Yala National Park

Ruhunu (Yala West) National Park, or Yala as it is popularly known – is Sri   Lanka’s most visited national park. It is situated 305 kilometres southeast of   Colombo, 10 kilometres from Tissamaharama. Apart from being renowned for the   variety of its wildlife, it has several distinctive physical features, such as   extensive scrub jungle, patches of open country, and many tanks and lagoons. In   addition, the park has a fine coastline on its eastern boundary with impressive   dunes up to 25 metres high, broad sandy beaches and offshore coral reefs. Yala   also features a number of scattered rock outcrops, some with caves.

Ruhunu   National Park consists of five blocks, the first of which was established in   1938. The second block was established in 1954, the third in 1967, the fourth in   1969, and the fifth in 1973. Although the park is 97,881 hectares in extent,   only the 14,101 hectares of Block 1 – Yala West – are open to the   public.

Entry is by vehicle only – in reality a jeep and driver hired in   nearby towns such as Tissamaharama. This mode of transportation and the   African-looking landscape gives the illusion of an African safari experience.   The park is closed during the dry season in September and October when the   eco-system is most vulnerable.