Yala National Park
About Yala National Park
The second largest and most visited national park in Sri Lanka, Yala is situated in the southeast part of the island and is a vast expanse of dusty woodland and grasslands punctuated by towering boulders. The park is home to some 44 species of mammals and 215 species of birds though it's popularity with visitors is due largely to the fact that the park has one of the highest concentrations of leopard in the world and around 350 resident Asian elephants. Also present are sloth bears, golden palm civets, Sri Lankan krait and crocodiles. The coastline around the park is visited by leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles.
Yala National Park has a variety of ecosystems including moist monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi deciduous forests, thorn forests, grasslands, fresh water and marine wetlands, and sandy beaches. One region of the park even has wild rice growing during the rainy season when it floods. The majority of the park is designated a Strict Natural Reserve with no access available to visitors but the small section that is open provides a rewarding safari experience.
Demon King Ravana established his kingdom here with Ravana Kotte, now submerged in the sea, as its boundary. Seafaring traders brought Indo-Aryan civilisation with them and a large number of tanks are the evidence of a rich hydraulic and agricultural civilisation dating back to 5th century BC. Situlpahuwa, which was the home for 12,000 arahants, is situated within the park area along with Magul Vihara, which built in 87 BC and Akasa Chaitiya, which constructed in 2nd century BC. Agriculture flourished in the area in previous times.
Yala National Park Hotels
If you are planning a Yala National Park holiday, have a look at some of the accommodation that we recommend. 'Our Rating' indicates how we feel each property rates according to normal Western hotel standards. 'Local Rating' indicates how the property is categorised/rated locally:
Cinnamon Wild Yala National Park
Opened in 2002, the Cinnamon Wild Yala is a world class game lodge with rustic exteriors yet luxurious interiors. Choose between Jungle and Beach chalets, all with beautiful interiors including luxurious wooden furniture, cosy mosquito nets and spacious interiors. Dining options include the alfresco Tuskers Restaurant and the Pugmarks bar, a great place to relax with a beer in the evening! Well located adjacent to Yala National Park.
Elephant Reach Hotel Yala National Park
Elephant Reach is a comfortable eco-hotel with chalets and standard rooms, all of which are spacious and elegantly furnished. Forested paths lit by lanterns connect the chalets with the main areas of the property and add to the sense of serenity. The grounds are lush and green and there is a gorgeous outdoor pool and welcoming bar. Guests can enjoy fine dining at the Tusks restaurant with Sri Lankan cuisine alongside theme nights where Chinese, Italian and BBQ meals are served.
Jetwing Yala Yala National Park
Right next to Yala National Park, Jetwing Yala offers superb accommodation in a spectacular location. Guest rooms are beautifully decorated and all come with private balconies and contemporary en suites. The hotel also benefits from a stunning out door pool, a desirable beachside location and a number of excellent restaurants. Choose from elegant dining at the Dining Room or tapas at the Lounge! Perfectly located on the outskirts of Yala National Park.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Yala National Park Tailor made suggestions
Here are some of the recent tailor made itineraries we have created for our clients which include a visit to Yala National Park.