Beautiful and historic, Sri Lanka is where no two tropical adventures are ever the same. Aside from sun-kissed sandy shores, cultural drama and sublime mountain escapes, Sri Lanka is home to the most breathtaking wildlife wonders. That’s why at Sri Lanka Travel Advices, we make sure to map out the most unusual and perfect wildlife attractions for you. Yala, Sinharaja and the Horton Plains are all fascinating wildlife stops of unique beauty; but if you’re a more of a hard core explorer, then the Wilpattu National Park is where you need to be at.
Are you planning to visit Wilpattu National Park this holiday? Well, here’s everything you need to know before visiting. First things first though. Wildlife spotting here can be a bit of a challenge, but a little patience and a quiet tread will always go a long way. This park isn’t as rich in animal numbers as other national reserves like Uda Walawe or Yala. However, it does have its own charm, and the low visitor numbers mean a more immersing experience for you.
If you’re getting here from Colombo, drive along the Colombo-Puttalam A3 highway and get to Puttalam town. Next you need to take the A12 Puttalam-Anuradhapura Highway and continue on for 42 Km. Here, you’ll find sign boards that can guide you to the park’s entrance.
Well for starters, WIlpattu is the largest animal sanctuary on the island. It covers a perfectly massive area of over 130000 hectares and is home to a diverse variety of plant and animal life. The climate is generally hot and dry, so do stay hydrated. Some sun screen wouldn’t be a bad idea either. The park’s most noticeable feature is the presence of many natural lakes found around the reserve. You’ll find about sixty of these lakes and tanks here. Also, the forests here are pretty dense, so it can make wildlife spotting a bit difficult.
The best time to visit the park would be around October and February, when the place is a bit cooler.
The Wilpattu National Park is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see leopards and other big cats. You won’t find as many leopards as at Yala, but there is still a fair chance of you spotting a few of these beauties. So do remember to take your camera! The vegetation here is also quite interesting. The park is a patchwork of thick forest, open grasslands and scrub lands. Aside from stalking leopards, the reserve also plays home to predators like sloth bears and jackals.
You’ll see elephant herds and wild boars roaming the forests and wary deer grazing in the plains. There are water buffaloes drowsing in the water pools and sly crocodiles snoozing on the banks. Wilpattu National Park is also a sanctuary to countless species of birds and butterflies. A few exotic birds to see here include painted storks, little cormorants, various owl species and even majestic eagles. Reptiles that roam around the pools here include monitor lizards, Indian pythons and different turtle species.
Aside from all the animals, the park also has a rather curious legend woven around it. According to historical records, the Wilpattu National Park is the very site where Prince Vijaya first set foot on Sri Lanka. You’ll find a number of relics and remains from these ancient civilizations here. There are quite a few interesting irrigation systems still visible and even the remains of a harbor.