National Park Fact Sheet

Of Sri Lanka’s 22 national parks, the finest and most famous is Yala, which covers a vast swathe of countryside in the southeast of the island beyond Tissamaharama. Much of the park is closed to visitors, but the area which is open has probably the richest and most varied collection of wildlife in the country, including a substantial elephant population, elusive sloth bears, gorgeous birdlife and, most famously, a significant leopard population –  the densest population of these big cats anywhere in the world.

This is the most visited national park in Sri Lanka. It consists of 5 blocks where Block 1 is the most frequented Block. This block is about 140 sqkm and supposedly has the highest density of leopards in the world per sqkm. Yala has the Big 4 of Sri Lanka in terms of the land mammals. Leopard, Sloth Bear, Elephant and Wild Buffalo.

Perhaps what has made Yala so famous is its high concentration of leopards, the highest in the world, thanks to the fact that they have no natural predators and, as a result, they are more easily seen parading their beautiful coats around the park, day and night, without the fear of being attacked. The lack of fear have made them almost diurnal.

Yala has over 70 bird areas along with about 215 bird species that can be seen both endemic to Sri Lanka as well as migrants. Sri Lanka’s largest bird, the Black Necked Stork is a resident at Yala Block 1.

Inclusive of the Leopard and Elephant, Yala National Park has over 44 kinds of mammals and over 45 kinds of reptiles including 6 endemic reptiles to Sri Lanka.

Yala has several cultural and historical citations & civilizations with King Ravana, the mythical Hindu anti-hero established his kingdom in Yala. Two important civilizations or pilgrim sites namely Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara are situated within the park.

Yala Block 5 which was re-opened in March 2016 has since built a reputation for great viewing of the Big 4 with 1/10 of the number of vehicles as Block 1. This park is about half the size of Block 1 with 65.1 sq km but certainly a better alternative to Block 1. 

Park Open : Open Throughout the year except September - October

Best Season : February - June

Main Attraction : Leopards, Elephants, Sloth bears, bird-life

Shortest Route : Fly to Colombo & drive to Yala

Nearby : Bundala (49 km), Kalametiya (92 km)

Province :  Southern Province

Area : 978 sq. km

Altitude: 100 - 125 m

Vegetation : Coastal Dry Deciduous

Major City: Galle (190 km)

Airport : Colombo (320 km)

Railway Station : 

Colombo : 320 km


Best Time to visit
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
2 Nights 3 Days Available on request
Route Map