Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Inspiring • Authentic • Tailor-Made

Pettitts Travel UK 01892 515966

Sri Lanka National Parks Holidays

For such a small island Sri Lanka boasts exceptional diversity in wildlife, mirrored by the quantity and quality of its national parks. Differences in topography and climate has served to accentuate differences in habitats between the reserves and this, in turn, has created natural settings ideal for the widest variety of mammals and birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and flora. Impenetrable tropical jungle, open grassland, lagoons, swamps and mangroves, rolling sand dunes, wetlands, evergreen forest and inland lakes, hills, high altitude plateaus and cloud forests – this diversity provides sanctuary for a number of key, sometimes rare, animals for which Sri Lanka is rightly famed from leopard and elephant to monitor lizard and crocodile. The island is also a paradise for bird watchers with well over 500 species of endemic and migratory birds recorded. The greatest conglomeration of wildlife reserves in Sri Lanka is centred on the island’s south coast. The best known of these, and arguably one of the premier national parks in Asia, is Yala which covers a huge area and is known for its leopard population. Within a morning’s drive of Yala are three more reserves, Bundela, Udawalawe and Sinharaja, each with their own distinct identities, whilst to the north and east of Yala lies little-visited Gal Oya National Park. Central and northern Sri Lanka also have a number of excellent protected areas – Sri Lanka’s hill country is the setting for Horton Plains National Park, elephant herds can be seen in Minneriya National Park in the Cultural Triangle whilst northern Sri Lanka is the location of the country’s joint-oldest wildlife reserve, Wilpattu.

Holiday Ideas for Sri Lanka National Parks

A Journey through Ceylon

18 days from
£4895 to £5990 per person


Hidden Treasures of Sri Lanka

16 days from
£4790 to £5750 per person


Sri Lanka - A Tropical Jewel

14 days from
£2970 to £3560 per person


Sri Lanka: A Summer Family Adventure

14 days from
£3100 to £3720 per person


Taste of Sri Lanka

9 days from
£2695 to £3350 per person


Wild Sri Lanka

15 days from
£3800 to £4560 per person


When to visit Sri-Lanka-National-Parks

Best Times
Good Times

Due to the nature of Sri Lanka’s climate, there is always a good time to visit at last one of the island’s national parks at some point in the year. Wildlife viewing in Yala, Bundela, Udawalawe and Sinharaja is at its best between February and July when increasing temperatures and low rainfall forces animals to break cover in search of watering holes. This period is also the best time for bird watching too. The north and east of Sri Lanka has a very different weather pattern to the rest of the island, beholden to the north-east, or ‘Maha’, monsoon which arrives towards the end of October. The rains lessen from February with the period between March and September the very best time to visit the national parks of Gal Oya and Wilpattu. During these months the risk of rainfall is low, temperatures remain steady and humidity reduces as well. Minneriya National Park is located in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle which is also the island’s driest region with the weather is at its best between January and October. It is also worth noting that from July to September I n Minneriya elephant herds are at their largest prior to the annual migration north to Kaudulla. At 2000 metres above sea level, the weather in Horton Plains National Park is considerable cooler than elsewhere on the island and this can result in morning mists which limit visibility. The best time to visit Horton Plains is from December to early May. These are considered the clearest months for visibility although it can be cold in December and January.

What is a Tailor-Made Holiday?

We create a holiday tailored to your specific requirements, including:

  • When you go
  • Duration
  • Time spent in each place
  • How much you want to spend

We offer our experience and knowledge to help create your perfect, tailor-made itinerary

What to do in Sri Lanka National Parks

For wildlife enthusiasts there are few better places to visit than Sri Lanka. This emerald isle has an incredible variety and diversity of animals, birds and flora with national parks and protected areas dotted throughout the country. Sri Lanka’s most famous reserve, and one known the world-over, is Yala National Park. Established in 1938, Yala has a range of habitats and is arguably the best place in Asia to see leopards due to the high concentration of these elusive animals. Within the same region are a number of other excellent reserves which combine well together. Bundela, uniquely, is a wetland maze of shallow lagoons and waterways with large resident and migratory bird populations, the grasslands and jungle of Udawalawe make this an excellent place to see elephant, deer and boar whilst the primary rainforest of Sinharaja, also a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, offers excellent birdwatching and is home to butterflies, insects, amphibians and reptiles. Further north, lesser-known Gal Oya National Park is the only reserve in Sri Lanka where safaris can be conducted by boat and is famous for its swimming elephants. Likewise, Minneriya National Park is also renowned for its large elephant herds. The higher altitudes of Horton Plains National Park support deer, wild boar and purple-faced langur whilst Wilpattu National Park offers excellent bird watching and has good populations of larger mammals including elephant, sloth bear, water buffalo, mongoose and leopard.

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