Driving along the narrow paths that lead to the famous Yala National Park at day break, you will catch your first glimpse into the Park’s residents. Majestic peacocks sit perched on tall branches of distant trees offering visitors not only a rare glimpse into wildlife in Sri Lanka but also a promise of other unique animal sightings in the Park’s 130,000 hectare compound. Once the hunting ground for elite British colonialists, Yala achieved National Park status in 1938 and is the country’s second largest National Park.
Yala National Park is one of Sri Lanka’s top attractions and ample Yala accommodation is available which like Jetwing Yala, are situated near the Park’s two (of five blocks) that is open to the public. The Park boasts a landscape of light forests, shrubs, plains, rocky terrain, lakes and lagoons. The dry months from February to July is the best time to visit Yala National Park while a early arrival will offer the best animal sightings so don’t be surprised to be greeted by a queue of safari jeeps outside the Park’s entrance at six a.m. In a small clearing a short distance from the Park’s arched entrance is the Ticket Counter and Information Centre where visitors can gather information on the Park’s ecosystem and its resident wildlife. Here visitors are often entertained by a playful troupe of grey-coated Toque Macaque monkeys.
Boasting a rich biodiversity, Yala National Park is home to 44 species of animal and 215 bird species. Driving along the muddy tracks that snake through the Park, each turn offers an opportunity to catch a glimpse of Sri Lanka’s rich wildlife. On your morning excursion, you will see a crocodile basking in the morning sun, a leopard asleep on a tree branch and a solitary elephant crossing your path. Yala National Park is home to a large number of spotted dear who can sometimes be seen grazing in the plains beside the giant lakes and nearby peacocks display their magnificent feathers to impress the visitors while on the Patanangala beach, sea turtles nest overlooked by the towering Tsunami memorial.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.Google+