Wilpattu National Park
Wildlife spotting in Sri Lanka is a must during your trip and fortunately can be done in an immense number of places on the island. In fact, in Sri Lanka you will find no less than 22 national parks of which Yala and Udawalawe National Park are the most famous. However, during our search for a nice safari in Sri Lanka, we read varying stories about Yala and Udawalawe. It would be very crowded and some people would also have their questions about animal welfare. ie, we decided to skip these 2 parks and end our trip in Sri Lanka with a safari in Wilpattu.
Wilpattu National Park one of the most beautiful national parks in Sri Lanka
Wilpattu National Park is the oldest national park and one of the largest national parks in Sri Lanka. The park was inaccessible for 20 years due to Sri Lanka’s civil war, but has been slowly coming back on the radar of tourists for the past 10 years. Although spotting Wildlife in Wilpattu is less, the experience may be much nicer. For example, during our day safari, we encountered only one other jeep! Also, spotting a leopard in Wilpattu, or Wilpatthu as it is sometimes called, is greatest.
If you’re looking for a relatively undiscovered national park and a unique experience, we definitely recommend visiting Wilpattu. We also decided during our trip to book an overnight stay at The Kingdom Ecolodge where we literally slept among the elephants.
Wilpattu National Park Combine with Anuradhapura
Unfortunately, we only had 1 day to visit Wilpattu National Park, so we decided to stay overnight in Anuradhapura and combine these two destinations. If you have a little more time, it is also possible to stay overnight in the park itself. A special experience and the chances of spotting wildlife here are much higher.
How to get to Wilpattu National Park
Many people, like us, combine with Anuradhapura. From here it is only a half-hour drive. It is possible to visit Wilpattu by public transportation and book a tour at the park itself. Bus 4 runs from Colombo, Puttalam and Anuradhapura. Download the app Pickme to book a tuktuk for the last leg if necessary. ,
Wilpattu National Park costs
Several places allow you to book a Wilpattu safari. We decided to do this at our accommodation and paid about 35 euros per person for about 4 hours. We were lucky enough to have the jeep all to ourselves. Food and drink, of course, not included. For a whole day, you will soon pay 70 euros.
Travel time Wilpattu National Park
Wildlife spotting during the rainy season is very small. It is therefore best to avoid this period. The best time to visit the park is from May through September. That’s when the chance of rain is lowest. However, we visited the park in March and except for a small downpour, the weather was perfect
What animals can you spot in Wilpattu National Park
From leopards to buffalo! You can spot it all here. Although the leopard does not show itself very quickly, you still have a great chance of spotting other wildlife. For example, we had been in the park for less than 10 minutes when we saw the sloth bear walking in the distance. We also encountered deer, wild boar, hornbills, land lizards, monkeys and numerous tropical birds.
The park is stunningly beautiful and also huge! This makes spotting wildlife a bit more difficult, but it doesn’t make the experience any less beautiful. Hours of driving through the dense jungle and open plains made all the difference for us. That we did not spot the herd of elephants and leopard was unfortunate, but did not make Wilpattu any less beautiful.
Is a visit to Wilpattu National park worthwhile?
Is a visit to Wilpattu National park worthwhile? It depends a bit on what you’re looking for in a safari. It is though to have a realistic expectation regarding spotting Wildlife in this park. But if you’re going for a beautiful and unique safari experience, Wilpattu is definitely recommended!