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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 30, 2019
Headline for Top 7 National Parks to Visit in Sri Lanka- The abundant nature indulgence in Sri Lanka!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Top 7 National Parks to Visit in Sri Lanka- The abundant nature indulgence in Sri Lanka!

The vivacious collection of SriLanka's natural wonders from beaches and mountains, to forests and jungles and everything in between, will surely leave you spoilt for a choice! Let us help you begin with these top 7 national parks that are definitely worth a visit when in Sri Lanka.


Yala National Park

It is possibly the most famous and well-known national park in Sri Lanka and has to offer you yet the most whimsical experience of a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. It is absolutely well known for frequent leopard sightings, whilst other uncommon species such as elephants, peacocks and hundreds of different bird species all roam the grounds in their free spirits. It was initially named as a wildlife sanctuary in the year 1900, while the year 1938 saw it being proclaimed as a National Park. It encloses an extensive land area running through the forest to coast and is segregated into 5 distinct areas of which only two are open to viewing by the general public. It is located South-East of Colombo.



Located North of Colombo in very close proximity to the ancient Anuradhapura city of Sri Lanka, Wilpattu National Park is a sure destination that makes way into the itinerary of many wildlife travel companies the likes of Nature Odyssey. It is famous for its tasteful concoction of tanks that lay scattered around the area and serves as the lifeline of many a bird that lives within the park. From large Asian elephants to sporty leopards and comical sloth bears to the frequent encounters with stunning winged friends of all kinds (butterflies and dragonflies), the reserve is littered with vibrant wildlife!



The best possible description that does justice to the Minneriya National Park is that it is home to 'the gathering'- a rainwater tank which doubles down as the largest elephant gathering location in the whole of Asia. It was founded as a National Park in the year 1997 and is located close to Polonnaruwa, North-East of the commercial capital. To get the best sightings, we would recommend you camp in one of their tented camps although it is also noteworthy that ample jeep safaris that depart to the location on the daily.


Horton Plains

This is the highest altitude National Park in all of Sri Lanka and was awarded the title in 1988. Elevated over 2000 metres above sea level, the climate is a complete 360 of the previously mentioned parks and make for an ideal trekking and hiking destination. The World's End trek is one of the most popular and stretches far from the entrance to Horton Plains, through forests and shrubbery, across rivers, fountains and waterfalls and finally some bushy plateaus until you reach the World's End!


Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Also doubling down as a UNESCO heritage site, this extensive forest reserve was named as a National Park in 1978. It is the largest area of the island which encompasses primarily tropical rainforest. It is home to a staggering 50% of all Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, not to mention the variety of native reptiles, insects together with a lot of rare amphibians.


Pigeon Island

It is one of the only to marine national parks in Sri Lanka and is best described as 'heaven' for scuba divers. It is located approximately 2 kilometres off the coast of Trincomalee and includes two islands inhabited (for the most part) by rock pigeons! Some of the best-preserved coral reefs are located around these islands and amongst many other things, make for an ideal reason to be named a National Park since the year 2003.


Gal Oya

One of the most underrated National Parks in the South of Sri Lanka, Gal Oya is famous for its man-made rainwater lake 'Senanayake Samudraya'. You could opt for a boat ride to the centre of the lake and set up a fun picnic on the island, or even opt for a meet with Veda tribe members who still live and hunt in the region.

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