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"We are pleased to inform you that we are the first Tented Campsite Accommodation to have granted the
‘Safe And Secure Tourism – Certificate of Compliance’ by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority"

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The Wilpattu National Park is both the largest and the oldest National Park in Sri Lanka. It gained popularity due to the high prevalence of Sri Lankan Leopards and is still regarded as one of the best places to go to spot a leopard in its natural habitat. It is also home to a diverse range of wildlife which includes the highly threatened Sri Lankan Sloth Bear as well as the Sri Lankan Elephant.

Of all the wildlife that can be seen on safari in the Wilpattu National Park two very special animals take pride of place. One is the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear which is a recognized subspecies of the Sloth Bear. The Sri Lankan Sloth Bear is an omnivorous species that relies heavily on the forest for survival. Sadly the steady decline of forests all over the island has indeed impacted this animal, resulting in the species being noted as highly threatened. It is estimated that as little as a 1000 Sri Lankan Sloth Bears are alive today. The Wilpattu National Park may grant you a unique opportunity to observe this animal as it is known to have a population residing within it.

The other animal of note in Wilpattu is the famed Sri Lankan Leopard. The Sri Lankan Leopard is a subspecies of the Indian Leopard and is currently the largest in Asia. These magnificent big cats can often be spotted lounging beside the villus inside the park, providing for excellent filming and photography opportunities.

 

Choosing the right accommodation for your Wilpattu National Park safari

As the Wilpattu National Park is the largest National Park in Sri Lanka, there is considerably more ground to cover to get to the heart of where the animals are. Considering this, you definitely want to choose an accommodation option that is closest to the Park or ideally within the confines of the Park itself. Big Game Safari tented safari camps are set up inside the park itself. This enables you to go on walking trails and night safaris around the campsite. We can even arrange for tented safari camps on the borders of Wilpattu but please note that there is an additional fee and prior booking is required. For more information on Big Game Safari tented safari camps, please visit our accommodation page. However, if you would prefer to stay in a nearby hotel just let us know and we can arrange it for you.

 

A closer look at the Wilpattu National Park

Declared a sanctuary in 1905 and upgraded to National Park status in 1938, the Wilpattu National Park is located on the west coast close to the ancient city of Anuradhapura .The jungle is dry zonal and fairly thick, intersected by flood plain lakes. A topographical feature particular to this part of the island is the abundance of villus, or natural lake-like basins which dot the landscape in the Wilpattu National Park. Except for two, all the others contain rainwater and thus are important for resident and migratory water-birds.

The history of the park is also of interest with ancient ruins having been discovered here. Queen Kuweni (considered to be the mother of the Sinhala race as it is out of her marriage to the first king of Sri Lanka that its people were born) is said to have lived in the place known as Kalli Villu. Historical evidence also points to the fact that Prince Saliya son of King Dutugemunu (an ancient king of Sri Lanka from 161 to 137 BC) lived in Wilpattu over 2,000 years ago. Urns from ancient times have been excavated in Pomparippu which borders the park. Between the villages of Palangaturai and Kollankanatte are the remains of an old harbour. 

 

Wildlife in the Wilpattu National Park

There are 30 recorded species of mammals in the Wilpattu National Park which include the Sri Lankan Elephant, Sri Lankan Leopard, Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Spotted Deer, Water Buffalo, Sambar, Mongoose, Mouse and Shrew. The Wilpattu National Park is also considering extending its boundaries to include The Dutch Bay and Portugal Bay in order to protect the endangered Dugong.

 

Birdlife in the Wilpattu National Park

Wetland bird species found in the Wilpattu National Park include the Garganey, Pin tail, Whistling Teal, Spoonbill, White Ibis, Large White Egret, Cattle Egret and Purple Heron. In addition, many species of Terns, Gulls, Owls, Buzzards, Kites and Eagles are also easily spotted. The endemic Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Little Cormorant and the Painted Stork can also be seen on safari.

 

Reptiles and Amphibians in the Wilpattu National Park

The most common reptiles found in Wilpattu are the Monitor Lizard, Mugger Crocodile, Common Cobra, Rat Snake, Indian Python, Pond Turtle and the Soft Shelled Turtle. Most of these reside in the Park’s numerous villus.

 

Flora in the Wilpattu National Park

Many species of flora can be identified in the Wilpattu National Park such as Palu (Manilkara hexandra), Satin (Chloroxylon swietenia), Milla (Vitex altissima), Weera (Drypetes sepiaria), Ebony (Diospyros ebenum) and Wewarna (Alseodaphne semecarpifolia). Three distinct types of vegetation are prominent; salt grass and stunted shrub bordering the coastal area, a coastal strip of approximately three to six miles of monsoon scrub and dense monsoon forests further inland.

 

Climate in the Wilpattu National Park

The annual temperature in the Park is around 27°C and its annual rainfall is approximately 1,000 mm. The Wilpattu National Park is situated in the dry zone but strangely does not follow normal dry zone climate patterns. The period between September to December is known as the rainy season while inter-monsoonal rains are experienced between March and April. The period of drought in the Park extends from May to early September.

 

The best times to visit the Wilpattu National Park

Though this National Park can be visited throughout the year, the months of February and October are recommended

The Udawalawe National Park is the only National Park in Sri Lanka where an elephant can be seen on every single game drive.

 

Sri Lankan Elephants in the Udawalawe National Park

Widely known for its population of Sri Lankan Elephants (which are a recognized subspecies of their Asian counterparts) the Udawalawe National Park is the only place where an elephant sighting is guaranteed on every single safari drive. There are around 600 to 700 Sri Lankan Elephants in this wildlife park and it is not unusual to see large herds gather to drink water and feed.

The Udawalawe National Park is also instrumental in the Elephant Transit Home - a project that is geared towards the conservation of this species which is now considered endangered. The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home is a halfway house of sorts where abandoned, injured or orphaned elephants are treated and then released back into the Park. It is possible to observe the elephants here from a safe enough distance.

 

Choosing your Udawalawe safari accommodation

There is much to see in the Udawalawe National Park and a short amount of time to see it in. So, when choosing your accommodation you need to look at options that do not require that much travel time. With Big Game Safari accommodation options your tented safari camp will be set up within a 25 minute drive to the park entrance and just 200m away from its boundaries. The campsite, which is in a semi wilderness area overlooking a small lake,i s frequently visited by wild elephants. For more Big Game safari accommodation options please visit our accommodation page.

 

A closer look at the Udawalawe National Park

The Udawalawe National Park is in the southern dry-zone of Sri Lanka, and spans approximately 31,000 hectares. The Park cuts across two Provinces in the South of Sri Lanka and includes the Udawalawe Reservoir. It is second in popularity only to the Yala National Park and attracts many visitors every year. The Udawalawe Reservoir is ensconced in open plains and foothills. The most prominent peak Ulgala is located in the west of the Park and rises up to a height of nearly 380 metres from the lowest point in the area which is about 100 metres above sea level. The most topographical features are the Kalthota Escarpment and the spectacular Diyawinne Falls to the north.

The dry land area of the Udawalawe National Park is about 308 square kilometers excluding the reservoir, which is approximately 29,000 hectares in extent. The reservoir itself is situated inside the Park, and draws its water from the Horton Plains Reserve, the Peak Wilderness Sanctuary and the Haputale area. It retains its status as an important area for aquatic birds.

 

Wildlife safari encounters in the Udawalawe National Park

Apart from the elephants there are numerous other aspects that attract visitors to this National Park. The wildlife is diverse and many spectacular animals can be seen while on a safari drive. The Park is also home to Spotted Deer, Monitor Lizards, Sambar Deer, Wild Boar, the common Langur, Jackal, Toddy Cat and the endemic Toque Macaque. The Sri Lankan Leopard has also been sighted here, but unlike in the Yala National Park these sightings are rare.

 

Bird Life in the Udawalawe National Park

birding safari in the Udawalawe National Park will not leave you disappointed with a total of 183 species having been recorded as permanent residents here. In addition, a significant number also pass through on their migratory routes. Birdlife here is a great mix of Warblers, low country birds and Raptors. The endemic Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Brown-capped Babbler, Malabar pied Hornbill and the Sri Lankan Spurfowl are of particular importance to birders. Of the water birds, the rare Osprey and Indian Cormorant are of note too.

 

Reptiles and amphibians in the Udawalawe National Park

Thirty species of snakes call Udawalawe home and the Park is also home to Mugger Crocodiles, Oriental Garden Lizards, Water Monitors and Bengal Monitors

 

Climate in the Udawalawe National Park

The temperature in Udawalawe is usually high with some seasonal rainfall. The average temperature is 32°C. The rainy season is from April to May and then again from October to November. The dry season is from May right through to September.

 

Flora in the Udawalawe National Park 

Much of the forest canopy in Udawalawe has been destroyed due to slash and burn cultivation, so now only savannah grasslands and thorn scrub prevail. Trees such as Satin, Ehala, Lunumidella and Kumbuk can also be found here together with the endemic Mandorang tree.

 

The best times to visit Udawalawe

The Udawalawe National Park can be visited throughout the year. However the migrant birds can only be seen from November to March. The dry season is the best for elephants as they come out in large herds to drink at the waterholes.

The Yala National Park is the most popular destination for wildlife safaris in Sri Lanka, a fact which is largely due to its Sri Lankan Leopard population. It is noted as being the best place in the world to photograph and observe this majestic and endangered animal frequently. In addition the Yala National Park is also home to Sri Lankan Elephants, Sri Lankan Sloth Bears and many species of birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Sri Lankan Leopards in action at the Yala National Park

The Yala National Park is internationally renowned for being the greatest location to spot Sri Lankan leopards in the wild, and one area of the Park has been recognized as having the world's highest density of leopards living in the wild. The Sri Lankan leopard is a recognized subspecies of the Indian leopard and is also the largest leopard in Asia. Around 350 Sri Lankan leopards live within the confines of this National Park and about 30 to 50 roam around Block I. The best leopard-spotting opportunities while on safari are generally at dawn and at dusk. The male leopards in the Yala National Park are surprisingly confident animals and they are often seen walking the tracks during the day. Young males in particular seem to have no fear of vehicles, which allows for some excellent photographic opportunities. As world renowned Wildlife photographers Angela and Jonathan Scott recently quoted after their visit to the Yala National Park, "If God created somewhere for leopards, it had to be Yala".

Choosing your Yala Safari accommodation

It is essential when considering Yala safari accommodation options that you choose the one that minimizes your travel time so that you are able to spend the most amount of time on safari drives. With Big Game Safari tented safari camps you will be located outside the park within a 20 minute drive to the entrance in a semi wilderness location just behind the Nimalawa sanctuary. Elephants are frequent visitors to this campsite and staying at Big Game tented safari camps allows for walking safaris as well as night safaris too. For more information of Big Game Safari accommodation options.

 

A closer look at the Yala National Park

The Yala National Park lies on the southeast coast of Sri Lanka, and spans almost 98,000 hectares over the Southern and Uva Provinces. The vegetation in the Park comprises predominantly semi-arid thorny scrub, interspersed with pockets of fairly dense secondary forest. Small patches of mangrove vegetation also occur along the coastal lagoons. The Park borders a healthy coastline, which is home to many pristine reefs. The Park is in close proximity to important cultural sites such as Sithulpahuwa and Kataragama which bear testimony to earlier civilizations and indicate that much of the area used to be populated and well-developed. Block I is the most visited part of the Park and has an average Sri Lankan leopard population of one leopard per square kilometre. The number of leopards in the other Blocks is presently unknown.

The Yala National Park was granted National Park status in 1900 and its first Warden was Henry Engelbrecht. It is one of the first two National Parks in Sri Lanka and plays a vital role in the conservation of fauna and flora on the island.

 

Wildlife safari encounters like no other at the Yala National Park

The Yala National Park is home to a variety of wildlife some of which are endemic to Sri Lanka. One of these is the Sri Lankan Elephant which is a recognized subspecies of the Asian Elephant. Large herds of these endangered animals can be seen inside Yala. Others include the Sri Lankan Sloth Bear, Spotted Deer, Water Buffaloes, Crocodiles and 44 species of mammals.

 

Birdlife at the Yala National Park Sri Lanka

For bird enthusiasts, the birdlife in the Yala National Park is superb. Not only does Sri Lanka's tallest bird, the critically endangered Black-necked Stork reside in the Park, but often observed is the country's largest bird, the instantly recognizable and ungainly looking Lesser Adjutant. Over 215 species of birds have been recorded in Yala, with six being endemic to Sri Lanka and just outside the boundaries of the Park are several important nesting locations.

 

Reptiles and Amphibians at the Yala National Park 

Of the 46 species of reptiles recorded in Yala, five are endemic to Sri Lanka. Twenty-one species of amphibians and 21 species of fish can be found here while the coast forms a nesting ground for marine turtles. Often seen are the Mugger Crocodile and the Saltwater Crocodile as well.

 

Flora at the Yala National Park

The flora in the Yala National Park is made up of moist monsoon forests, dry monsoon forests, semi deciduous forests, thorn forests, grasslands, fresh water and marine wetlands, and beaches. Block I is also made up of waterholes, tanks, lagoons, mangroves and chena lands while the forest canopy is mostly seen in the other Blocks. Some 300 species of flora have been recorded at the Park.

 

Climate at the Yala National Park

The elevation of the Yala National Park is 30 metres close to the coast and it rises in the interior to 100 to 125 metres. It is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. The mean annual rainfall ranges between 500 – 775 millimetres while the mean temperature ranges between 26.4°C in January to 30°C in April

 

Best times to visit the Yala National Park

There is no best time per se to visit the Yala National Park as animals can be seen pretty much all year round here. The Park has been known to close in September and November though it has not happened in the last two years.

 

Elephants & ‘tea buffet’ just brilliant

We loved our 2 nights at Big Game Camp Udawalawe National Park the warm welcome with cool drinks & towels; the ‘tea buffet’ ; excellent tent accommodation - some of the cleanest & freshest accommodation we have had in SL! The en-suite bathrooms were a hoot & just right for the circumstances; breakfast under the trees was only surpassed by the delicious dinners by candlelight & open fire; we chose a whole day safari, yes you pay a premium for it but it was such a wonderful immersive experience; we had a brilliant day in the national park & got up close & personal to so many beautiful elephants; many baby elephants which were divine & so well protected by the herd; the packed breaky & tiffin lunch were delicious; we had the time to sit with the elephants rather than shooting off like other tours, it was magical. It was great to be a little off the beaten track, relax, unwind & still have great accommodation. Well worth it for a special experience. The staff were all charming, attentive & helpful.

Stayed October 2019, Traveled with friends
Susan V , Melbourne, Australia

Udawalawe national park on sri lanka map

We are located within a 30-minute drive to the park entrance and just 200m away from its boundaries. The Big game campsite Udawalawe National Park, located in a semi-wilderness area overlooking a small lake, is frequently visited by wild elephants.

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Safariline: (+94) 70 222 8 222
Fax: +94 (0) 115 330 581

Office Hours: 8.30 a.m to 5.30 p.m [UTC+5.30] 
(Monday to Friday)
WhatsApp Number: +94 71 066 2202 


Head Office : 20/63, Fairfield Garden,
Colombo 08, Sri Lanka

 

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