Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu National Park is a park located on the island of Sri Lanka. The unique feature of this park is the existence of “Willus” (Natural lakes) Located in the Northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka. The park is located approximately 180 km north of Colombo. Nearly sixty lakes (Willu) and tanks are found spread throughout Wilpattu. This is one of the largest and oldest National Parks in Sri Lanka and is home to Elephants, leopards, sloth bear, water buffalo and spotted deer and painted storks, white ibis, open bills, Whistling teals, spoonbills, cormorants and kingfishers. Apart from them serpent eagles, great racket tail Drongo, Malabar pied hornbills, crested hawk eagles & Sri Lanka junglefowls are commonly seen. Both water monitors and mugger crocodiles can be seen in the willus. Also, Wilpattu is among the top national parks world renowned for its Leopard population. The Leopard population in Wilpattu is still not yet known.
Minneriya National Park
Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, Minneriya is yet another haven for the elephants that migrate from surrounding jungles to enjoy the lush grass fields on the banks of the Minneriya reservoir, during the dry season. Reports of elephant sightings range from an impressive 100 to 200. Endemic monkeys as well as many resident and migratory bird species also can be spotted along with endemic reptiles such as the painted-lip lizard. Among the reptiles that dwell here, are the saltwater crocodile, the Indian python and the water monitor.
The central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rd century AD by King Mahasena). This tank is generally known as a place to observe the elephants that come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters.
Kaudulla National Park
This is Sri Lanka's newest national park, wildlife reserve and eco tourism attraction. Situated around the ancient Kaudulla tank, the national park provides a 6656 hectare elephant corridor, only 6 km from off the main Habarana - Trincomalee road. With fantastic opportunities to see many elephants at close range, the park has become a popular destination for wildlife safaris that also take in leopards, sambar deer and the occasional sloth bear! As an additional novelty, you can go for cataraman rides on the tank.
Wasgamuwa National Park
Wasgamuwa National Park was originally declared as strict nature reserve in 1938 and then change to a national park in 1984. The park lies within central and north- central provinces. Park consists of riverine forest, dry mixed evergreen forest, grasslands and wetlands.
This park is famous as an elephant habitat. These elephants are known to be less habituated to people and are more wildish. Other than elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambhur, spotted and barking deer, wild boar and wild buffalo are also found here. Torque Macaque, Purple face leaf monkey and nocturnal slender Loris is also found in the park. Lesser Adjutant, Wooly necked stork, open bill, painted stork, Racket tailed Drongo, Yellow fronted barbet, Sri Lanka Jungle fowl & Spur fowl are among the over 100 species of birds found within the park.
Gal-Oya national Park
This lies in the southeast of Sri Lanka and to the west of Ampara. This national park was established mainly to protect the catchment area of the 'Senanayake Samudra' Reservoir, and then handed over to the department of Wildlife Conservation. Considered as a major eco tourism venue, the national park is rich in flora and fauna. About 45% of the park is covered by evergreen forest and a further 33% is taken up by savanna areas. The 25,900 hectare park has about 32 species of mammals including common langur, endemic toque macaque, leopard, sloth bear, elephant, wild boar, water buffalo and 3 species of deer. For birding enthusiasts, approximately 150 of Sri Lanka 's 430 species of birds have been observed in this region.
Lahugala National Park
Is one of the smallest national parks in Sri Lanka. Despite its land area, the park is an important habitat for Sri Lankan elephant and endemic birds of Sri Lanka. The national park contains the reservoirs of Lahugala, Kitulana and Sengamuwa and they are ultimately empties to Heda Oya river. Lahugala Kitulana is situated 318 km east of Colombo.
Bundala National Park
The thorny scrub jungle is home to spotted deer, the rare pangolin and the playful grey langur monkey. A walk along the beach at dawn reveals unusual tracks in the sand. A sea turtle has come ashore to lay her eggs during the night. The picturesque lagoons and inter-tidal mud flats are alive with flashes of brilliant colour as wintering birds arrive to rest and feed. This park covers an area of 6216 hectares of eco tourism appeal, and is located about 250km southeast of Colombo in the Hambantota district. The park falls within the southeastern arid zone of Sri Lanka, with a general climate that can be classified as hot and dry. The terrain is generally flat with sand dunes bordering the coastline, and vegetation consists mainly of dry thorny scrublands and lagoons.
Kumana National Park
This sanctuary is located in the southeast corner of Sri Lanka.
Kumana park is a well-known eco tourism attraction and bird sanctuary where a multitude of birds breed and roost. One of
the most significant features of the park is the 'Kumana Villu' - a 200 hectare natural swamp lake, fed by the 'Kumbukkan Oya'
through a half mile long narrow channel. It is at this mangrove swamp that many water birds nest in May and June. Regular sightings
include such species of bird as pelicans, painted storks, spoonbills, white ibis, herons, egrets and little cormorants. The very rare
black-necked stork has also been spotted at the swamp. Besides the prolific birdlife, Kumana is also home to some of the mammals, such
as elephants and leopards. The vegetation in Kumana consists mainly of mangrove trees, kumbuk trees and the karan fern, as well as the
open marsh area. For bird watching enthusiasts, the park is an 'absolute must'.
Udawalawe National Park
Is located approximately 200 km south-east of Colombo city and is
a major eco tourism destination in Sri Lanka. The 30,821 hectares dry zone game park has an annual rainfall of 1524 mm and an average
temperature of 29.4°C. It is most famous for the many elephants that live there (about 400 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual
to see whole herds of adults and young elephants feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction,
the park is home to many water buffalo, water monitor lizards, sambar deer, monkeys and the occasional leopard, as well as being an
exciting location for bird enthusiasts.
Yala National Park
The elephant is undoubtedly the best known attraction at Yala, seen in small & large herds. Herds of spotted deer are seen all over the park. Monkeys the pinkish rhesus and the grey faced Langur monkey, live and play on the tree tops and the ground below. Wild buffalo & wild boar could give a good surprise & the sight of a leopard sunning itself or drinking water at a water hole could be memorable experience. The peacock is easily the most famous of the birds at Yala. The painted stork, many varieties of heron, the spoonbill, the bee-eater, parakeets, and king-fisher & wood pecker are some of the birds can be seen in the park.
Yala National Park is a widely known Sri Lankan forest reserve which is located in the southeast part of the island. It is prominent among the other national parks due to the fact that it has the highest density of leopards. The park is an internationally recognized wild life preservation, which is about 309 km away from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Though the reserve is spread in about 1,259 square km of land, a mere 141 square km block is open for the public. Yala is one of the best spots available for wildlife observers and photographers. Apart from the wildlife, the park consists of a range of vegetation from grassland to dense jungle with an abundance of water streams, lagoons and lakes. Apart from the highest concentration of leopards, the park contains a numbers of animals including Asian elephants, crocodiles, wild boar, water buffalo and grey langurs. Birdlife includes White bellied sea eagle in parklands and Waders, Painted storks and Black necked stork in the wetlands. Sirkeer Malkoha and Sri Lanka Jungle flow are few of the Sri Lankan endemic species that can be found in Yala. The total open area of Yala national park could be viewed from the one day jeep safari that is available at the park entrance. You will be provided a trained guide who’ll take you around the forest. This service is not usually available during the night time as a safety precaution, taken in the favour of the tourists. But for those who are prepared, small shacks and chalets are available for rent inside the jungle, to spend your night in the wild.