Ridiyagama Safari Camp
Being an island in the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is very popular as a beach holiday destination and attracts a large number of beach holiday lovers. The western province of Sri Lanka is the most popular beach holiday destinations in the country, where most tourists take refuge during their holiday. Therefore the most number of accommodation providers is concentrated in cities such as Bentota, Kalutara, Negombo, and Hikkaduwa in the western province.
However, Sri Lanka is a multi-faceted holiday destination and Sri Lankan offers much more than sun, sea and sand. There is a large number of places to visit on the island such as historical places, wildlife reserves, vibrant cities, and mountains with cascading waterfalls, rain forests, and many places for adventure activities.
Is Sri Lanka a good wildlife holiday destination?
It is a well-known fact that Sri Lanka is the best country to spot leopards in the world. Yala national park of southern Sri Lanka with the highest number of leopard concentration compared to any other national park of its size is the best place on earth to spot leopards. On the other hand wildlife reserves like Udawalawe national park, Minneriya national park are places to spot hundreds of wild elephant’s concentration.
Even though Sri Lanka is not a popular safari destination like Africa there is a large number of wildlife reserves on the island, where you can have an Unforgettable wildlife observation tour. More than 60 wildlife reserves available on the island and they are resided by leopards, elephants, buffaloes, crocodile, monkeys and many other animals.
Ridiyagama safari camp
In this article, we discuss the Ridiyagama safari camp, which is still quite unknown to most people. Ridiyagama safari camp is the newest wildlife reserve in the country. Ridiyagama safari camp is located in the Ridiyagama village of Hambantota district in southern Sri Lanka.
The construction of safari camp started in 2008 and the park is open to the public since 2016. Initially, it was planned to restrict the park into an 80 acres land but later it was expanded to 500 acres land. The safari park consists of giant trees like Palu, keena, weera, as well as thorn bushes, grasslands, ponds and artificially created caves.
The park is still unpopular among the people of Sri Lanka and the authorities are not promoting it as a destination for safari due to some ongoing development work. However, the visitors are allowed to enter the park under the supervision of park rangers.
The park is dividing into 3 regions namely;
- Lion’s park
- Vegetarian animal park
- Elephant park
Leopard was the biggest carnivore in the Sri Lankan jungles until the opening of Ridiyagama safari camp. But with the introduction of Lions to the Ridiyagama safari camp, the lion is the biggest carnivore in Sri Lankan jungles today. The lions were brought from Africa and Ridiyagama safari camp is s thriving destination for lions due to the similarities of the safari camp to their native living habitats in Africa.
Lions at Ridiyagama safari camp are restricted into the lion’s park area and 12 animals are living here at the moment. Lions at the Ridiyagama safari camp are not depending on hunting for their meals and these animals get meat every day from the park rangers, each animal gets 7kg of meat a day.
Zoological garden of Colombo is the other place, where people can see lions on the island. I have noted that the animals at Ridiyagama safari camp are more muscular and well built compared to the lions at Dehiwala zoological garden. According to our guide, it is mainly due to the living habitat. Unlike at Zoological garden Colombo, where the animal has a huge area to roam around and they are free from the human interferences.
The elephant is one of the most popular and common animals in the Sri Lankan jungles. At the elephant park, the visitors can have a closer look into the wild elephants. However, the number of wild elephants is gradually decreasing in the country and wildlife park-like Ridiyagama safari camp helps to maintain a healthy population of wild animals in the country.
African buffalo is another foreign animal to Sri Lankan’s. African buffalo is could be seen only at the Colombo Zoological garden of Colombo until the opening of Ridiyagama safari camp. With the opening of Ridiyagama safari camp, they can be seen in the jungle for the first time on the island.
Ostrich another bird can be seen at the Ridiyagama safari camp. Ostrich is not a resident bird and can only be seen at the Zoological garden of Colombo until the opening of Ridiyagama safari camp. Visiting Ridiyagama safari camp will be novelty experience for any Sri Lankan and Asian traveller because it allows us to see several wild animals that we can’t see in this part of the world.