Wilpattu National Park
Yala National Park
Yala national park covers over ninety thousand hectares of protected natural habitat. It has ground spread over both Southern and Uva provinces of Sri Lanka and a premier eco-tourism destination in the country.
Yala is one of the best places to see leopards in the country as it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world. It is estimated that there are over twenty-five individual leopards in block 1 of Yala.
Apart from leopards and elephants, thousands of nature enthusiasts come to Yala every year to see more than ninety species of birds including migratory and indigenous birds. There is a coastal line that runs along a one part of the national park and visitors can have a stroll on the beach and enjoy a beautiful sunset on selected locations of the park.
Kumana National Park
Kumana National Park offers a great alternative to the crowded Yala National Park. Kumana is best known for its dense bird population and it’s a paradise for bird watchers and photographers.
Kumana National Park is also renowned for its wild elephant population and its estimated around 40 leopards are roaming around the park. Depending on the day you would be able to spot over 100 species of birds in one day.
Minneriya National Park
If you love to see the elephants in their own natural habitat, Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks are worth visiting. There you can also potentially witness the largest gathering of Asian elephants in the world, during a Sri Lanka wildlife safari. Try to plan your wildlife safari to witness the elephant gathering in Sri Lanka in Minneriya National Park or Kaudulla National Park. The two parks, though separate, are next to each other and divided by the “elephant corridor” jungle that stands between them. The elephant population in this region frequently travels between the two.
The Gathering is believed to be the largest gathering of Asian elephants in the world and takes place during the dry season from June/July to September, when the rivers dry up and the elephants are forced to travel to the large reservoirs in Minneriya and Kaudulla to bathe, find drinking water and graze on fresh grass. These Reservoirs are also surrounded by jungle and dense shrubs which provide shelter for the elephants during hot days. In the afternoons, the elephants begin to emerge in their herds, a few at a time until there are dozens (and sometimes even hundreds) hanging out on the plains.
Kaudulla National Park
Among the safaris in Sri Lanka, one of the best places to watch a herd of wild elephants is in Kaudulla National Park. In Kaudulla you will be experiencing the lifestyle of elephants in their own habitat.
Other than that, the park offers an ample opportunity for travellers to spot magnificent elephants in their natural habitat. In addition to the elephant, sambar deer, Sri Lankan axis deer, wild boar, Asian spoonbill, grey-headed fish eagle, painted stork and openbill stork are common attractions in Kaudulla National Park.
Udawalawe National Park
The national park is situated just south of the Central Highlands, of which escarpment brings about an enrapturing backdrop.
At the centre of the park lies the Udawalawe Reservoir. Udawalawe National Park was established in the year 1972, with the objective of protecting the catchment area of Udawalawe reservoir and many elephants can be seen here in their natural habitat. Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka is famous for its elephant population. It is the ideal place to visit if you are an elephant lover. The park provides shelter to more than 500 resident elephants. The largest population of Asian Elephants live in the Udawalawe National Park.
Gal Oya National Park
Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka but quite unique. The national park is adjoined to a protected coastal area in the southeastern part of the country. It consists of marshes, lagoons, and sand dunes.
It is also the first wetland in the country to be declared in 1991 as Ramsar site in recognition of its importance to areas of high biodiversity value, including wetlands. The park is also considered an internationally important habitat for migratory birds. Bundala has about 230 indigenous and migrant bird species, including many wetland species.
In 2005, UNESCO designated the National Park as a biosphere reserve, The Bundala Biosphere Reserve (BBR). Bundala is Sri Lanka’s only biosphere reserve located at the coast. Despite the small size of the park, you can still see Asian elephants, deer, porcupines, leopards, wild boars, jackals, different types of fish and amphibia, five different species of sea turtles and two species of crocodiles.
The park is for wildlife photographers and bird watchers a must!