Yala Park is the 2nd largest wildlife park in Sri Lanka. The climate here is semi-arid with vast dry woodlands and open patches of grasslands and is divided into five blocks. Jeep Safari tour through the wildlife Park will be an unforgettable adventure, along with an odd chance of being charged at by a juvenile bull elephant! But as one will find out soon it’s part of the daily routine of a young bull elephant and quite harmless.
Yala National Park
Minneriya National Park
Minneriya national park is located 182 kms away from Colombo, in the North Central Plains of Sri Lanka. The major city closest to Minneriya National Park is Polonnaruwa. The recently renovated, the ancient Minneriya Rainwater Reservoir irrigates a considerable area of the district of Polonnaruwa and is the focal point of the Minneriya National Park. May to October is the best period to visit Minneriya National Park in view of the famous Gathering of the wild elephant herds.
Udawalawe National Park
The entrance to Udawalawe National Park is located near 11km post between Pelmadulla-Timbolketiya A18 road, the sixth largest wildlife sanctuary of Sri Lanka is located 180 km from Colombo in south-central sector of the island. Keeping company to the herds of Elephants, the main attraction of the wildlife park are Water Buffalo, Wildboar, Spotted Deer, Sambur Deer, Jackal, Samber, Black-naped hare, mongooses, bandicoots, foxes, the endemic Toque Macaque and Gray Langers. Sighting Leopard and other smaller cats like Fishing cat & Jungle cat would be a bonus
Wilpattu National Park
Located 30km west of Anurdhapura, and to the south of Wilpattu National Park is River Modergam Aru; to the north is River Kalay oya. February to October is the best time to visit Wilpattu. Wilpattu National Park has a good network of gravel roads, particularly between the water holes which are the best places to observe wild life. A unique complex of over 50 wetlands like “everglades” called “Villu” is the most prominent feature of the national park jungle.
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Sinharaja Forest Reserve meaning ‘Lion Kingdom’ is the best known Rain Forest in the country and has been identified as important biodiversity hotspot. The Park was originally declared a forest reserve in 1875 and due to its international importance it was designated as a Biosphere Reserve in 1978 and a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1988.It is situated 172.1 km from Colombo via the Southern Expressway and is accessible from any of its three entrances; Pitadeniya, Kudawa and Morning Side.
Wasgamuwa Natinal Park
Located in the district of Matale, between Polnnaruwa and Habarana, 225 km away from Colombo, Wasgamuwa is the best place to observe Elephants. The nearest large town is Polonnaruwa, 10 km from the northern boundary. The best time to enjoy the sight of large herds is during November to May. In the rest of the year the elephants tend to migrate to nearby Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks.
Horton Plains National Park
The Horton Plains National Park at Ohiya is a beautiful highland plateau situated at an elevation of 2100 -2300m (6,900-7,500ft) above sea level. Sri Lanka’s Highlands along with Horton Plains National Park, the Peak Wilderness Protected Area and the Knuckles Conservation Forest was declared a World Heritage site in 2006.It is accessible via Ginigathena (185.4 km) or via the A5 Road (228.5 km) which connects Peradeniya with Chenkalady in the east via Gampola & Nuuwara Eliya.
Kumana National Park
Located in the Eastern part of Yala National park holds its own as a bird sanctuary at the same time being home to some of the larger mammals found in Yala west park. Highlights of Kumana is the large estuary fed by “Kumbukkan Oya” and most of the bird that nest at Kumana use this mangrove swamp during May – June to raise their young. Pelican is the most common while the rarest bird spotted here is black necked stork.
Gal Oya National Park
Gal Oya National Park lies in the southeast of Sri Lanka and to the west of Ampara. It was established in 1954 by the Gal Oya Development Board mainly to protect the catchment area of the ‘Senanayake Samudra’ Reservoir, and then handed over to the department of Wildlife Conservation in 1965.Considered as a major eco tourism venue, Gal Oya National Park is rich in flora and fauna. About 45% of the park is covered by evergreen forest and a further 33% is taken up by savanna areas.
Pigeon Island Marine Sanctuary
Sri Lanka is home to two Marine National Parks, one of which is the Pigeon Island Marine Sanctuary. The Pigeon Island Marine Sanctuary extends up to 471.4 hectares in total of which 9 ha cover the landmass and the rest encompass the coral beds which is the border line of the Marine National Park.The Pigeon Island National Park is 312 km from Colombo and can be reached by travelling via the Puttlam-Anuradhapura-Trincomalee Highway. The estimated travel time by car is 5 hours 55 minutes.
Bundala National Park
Bundala National Park is located approximately 85 Kilometers from Tangalle, the nearest resort town. In 2005 the park was designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, also designated a RAMSAR wetland its home to many migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. The most famous visitor being the greater flamingo’s which arrives in large flocks up to a thousand birds at a time is, making a cacophony of noise with their feeding and covering the entire area of the main Bundala lagoon with a pinkish threadbare carpet, truely a sight to behold.
Kaudulla National Park
Kaudulla National Park, 6,900 hectares in extent, is one of the more recently established National Parks in Sri Lanka. It is situated 197 km from the City of Colombo, in the North Central Province, just 30km away from Polonnaruwa. The wildlife sanctuary was designated a National Park in 2002 and serves as a elephant corridor for migrating Elephants from Minneriya and Wasgamuwa National Parks in the north central and the Somawathiya National Park in the north east regions