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Updated by emma lathen on Oct 05, 2015
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5 Must Visit National Parks in Sri Lanka – Explore the Wild Side of Ceylon

Among all the many attractions that Sri Lanka is famed for, its wild life occupies a marked place and is protected in special parks throughout the country.


Yala National Park

For wildlife enthusiasts visiting Sri Lanka, nothing quite beats an excursion to the famous Yala National Park. Although the park is the second largest in the island it is renowned internationally as the reserve which houses the largest population of leopards. A visit to the Yala National means sighting a leopard but they are unfortunately not always readily out in the open. Even if you haven't got a glimpse of this ferocious wild cat, worry not for there is plenty of other wildlife in this intriguing park in Sri Lanka. With a collection of 200 species of bird, and over 40 species of both reptiles and mammals, there are few places on earth as exciting as Yala for a wildlife enthusiast.


Minneriya National Park

If you are into the symbolic Ceylon Elephant, the Minneriya Park is one of the many spots where elephants can be admired as a group. In fact this particular park features the world's largest gathering of Asian elephants that congregate here in thehundreds in the months between June and September which is the dry season in the island. The Minneriya Park is located somewhere in the North Central region of Sri Lanka which is by nature one of the driest areas in the country. Although the elephants is the biggest highlight of an excursion to Minneriya, here again there are hundreds of other animal species to be spotted -most of which are endangered.


Sinharaja Forrest Reserve

An unspoiled tropical forest in Sri Lanka, the Sinharaja is yet another UNESCO world heritage site that is definitely worth exploring. Home to some of Sri Lanka's rarest birds and reptiles, there is plenty to admire while trekking around this thick jungle. You need to keep your eyes wide open though because spotting species in this forest is slightly harder than in other regions. For those keen on trips to this forest, Aitken Spence Travels organizes some of the best day tours in Sri Lanka.


Bundala National Park

Adorned with breathtaking lagoons, the Bundala National park is Sri Lanka's most popular region for bird watching. Supporting some of the most rare and exquisite aquatic birds –which includes flocks of pink flamingos, the Bundala Park offers plenty to enjoy. There is a total of 200 species of birds that makes their home here mainly thanks to the rich conditions in these wetlands. In the year 2005 the Park was recognized by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve.


Udawalawe National Park

Yet another favorite among elephant lovers, the Udawalawe National Park is a haven to witness elephants in the wild. Modestly sized, the park is primarily composed of grassy plains and houses an impressive array of flora and fauna amidst a rich population of elephants.