There are so many reasons to make Sri Lanka your next tropical vacation destination. It is home to intriguing ancient ruins, captivating temples and pristine golden sand beaches. However, some of the best reasons to come here are the Yala National Park and other national parks in Sri Lanka.
There are so many national parks that highlight the best of the country. If you love nature and wildlife, you certainly will not tire checking out a few, if not all of these parks, which include the Horton Plains National Park, Bundala National Park, Wilpattu National Park, Kaudulla National Park, Minneriya National Park, Wasgamuwa National Park, Galoya National Park, Udawalawa National Park, Kumana National Park and leading them is Yala National Park.
Situated on the southeastern coast of the country about 290 kilometers away from the capital city of Colombo, the widely popular Yala National Park is more than 95-hectares wide and considered as Sri Lanka’s top eco-tourism destination. It is also the oldest and largest collection of protected areas in the country. Its vast land area is made up of a fairly dense forest, moist-monsoon forest, semi-deciduous forest, thorn forest, semi-arid thorny scrub, mangrove vegetation, grassland, coastal lagoons, marine wetlands and sandy beaches. The park practically has everything, but its main attractions are the diversity of wildlife, its fine coastline with lovely coral reefs and a number of cultural ruins that speak of earlier civilizations that settled within the area. The Kumbukkan Oya River and Menik Ganga River flow through the park in order to sustain life especially through the driest months of the year.
Yala National Park is split into two areas. Yala West is mostly scrub jungle and brackish lagoons with rock monoliths scattered all over, while Yala East has been closed to the public for some years. There are about thirty leopards observed roaming Yala West, and there’s no saying how many have made their way to Yala East. The park boasts itself as the best place in the world to observe and photograph a huge number of leopards. Sri Lankan leopards are the largest of their kind in Asia. Park visitors in jeep safari tours are mostly likely to see a leopard early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Male leopards are so confident they aren’t afraid of an approaching jeep. Other amazing animals to see are jackals, wild buffalos, spotted deer, sloth bear, mongoose, and Sambar (a large deer native to Asia). Also seen flying around or perched are crested hawk eagles, black bitterns and flycatchers. Yala closes for a short time from September to October.
Sri Lanka is definitely not a “one-park wonder”. The country is rich in natural resources that it takes several national parks to contain its natural attractions. Another important national park is Horton Plain, which is considered by many as the best eco-tourism destination in the country. It is found on Sri Lanka’s highest plateau in the picturesque town of Kalpitiya. The Plain’s leading features are its many rolling hills, Upper Montane forest and wet patana grassland. Bundala National Park, on the other hand, is famous for its birds and innumerable lagoons. It is located in the Hambantota district about 250 kilometers away from Colombo.
There are just so many things to see and stunning places to visit in Sri Lanka. Yala National Park and other national parks in Sri Lanka are proof that you need more than a week or so to make the most of your visit to this amazing country.