Yala National Park is located in the south eastern region of Sri Lanka and extends over two provinces ofHambantota district of southern province and Monaragala district in Uva province. The entrance to the park is at Palatupana, 12km from Kirinda. The distance from Colombo to the entry point of Palatupana is 305 km.
The gateway to Yala National Park is Tissamaharama. A 20 km drive via Kirinda takes the visitors to the Palatupana. At Palatupana, the well-designed visitor center provides the information to the tourists and assign a tracker to all incoming vehicles
Yala National Park that consists of five blocks is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Though Yala spreads over an area of 1260 square kilometers, only one fifth of the area is open to the visitors. Four-fifths of the park is designated a Strict Natural Reserve. Adjoining the eastern border of the park is Yala East National Park (Kumana).
Of all the National Parks in Sri Lanka, Yala National Park affords the greatest opportunities to sight the Sri Lanka’s broad variety of wildlife: colorful painted stork in troops are seen perched at the shores of lagoon where the crocodiles too have chosen to doze off; lovely fantailed peacocks in their resplendent blues and greens parade about amidst the woods where monkeys hang, leap and chatter; in the bush jungle are the Elephants; crossing the tracks and wandering off into the thorny scrub jungle is the star attraction of the park: the leopard.
Nearby Lunugamvehera National Park serves as a corridor between Yala and Uda Walwe National Park. Yala is home to considerable population of elephants which varies seasonally. Dry season of May to August is the best period to see elephants.