosen
- Sunnyside Holiday Bungalow
- Peacock Beach Hotel