Visiting Yala

For your convenience, our most common customer questions are answered right here.

Administration

The park is administered by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance which provides the legal basis for establishing and managing several kinds of protected areas including National Parks.

Buying a ticket & getting an official tracker

Park office is located about 500m before the park entrance where all (local and foreign) visitors must purchase an entry ticket and obtain an official tracker or game guide. The Office usually opens at 5:00 a.m. and closes at 6:00 p.m.

While you are in the park office, you could also walk around the various displays in the visitor center for more information on the park’s habitats and wildlife.

What to wear

Wear light, cotton clothes such as T.shirts, shorts/ trousers which will help you be comfortable whilst traveling in the Park. It is best to wear dark colored clothing that blends with the environment. Colors in shades of dark green, beige, brown and grey are good options. Bringing along a hat is also recommended.

Other accessories/equipment

A pair of binoculars is definitely recommended for getting close-up views of animals. A good supply of water is essential, and a stash of food (e.g. biscuits, fruits, sandwiches) will also come in handy especially during the morning round.

If you are serious about photography,

then bring your longest lens! That said, the Park and its surrounds affords many landscape opportunities and so a combination of lenses will be useful. A bean bag or tripod/mono pod will also be handy for long lenses, although room for a tripod inside the vehicles may be limited, and will depend on how many people are present. Given the dusty conditions, also bring an extra pillow case or the like to cover your equipment when not in use.

Please do not…

Litter, shout, take anything from the park, or disturb the animals in any way.

Yala – Getting there

Yala is approximate 268 km south of Colombo. Currently the only mode of transport if by road, either along the coast or inland via the town of Ratnapura, famous the world over for its gems. Each route provides a distinctly different experience. The coastal route along the Galle Road skirts the ocean for the most part and provides excellent views of the ocean and many opportunites to stop for a sea bath or a stroll along the beach. It is however the longer drive in terms of time given the narrowness of the road which leads to bottle-necks each time a town is encountered. The route through Ratnapura swaps the blue of the ocean for the green of the lush countryside. From Colombo, the traveler will pass several stretches of paddy fields, forested hills and even a small stretch of low country tea. Since a large section of the road has been recently re-laid and widened, the drive is smoother and faster, shaving perhaps an hour or even 90 minutes from the drive time. This is also due to the relatively lower density of traffic compared to the coastal rout which is the primary artery between Colombo and the South. Both routes converge at the town of Tissamaharama (or Tissa) which is the main town closest to Yala, situated 24km northeast of the park.

Another major influence on drive time is the time of departure. An early morning start (around 5 a.m.) is the most common as it allows the traveller to pass through several major towns on both routes before the vehicles hit the roads in numbers.

The Yala Jeep Safari will meet you at Tissamaharama or Kirinda. Or you can book into one of the many Hotels at Kirinda, Yala, or Tissamaharama area and we can arrange safari jeep to report to the hotel.

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