Location The park lies on the southeast coast in the Eastern province, 7 miles/12 km south of Arugam Bay, and is accessible from the Wellawaya-Pottuvil road. It is contiguous to the south with Ruhuna (Yala) National Park/Yala Strict Nature Reserve (126,786 ha), along the Kumbukkan Oya. Together with Ruhuna National Park, Yala East National Park is renowned for the variety of its wildlife, largely characteristic of dry zone tropical thorn forest. In addition, the world-famous mangrove swamp of Kumana provides a particularly important habitat for birds. Access There are two routes from Colombo. They fork off at Pelmadulla and meet again at Wellawaya, one going via Beragala and Koslanda and the other via Thimbolketiya, Udawalawe and Thanamalwila. From Wellawaya the road goes through Moneragala, Pottuvil and Panama. There is only one entrance to the park from Panama, through the Kudumbigala Sanctuary. The park office is situated at Okande, where a permit and guide should be obtained before entry. The distance from Colombo is approximately 243 miles/391 km. Climate Conditions are similar to those experienced in the north of Ruhuna National Park. Cultural Heritage At the base of most rock outcrops are caves, some with rock inscriptions of the 1st and 2nd centuries BC. A nine-metre statue of the reclining Buddha, now in ruins, was discovered in a large cave at Bambaragastalawa. Bowattagala is an ancient monastic site. Kudumbigala and Lenama, peripheral to the park, were once the hunting grounds of Nittaewo, legendary pygmies who were sworn enemies of the Veddhas. Visitors and Visitor Facilities A boat is available for hire at Kumana Villu. This park is at present rarely visited.
Updated: November 24th, 2014.
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