What to do and Where to stay in
The National Parks
Sri Lanka is blessed with an abundance of wildlife and it’s not uncommon to encounter inquisitive monkeys, huge monitor lizards, peacocks and a plethora of exotic birds on your travels around the island. However, if you’re a family of wildlife enthusiasts we highly recommend venturing into one of the many National Parks on a jeep safari where you may be lucky to enjoy exciting sightings of elephants, buffaloes, sambar deer, crocodiles and even the elusive leopard!
Itineraries you might like
Experiences in The National Parks
Yala National Park, in Sri Lanka’s south-east corner, is the second largest park and the most popular destination for wildlife viewing. Leopard are the park’s main draw, and Yala is believed to have the highest density of these big cats in the world, however sightings are still rare and certainly not guaranteed.
Minneriya National Park and neighbouring Kaudulla National Park in the Cultural Triangle are best known for their elephants. During the dry months of July-October, Minneriya hosts the largest gathering of elephants in the world where as many as 400 elephants gather at the park’s vast reservoir. This incredible elephant migration attracts many visitors and the park will be busy but watching great herds of elephants drink and bathe in the water is a very memorable sight.
In the South, Udawalawe National Park is widely considered one of the best parks to spot elephants in the wild and it’s also home to the Elephant Transit Home where orphaned ellies are cared for before being released back into the wild. Watching the baby elephants run in for their milk is heart- warming and sure to be a holiday highlight for all the family!
Wilpattu National Park, on Sri Lanka’s northwest coast, is the oldest and largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Closed for years due to the civil war it is now open once again and ideal for those who want to get ‘off the beaten track’ as visitor numbers are still low. However, while the wildlife population is recovering, the animals are less accustomed to safari vehicles so sightings can be brief.
Camping within the National Parks themselves is not permitted but we work with Leopard Safaris who offer eco wilderness camps on the edge of Wilpattu and Yala. Families are made to feel very welcome with spacious family tents and hosted activities between game drives to keep the younger visitors entertained whilst the parents can take some time out to relax and unwind. However, if you would rather just dip in for a game drive or two without forgoing your hotel comforts, there are plenty of wonderful accommodation options just a stone’s throw from most of the parks.
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