YALA NATIONAL PARK is the premier national park of the country. Visitors exploring the park are exposed to an array of Animals, Birds & Reptiles. At the same time Yala is famed to be one of the parks which has the highest density of Leopards in a single geographical area, however it is said that you have to be lucky to spot this beautiful beast in Yala as they lead an out-of-the-way lifestyle.
WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK is located 26km’s north of Puttalam, Spanning from the Northwest coast inland towards the ancient city of Anuradhapura. With an area of 425 sq. miles it is the largest National Park of the country. As it reopened in March 2010 it has become a popular wildlife enthusiast destination in no time. Wilpattu is a moderately thick dry zone park. It boats of an impressive array of flora & fauna alongside huge expanses of forest. Varied wildlife including Elephants, Sloth Bear, Deer, and Leopards, could be sighted in Wilpattu.
UDAWATTE KELLE (KANDY) is a primeval forest located above the Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth). Legend has it that was also known as the Forbidden Forest of the Kings of Kandy. The forest remained impenetrable for over many centuries where wild boar, monkey, hare, squirrel scaly anteater, porcupine, and reptiles, monitor lizard, tortoise and varieties of birds, worms and insects live in perfect harmony with nature. The pond in the heart of the jungle was the place where queens in the past bathed and used as their pleasure garden. At times of war, kings always used the forest for their defense against attacks and very often they escaped through the heavy foliage to a safer place.
UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK is located approximately 230 km south east of Colombo city and is a major eco tourism destination in Sri Lanka. The 30,821 hectares dry zone game park has an annual rainfall of 1524 mm and an average temperature of 29.4°C. It is most famous for the many Elephants that live there (about 400 in total). During a visit, it is not unusual to see whole herds of adults and young elephants – feeding or bathing and playing in the water! In addition to this main attraction, the park is home to many Water Buffalo, Water Monitor, Lizards, Sambar Deer, Monkeys and the occasional Leopard, as well as being an exciting location for Bird enthusiasts.
SINHARAJA Located in south-west Sri Lanka, Sinharaja is the country's last viable area of primary tropical rainforest. More than 60% of the trees are endemic and many of them are considered rare. There is much endemic wildlife, especially birds, but the reserve is also home to over 50% of Sri Lanka's endemic species of mammals and butterflies, as well as many kinds of insects, reptiles and rare amphibians. Sri Lanka's tropical rain forest, the Sinharaja is a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. One of the few virgin forests left in the world. Visitors are required to obtain permits from the Wildlife Department in order to visit this sanctuary. Streams, springs, rivers, waterfalls, leopard, monkeys, butterflies and moths, rare trees, valuable shrubs and medicinal herbs are all found within its green canopy. A trek along prescribed paths would provide nature lovers with a never to be forgotten experience of sights and sounds. The largest mammal in the forest is the rarely spotted leopard, also infrequently glimpsed are the rusty spotted and wild fishing cats. Sambhur, barking deer and wild boar browse on the forest floor. The more common troops of purple-faced langur monkeys will chatter and move through the trees above you, but you're more likely to hear them than actually see them. There are also rats, shrews, giant squirrels, porcupines, civets, mongooses, venomous snakes, 20 species of birds and 45 species of reptiles!.
SEMBUWATTA LAKE (KANDY) One of the main attractions of Elkaduwa is the Sembuwatta Lake, which is created from natural spring water. Sembuwatta Lake is believed to be 30 to 40 feet deep (According to locals). Along side of the Sembuwatta Lake there is a natural swimming pool, consisting of natural spring water, which has captured the hearts of many nature lovers.
PIGEON ISLAND Fringed by a coral reef off Nilaveli in Trincomalee is the Pigeon Island, one of the two marine national parks of Sri Lanka, situated 1km off the coast of Nilaveli. The reason that makes Pigeon Island National Park more unique than the rest of the national parks the country has to boast of is that it´s the only national park to harbour a colony of the most beautiful Blue Rock pigeons. The national park also contains some of the best remaining coral reefs of Sri Lanka. Many of the 100 species of corals and 300 coral reef fishes recorded around the Trincomalee area are found in the national park. Juvenile and adult Black-tip reef shark are seen around the shallow coral areas whilst, Hawksbill turtle, Green turtle and Olive Ridley are the visiting sea turtles of the coral reef. This adventurous yet breathtaking tour of the Island´s National Park should undoubtedly be a highlight in your itinerary.
NAMAL UYANA PINK QUARTZ MOUNTAIN - Though Namal Uyana Pink Quartz Mountain, recently declared a National Heritage site, under the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) has become popular among Sri Lankans in recent years, it has a history filled with legend and romance that dates back to the Mogul period. Historical records reveal that Mogul Emperor Shah Jehan built the 'Taj Mahal', his monument to undying love, with the pink quarts mined from this unique mountain range. Research also reveals that the Emperor visited Sri Lanka to check on the quartz personally. The quartz deposit spreading over 105 hectares is the largest in South Asia and is estimated to be 550 million-years-old. The stones belong to a superior stone category and according to research, the mineral known as silicon dioxide is the main component of the pink quartz. Another archaeological investigation revealed it to contain 250 million-years-old plant fossils.
MUTHURAJAWELA is the largest salty coastal peat swamp in Sri Lanka, located on the west coast between Negombo Lagoon and Kelani River and spreading inland up to Paliyagoda close to Colombo. The Marsh together with the Negombo Lagoon shapes an integrated coastal wetland eco-system. This marsh lagoon complex is estimated to have originated about 5000 year BC. The annual rainfall here is about 2000-2500m, while the average annual temperature is 27c. The northern section of the marsh covering an area of 1,777ha was declared a sanctuary in July 1996 under the fauna & flora protection ordinance. This wetland ecosystem consists of fresh, and Brackish water marshes, mangroves, and natural and man-made canal system. One Can have a boat ride along the canals or can simply visit to different marshlands to Observe many aquatic birds including Lesser Whistling Duck, Purple Swamp-hen, White-breasted Waterhen, Whiskered Tern, Pin-tailed Snipe and Little Green Heron. Apart from the aquatic birds, raptors such as Brahmin Kite and Marsh Harrier Could be observed commonly.
MINNERIYA NATIONAL PARK is a national park in North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The area was designated as a national park on 12 August 1997, having been originally declared as a wildlife sanctuary in 1938. The reason for declaring the area as protected is to protect the catchment of Minneriya tank and the wildlife of the surrounding area. The tank is of historical importance, having been built by King Mahasen in third century AD. The park is a dry season feeding ground for the elephant population dwelling in forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa districts.
KAUDULLA NATIONAL PARK is a relatively new park opened in 2002, spanning 6600 hectares the Elephant corridor between the Somawathie sacred area & Minneriya. The best times to visit the park is considered as during August to December. The park is centred on ancient Kaudulla tank (reservoir), and is a home for approximately 250 Elephants including herds of juvenile males, Leopards, Fishing cat, Sloth Bear, Sambar Deer, and the endangered Rusty spotted cat.