Untamed Wildlife – Top 7 Sri Lankan Safari Adventures

Tear drop shaped island- Sri Lanka has become one of the most desired destination in the world for safari adventures. According to the Forbes magazine, Sri Lanka has been identified as the Best Safari Destination outside of Africa. Sri Lanka boasts one of the highest biological endemism rates for fauna & flora and is among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world.

Here in this article, we are going to bring you the most thrilling and the best safari parks which you should visit during your holiday of Sri Lanka. Traumland Tours offers the best safari adventures in the island.

Playing “Rabana”- the drum

1. Yala National Park

Yala West (Ruhunu) National park is well known & recognized as one of the best parks in the world to spot and photograph “Leopards”.  Situated 309km south of Colombo. This park is the Sri Lanka’s oldest and the second largest national park which covers about over 100,000 hectares (1,259 Square Kilometers). Yala national park is divided into five blocks. Block one is the most visited area since it contains the highest density of leopards.  Other areas of Yala such as Yala East had been closed to visitors for some years it will take time to research leopard numbers in these areas. Yala west consists of scrub forest, brackish lagoons and stunning rock monoliths scattered throughout the park, its eastern edge is bounded by the south East Coast.

In jeep safari tours of Yala National park, it is possible to take a full day jeep safaris (Starts at 06.00am and finishes at 18.00pm) or split your day into morning & evening safari sessions. The best chance to spot leopards is generally early in the morning and then again at dusk. You can stay until six o clock in the evening at the park, thus maximizing your chances of a leopard encounter. Male leopards in Yala are very confident and are often seen walking the tracks during the day. Young male leopards seem to have no fear of the safari jeep which can lead to some excellent photographs.Safari tours in Sri Lanka

Rope swing
Rope swing

There is also a substantial elephant population along with sloth bear, spotted deer, sambar, jackal, crocodiles, wild buffalos, wild boars, mongoose, 120 species of bird life and ranges from Peacocks,  Lesser flamingos, paradise flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles, and Black Bittens. Yala National park is a paradise for bird watchers who are keen on endemic, migrant and resident bird life.  Outside of the park are several other fascinating birding locations including the ancient hermitage of “Sithulpawwa”. 

Crocodile in Yala National Park
Sloth Bear, Yala National Park

2.   Wilpattu National Park

Wilpattu National park is situated in 170km north of Colombo and this park is considered as the largest national park of Sri Lanka which covers approximately 1,31,690 hectares and reaches 152meters from the sea level.  Wilpattu national park means “Park of Lakes”. The park has a dense forest cover which makes it a more exciting park where animals have to be tracked. There are numerous delightful little lakes known as “Villus” (natural lakes). This park is a paradise for leopards, sloth bears, elephants, spotted deer, crocodiles and different species of Birds such as painted strokes, open bill, little cormorant, Sri Lankan jungle fowl, falcons, gulls and different varieties. We arrange half a day (3 hours safari trip) & full day safari sessions (06.00am until 18.00pm) at Wilpattu National park for visitors who would like to experience a true safari encounter.Safari tours in Sri Lanka
Leopard in Wilpattu National Park
Crested Serpent Eagle, Wilpattu National Park

3. Udawalawe National Park


Situated 170km, south east of Colombo (250km from the Center of Colombo). Udawalawe National park is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This park lies within the Ratnapura and Monaragala Districts acts as the catchment to the Udawalawe reservoir and is located in the dry zone. This park comprises grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees are found inside the park. Udawalawe national park is one of best national parks in Sri Lanka to spot Asian wild elephants, especially large herds of elephants can be seen during safari tours.  This is a homeland to approximately 400 wild elephants. Spotted deer, sambar, barking deer, wild boar, water buffalo and jackal are some of prominent wild animals found in this park. A 4X4 open top safari is the only way to see all the wonders that this protected reserve has to offer and our experienced and knowledgeable naturalists will make this an unforgettable safari experience.

Herd of wild Elephants, Udawalawe National Park
Male Elephant, Udawalawe National Park

 4. Wasgamuwa National Park

Wasgamuwa National park is located in Matale & Polonnaruwa District and 250km from Colombo. This park has Mahaveli River and Amban River as its eastern and western boundaries. Tropical intermediate dry mixed evergreen forest predominates its environment. Wasgamuwa national park is spread over a sprawling 37,000 hectares.  The best months to visit Wasgamuwa National park is from months of November to month of May as the weather is pleasant. Wasgamuwa National park is a paradise to spot Asian wild elephants and this park is a popular for the larger elephants. Also Wasgamuwa is a home to spotted deer, sloth bear, wild boars, wild buffalo, crocodile, leopard and different species of birds.

Male Sambar Deer, Wasgamuwa National Park
Herd of Wild Elephants, Wasgamuwa National Park
Sloth Bear, Wasgamuwa National Park
A herd of wild elephants , Wasgamuwa National Park

5.   Minneriya National Park

Minneriya National park is one of Major Park for safari lovers and the park is located 182 kilometers away from Colombo in the province of North Central. The nearest and the major city to Minneriya National park is Polonnaruwa. Minneriya National park is well known and considered as the largest known wild Asian elephant gathering at once place in the world.  This national park is spread over 8,889 hectares and an ideal grasslands for elephants. The best time to visit Minneriya is from month of May to month of October. The renovated vast reservoir is the heart of Minneriya National park as it is the main water resource for all animals and the main key of wild elephant gathering.  Apart from wild elephants, Minneriya national park is a home to spotted deer, grey langur monkeys, purple face leaf monkey ,Wild boar, crocodiles, leopards (very rare), sloth bear (Very rare), and also a land for endemic birds such as Grey Horn bill, Green pigeon  and brown capped Babbler. We arrange a 4×4 open top safari jeep for our every traveler along with a professional naturalist and ensure to bring an amazing safari experience in Minneriya National park .

Tusker in Minneriya National Park
Spotted Deer, Minneriya National Park
A large group of Wild elephants, Minneriya National Park

6.   Maduru Oya National Park

Maduru Oya National park is situated in the dry zone and it is 300 kilometers from Colombo. The park covers 58,849 hectares of land in extent. A wide variety of wildlife including some endemic bird species and reptiles are found in Maduru Oya National Park.  Maduru Oya is rich in ancient ruins found in different places and its southern parts provide Veddas – indigenous people their living environment. Endemic purple monkey is among the important animal species that can be seen in addition to wild elephants, sambar,leopard and jungle cat. There is no much tourists or not much crowded in Maduru Oya National park hence this is a good place to spot animals in with tranquility. 

Group of Spotted Deer, Maduru Oya National Park
Wild elephants crossing the road, Maduru Oya
A Male elephant, Maduru Oya National Park
Elephants in Maduru Oya National park

7.   Bundala National Park

Bundala National park is located 250 kilometers from the capital- Colombo. This park is belong to the Dry zone, the generally the climate is hot and dry. Bundala National park is one of the best destinations for birds in Sri Lanka. Every bird watcher or lover definitely visits this park and the bet time to visit this park is from month of September to month of March. Bundala is a home to 32 species of mammals, nearly 200 species of birds and different species of reptiles. Wild elephants, wild boar, leopard, sloth bear, jackals and Toque Macaque are the common mammals can be seen in Bundala National park.

Different kind of Pelicans, strokes like painted strokes, Black necked strokes, Terns, sand pipers, egrets, spoonbills and endemic birds like Brown capped babbler, Ceylon woodshrike and Ceylon Jungle fowl.

Crocodile in Bundala National Park
Greater Flamingos in Bundala National Park
Ceylon Hornbill (Endemic Bird), Bundala National Park
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