TOP 5 WILDLIFE RESERVES FOR SRI LANKA WILDLIFE HOLIDAYS

TOP 5 WILDLIFE RESERVES FOR SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS

Sri Lanka is abounding with wildlife reserves and forests, and most of them are protected parks and nature preserves. These natural assets are ideal for venturing on Sri Lanka safari holidays and witnessing a fascinating array of wildlife. In Sri Lanka, there are many types of forests, such as rainforests, dry-zone forests, mountain forests, mangroves, and savannahs. Venturing on a Sri Lanka safari holiday package is the best way to explore the country’s rich wildlife. Sri Lanka safari holidays are mostly day tours or 2-day trips. Now you might be wondering what the best wildlife reserves are to visit in Sri Lanka within one day.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION SRI LANKA WILDLIFE HOLIDAYS

Sri Lanka tourism has been able to earn another international accolade recently in Malaysia, in which Sri Lanka has been elected as one of the best nations for wildlife tourism. Top 10 Asia, a magazine published in the English language in Malaysia granted this accolade to the island on 1st Jan 2020.

Sri Lanka may not have as many elephants as in Africa or as many leopards as in India but Sri Lanka is a destination on its own to explore fascinating wildlife and can give become a real rival for any wildlife holiday destination in the world. Sri Lanka is very rich in biodiversity and is home to 425 species of birds, 90 species of mammals, and many thousand species of Flora. However, many travellers, especially when they are on their first time in Sri Lanka think that Sri Lanka is just a holiday destination for sun, sea and sand.

Whether you trekking through a damp rainforest or relaxing on the terrace of a luxury forest bungalow there is no doubt that a Sri Lanka wildlife tour is a wildlife-watching bonanza unlike any other. National parks are very popular tourist places in Sri Lanka and many of them can be easily reached from beach resorts such as Beruwala beach, Ambalangoda beach and cultural triangle cities.

WHAT ARE THE 5 BEST PLACES FOR ONE-DAY SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS?

  1. Yala national park
  2. Wilpattu national park
  3. Udawalawe National park
  4. Sinharaja rainforest trip
  5. Mirissa for whale watching

WHAT ARE THE 5 BEST TWO-DAY SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS?

  1. Yala National park wildlife holiday
  2. Sri Lanka wildlife holidays to Udawalawe National park
  3. Sri Lanka wildlife holidays s based on the Sinharaja rainforest
  4. Sri Lanka wildlife holiday to Sri Lanka’s southern province with Udawalawe national park
  5. Sri Lanka wildlife holidays with Galle and MirissaWhale watching tour with crocodile safari

WHAT ARE THE 5 BEST NATIONAL PARKS FOR SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS?

  • Yala national park – 306 km from Colombo
  • Udawalawe national park – 179 km from Colombo
  • Wilpattu national park is 170 km from Colombo
  • Minneriya / Kaudulla- 190 km from Colombo
  • Bundala national park – 263 km from Colombo

WHAT ARE THE TOP 5 SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS?

1. SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS TO YALA

2. SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS TO UDAWALAWE

3. MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK SAFARI

4. SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TRIP TO SEE WHALES

5. BIRD WATCHING AND RAINFOREST EXPLORATION IN SINHARAJA

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST WILDLIFE RESERVE FOR MY SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS

After many weeks of routine work at the office and at home, now you got a break and now it is time to make use of it. Perhaps you are on a tour of Sri Lanka and like to see some beautiful places on the island. Whatever it is you have chosen to have a wildlife tour in Sri Lanka and now looking for the best place to do it.

Choosing the best Sri Lanka national park for your wildlife tour is very important because you do not venture into this type of activity often. You are looking forward to seeing as many exotic animals as possible on this rare opportunity.

2 MAJOR FACTORS THAT DECIDE ON THE NATIONAL PARK FOR THE SAFARI ARE,

  • Animal to be seen in the national park
  • Distance to make from the hotel

What type of animal you like to see and how much time you have for the trip are important factors, in deciding the wildlife reserve for the trip. E.g Yala national park is the best place to see leopards and bears on the island. No other national park on the island gives you the opportunity to see leopards not only in Sri Lanka but also in the entire world. Because Yala national park has the highest number of leopards compared to its size.

If you like to spot wild elephants in your Sri Lanka safari package it is best to head on to Udawalawe national park and or Minneriya national park. Udawalawe national park, Minneriya national park, and eco-park are the 3 most popular wildlife reserves to spot wild elephants. These 3 national parks have the highest elephant population on the island and provide very easy spotting of wild elephants.

As I have written above the animals you spot in the jungle is largely varied depending on the national park, the most important factor in deciding on a national park for the safari is the distance from your hotel or residence. For E.g one day Sri Lanka tour to safari to Yala national park from Colombo will be a daunting task and the one-day trip to Udawalawe national park from your hotel in Colombo. Udawalawe safari is very convenient to visit from a beach resort on the south coast of the west coast as well as from Colombo.

Usually, Yala national park is within easy reach for travellers, and it is a popular tourist attraction Hambantota. And Udawalawe is the most convenient place to reach for travellers from the west coast. Minneriya is the best safari spot for travellers, who venture on a cultural tour based on the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka.

In this article, we discuss 5 major national parks for wildlife tour packages in Sri Lanka. You have to decide on the best national park to visit by considering the information coming under each wildlife reserve.

ANIMALS TO SEE ON SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS

The visitors see leopards along with other animals such as bears, elephants, and crocodiles very often during the safari in Sri Lanka. Yala and Wilpattu are the most popular wildlife reserve to see leopards and in fact, Yala is the best place in the world to spot this big cat due to its largest concentration within any park of its size in the world.

The Sri Lankan leopard is a sub-species of the leopard and it is the biggest carnivore in the jungle. It might be very difficult to spot leopards in India even in Africa but in the Sri Lankan case, it is totally different.

Perhaps you have been doing the safari in some other countries, but a safari tour in Sri Lanka is still worth it because what you encounter in Sri Lankan jungles is different from what you see in Africa.

Different landscapes, vegetation, and even animals show many differences if you have been to African national parks. E.g the Sri Lanka elephants are a little bit smaller than African elephants and you do not see every animal carrying the tasks.

HOW EASY TO BOOK SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS?

Another reason why you thoroughly consider on Sri Lanka safari tour is the convenience. You do not need to plan the Sri Lanka safari tour in advance and it can be done spontaneously. Just call tour operators such as Seerendipity tour or go to the travel counter of your hotel, either way, you can book a Sri Lanka safari tour to the nearby national park. You can Sri Lanka safari tours as a one-day trip from your hotel.

Unlike most other national parks in the world, the Sri Lanka wildlife tour does not demand you to stay a few days in the parks. In Sri Lanka, you do not need to spend a few days in the national park and drive throughout the park every day. The Sri Lanka safari is very convenient and you just spend about 3 hours in the national park and see many dozens of animals in their natural habitat.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES

Sri Lanka wildlife tour packages may not be as popular as Tanzanian or Kenya wildlife tours. But, Sri Lanka is a popular holiday destination with plenty of opportunities for wildlife tours. With many dozens of wildlife reserves and national parks, Sri Lanka has the potential to be a top-notch destination for wildlife tours in the region.

The island already attracts a large number of foreigners to its wildlife sanctuaries and most road trips include Sri Lanka wildlife tours. However, there is a lot more to do in order to improve the wildlife holiday sector of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is abounding with wildlife reserves and forests and most of them are protected parks and nature preserves. There are many types of forests are occurring here such as rainforests, dry-zone forest, mountain forest, mangroves and savannahs. Therefore Sri Lanka continues to be a haven for lovers of nature tours. Wildlife parks of Sri Lanka and forests are home to boundless wildlife. Following are some of the popular places for wildlife tours in Sri Lanka

Today most travellers visit the national parks during their Sri Lanka road trips, sometimes they book short Sri Lanka wildlife tours such as one-day Sri Lanka tours or two days Sri Lanka tours. Sri Lankan national parks harbour a great variety of animals, birds, vertebrates, amphibians, fish and insect species.

MULTI-DAY SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES VS SHORT WILDLIFE TOURS

It is very important to plan your Sri Lanka wildlife tour well in the advance. Sri Lanka wildlife tours are available mainly in two options. These wildlife tours can be booked as a standalone trip or they can be combined with any other Sri Lanka beach holiday package or Sri Lanka sightseeing tour. Eg If you have booked a Sri Lanka cultural triangle trip, you can add a Minneriya safari to it without wasting much time or money.

Multi-day Sri Lanka wildlife tours

You are visiting several important wildlife reserves on this trip and it expands over many days (more than 5 days). The time spent on wildlife reserves is from 2 hours to an entire day. Usually, in this type of Sri Lanka wildlife tour, you spend more than half of the trip in national parks while exploring the wildlife. Some of the popular places included in multi-day Sri Lanka wildlife trips are Yala national park, Udawalawe national park, Sinharaja rainforest, and Horton plain national park.

Short tours to the national parks

One day and two days of Sri Lanka wildlife tours are coming under this category. These wildlife tours are the best option for travellers, who wish to visit the national park from their beach resorts. However, this short wildlife tour is part of many Sri Lanka tour packages such as 2 weeks Sri Lanka tour itinerary, 7 days Sri Lanka tour. Durign these tours your guide take you to a wildlife reserve for a safari.

WHEN SHOULD I GO FOR SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS?

Most national parks are open throughout the year except few places like Yala national park and Minneriya national park. Few national parks such as Yala park are closed for several months every year during the dry season, in the months such as September, and October. When it is closed and duration is a decision taken by the park administration and it is published in advance. Due to this reason, the visitors must be prepared to visit an alternative national park if required.

Usually, during the dry period, the water is very limited within the park due to the drought. Therefore the animals do not have enough water and food. Animals move deeper into the jungle in search of water and food and very difficult to spot them during this period. On the other hand the animals can also be very aggressive during this period. The wildlife authorities announce the temporary closure of national parks several months ahead of the closure. So plan your wildlife holidays accordingly.

The peak holiday season in Sri Lanka (from November to April), is ideal for Sri Lanka wildlife tours. During this period there is plenty of water in the park and plenty of food for the animal and the animals are roaming everywhere in the park.

WHAT TIME SHOULD I START MY SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR?

  • 6.00 AM to 10.00 AM
  • 02.00 PM to 06.00 PM

As a rule, early morning and late evening are the best times to spot the animals in the national parks. At dawn, the animals are heading to water resources such as lakes, rivers and water holes. Most animals are also in search of food in the early hours of the day. During midday, most animals opt to stay in the shade.

Leopards are resting on treetops and caves, while other animals stay under huge canopies. Animals are resting during this time of the day due to the oppressive heat generated by strong sun rays. Animals are again inactive in the late afternoon as the sun reduces its heat. The best places to spot animals are the grasslands, nearby areas of water resources, caves and treetops especially to spot leopards.

IMPORTANT RULES AND REGULATIONS TO OBSERVE DURING SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES.

  1. The maximum speed to be maintained by the jeeps is 25 km/hour
  2. No food is allowed within the park unless on a full-day visit
  3. No smoking, or alcohol inside the park
  4. No littering
  5. Silence should be maintained No shouting or unnecessary noise
  6. No flash photography
  7. Don’t pursue the animals to get a better sighting
  8. No crowding around an animal for better viewing. A maximum of 5 minutes per viewing after which give way for others.
  9. No off-road travelling, only the roads
  10. Being guided by what the tracker (ranger) tells you to do
  11. Maintain the distance between jeeps and the animals (for the safety of the visitors and not to disturb the animal)
  12. No alighting from the vehicle or climbing on top of roofs of vehicles

WHERE ELSE CAN I SEE WILD ANIMALS OTHER THAN THE PLACES MENTIONED ABOVE?

Where you should travel differs depending on the animals you wish to see. Several national parks such as Yala and Wilpattu are ranked among the best places to see leopards with other animals such as elephants and crocodiles in the country.

Udawalawe national park in southern Sri Lanka is one of the top natural places in Sri Lanka, it is very popular due to the large concentration of wild elephants. Many other national parks such as Kumana are popular in Sri Lanka as places for bird watching. But, all the national parks have a fascinating blend of different species of animals.

Several national parks may be restricted from spotting several animals due to the geographical location and climate conditions. E.g Horton plains national park, where the a low temperature (10-15 degrees Celcius), you see sambar, slender loris and a few other animal species while it can be difficult to spot other animal species such as leopard. It is not possible to spot wild elephant, bufaloes, crocodile, bear and many other animal speises due to the climate condition.

WHAT ARE THE ENTRANCE FEES TO NATIONAL PARKS?

All national parks on the island are under the purview of the wildlife conservation department of Sri Lanka. Therefore, all the activities in the parks are closely monitored by the rangers appointed by the department of wildlife conservation. Visitors are not allowed to engage in any form of destructive activity within the parks. Entrance fees of national parks can be different across the different places and it is about 20 US$ p.p.

WHAT IS THE BEST MODE OF TRANSPORT IN THE PARK?

It is highly recommended to hire a 4-wheel drive vehicle with plenty of ground clearance. Most of the national parks have rugged terrain and muddy surface in some areas demanding you to have a suitable vehicle. People are not allowed to drive fast in the parks because it disturbs the animals. But, in Yala national park several unfortunate incidents took place during the last few years due to the reckless driving of jeep drivers.

WHAT ANIMALS DO WEE ON SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS?

  • Leopard
  • Elephant
  • Crocodile
  • Sloth Bear
  • Deer
  • Jackal
  • Wild boar
  • Wild buffaloe
  • Monkey
  • Land monitor
  • Bird species
  • Mongoose
  • Amphibians
  • Black Leopards

FLORA THAT CAN BE SPOTTED DURING SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES

GroupNumber of described speciesPercentage endemism
Algae866NA
Fungi1,920NA
Lichens11035
Mosses575NA
Liverwoths190NA
Ferns and Fern allies31418
Gymnosperms10
Angiosperms (Flowering plants)3,35023

FAUNA THAT CAN BE SPOTTED DURING SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS

GroupNumber of described speciesPercentage endemism
Protista  (One celled animals)40+NA
Rotifera140+NA
Anthozoa (Corals)171NA
Annelida (Earthworms and Leeches)18NA
Monogenea (Flatworms)23+NA
Crustacea  (Prawns, crabs and allies)400NA
Mollusca (snails and allies)325NA
INSECTA  
Mayflies18100
Mosquitoes139NA
Beetles54023
Butterflies242+6
Arachnida (Spiders)400+NA
Pisces – Coastal fish400+NA
Pisces – Freshwater fish6139
Amphibia (Frogs and Toads)4852
Reptilia (Reptiles)16243
Aves (Birds)4415
Mammalia (Mammals)9016

The elephant (Elephas Maximus Maximus) is the most common animal in the country. It is a subspecies of the Asian elephant (Elephas Maximus) and occurs only in Sri Lanka. Elephants can be spotted in great numbers in Sri Lankan national parks. Sri Lanka is the best country to see wild elephants in the region due to the large population, which exceeds 5800 animals.

Leopard is the largest carnivore in Sri Lanka and occurs often in Yala National park. Yala Block 1 is one of the best places to see leopards in the world. Crocodiles, wild buffaloes, species of monkeys, many deer species, cat species, jackal, mongoose, and monitors are the other most common animals to see on a safari.

FINDING ACCOMMODATION FOR SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES?

Finding accommodation for Sri Lanka wildlife tours will not be a difficult task at all. Because hotels and guest houses as well as camping sites can be found on the outskirts of most national parks. The surrounding areas of popular national parks such as Udawalawe, Yala and Wilpattu provide plenty of accommodation facilities for travellers. It is highly recommended to have a prior confirmed reservation before coming to the hotel due to the increasing number of tourists arriving in Sri Lanka.

WHAT TO WEAR ON SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS?

A light cotton dress is the most appropriate dress during the Sri Lanka wildlife tours. A hat can be very handy to keep the dust away from your hair. It is very common to drive through the clouds of dust formed by other jeeps driving ahead of you. It is highly recommended to wear a shirt and a cotton t-shirt during the Sri Lanka wildlife tours.

A light-coloured dress is suitable due to the dry and warm weather conditions in the parks. Try to add things such as mosquito repellent, sunglasses and binoculars to your list of wildlife holiday items.

There are seventeen National parks and sanctuaries at the moment in the country and they are inhabited by a large number of animal species including elephant, leopard, sloth bear, sambar, deer and monkeys, wild buffalo, wild boar (pig), porcupine, ant-eater, civet cat, jackal, mongoose, loris (unique to Sri Lanka) several varieties of lizards, squirrels, reptiles and amphibians. Each park, however, has its own specialities.

YALA SAFARI: FOR THE BEST WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES IN SRI LANKA

YALA NATIONAL PARK HAS SITUATED 309 KM FROM COLOMBO

THE DURATION OF THE TRIP FROM COLOMBO IS 3 HOURS.

Tissamaharama is ranked among the 10 best small visits in Sri Lanka. This small city offers wide range of interesting places for travellers such as Yala national parks, atargama temple, Yatalatissa stupa. Among all these tourist places yala is the most popular tourist atractions. Yala is approximately 1,259 sq. km. in extent and is located in the southeastern corner of the island. Its northern boundaries border the Lahugala Elephant Sanctuary and it has the added bonus of a scenic ocean frontage.

The terrain is varied flat plains alternating with rocky outcrops. The vegetation ranges from open parkland to dense jungle. Water holes, small lakes, lagoons and streams provide water for the animals and birds. The speciality here is the large number of elephants.

Yala is recognized as one of the best places to spot leopards, due to the large concentration of these big cats in the park. Therefore Yala is very popular among foreign travellers and is included in many Sri Lanka tour and beach holiday packages.

Yala national park considered being a place for the most successful wildlife experience on the island due to its vividness of the animal species. Yala is the best national park for safaris on the island and it allows you to spot the most number animal species.

ONE DAY WILDLIFE TOUR TO YALA PARK

Yala one-day safari is the most popular wildlife holiday in Sri Lanka and can be booked from Colombo and beach holidays destination on the western and southern coast. one day safari tour from Yala national park had been not possible in the past due to the time taken to reach Yala from Colombo. However, with the completion of the southern expressway, the journey from Colombo to Yala national park has been reduced by 3 hours. However, the one-day Yala safari begins early morning from Colombo (04.00 hrs) and returns to Colombo in the afternoon.

TWO DAYS YALA SAFARI FROM COLOMBO

Two days Yala safari is another popular tour among travellers. These two days of Sri Lanka safari not only includes Yala safari but also visits many other places on the southern and western coastal belt. The overnight stay will be in a hotel in Yala. The tour includes many other important places to visit in Sri Lanka such as Galle fort, Hikkaduwa beach, and Madu river estuary.

SPOTTING LEOPARDS ON YALA SAFARI

It is highly recommended to set off on a full-day jeep safari in order to get the most success from your safari. Usually spotting leopards is the expectation of most visitors and you are well on your way to realising it on a full-day Yala safari.

SRI LANKA BLACK LEOPARD

You will be able to mark the sighting of a black leopard in your wildlife checklist that you maintain on your Sri Lanka safari. The existence of a Sri Lankan black leopard in the jungle is confirmed by the wildlife department of Sri Lanka after 11 years.

The Sri Lankan black leopard is believed to be extinct since 2009 as it was not sighted in the jungle. The previous last black leopard was recorded in 2009 in Deniyaya and by the time of discovery, it was dead due to the wounds caused by a trap.

However, the wildlife department has been able to discover a family of a black leopard (Female, male and 2 cubs) on 26th October 2019 during the present island-wide survey on Sri Lankan panther.  

There are 8 leopard species living in the world and the Sri Lankan leopard is one subspecies that has many differences from its counterparts living in other parts of the world. Sri Lankan leopard is special mainly due to its limited population. Colour mutation is believed to be the reason for its unique characteristics.   

GAL OYA NATIONAL PARK FOR BEST SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES TO SEE ELEPHANTS

Situated at Inginiyagala, the Gal Oya National Park is 314 km From Colombo and is most renowned for its elephant population. Gal Oya national park is most popular for elephant spotting and visited by many tourists. However, compared Udawalawe national park and Minneriya national park of Yala wildlife reserve, Gal Oya national park is yet to become a wildlife holiday spot in Sri Lanka. All 3 national parks mentioned above is coming under 15 best places to visit in Sri Lanka in 3 days but Gal Oya national park is not included in the list. These 15 places were selected based on the reviews of our past customers.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS AT UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK TO SEE A LARGE GATHERING OF WILD ELEPHANTS

Situated 170 km. South-East of Colombo the Udawalawe National Park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This Park which lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts acts as the catchment to the Udawalawe Reservoir and is located in the Dry Zone.

SPOTTING ELEPHANTS ON WILDLIFE SAFARI AT UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK

Udawalawe national park comprises grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees and plants. The abundance of grass is the main reason for the large concentration of elephants at the Udawalawe national park. A large number of wild elephants can be spotted on the safari tour to Udawalawe national park. Large herds of Elephants and Deer species such as spotted Deer, Sambar, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, and Jackal are some of the prominent wild animals found in this Park and a variety of avian fauna is also can be seen.

ONE DAY UDAWALAWE SAFARI FROM COLOMBO

This wildlife tour starts early morning from Colombo (at 05.00 AM) and you will reach Udawalawe national park after 3 hour’s drive. The journey itself is a very nice experience as it goes through the lush green vegetation. The tourists encounter rubber plantations, coconut plantations, sleepy toes and isolated villages. The Udawalawe safari lasts 3 hours and during which you will be able to spot large herds of wild elephants.

TWO DAYS SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR TO UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK

Most travellers resort to 1 day Udawalawe safari while some others opt for 2 days wildlife tour at Udawalawe national park because they like to explore the national park leisurely. The tour includes an overnight stay in a hotel near the Udawalawe national park.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES AT WASGAMUWA NATIONAL PARK

Tucked away in the district of Polonnaruwa this national park is approximately 200 km away from Colombo, the Wasgamuwa National Park lies within the Polonnaruwa and Matale Districts and has the Mahaweli river and Amban river as its eastern and western boundaries. Tropical intermediate dry mixed evergreen forest predominates its environment.

Wasgamuwa’s national park is largely unexplored and one of the least crowded national parks on the island. Compared to most other national parks such as Yala, Udawalawe and Minneriya, you will not meet hordes of tourists here.

The wildlife safari in this national park should be conducted in a manner that makes the least disturbing to the wild animals, especially to the wild elephants. The wild elephants at Wasagmauwa national park are well grown and can become aggressive very easily. Annoying them can be dangerous. Largely because they are not familiar with intruders. They might even attack the jeeps if it gets close to the animal and disturbs them unnecessary.

The elephant-human conflict is increased to a dangerous level in these areas therefore humans are being attacked by the elephants very often. Same time elephants are also targeted by the farmers and villages. You may sometimes see the scars of wounds on the skin of wild elephants. The animals that had been attacked by human in the past take tends to get aggressive more easily than others.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS AT BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK

Bundala National Park is the latest addition to the National Parks and is situated 260 km from Colombo, hence it is also not coming under the wildlife reserves to visit in Sri Lanka within one day. All species of waterbirds resident in the country and the migrant birds inhabit this Park.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS AT HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK

The Horton plains are considered a super biodiversity, however, it is not coming under wildlife reserves to visit Sri Lanka within one day. The Horton Plains National Park is the only National Park situated in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country and falls within the Nuwara Eliya district and is 200 km from Colombo. The panoramic scenic beauty of the Hill Country could be witnessed within the Park.

The famous `Worlds End is a major attraction within the Park. A large number of rare animals species like Endemic slender loris and endemic purple monkey are among the important animal species that could be seen in addition to sambar, a member of the cat family etc. There is some endemic avifauna also found within this Park.

WILDLIFE TOUR TO HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK

Horton plains national park is one of the last remaining montane forests (cloud forests) on the island. The unique patch of the forest sits more than 2000 meters above sea level. Horton plains is one of the best trekking sites in Sri Lanka and it is part of most Sri Lanka jungle torus and treks. The wildlife reserve includes grasslands as well as trees and bushes. A 2 hours trek allows the guests to see a large number of fauna and Flora of Horton plains national park.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOURS TO SPOT BIRDS AT UDAWATTAKELE SANCTUARY

Udawattakele forest is one of the best wildlife reserves to visit in Sri Lanka within one day for travellers staying in Kandy. Udawattekele sanctuary is also one of the most underrated destination in Sri Lanka. The hill country sanctuary of Udawattakele is located near Kandy and is 118 km from Colombo, while the Peak Wilderness near adam’s peak is 141 km from Colombo.

Both forests are quieter but equally picturesque with wooded hills and secluded streams and have the added bonus of rare flora such as our unique Wesak Orchid as well as numerous species of rare butterflies.

The Udawattakele Sanctuary is a popular attraction in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s picturesque and fascinating hill capital. The Peak Wilderness is situated on the slopes of Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada), Sri Lanka’s sacred mountain.

WILDLIFE TOUR AT UDAWATTAKELE NATIONAL PARK

Due to the location in the city of Kandy, it is a very convenient to reach from any hotel in Kandy. Usually, the trip to Udawattakele from Kandy is a short trip that lasts about 30 Minutes. Udawattakele is one of the best places to see the lush green forest and a wildlife tour to Udawattekele forest allows you to spot many species of avian fauna species.

SRI LANKA WILDLIFE TOUR PACKAGES AT LUNUGAMVEHERA

Lunugamvehera national park Sri Lanka is covered by rare trees and is home to many endangered animal species, Lunugamvehera national park has become a popular destination in the southern province of Sri Lanka. The national park is situated bordering the Udawalawa national park and Yala national park. It is declared a national park in December 1953 and is spread over 23498.8 hectares.

The Lunugamvehera National Park was designed to protect waterways and to provide a resting station for elephants, migrating between the Eastern section of the Yala Wildlife Conservation and the Western side of the Udawalawa National Park. Udawalawe is one of the best wildlife reserves to visit in Sri Lanka within one day from south coast beaches.

Lunugamvehera had been a prominent and important region of the Ruhunu kingdom (Kingdom in southern Sri Lanka) in the early days and it had been a very thriving area in the region. Lunugamvehera National Park is situated bordering Kuda Oya and Kirindi Oya; the main tributaries of the Lunugamvehera reservoir. These rivers are both a means of support for thousands of people and also the cause of great disasters in the flood season.

LUNUGAMVEHERA: ONE OF THE BEST PLACES FOR A ONE-DAY SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS

One of the main attractions of the Lunugamvehera national park is the reservoir which is spread over 3283 hectares. This reservoir came to being under the Lunugamvehera development project and 600 families in the village used it as their main source of income through fishing.

The reservoir is a great irrigation resource, which can hold 350 million cubic meters of water to irrigate 17,000 hectares of rice and crops in the Area. This reservoir is also a source of fish and shrimp for residents.

FLORA OF LUNUGAMVEHERA

The reserve was established in order to protect the wildlife, as well as biodiversity in the region. Lunugamvehera is a national park with very high biodiversity, which contains trees, belongs to different forest types in Sri Lanka such as dry zone forest, rainforests arid zone vegetation, shrubs, and grassland etc. Weera, Kone, Palu, Hik, Kunumallawa, Kirikone, Ulkenda, Kappetiy and Coffee plants are commonly seen in the park.

Sixty-two different species of trees are recorded in the National park while the number of animal species recorded is 42. The elephant is the most common animal in the National park numbering 100 to 150 Elephants.

The elephant corridor which is located between Udawalawa and Lunugamvehera national park enables the animals to migrate from one national park to the other; widening the habitat of animals. Other than the elephants one can see animal such as Leopards, bears, monkeys, crocodiles, deer, sambar, and different species of birds.

MADURU OYA national park

Maduru Oya is a national park that originated under the Mahaweli development project in 1983. It was declared as a 6th national park by a special gazette notification by the government of Sri Lanka. The national park has been able to accommodate the wild animal that lost their ancient living habitats due to the resettlement of farmers under the project. Madur Oya national park is not coming under wildlife reserves to visit in Sri Lanka within one day if you stay in Colombo. But it is a very convenient wildlife reserve to visit from the cultural triangle.

ABOUT MADURU OYA NATIONAL PARK

The National park is spread over nearly 58,849 hectares in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. In the initial stage, the national park was covering only 51,468 hectares of land but later it was widened to the present size. The National park is located on the border of the Ampara, Badulla and Polonnaruwa districts. Several areas of the forest are dominated by grasslands and they are identified as the areas where illegal timber harvesting took place in the past.

More than 15 per cent of the land area covered by the national park is consisting of lakes and reservoirs. There are many species of wild animals in the park; the most common species are the elephant, wild boar, crocodile, deer, monkey and buffalo.

There are rare occasions in which leopards are observed. The national park is a popular destination for bird lovers. It is inhabited by a large number of the resident as well as migrant bird species due to a large number of water resources such as lakes. The forest reserve harbours many species of endemic bird species of the country.

HISTORY OF MADURU OYA NATIONAL PARK

Maduru Oya is a national park as well as a popular archaeological site in the dry zone. There are remnants of an ancient Buddhist monastery within the orders of the park. Archaeologists have been able to discover several statues during the excavations at the site.

The park is consisting of huge grasslands which attract animals such as elephants, deer and buffalo. Grasslands provide a good source of food for the animal and on the other hand, they provide the best places for spotting wild animals.

MADURU OYA NATIONAL PARK AND SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS

The vegetation of the National park is categorized as dry evergreen forests with patches of riverine vegetation along the borders of reservoirs and streams. The annual rainfall of the park is estimated to be around 1,650mm and the main rainy season falls from October to January the North-East monsoon is the leading source of rain here.

The area of Maduru Oya was on the radar of ancient engineers of Sri Lanka. A remnant of an ancient sluice was discovered during the excavations at the southern end of Maduru Oya dam. The age of ancient construction is confirmed to be more than 2000 years. According to the Mahawamsa, King Mahasen had built a reservoir here and it was renovated by King Vijayabahu the 1st and King Parakram Bahu the 1st.

Maha Oya is the nearest most populated city on the way to Maduru Oya National park and the distance from Maha Oya to Maduru Oya is estimated to be 32 km. The journey from Maha Oya to Maduru Oya takes between 3-4 hours. Maha Oya is popular for its hot spring, and these natural springs produce warm water with a temperature of 50c.

SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS TO SEE BIRDS

  • Bundala bird sanctuary – Distance from Colombo 259 km
  • Wirawila bird sanctuary-distance from Colombo 261 km
  • Kalametiya sanctuary- distance from Colombo 224 km
  • Giants tank distance from Colombo is 300 km

3 Bird sanctuaries except Giant’s tank are national parks with lagoons and located on Sri Lanka’s extreme southeastern coast and included in most Sri Lanka wildlife tour packages due to their large population of avian fauna species.

The Giant’s Tank in the northwestern corner of the island is a huge ancient irrigation reservoir of 3,800 hectares. The coastal sanctuaries are exotically picturesque with combinations of lagoon, swamp, river, jungle, lake and plain. Large flocks can be found here of both resident and migrant aquatic birds.

SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS AND VISITING ELEPHANT ORPHANAGE

An orphanage for elephants has been set up by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, at Pinnawala, 90 km from Colombo. This is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Sri Lanka and includes in most Sri Lanka road trips. It was established in 1975 and several animals brought here at the inception are now mature enough for breeding, which is the ultimate aim of the institution. Entrance fees: Rs 200.00 Pinnawala elephant orphanage has the largest captive herd in the world.

The Pinnawala elephant orphanage has not only got the largest captive herd of elephants in the world but it also has become the most successful elephant breeding centre, according to reports. 

The elephant orphanage now boasts of its sixteenth birth and the second generation of births in captivity. It has become a major tourist attraction because of its uniqueness. This is an ideal site for photography, research and education on elephants as the visitor is able to observe a large herd comprised of week-old babies to sixty-year-old.

A state-of-the-art zoo is under construction at Pinnawala which will be open to the public by 2003. The Department of National Zoological Gardens now maintains two farms at Pallekelle and Gonapola to meet a part of its food requirements for animals.

SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS AT NAMAL YUANA

Namal Yuana is one of the best wildlife but quite unpopular reserves in Sri Lanka. Namal Uyana” is an extremely rare forest replanted with Ironwood Trees (Mesua ferara) in the 8th Century AD by King Dappula. The Ironwood Tree is endemic to Sri Lanka and the replanted forest is over 200 acres in extent. The area is also geologically important allowing visitors to view one of the largest Pink Quartz Mountains in Sri Lanka. Other attractions include ancient monuments dating back to the 2nd Century AD and three surface waterways, which intriguingly disappear, and then resurface around 500 metres away in the form of water fountains!

NAMAL YUANA: ONE OF THE BEST WILDLIFE RESERVES TO VISIT WITHIN ONE DAY

Even though Namal Uyana is not that popular among foreigners and is not included in most Sri Lanka wildlife tour packages, it attracts a large number of local travellers. The Namal Uyana holds a rich animal and plant life with over 19 species of birds and rare species of lizards and 76 kinds of medicinal plants.

SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS IN A MAN-MADE FOREST

National Iron Wood Forest is a unique forest in Sri Lanka where the Iron Wood (Mesua ferara) trees dominate the vegetation of the 238 acres of forest. It is said that during King Dappula IV’s period (8th century AD) this Iron Wood forest was created and the remaining trees are the shoots of that forest. Hence it is considered the oldest man-made forest in Sri Lanka. According to botanists, this is the only Iron Wood forest in the dry zone with wet zone vegetation. Among the many streams that meander through the forest, one stream intriguingly disappears out of sight only to emerge as a great freshwater fountain 500 metres away.

SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS AT PINK QUARTZ MOUNTAIN

The main topographical feature of the forest is the Pink Quartz mountain with seven peaks. The height of the mountain is 1070 ft above sea level. Geographers believe that it was formed 4,000 million years ago and it is the only mountain of this kind in Sri Lanka.

Practicalities

For many travellers, a holiday in Sri Lanka implies an easy-going leisure holiday, however, venturing on a Sri Lanka wildlife tour makes you feel like an explorer. The wildlife tour of Sri Lanka to Yala national park, offered by Seerendipity, where everything included from the accommodation, meals to transport and 4-wheel drive jeep, is a very convenient way of exploring the rich Fauna and flora of Yala national park.

Sri Lanka safari to Minneriya national park, Eco Park is also can be booked with Seerendipity. These national parks are better suited for travellers, who are scratching the historical monuments of Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.

Sri Lanka safari to Udawalawe national park is entangled with a long journey if you start the trip from Colombo or on the west coast. The travellers required to make an overland trip of 3 hours by private vehicle from Colombo.

Whatever the park wish to explore, the travellers need to inform Seerendipity in advance so that they can prepare for your trip.

SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • Sri Lanka is a hot tropical country and Almost every national park that are popular for wildlife tours are located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka, where the annual rainfall is at the lowest ebb, compared to most places on the island. The rainfall is low in the wildlife reserves and the heat is very high, so is the humidity, which means the chances are great for sweating. Therefore, dress lightly, cotton shirt, t-shirts and a cotton short I ideal.    
  • You are staying in the jeep throughout the safari, however, there are 2 places in the park where you are allowed to get down from the safari jeep. The roads are very uneven and bumpy. On rainy days the roads are getting muddy and some areas of the park including the roads are coming underwater. But don’t expect muddy water splashing onto you.
  • It is best to apply some sunscreen and mosquito repellent in order to avoid mosquito bites.
  • It is best to have a bottle of mineral water with you in case you get thirsty. Once the safari started you are not coming out of the park until you finish the safari.
  • Do not carry fruits and other foods into the park. If the wild elephants sense it, they might come to you and ask for it. If you have food wrap it properly and don’t open it until you come to the designated resting places, where you are allowed to have food.
  • Don’t try to feed wild animals
  • Maintain the silence, you are not allowed to make any kind of noise, it can cause the wild animals to be panicked.
  • Spotting leopards and elephant can be a daunting task. However, there are chances of spotting them. I have done a safari in various places in Sri Lanka many times and I was able to spot an elephant on almost every occasion. Spotting leopard is rare and cannot be guaranteed.
  • Hold on to your trash and take it back with you.
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption is prohibited within the park.

WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK SRI LANKA SAFARI HOLIDAYS WITH SEERENDIPITY

Seerendipity Tour is an entirely locally owned travel company with a head office in Colombo. The highly experienced local staff is a key strength of Seerendipity Tours, and they can plan your dream holiday to Sri Lanka.

The best price guaranteed for your Sri Lanka trip

When you book a tour with Seerendipity Tours, you directly book the tour with the local company, which means there are no middlemen and therefore you can guarantee the best price. Simply get in touch with us and let us know when you travel and what you like to see.

Plan your best Sri Lanka trip with-expert

Our staff makes a personalised programme for you, which you can change until you find the best Sri Lanka trip package for you. You can also browse our existing tour packages for inspiration (www.sirilaktours.com); all our ready-made tour packages are customizable and can be tailored to meet all your expectations. Write to us at admin@seerendipitytours.com, tel. 0094-77-440977, WhatsApp 0094-77-4440977

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