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Updated by Juliana Roberts on Apr 25, 2016
Headline for 05 Safari Parks to Visit in Sri Lanka – Stunning Wilderness Sanctuaries
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05 Safari Parks to Visit in Sri Lanka – Stunning Wilderness Sanctuaries

Sri Lanka is an island bestowed with many wildlife scattered across rain forests, big game parks, and beautiful mountainous forest reserves; each safari into these wilds promises a unique experience.

1

Yala National Park

Yala National Park

Yala is the most popular wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka. It is famous the world over for its leopard population and biodiverse environs. The huge area of the park consists mainly of protected land leaving a small section for safaris. This area is, however, rife with all manner of mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. You will be treated to large flocks of flamingos, lazy sloth bears, leopards, crocodiles, langur monkey, Indian Palm Civet, spotted deer, sambar, some elephants and much more. The landscape is another marvel of nature to enjoy; it is made up of lagoons, wetlands and dry jungle scrub with oddly shaped boulders dotting most of the area. Entry to Yala National Park is open only via a vehicle; you can book a jeep safari from the hotel you are staying at together with a competent guide. The dense jungles of the park mean you are treated to a wide variety of endemic and migratory birds within the reserve.

2

Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe National Park

Sri Lanka is a small island that is chock full of fabulous wildlife reserves and the best way to enjoy these are by mapping out a road trip. Driving across country is a pleasure and dose of culture, the varied and changing landscapes are a treat to any nature lover while the drive away from the bustle of the city will prove to be quite invigorating. It is located south of the central mountains of the country and is a marvellous drive; so start searching for a rent a car, Sri Lanka offers reputed car rental agencies such as Online Rent a Car for a hassle free drives. Udawalawe surrounding the Udawalawe Reservoir is a treat to explore; it is made up of verdant plains, riverine forests, and scrub jungles. A jeep safari into the park will always reward you with sights of magnificent Asian elephant herds while bird watchers are treated to sights of grey-headed fish eagles, hawk eagles, and serpent eagles.

3

Wasgomuwa National Park

Wasgomuwa National Park

This too is a scenic five-hour drive from Colombo and promises to reward you with sights of elephants. Stop your drive to view the beautiful and famous rock caves of Dambulla and you will be treated to many Buddhist relics, historical paintings and doses of traditional culture. Located within the dry lowlands of the north central province this park is ideal for observing elephant families; even better it is only 40kms from the Knuckles Mountain Range an area well known for its beautiful biodiversity.

4

Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve

Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve

Once you rent a car in Sri Lanka there is no limit to the number of places you can visit. Continuing your safari spree the gorgeous Sinharaja Rainforest – the largest in Sri Lanka – is a must visit. This too is a 5-hour drive from Colombo and is close to the famous southern beaches of Mirissa; a prominent whale and dolphin watching area. The forest canopy is known to grow to heights of 45m in most places while many of the trees located there are only indigenous to Sinharaja. Purple-faced langur, barking deer and leopards are some of the animals living there while the park is best known for its bird watching potential.

5

Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks

Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks

Located in the north central province of Sri Lanka these two parks are placed at a half hours driving distance from each other. The beautiful scrub jungles, verdant grassy plains, and wildlife of Minneriya are a treat. The entire park is dominated by the huge Minneriya Wewa – lake – around which as per legend the sweetest tasting grass grows. Spotting herds of migratory elephants are the best experience in Minneriya. September to October is the period when elephant gatherings of over 500 per herd are witnessed in Minneriya and Kaudulla..