Located in the south east in Sri Lanka bordering Indian Ocean, Yala is Sri Lanka’s most famous and the second largest national park. Essentially Yala is a hassive area of scrub light forest, grassland, and brackish lagoons. Yala records the highest Sri Lankan leopard density. There are tickets to enter the park and most of the hotels in the area arrange private safari jeeps with pick ups and drop offs. Best time to visit Yala is from February to July, it's when the water levels of the park get low, and animals reach out for water.
Yala spreaded across 979 square kilometres of land divided into 5 blocks. These blocks open to the public in various seasons. It is one of the first two wildlife national parks on the island. The park is known for the Sri Lankan leopards, elephants and sloth bears. You are very certain to encounter elephants, however it is with luck you’d see leopards or sloth bears.
Best time to visit is early in the mornings, when the animals are not distracted by racing safari jeeps. Safari jeeps get queued for entrance tickets starting from 5:00 AM, drivers say the earlier you get in the park you’d have a bigger chance of seeing a lot of animals. However you need a lot of patience, time and luck in the park.
The park is home for 215 bird species including 7 endemic birds, 44 mammal species and 47 reptile species with 6 endemic. Within the Block I 25 individual leopards are estimated to roam. The herd of elephants includes 300 - 350 individuals.
The climate in Yala is usually hot and dry, throughout the year the temperature varies between 27 Celsius to 37 Celsius. It is best to take water, sunscreens etc when you are visiting. Also if you have the time it is recommended to do a full day safari.