The 5 Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

Uda Walawe National Park

With its location, variation in climate, wide range of altitudes and biodiversity, Sri Lanka is regarded one of the best places to see wildlife in Asia.

This island country boasts of its natural beauty, with swathes of land being preserved as sanctuaries for over two centuries.

In fact, the first reserve in the world, Mihintale, was created here in the 3rd Century BC.

Today, there are already about a hundred areas of protected land in the country.Here are the 5 best wildlife destinations in Sri Lanka:

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The 5 Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka



1. Yala West (Ruhuna) National Park

Yala West (Ruhuna) National Park Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

Situated in the south-eastern region of the country, this national park consists of a beautiful lowland dry scrub that sits on a long stretch of shoreline that is punctuated by rocky outcrops.

It is regarded as one of the best national parks for mammals in Asia and the premier park of the island country.

The top draw here is the endemic Sri Lankan leopard, of which the average density in certain areas of the park is as high as one in every square kilometer.

You can also see sloth bears here, especially during the season when the palu trees bear fruits, which is in June and July.

Other animals that make this place their habitat include the large deer called “sambar”, spotted deer, wild pigs, buffalos, mongooses, langur and toque monkeys, Indian palm civets and golden jackals.


2. Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve

leopard Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

This is the premier rainforest in Sri Lanka that is located in the south-western region.

The canopy in this forest towers up to 45 meters in certain areas, and more than 50% of its trees cannot be found elsewhere in the world.

A main feature here is the mixed-species of birds, where you will find around 6 endemic birds of different species making up a single flock.

Existing animals here include leopards, barking deer, purple-faced langurs and various types of squirrel.


3. Uda Walawe National Park

Uda Walawe National Park Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

This park was created to protect the watershed of the Uda Walawe Reservoir.

Situated just south of the country’s central mountains, it covers an extensive stretch of grassland, a riverine forest and a scrub jungle, which make the area the best in Asia for watching Asian elephants in the wild.

Also, the park birdwatchers who want to see some fascinating raptors, such as the serpent eagle, changeable hawk eagle and the grey-headed fish eagle.


4. Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks

Minneriya and Kaudulla National Parks Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

Just within 30 minutes drive of each other, these two parks in the North Central Province are sited around two enormous reservoirs.

It lakes, which are surrounded by a scrub jungle, are inhabited by many mammals.

You can find here a wonderful seasonal congregation of elephants during September and October.


5. Horton Plains National Park

comoran bird Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka

The highest plateau in Sri Lanka, this park towers up in the central highlands, with cloud forests filled with endemic plants and animals that have adapted to the cooler temperatures that can fall below zero.

The best draws here are birds, such as the Sri Lankan bush warbler and the Sri Lankan whistling thrush.


tourists-pinnawala-sri-lanka Best Wildlife Destinations in Sri Lanka


By the time you plan a holiday in Sri Lanka to see some wildlife, the places on this list should be included in your itinerary.




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