Srilanka, also known as the pearl of The Indian Ocean, is famous for its rich culture and lush tea plantations. The country is home to diverse wildlife. Nature has blessed this land with ample resources to sustain a variety of animal and plant life. The vast flora and fauna are spread across the land. Hence, these gifts of nature have made Srilanka the top spot to visit for wildlife buffs.
Moreover, the island owns safaris, wildlife parks, national parks, and reserves to offer its fascinating wildlife a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The country is rich in natural beauty and is blessed with historic landmarks, dense ethnicities, cultures, many different languages, and religions. A unique feature that makes Srilanka even more interesting to explore is the blending of nature, culture, wildlife, and history within the same land. So, when in Srilanka, its national parks provide the best option to make most of its beauty, culture, and history. Some of its must-visit national parks are;
6 National Parks in Sri Lanka
YALA NATIONAL PARK
The Yala National Park will be found in the southeast region of the country. The park at hand holds the title as Sri Lanka’s 2nd largest national park and spans over a vast forest area and grasslands bordering the Indian Ocean. The variety of wildlife here makes it the most visited national park in the country. Not only does it house 44 mammal and 215 bird species, but also it holds one of the highest leopard densities across the globe. Other animals to look for include elephants, sambar deers, sloth bears, lizards, and wild peacocks. Birdlife is vast as well. One may come across shorebirds, waders, and raptors. Interestingly, the Yala National Park offers more than just wildlife. It includes the remains of ancient civilizations and pilgrimage sites, making it one of Srilanka’s favorite tourist spots.
HORTON PLAINS NATIONAL PARK
The following park is located in the windy and freezing central highlands of Srilanka. This place enjoys the status of UNESCO world heritage site. The area of the park is mostly forest and grasslands. Besides, it has 24 mammal and 87 bird species. If you are here, you cannot miss seeing sambar deers, bear monkeys, otters, and wild boars, to name a few. Also, it is the only national park in Srilanka where no elephants can be seen. The park is not only famous as a wildlife reserve but also a tourist attraction. It contains the heads of three important rivers of Srilanka. World’s End and Baker falls are among its well-liked spots. Similarly, the Seeta Amaan temple, and Adisham bungalow, a former Buddhist monastery, are proof of Srilanka’s rich culture.
UDAWALAWE NATIONAL PARK
It came into being in 1972 by the government as a reserve. Since its creation, the park has been a well-known sightseeing spot. Also, it takes the honor of the 3rd most visited national park in Srilanka. It provides a home to Srilankan elephants, which are otherwise hard to come across, and many waterbirds. The area is majorly composed of plains with a few mountains in between. One can expect to see fishing cats, Srilankan leopard, sambar deer, and axis deer, among many others.
Furthermore, the park is a famous birdwatching site, especially when it comes to migration birds. The park offers a jeep safari. Visitors can use it to make the most out of their visit.
WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK
The word “Wilpattu” really means “Land of Lakes.” The park, as its name shows, is famous for having natural lakes. It lies on the northwest coast of Srilanka and enjoys the status of the oldest and largest national park in the country. The park holds over one hundred and six lakes(Willu) across its span. The wildlife it has to offer mainly includes birds, reptiles, and 33 mammal species. One can see many threatened animals like elephants, sambar deer, water buffalo, among many of them. The park is unique for its cultural importance as it possesses Hindu temples.
KUMANA NATIONAL PARK
The Kumana National Park is located on Srilankan southeastern coast. The area comprises grasslands and natural lakes. The park is called a paradise for bird lovers. Even on a common day, one can expect to see over one hundred species of birds. It is also a significant nesting and breeding place for birds in Srilanka.
On the other hand, one can hardly miss its cultural importance. The Kumana area is part of an old civilization that goes back to the 3rd century B.C. The park holds ancient caves, stupas, and writings on the rocks. Also, the park lies on a route of foot pilgrimage to the Hindu temple. Therefore, the place has equal importance as a wildlife resort and an old historic landmark.
BUNDALA NATIONAL PARK
The Bundala national park holds global importance as a wintering ground for migratory birds. The terrain mainly consists of wetlands and lagoons. Located on the southeastern side of Colombo, the park was the first Srilankan wetland to be declared a Ramsar site. It is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve. The park holds 324 species of vertebrates and is a treat for bird watchers. It is unique because every single species of bird found in Srilanka is present here. A total of two hundred birds reside here, out of which 58 are migratory birds. The spot stands as the number one birdwatching space among bird lovers.
In a nutshell, Srilanka is a land blessed with exotic wildlife, scenic beaches, warm people, rich traditions, and history. The nation, in various forms, has preserved immense wealth. National Parks, without a hint of doubt, present the affluence bestowed by nature to this country. Like a jewel in its crown, these parks are a source of wildlife preservation and tourism. Not only do they add beauty to Srilankan land, but they also contribute a large amount to the national exchequer. These are why Srilanka is the most sought-after destination among tourists, historians, and wildlife lovers.