Packed into this tiny island is an abundance of natural wildlife starting from the famous Asian Elephant to the elusive leopard. In fact 43 of the endangered species listed by the World Conservation Union can be found in Sri Lanka’s national parks.
The country has recently also grown in fame as being a hotspot for whale and dolphin watching. It is a privilege to see these animals in their natural habitat at the following best five parks staying in well appointed mobile camps operated by some of the finest naturalists on the island.
Yala National Park
The most popular park in the country is best known for its remarkable population of leopards, but great for all sorts of other wildlife as well. It's formed by a collection of smaller parks situated on the south east coast. With over 200 species of bird, and over 40 species of both reptiles and mammals, there are few places on earth as exciting for a wildlife enthusiast.
The Gathering, Minneriya National Park
The world’s largest gathering of Asian elephants congregate here in their hundreds yearly from June to September during the dry season. Situated in the central north of Sri Lanka, this is one of the driest areas on the island. The elephants are a huge draw for visitors but, as with most parks in Sri Lanka, there are hundreds of species of animal to be spotted, many endangered.
Bird watching in Bundala National Park
The lagoons of Bundala support an amazing array of aquatic birds, including great flocks of pink flamingos. It's an important wintering spot for the birds with nearly 200 species making use of the rich food the wetlands bring. In 2005 the importance of the site was acknowledged by the granting of a Unesco Biosphere Reserve status. As well as the birdlife, there are elephants, leopards and deer and a fantastic array of reptiles.
Uda Walawe National Park
Modestly sized and yet one of the best places in Sri Lanka to see elephants in the wild, the park is mostly composed of grassy plains that allow easy access to visitors searching out the impressive array of flora and fauna. The further north in the park you head, the more rugged the terrain. The presence of the elephants combined with good access means this is one of the more popular tourist parks in Sri Lanka.
Sinharaja Forrest Reserve
This superb stretch of lush and unspoilt tropical rainforest is a Unesco World Heritage Site and home to some of Sri Lanka’s rarest birds. The forest nature of the reserve means wildlife can be trickier to observe than in other park on the island.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
Nicola Shepherd, founder and CEO of The Exploration Company, organises unusual trips for HNW and UHNW clients ranging from birthday parties at an Indian Maharajah's palace to reliving Sir Vivian Fuchs's 1950s expedition to the South Pole. Citywealth caught ...
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