If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, Sri Lanka will delight you no end. Despite its small size, the country is one of the world’s top five biodiversity hotspots and promises a blissful experience for nature lovers and wildlife buffs. Here is a quick rundown of some of the most popular national parks in Sri Lanka.
Wilpattu National Park
Sprawling over an area of 131, 693 hectares, it is Sri Lanka’s largest national park and is believed to be one of the best places in the country to spot leopards. One of the highlighted features of Wilpattu is the abundance of lakes and ponds, which are scattered throughout the park. So apart from wildlife safaris, the park also offers opportunities for fishing, camping and bird watching. Elephants, sloth bears, leopards, spotted deer, and mongoose are some of the animals that can be spotted here.
Yala National Park
One of the most visited and the second largest national park in Sri Lanka, Yala is home to a tremendous variety of flora and fauna. The park has a very high density of the leopard population and is home to over 215 bird species, six of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. Other animals and reptiles you might spot here include sloth bears, sambars, wild pigs, golden jackals and crocodiles. Visitors are also enthralled by its historical and cultural significance; two important pilgrimage sites, Sithulpahuwa and Magul Vihara, are located inside the park.
Uda Walawe National Park
Uda Walawe National Park boasts a variety of eco systems including grassland, scrub jungle and riverine forests. It is considered to be amongst the best places in South Asia for sighting elephants in their natural habitat. There are plenty of walking trails here that allow visitors to explore the region at a leisurely pace. The park may not be very rich in terms of wildlife, however, the stunning landscape more than makes up for it. Meandering rivers, beautiful waterfalls, a number of bird species and of course, lush greenery make the park worth exploring.