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Updated by Pixie on Aug 05, 2018
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Top 5 National Parks of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a paradise island with its beautiful beaches, mountains, jungles and many wildlife. Considering the fact there are 26 protected National Parks in the island thus making the country one of the world’s top 5 most biodiverse countries, it would be an absolute shame if you don’t visit at least one of them.

1

Yala National Park

Yala National Park

This is the country’s first national park, dating back to 1938. It is the second largest national park in Sri Lanka which is home to many animals including elephants and leopards. Yala National Park has the highest concentration of leopards in the world! Therefore, if you want to witness a leopard in close proximity, this is probably your best bet. There are more than 200 bird species out of which about 7 are endemic to Sri Lanka. Due to its popularity, it is the most frequently visited park among locals and tourists and therefore, tends to get crowded during the season which is from June to September. There are a number of hotels around the park that offer great accommodation with views of the park, such as Jetwing Yala.

2

Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National Park

Located close to Anuradhapura, in the northwest coast of the island, the park is most famous for its rainwater reservoirs. The name is derived due to the presence of “Willus” which means natural lakes. Despite the fact it is located in the dry zone, there are as many as 60 lakes that are scattered across the jungle. Wilpattu is also known for its elephant population and thus, is another great park where you can spot these majestic creatures.
The best times to visit is between February and October.

3

Udawalawe National Park

Udawalawe National Park

The Udawalawe park is home to more than 400 elephants. Thus, the probability of spotting them during a safari is almost always guaranteed. The park encompasses The Walawe Reservoir that spans across 3000 hectares and is known to be a popular spot among the elephants during the dry season. It is also home to more than 180 species of birds and a few reptiles like the mugger crocodile. Though the park can be visited throughout the year, for those who are more interested in bird watching, it is recommended to visit between November and March.

4

Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National Park

This consists of grasslands, thick scrubs and wildlife that roam their own territory. This park is also home to many elephants and one of the must-see displays is “The Gathering”, which is known as the sixth greatest wildlife spectacle in the world. Between July and October, countless herds of elephants tend to gather around the Minneriya reservoir. It is said that this is one occasion where the greatest number of elephants tend to congregate in one place. Apart from the elephants, you can witness toque monkeys, deer and occasionally sight a leopard as well.

5

Pigeon Island

Pigeon Island

This is one of the two marine national parks in the country and also a paradise for the scuba divers. There are two islands, the large and small pigeon island, that are located only two kilometres away from Trincomalee situated on the eastern shore. They were named as a sanctuary in 1963 and was given the national park status only in 2003. The park is home to one of the best remaining coral reefs in the island, the most dominant one being the Acropora spp. The island is an important breeding ground for the rock pigeon and hence the name.

6

Travel Responsbily

Travel Responsbily

Do keep in mind to travel responsibly when visiting these parks and ensure you leave nothing but footprints behind. There are many travel agents and tour companies, like Esna Holidays that offer private guided tours for the convenience of the traveller. They could also cater to your own itinerary and plan accordingly to ensure you make the most out of your trip.