Yala National Park

Yala National Park is a national park in Sri Lanka. The reserve covers 979 km², although only the original 141 km² are open to the public. It was established in 1894 as a Game Sanctuary.Much of the reserve is parkland, but it also contains jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland. The latter zone is punctuated with enormous rocky outcrops. The range of habitats gives rise to a good range of wildlife.

Yala has the world’s highest concentration of Leopards, although seeing this largely nocturnal carnivore still requires some luck.

There is also a substantial elephant population along with spotted deer, Sambar, Wild buffalo, Sloth bear, Jackal, Mongoose, Pangolins and Crocodiles. The bird life comprises over 120 species, and ranges from Lesser Flamingos to Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles, and Black Bitterns. Outside of the park are several other fascinating birding locations, including the ancient hermitage of Sithulpahuwa, Debarawewa wetland and Palatupana saltpans. The coastline forms a major nesting ground for marine turtles. The drier season falls between May and August and the park closes for a short time during September and October.