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Updated by Joanna James on May 02, 2024
Headline for 6 National Parks in Sri Lanka – Offering the wildest safaris!
Joanna James Joanna James
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6 National Parks in Sri Lanka – Offering the wildest safaris!

The island nation of Sri Lanka is home to a number of wild animals, all flourishing within the several national parks dotted around the island. Here are six national parks to appease the wildlife enthusiast in you!


Yala National Park

Yala has got to be the most popular national park in Sri Lanka, among the other 22. Yala National Park covers a vast area of 978.8 kilometres squared. Forest, grassland and lagoons, all bordering the Indian Ocean in Southeast Sri Lanka make Yala a sought after National Park. Although six hours from Colombo, the drive to Yala is equally beautiful as the national park. The top draw of the park is the Sri Lankan leopard, a subspecies endemic to the country. In fact, in certain parts of the park, the average leopard density is as high as one cat to every square kilometre! Spotted deer, wild pigs, mongooses, monkeys and a high diversity of birds consider Yala as their habitat. Some of the best hotels in Sri Lanka are located within and around Yala, so you're unlikely to have to look for accommodation for too long.


Udawalawe National Park

This national park is best known for its wild elephants and is just a four hour drive from Colombo. Udawalawe national park was created to protect the watershed of the enormous Udawalawe reservoir – south of the central mountains on the island. This is the best in the continent for those who want to observe Asian elephants in the wild. Aside from elephants, the park is poor for viewing mammals however birdwatchers will find this park rather interesting as they will enjoy the presence of hawk eagles, serpent eagles and grey-headed fish eagles! Getting here from Araliya Hotels & Resorts won't take too long!


Sinharaja Forest Reserve

A designated Biosphere Reserve and UNESCO Heritage Site, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a biodiversity hot spot in Sri Lanka. The forest reserve is best known for mixed flocks of birds, making it a key feature. Other animals present here are leopards, purple-faced langur, barking deer and three different types of squirrels! The canopy in the rainforest towers up to 45 metres in certain areas are more than half the trees found in the reserve are found nowhere else in the world.


Horton Plains National Park

Located up in the hills, the Horton Plains National Park is unlike any of the other national parks in the country and the main draw is the incredible scenery. There's relatively little wildlife here and the park is a top spot on the island for spotting montane bird species. The end of this national park is where you'll find the famous World's End – a cliff end.


Bundala National Park

Consisting of coastal lagoons and wetlands, Bundala National Park is a watery land of several aquatic birds, flocks of migratory flamingoes, crocodiles and herds of elephants. This park is another of Sri Lanka's top reserves.


Wilpattu National Park

After over fifteen years of closure, this park reopened in 2003 and used to be famous for its leopards. The park's fauna is very similar to Yala and visitors have a chance of getting a glimpse of barking deer.