National Parks Sri Lanka
Horton Plains (World's End)
Horton Plains National Park is a popular tourist destination that is frequented by travellers for its panoramic and scenic beauty. Horton Plains National Park is the only National Park located in the Hill Country. The park falls within the Nuwara Eliya district, located about 200 km. from Colombo. Horton national park is also home to the peaks Kirigalpoththa and Thotupola Kanda, that are the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks of Sri Lanka. Spread in an area of 3,160 hectares, Horton plains contains the most extensive area of cloud forest existing in Sri Lanka.
Horton plains national park is at a height of 2,100-2,300 metres and is rich in biodiversity and many species found here are endemic to the region. The main wildlife tourist attractions in Horton national park are endemic slender loris and endemic purple monkey along with sambhur, a member of the cat family etc.
Kawudulla National Park
Kaudulla national park is the new national park of Sri Lanka that was opened in the year 2002. Spread in an area of around 6500 hectares, Kaudulla national park is a wildlife habitat located around the ancient Kaudulla tank. Kuadulla tank was built by King Mahasen as one of the 16 irrigation tanks in Sri Lanka. Kaudulla tank is the main feeding point for the animals in the surrounding area, supporting the flora and fauna in the region.
Kaudulla national park has recorded 24 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, and 160 species of birds. Best period for tourists to visit Kaudulla national park is during the dry season around month of september, when 100s of elephants move from surrounding areas to the Kaudulla tank in search of water. Other wildlife attractions in Kaudulla national park are sloth bear, Sri Lankan Axis deer, Sri Lankan Sambar deer, wild boar, and Sri Lankan elephants.
Yala - National Park
Yala National Park is second largest wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka and the most popular one among tourists. Yala National Park, located 309 km south of Colombo, is approximately 1,259 sq.km. in size, located in the south eastern corner of Sri Lanka island.
Yala National park is famous among tourists for the variety of wild animals, especially the numerous Sri Lankan elephants. The variety of ecosysterms in Yala National Park vary from moist monsoon forests to marine wetlands and sandy beaches. Yala National park is home to wide variety of birds including some endemic species. Travellers can also find small and large herds of spoted Deer, Sambhur, and for those who are sharp eyed to observe, many of the endemoc Muntjac or Barking Deer. Monkeys – the pinkish Rhesus and the grey faced Langur Monkey, live and play on the tree-tops and the ground below in Yala National Park. Tourists can also find glimpse of wild Buffalo and wild Boar along with lucky sight of a leopard sunning itself or drinking at a water hole. Yala National Park also provides the mating dance of the male peacock with its colourful plumes fully spread that are photographer’s delight. Yala National park is also famous among tourists for its high concentration of leopards.
Bundala National Park
Bundala national park is a biosphere reserve that is frequented by tourists as it is the wintering ground for migratory water birds in Sri Lanka. Bundala national park is spread in an area of 6000 hectares, and is located around 245 kms from Colombo. Bundala was declared a national park in 1993 and a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2005. Bundala is located at the Southern end of Sri Lanka where the land, the sea and the wet lands meet. Bundala national park has a unique combination of lagoons, beaches, sand dunes and jungles that cannot be found anywhere else in Sri Lanka.
Bundala national park is home to close to 200 species of birds, with main tourist attraction being Greater Flamingo that migrate to this area in large flocks. Other main birds that can be found in the area are Waterfowl, Cormorants, large water birds, black-headed ibis and painted storks. Travellers can also find other wildlife attractions in Bundala national park including few Sri Lankan Elephants, common langur, Jackal, Leopard, wild boar, Porcupine, giant squirrels, crocodiles and fishing cat. Four out of five species of turtles found in Sri Lanka visit Bundala to lay eggs during October to January.
Wilpattu National Park
Wilpattu national park is Sri Lanka’s largest national park, spread in an area of approx. 1900 sq.km. The naional park is a very beautiful with plenty of lakes and tanks that are full of water in monsoon with plenty of birds and animals around the lakes. Wilpattu national park has a dense jungle cover which makes it a more exciting park where animals have to be tracked.
Travellers can find variety of animals in Wilpattu national park, and is renowned among tourists for the high number of leopards, sloth bear and elephants in the park. Other wildlife attractions for tourists in Wilpattu are crocodiles. monitor lizards, cobra, water buffalo, Sambhur and spotted dear. Wilpattu national park is located about 180 km north of Colombo, and 30 km from Anuradhapura. The best places for tourists to stay is Anuradhapura.
Minneriya National park is located in the northern provice of Sri Lanka, about 182 kms from Colombo, spread in an area of 8990 hectares. The main tourist attraction of Minneriya national park is the wildlife area around Minneriya tank that is frequented by elephants in the surrounding areas. Minneriya tank was created by King Mahasen in 3rd century AD. Minneriya is also an important bird sanctuary of Sri Lanka, with around 160 species of birds.
The main traveller attraction of Minneriya National park are the large numbers of Sri Lanka elephants that range between 150 to 200. The other wildlife tourist attractions in Minneriya are monkeys, Sambar deer, leopard and sloth bear.
Udawalawe National Park
Udawalawe national park is the third most popular national park among tourists in Sri Lanka. The main wildlife attraction of Udawalawe national park are the water birds, elephants and reptiles. The most enjoyed animal in this park are the Sri Lankan elephants that are number more than 500. Udawalawe is located 170 km. South East of Colombo, and is approximately 30,821 hectares in extent. This Park comprises grasslands and thorn scrubs and many valuable species of trees are found within it. Large herds of Elephants and Deer species such as spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking deer and Langur, Wild Boar, Water Buffalo, Jackal are some of the prominent wild animals found in Udawalawe national park, alongwith a variety of avifauna is seen.
Udawalawe was created as a national park to provided habitat to the wildlife that got displaced due to the construction of Udawalawe reservoir on the Walawe reservoir.