Yala National ParkHambantota
Easily considered to be one of the more iconic parks in the island, the Yala National Park is the second-largest wildlife park in Sri Lanka and is known for its unique flora and fauna that complements in the sustaining of the island’s unique biodiversity.
Yala National Park is less than 2 hours away from Hambantota and is a popular nearby attraction from the town.
Home to Endangered & Endemic Wildlife
The park is home to some of the rarest species of animals in the world, however, two mammals take the top spot. Such animals are the Sri Lankan Leopard and the Sloth Bear, both of which are endemic and endangered. While these two animals are indeed highlights, there are many other animals that can also be seen. According to the Department of Wildlife, there are 353 species of animals that includes mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and other invertebrates.
While its exotic beauty never ceases to amaze, the park is also known to have great cultural and historical significance as the region once belonged to the ancient Ruhuna Kingdom that existed during the 3rd century BC. Many watering holes that are present in the park, are believed to have been tanks that powered an agrarian civilisation. The ruins of the Sithulpawwe Raja Maha Viharaya also indicate that the people who dwelled in Yala led a religious lifestyle.