Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu National Park is the largest National Park in Sri Lanka and one of its oldest as well. Located 30 kilometers west of Anuradhapura, the park covers over 130,000 hectares of land. The park is famous for its natural lakes, of which there are over sixty. The Wilpattu National Park is world-renown for its Leopard population making the park one of the most popular attractions in Sri Lanka for safaris. The best time to visit Wilpattu National Park is during the months of February and October when rainfall is at its lowest.
Wilpattu National Park is made up of dense jungle with small clearings and many water habitats. Over 31 species of mammals have been identified in Wilpattu National Park including the Elephant, Sloth Bear, Leopard, and Water Buffalo. Many lizards and snakes can be seen at the park as well, such as the Indian Python and Monitor Lizard. Be sure to keep your eyes open for a Mugger Crocodile swimming along the many bodies of water. Bird lovers will love visiting Wilpattu National Park, the Sri Lanka Junglefowl is one of the more popular birds to watch out for.
Admission to Wilpattu National Park costs $25 per person (including tax) and around $40 for the jeep rent which can carry up to 6 passengers. The park was closed from the 1980’s until 2003 due to security concerns, so visitors can see Wilpattu National Park after many years of little to no human contact. Crowds remain somewhat low so there is a good chance you will have a peaceful visit at the park without a large amount of tourists. Wilpattu National Park is one of the best places in the world to see the Leopard in its natural habitat, and is a beautiful place to visit on your trip to Sri Lanka.
Photos by Shawn Landerz – http://www.landersz.com/