Yala National Park, Sri Lanka: Travel/Tourist Information Guide

Yala National Park is the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka. It extends over two provinces of Hambantota District of Southern Province and Monaragala District of Uva Province. The gateway to Yala National Park is Tissamaharama and it is easy to access the park from the town.  It is located 24 km from Tissamaharama. The park consists of five blocks and two of them are open to the public. The blocks have their individual names. The park covers 979 square kilometres. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900 and it is one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka with Wilpattu National Park. Yala became a national park in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is also an important park for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, Sri Lankan leopards and aquatic birds. The park is located in the dry semi-arid climatic region and the area receives rain mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala National Park is also one of the 70 important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka because it harbours 215 species including six endemic species. The number of mammals from the park is 44 and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the worlds.