A spectacular treat for wildlife enthusiasts, the Yala National park has been popular attraction since inception. Located in the Hambantota district in Sri Lanka, the national park is one of the primary attractions of the South East region of the island.
In the early 16th century Yala was notes for its unique ecology by a Spanish cartographer. However, it was the British colonial power that distinguished the region for its innate habitation. Although the British did not name the region Yala they did however recognise it as a reserve. It was also used as grounds for hunting during this period. It was only in 1938 that Yala was declared as a national park.
Today, Yala constitutes of six national parks and three bird sanctuaries. The largest park here is the Lunugamvehara National Park.
Providing the most enigmatic safari experience, Yala encompasses over 900 km of wildlife. Visitors have spotted many animals here especially the popular Sri Lankan leopard. In addition, elephants, deers, and wild water bulls are all common inhabitants of the park. Home to over fifty species of birds, Yala is one of the Important Bird Areas (IBS) in Sri Lanka. Due to the distinctive bio diversity found here, excursionists can catch a glimpse of a remarkable variety of amphibians, reptiles and fish. Moreover, the park fascinating botanists for decades is said to host over 300 odd floral species.
An idyllic experience for the adventurous traveller, the park also constitutes of a beach inviting you to take relaxing stroll on its friendly shoreline. On the way to Yala, guests can also include a visit to the ancient rock temple Sithulpawwa that is said to have housed over 12,000 monks during ancient times. Tracing its antiquity to the early Anuradhapura Kingdom, the temple Magul Maha Viharaya is positioned on Sithulpawwa.
Over the recent decade, Yala has taken important position as an elephant and leopard conservation.