Covering 1,317 km², Wilpattu is Sri Lanka’s oldest and largest national park. Located nearly 40km away from Anuradhapura, the park is home to a number of endemic flora and fauna. Sri Lanka is famed for its biodiversity, and Wilpattu National Park is a great place to visit for those who wish to get a glimpse of the rarer dryland species.
Just about a quarter of the park is accessible to the public, but its diverse environment makes for an enthralling wildlife experience. The park contains forests, natural lakes, drylands, and lush grasslands.
What to see at Wilpattu
Wilpattu is home to over 30 documented mammal species, including sambar deer and sloth bears. The colossal park is best known for its leopard population. Though the big cat numbers are dwindling, it’s possible to catch sight of the occasional specimen.
It is also a great spot for birdwatchers as a range of both resident and migratory birds, from the glossy ibis to the booted eagle, can be spotted here. For those who are eager to sight some of Sri Lanka’s more cold-blooded critters, a number of reptilian residents, such as the Indian flapshell turtle and mugger crocodiles, call the park home
❂ Useful Tips:
- The ideal time to visit the park is from May to September.
- A good pair of binoculars is a must-have.
- Private vehicles are not allowed into the park.
- Keep a camera ready when you approach watering holes as these are the hot spots for wildlife activity.