Royal Tourism – Sri Lanka
Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka, bordering the Indian Ocean. The park consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public, and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names such as, Ruhuna National Park (Block 1), and Kumana National Park or ‘Yala East’ for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo.
The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds. The park provides jeeps with soft–tops which gives the opportunitiy to view wild life. Dawn and dusk bring about the best timing for Safari tours in the Yala National Park. Being located in one of the arid regions of Sri Lanka, the Climate of Ruhuna National Park is usually hot and dry. The mean annual temperature is 27 Celsius, although in the dry season the temperature could go as high as 37 Celsius.
Yala is very rich in wildlife and home to a great variety of species, some of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. The endangered Sri Lankan Elephant, recognized subspecies of the Asian Elephant, can be seen in large herds by the waterholes in Yala. The 44 species of mammals include Sri Lankan sloth bear, spotted deer, water buffalo, crocodiles and the leopard – the star of Yala.
According to recent studies, Yala has the highest concentration (as high as 01 km2) of the elusive Sri Lankan leopard (Panthera pardus kotiya). Unlike to elusive, and primarily nocturnal, leopards living in other parts of the world, in the Sri Lankan national parks they are rather easy to spot due to the lack of natural predators.
Your best chance to see a leopard is generally early in the morning. Especially, the young males are very confident, and often they are seen walking on the tracks.
The birdlife in the Yala National Park is amazing too. Over 215 species of birds have been recorded in Yala, with six being endemic to Sri Lanka. Both, the critically endangered black-necked stork and the lesser adjutant, the biggest bird in the island, can be spotted here. When in Yala, the bird enthusiasts may visit several other fascinating birding locations, including the ancient hermitage of Sithulpahuwa, Debarawewa Wetland and Palatupana saltpans.
♣ Contact for your tour : Royal Tourism – Sri Lanka