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yala national park sri lanka

Mahoora tented safaris - Yala National Park

The Yala National Park is divided into five Blocks, with Block I having an average of 1 leopard per square kilometre, thereby making it the most visited Block in the Park. With areas of thorny scrub land, brackish lagoons and scattered rock monoliths, Yala West provides the perfect environment for the wealth of diverse wildlife found here.  Areas in the East of the Yala National Park were closed to visitors for some years, so no accurate records are available yet as to the Sri Lankan leopard population in these parts. However special arrangements can be made by the Mahoora team to visit these areas as well as the Kumana National Park.

Yala National Park plays a very significant role in the conservation of a large number of flora and fauna species in Sri Lanka, many of which are endemic to the island. Historical and religious sites such as Kataragama, Sithulpahuwa and the Magul Maha Vihara and many archaeologically Accommodation options in Yala national park Sri Lanka important places add additional significance to the area. Safari goers will be enthralled when visiting a National Park that is not only renowned for its wildlife but also noted for its rich history. The Yala National Park was one of the first two National Parks to be established in Sri Lanka.

The earliest historical mention of what later came to be known as the Yala National Park was as far back as 1560 when Spanish cartographer Cipriano Sanchez referred to the area as being “abandoned for 300 years due to insalubrious conditions”. The Park achieved reserve status in 1900 and its first Warden was Henry Engelbrecht. It has continued its conservation efforts and continues to attract a large number of tourists to date.

Climate at the Yala National Park Sri Lanka

The Yala National Park is situated in the lowest peneplain of Sri Lanka, which extends from Trincomalee to Hambantota. The elevation is 30 metres close to the coast and rises in the interior to about 100 to 125 metres. It is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rainfall is mainly during the northeast monsoon. The mean annual rainfall ranges between 500–775 millimetres while the mean temperature ranges between 26.4 °C in January to 30 °C in April.

Best times to visit the Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan leopards and elephants can be seen in Yala all year round. However the Park may be closed for a brief period from September to October. It is best to visit during the dry season which is from May to August.

Big game safari and mammals encountered at the Yala National Park

Yala National Park safari Apart from tracking leopards, the Yala National Park is home to a variety of game, both big and small that will keep a family of wildlife enthusiasts on safari, busy. There is a substantial Sri Lankan Elephant population at the Yala National Park, which is a recognized subspecies of the Asian Elephant, and can often be spotted in large herds, baby elephants in tow, at various locations inside the National Park. The other 44 species of mammals at Yala National Park include the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Wild Water Buffaloes, Spotted Deer and many others.  Along with the leopard, some of these are threatened species as well.

Bird life at the Yala National Park- a bird enthusiast’s dream

Yala National Park birding safari with mahoora Birding in Sri Lanka has long been considered a favourite activity and the Yala National Park will not leave you short of avifauna to observe.  The bird life comprises over 215 species, of which six are endemic to Sri Lanka and range from the flamboyant Lesser Flamingos to Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles and Black Bitterns. Outside the Yala National Park are several other fascinating birding locations, including the ancient hermitage of Sithulpahuwa, Debarawewa wetlands and Palatupana salt pans.

Reptiles and Amphibians at the Yala National Park
There are 46 species of reptiles recorded in Yala National Park, five of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. In addition there are two species of crocodile - the Mugger Crocodile and the Saltwater Crocodile that are prevalent inside the Park and can be seen on virtually any wildlife safari. 21 amphibious species call Yala National Park home (two of which are endemic to Sri Lanka) along with 21 species of fish. The coastline forms a major nesting ground for marine turtles too. Add the butterflies to this list, and you have quite an impressive range of wildlife to explore, making your Sri Lanka safari experience complete.

Flora at the Yala National Park Sri Lanka
The Yala National Park is incredibly diverse when it comes to ecosystems. These include moist monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi deciduous forests, thorn forests, grasslands, fresh water and marine wetlands and beaches. Block I is mainly under forest cover with some large grassland as well.  Other habitat types in Block I are water holes, tanks, lagoons, mangroves and chena lands. Block II is similar in vegetation whereas in Blocks III, IV and V forests are more widespread.

 

 

 

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Excellent photographer's package

"Amazing experience. We'd been on safaris before so was immensely happy that the photographer's package included our own jeep and a naturalist guide who's also a photographer!"
James - Sydney - Australia
January 2017

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