Sri Lanka’s beauty knows no bounds with sights and attractions in every corner of the island.
One of the most striking attractions being the flora, fauna and natural habitat that they are found in, with Sri Lanka being one of the few countries in the world with the highest rate of endemism (plants and animals living within a specific region) despite its geographical size. The island is segregated into two zones, the “Wet Zone” which includes the mountain and southwestern regions, and the “Dry Zone” which includes the southeastern, east and northern regions of the island. Sri Lanka’s wildlife is both unique, varied and vibrant, with wildlife safaris being one of the most sought out experiences in the country.
Sri Lanka is home to several national parks and wildlife sanctuaries situated in various corners and locations of the island. Whilst Sri Lanka is known for its elephants, leopards, sloth bears, deer and monkeys, these animal sanctuaries have their own specialties and sights, offering travelers and sightseers, unique experiences despite the small geographical size of the country.
Yala National Park: The largest national park in Sri Lanka, located in the south, it’s best attractions include the wild elephants, spotted deer, sambar deer, barking deer, langur monkeys, wild buffalo, wild boars, Ceylon sloth bears, pythons, crocodiles, peacocks, and not to mention leopards.
Wilpattu National Park: Situated in the northeastern regions, 176km away from the capital, the park is composed of a dense jungle where you will the Ceylon Sloth Bear, leopards and elephants are the most sought wildlife attractions.
Gal Oya National Park: Famed for its elephant community, you are able to take in the wildlife via boat safaris (where you can also spot elephants swimming).
Udawalawe National Park: Located within the dry zone regions of Sri Lanka, this national park neighbor the Udawalawe Reservoir, with the foliage including grasslands, thorny shrubs, and unique plant life. You are able to catch sight of the elephants, deer, wild boars and buffalos and not to mention jackals and exotic birds.
Maduru Oya National Park: Acting as a catchment to the Maduru Oya Reserve in the central province, its home to over a 100 avian species and various types of flourishing foliage.
Wasgamuwa National Park: Situated close to the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, the national park is located in the dry zone and is known for its elephant, sloth bear, and avian sighting. The name in itself translates to “bear-wood”.
Horton Plains National Park: Located in the central highlands, it’s a popular hiking and camping eco-tourism destination. Home to much endemic wildlife including streams, waterfalls, lakes and a variety of animals including bears, leopards, deer, birds and the endemic Toque Macaque monkey.
Bundala National Park: Located in the Hambantota region, it’s known for its shrubbery jungle environment home to various migratory birds, spotted deer, pangolins, langur monkeys, sea turtles (that lay eggs on the shore) and not to mention the variety of plants found here.
Kumana National Park: A birdlife sanctuary for and migratory waterfowl and water wading avian, it is located 391 kilometers away from the capital (on the southeastern regions, where Hambantota is the nearest city).
Wirawila Tissa Sanctuary: Situated in the Tissa Wewa Reserve brims with wildlife and is ideal for spotting various migratory birds as well as the free-flowing streams that originate from the central mountains.
Bundala National Park: Neighbouring Wirawila Tissa Sanctuary, it’s another great location for bird watching and a designated UNESCO biosphere reserve situated in the lagoon that attracts various migratory water birds including the Greater Flamingo.
Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary: Located in Tangalle, a hidden coastal lagoon and mangrove reserve make it ideal for observing waterfowl and marine wildlife in their habitat.