National Parks

Fact:you stand a chance of seeing the big five: elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sperm whale and the blue whale, while you go on a two week safari in Sri Lanka!

There are approximately 21 National Parks in Sri Lanka where tourists to Sri Lanka can spend a adventure holiday spotting wild animals to their heart’s content (including bird watching), while safari camping. This small island has much to offer the animal enthusiast, as much as India, Malaysia and the great Africa put together! Less costly, more laid back and less commercialized, Sri Lanka has been described as ‘one of Asia’s top wildlife destinations’.

Yala National Park: Recognized as a wildlife sanctuary as far back as the year 1900, Yala is Sri Lanka’s premier national Park. Famous for elephants, varied bird and mammal species, as well as other animals, Yala, located in the south east of Sri Lanka, has only 2 zones out of 6 open to the public. In visiting this national park, you will come across varied types of regions from semi deciduous forests, dry monsoon forests, moist monsoon forests, to fresh water and marine wetlands, thorn forests and grasslands, and yes for the discerning tourist…sandy beaches!

Bundala National Park: a wetland sanctuary with beaches, lagoons, sand dunes and scrubby jungle, it’s home to giant squirrels, crocodiles and civets, while sightings of turtles arriving to lay eggs is common during October to January. Most importantly, it is a wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Location: southern province.

Wilpattu National Park: Once renowned for its leopard population (you could be lucky enough to encounter one or two that roam about), sloth bear and crocodiles: all of which are considered threatened animals. Located in the Northwestern and North Central provinces of Sri Lanka, it got its name – Wilpattu (Land of Lakes) due to its 60 plus Villus (Lakes), which are most often visited by herds of deer and innumerable varieties of water birds.

Minneriya National Park: Part of the elephant corridor, this park joins up with Kaudulla and Wasgomuwa parks and is where you can see the world famous ‘Elephant Gathering’ which takes place annually, over a period of 3 months, mid year, when they gather to graze and laze on the bright green grasses. Located in North Central Province of Sri Lanka, this 8890 hectare is park is based around the beautiful ancient Minneriya Tank (3rd Century A.D), attracting other animals during the dry season from June- September.

Udawalawe National Park: located in the southwardly located Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces this 30,821 hectare park is where you can go on safari to spot elephants (even in midday) and sambhur, on your hired 4-Wheel-Drive (suggestion: take a guide)! Last entry is at 5pm.

Horton Planes: a place with a mystical atmosphere, a plateau with a height of 2000m above sea level, it is composed of grasslands, rocky outcrops, filigree waterfalls, the odd thick forest as well as a few lakes. Pack up your hiking bag and take your gadgets and equipment required and trek your way to the 880m drop at World’s End offers breathtaking views of the plantations, fields and forests below and afar. Remember – though you are in a Tropical country, here you would surely need to wear warm clothes!

Note:

  • Entry Fee and Team fee payable. All entrance fee subject to 15% VAT
  • Do not litter when within the park.
  • Please refrain from use of loud music and making noise.
  • Vehicle hire
    Four wheel drive is recommended for travel within safari parks. Jeeps are available for rent at entrance to parks. You are not allowed to step off the vehicle while within the park.
  • Park Bungalows Reservations
    Bookings available only through the Department of Wild Life Conservation, Jayanthipura, Bodhiraja Mw, Battaramulla, Sri Lanka. Phone: +94 (0) 11 2888585You are required to book early to avoid disappointment.