Best National Parks in Sri Lanka

Sri lanka National Parks | Best Safari Destination Outside Africa

Best National Parks in Sri Lanka
Sri lanka National Parks | Best Safari Destination Outside Africa

National Parks in Sri Lanka

Discover the Splendor of National Parks in Sri Lanka

With 29.9% of the country declared as protected forests, Sri Lanka is a haven for nature lovers. Boasting 26 national parks, 10 nature reserves including 3 strict nature reserves, and 61 sanctuaries, the national parks in Sri Lanka offer an incredible variety of wildlife experiences. The diversity, variety, and potential for adventure within these parks, all within shorter distances and time spans, are almost unreal but incredibly true.

For a small island, Sri Lanka packs an enormous variety of wildlife, making it a top destination for wildlife parks in Sri Lanka. Interestingly, about 10,000 years ago, Sri Lanka was not an isolated island. During the last glaciation, lower sea levels connected it to the larger Eurasian landmass. As sea levels rose, large land animals became isolated on what is now the island of Sri Lanka.

The island is home to a wide range of rich and absorbing wildlife, including Sri Lanka’s "big five": the elephant, leopard, sloth bear, blue whale, and sperm whale. The national parks in Sri Lanka are treasure troves of bird species, with the country possessing some of the highest endemism in the world.

Sri Lanka's central highlands rise to over 2,500 meters above sea level, featuring damp evergreen forests, cool uplands, and high rainfall. Within just 100 kilometers, one can transition to dry coastal plains and sandy beaches. Nowhere else in the world can you dream of seeing the world's largest sea mammal, the blue whale, in the morning and later sight the largest land mammal, the Sri Lankan elephant, in the evening.

A leopard at Yala national park Sri Lanka

Popular National Parks in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's most popular national parks offer extraordinary glimpses into the island's rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. Yala National Park, renowned for its high leopard density, provides thrilling safari parks in Sri Lanka experiences. Udawalawe National Park is famous for its large elephant population, offering visitors frequent sightings. Wilpattu National Park, the oldest and largest, captivates with its unique natural lakes and diverse wildlife. Horton Plains National Park, known for its dramatic cliffs and montane grasslands, is a haven for trekkers. These parks showcase Sri Lanka's incredible wildlife and natural beauty, making them must-visit destinations for nature enthusiasts.

A leopard at Yala national park Sri Lanka

Lesser-Visited but Unique National Parks in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's lesser-visited national parks offer unique and tranquil experiences. Kumana National Park, a bird watcher’s paradise, is renowned for its wetlands and mangroves that attract numerous migratory birds. Gal Oya National Park, known for its boat safaris on the Gal Oya Reservoir, provides the rare sight of elephants swimming between islands. Wasgamuwa National Park, with its diverse flora and fauna, is ideal for those seeking a peaceful wildlife adventure. These parks, less crowded yet rich in biodiversity, offer serene settings and distinct wildlife encounters, perfect for nature enthusiasts looking to explore Sri Lanka’s hidden gems.

The national parks in Sri Lanka are a testament to the island's natural beauty and biodiversity, offering unforgettable experiences for all who visit.

a leopard at yala national park sri lanka
Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Yala National Park is situated in the south-east region of Sri Lanka and is the 2nd largest National Park in the island, situated some 300 km away from Colombo. It was at first established in the early 1890s as a game sanctuary

An elephant sighting at Udawalwe national park Sri lanka
Udawlawe National Park

The Udawalawe National Park is situated covering areas in two Districts of Sri Lanka; namely Rathnapura and Monaragala. This is the largest conservation area in both the districts and is home to the Walawe reservoir.

a sloth bear roaming at Wilpattu National Park Sri Lanka
Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National Park situated in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka is a unique ecosystem that is concentrated with Villus or lakes that are inundated according to rainfall patterns dependent on seasonality.

A horn bill bird at Kumana national park sri lanka
Kumana National Park Sri Lanka

Kumana National Park Kumana National Park is situated in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. The expansive Mangrove Swamp is its most prominent feature.

a sloth bear at Wasgamuwa national park Sri Lanka
Wasgamuwa National Park

Wasgamuwa National Park Wasgamuwa National Park situated 225km from the capital city Colombo is reputed as the best habitat in Sri Lanka for observing sloth bears.

A lizard at Horton plains Sri Lanka
Horton Plains National Park

Horton Plains National Park Horton Plains National Park is a key component of Sri Lanka’s most important catchment area.

A crocodile at Bundala national park in sri lanka
Bundala National Park Sri Lanka

Bundala National Park Bundala National Park is situated in the Hambantota District towards the Southern Coast of Sri Lanka. The park consists of five shallow brackish lagoons

an owl at Lunugamwehera National park sri lanka
Lunugamwehera National Park

The Lunugamwehara National Park is situated in both the Monaragala and Hambantota Districts. An annual drought is experienced by this dry zone park that is dominated by gently undulated plains and rock knobs.

A group of elephants at Minneriya national park sri lanka
Minneriya National Park

The Minneriya National Park is situated in the District of Pollonnaruwa. It is within the proximity of the Minneriya Reservoir which is one of the largest man made water bodies in the country.

A baby elephant at maduru oya national park sri lanka
Maduru Oya Park Sri Lanka

The Maduru Oya National Park that spans across the border between the Eastern and Uva provinces protects the immediate catchments of five major reservoirs developed under the Mahaweli Development program.

A porcupine  at Flood Plains Nationla park Sri Lanka
Flood Plains National Park

The Flood Plains National Park located in the Polonnaruwa District is an extremely significant eco system that benefits a large composition of biodiversity as well as provides connectivity and nourishment to the surrounding habitats.

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