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Sri Lanka’s 5 best national parks

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When it comes to national parks, you're hard-pushed to find any that rival those of Sri Lanka in terms of awe-inspiring beauty and fascinating wildlife, particularly as Sri Lanka's relatively undeveloped state means their boundaries range far and wide across the island.

Each one boasting an uncountable number of awe-inspiring sights, incredible wildlife and rare botany, Sri Lanka's parks are all protected, reflecting the traditional Buddhist care for forms of life, both great and small. It can be difficult to choose which ones to visit, but this handy guide below will provide some degree of insight to the best national parks:

Minneriya National Park

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The main reason for this extensive stretch of greenery appearing on this list is its incredible Asian elephant population. Gathering in their hundreds on a yearly basis from between June to September during the dry season, these incredible grey giants congregate in one of the hottest parts of the island.

Although the draw of the elephants is the main factor, visitors will also have the chance to spot dozens of endangered species throughout Minneriya, and the views over the natural environment are a joy to witness.

Yala National Park

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Situated on the southernmost tip of the island, few places in Sri Lanka are more exciting for a big cat enthusiast than Yala National Park. Known particularly for being home to a large number of leopards, these beautiful creatures can be spotted arching their backs and scouting out prey.

But they are not all that Yala has to offer, with more than 200 species of bird and in excess of 40 species of reptiles and mammals to be found by dedicated wildlife fanatics.

Sinharaja Forest Reserve

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The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a jaw-droppingly beautiful stretch of rainforest that has rightfully been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A particularly striking place for botany fanatics, Sinharaja has a huge number of rare trees, and around 60 per cent of the specimens are endemic.

Furthermore, much of the butterfly, insect, reptile and amphibian populations are also considered rare, hence the need for UNESCO to step in. The rainforest is located on the south-western side of the island.

Uda Walawe National Park

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It's all about the elephants again in Uda Walawe National Park. With grassy plains occupying the south and a more rugged terrain to the north, visitors can expect a tremendous variety of plants and wildlife to see.

Its modest size also helps it to retain its popularity, as tourists find they can realistically explore it within a reasonable time period without feeling as though they've missed huge swathes of natural beauty.

Bundala National Park

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The holder of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve status, the Bundala National Park is particularly famed for its birdwatching. Located adjacent to the Yala National Park, it is a popular option to explore both sites for those who are feeling particularly adventurous.

The rich food that the wetlands bring is responsible for the incredible diversity of life that can be found here, with elephants, leopards and deer among the creatures you'll want to take photos of.


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Posted by: Davina Roberts

Posted on: 19th August 2016

Read more: Posts about Asia