National Parks In Sri Lanka: Explore Wildlife And More

 In Holidays, Honeymoon, Sri Lanka, Travel

Nature has always been prominent in Sri Lanka while also securing their wildlife in the numerous national parks in Sri Lanka. The country has an abundant amount of elephants, leopards, deer, whales, and birds that keep the wildlife intact. So, the national parks are one of the best places to visit in Sri Lanka

And, the best national parks in Sri Lanka act as a shield for them from the rapid environmental changes that the country faces in the name of development. So, if you are keenly fascinated by such things and the unique wildlife, do get your Sri Lanka packages and get to explore more of it. 

Best National Parks In Sri Lanka 

Have a look at the list of best national parks in Sri Lanka, amazingly beautiful and allow you to get in touch with nature wholly. 

Visiting the country and knowing about such hotspots can let you have a whole different kind of experience. 

So, let’s get started without any further ado. 

1. Yala National Park 

Image Source : Yala National Park

It is one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka. A place with trees, grass, and lakes where animals can roam freely. It is located in the Southeast of the country and is a huge forest. 

People come from all over the world to catch a glimpse of these majestic creatures, but it’s not just about leopards, there are elephants, buffaloes, and many birds as well. The park is like a natural treasure hunt and you never know which unique creature can you spot next. 

Also, the best part is about the protected animals and they can live freely in their wild homes. 

Best for: Leopards

Area covered: 378 sqr. Miles 

Distance from Colombo: 6 hours drive 

Things to do: Go surfing at Arugam Bay 

Suggested read: Festivals in Sri Lanka 

2. Udawalawe National Park 

Image Source : Udawalawe National Park

Talking about Sri Lanka best national parks, this one is located on the boundary of Sabaragamuwa and Uva provinces. 

It is famous for its large population of elephants and visitors can see them roam around freely. Udawalawe is also a great spot for bird lovers and is home to numerous unique birds as well. 

The wide open spaces and beautiful landscapes make it perfect for safaris as well. So, get to explore the fantastic place and know more about the wildlife in the country. 

Best for: Elephants 

Area covered: 30,812 hectares

Distance from Colombo: 4 hours drive 

Things to do: Explore the tea plantations

3. Wasgamuwa National Park 

Image Source : Wasgamuwa National Park

This one is located in the Matale and Polonnaruwa Districts of Sri Lanka. Also, it is one of the protected areas where you can see many Sri Lankan elephants. 

The park covers a vast area of about 36,900 hectares, providing a natural habitat for the resident wildlife. Visitors to Wasgamuwa can enjoy exciting safaris to witness the rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. 

Conservation efforts are in place to protect the park’s flora and fauna, making it a crucial part of Sri Lanka’s natural heritage. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or an adventure seeker, Wasgamuwa National Park offers an unforgettable experience in the heart of the island’s wilderness.

Best for: Elephants

Area covered: 36,900 ha

Distance from Colombo: 5 hours drive 

Things to do: Explore the Buddha-packed caves of Dambulla 

4. Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Image Source : Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a special place in Sri Lanka that is like a natural treasure chest. It is a large rainforest where many plants and animals live. 

The forest is like a secret home to many rare and unique species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Sinharaja is important because it helps keep the balance of nature, like a superhero protecting the environment. 

The trees here are tall, and the forest is filled with the sounds of birds and insects. People who visit Sinharaja can enjoy its beauty and learn about the amazing plants and animals that call it home. It’s like a magical place where nature shows off its wonders!

Best for: Birds

Area covered: 88.64 Km 

Distance from Colombo: 5 hours drive 

Things to do: Explore the beaches of Mirissa 

5. Minneriya & Kaudulla National Parks 

Image Source : Tripadvisor

They are the best national parks in Sri Lanka and are located just 30 minutes away from each other. 

These parks are famous for their large gatherings of wild elephants, which is known as “The Gathering.” Minneriya National Park is home to the ancient Minneriya Tank, where elephants, along with various other wildlife species, gather during the dry season. 

Kaudulla National Park, located nearby, is also a haven for elephants and offers a picturesque landscape with a large reservoir. These parks provide a unique opportunity for visitors to witness the natural beauty and biodiversity of Sri Lanka, including numerous bird species, deer, and other animals. 

Both Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks are vital conservation areas that contribute to the protection of the island’s rich wildlife heritage. Visitors can enjoy thrilling safaris to observe these majestic creatures in their natural habitat while experiencing the beauty of the Sri Lankan wilderness.

Best for: Seasonal elephants 

Distance from Colombo: 5.30 hours drive 

Things to do: Monasteries of Polonnaruwa 

Suggested read: Best time to visit Sri Lanka 

6. Horton Plains National Park 

Image Source : Viator

It is located in the central highlands of Sri Lanka and has montane grassland and cloud forests. 

One of the coolest things about Horton Plains is World’s End, a steep cliff that drops about 870 meters straight down. The view from here is absolutely stunning! You can see for miles, and on a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of the distant coastline.

Another fascinating feature is Baker’s Falls, a lovely waterfall nestled within the park. The sound of the water splashing against the rocks is both soothing and refreshing. The park is also home to unique wildlife, including sambar deer, purple-faced langurs, and a variety of colorful birds.

Best for: Birds

Area covered: 3,160 ha 

Distance from Colombo: 5 hours drive 

Things to do: Drive the nearby hill station, Nuwara Eliya 

7. Wilpattu National Park

Image Source : Wilpattu National Park

This park is special because it has a lot of lakes, called “villus,” where animals like elephants and leopards come to drink water. 

Wilpattu is the biggest national park in the country, and it’s full of trees and grass. The park is a safe space for many different animals, such as deer, peacocks, and even crocodiles. Visitors can go on exciting safaris to see these animals in their natural homes. Wilpattu National Park is a cool place for people who love nature and want to see wild animals having a great time in the wild.

Best for: Sloth Bears

Area covered: 1, 316 sqr kms 

Distance from Colombo: 4 hours drive

Things to do: Travers the ancient city of Anuradhapura

8. Mannar Island 

Image Source : Tripadvisor

It is an integral part of the Mannar district in Sri Lanka and a causeway links it to the main island of Sri Lanka. 

It is about 50 square kilometers and is mostly covered with vegetation and sand. It is an amazing place for the shorebirds and gulls to have a place because it is wholly covered with them. 

This large nature reserve is an important stop and many people visit it because of the unique birds. 

Best for: Shorebirds and gulls 

Are covered: 50 kms 

Distance from Colombo: 5 hours drive 

Things to do: Kite-surfing 

9. Kumana National Park 

Image Source : Tripadvisor

It is one of the best national parks in Sri Lanka and is famous for its diverse range of birds, which makes it a paradise for bird watchers. 

Also, it is home to over 200 species of birds that also includes migratory birds that visit during the months of April and July. Some of the notable bird species found here are the painted stork, spoonbill, and pelican. Apart from birds, Kumana National Park also houses various other wildlife such as elephants, leopards, and deer. 

The park is surrounded by scenic landscapes, including lagoons, mangroves, and sandy beaches, making it a delightful destination for nature lovers. The best time to visit is during the dry season when wildlife is more easily spotted.

Best for: Birds

Area covered: 35,664 ha 

Suggested read: Temples in Sri Lanka 

10. Bundala National Park 

Image Source : Tripadvisor

This park is famous for its feathered friends, especially the colorful birds. Imagine seeing hundreds of flamingos all in one place – that’s Bundala! 

Apart from birds, elephants, buffaloes, and crocodiles also call this park their home. The park is near the ocean, so you might spot turtles and other sea creatures too. It’s not just about animals; Bundala is also filled with beautiful plants and trees. 

People who visit Bundala love the jeep safaris where they can drive around and spot these amazing creatures. It’s like a nature adventure for everyone!

Known for: Migratory birds

Area covered: 3,339 hectares

Distance from Colombo: 5 hours drive

Frequently Asked Questions: (FAQs)

What is the best time to visit Sri Lanka’s national parks for wildlife sightings?

The best time to visit Sri Lanka’s national parks to see wildlife is during the dry season, which usually occurs from December to March. During this time, the weather is more predictable, and the animals gather around water sources, making them easier to spot. 

How many National parks are there in Sri Lanka?

There are 26 national parks in Sri Lanka. Visitors can go there to see different animals, like elephants, leopards, and colorful birds. It’s like a big playground for nature, and everyone wants to make sure it stays wonderful for a long, long time.

Are there any entrance fees or permits required to enter Sri Lanka’s national parks?

Yes, if you want to visit national parks in Sri Lanka, you might need to pay a small entrance fee or get a permit. This is like a ticket that helps take care of the park and its animals. It’s a bit like paying to see a movie or visit a fun place. The money from these fees helps keep the national parks clean and safe for both the animals and the people who come to see them.

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