Lush vegetation and diverse climatic conditions make Sri Lanka an ideal natural habitat for an incredible array of fauna and flora. The country boasts of over twenty-two declared National Parks, besides wildlife sanctuaries, making it a sought-after destination for wildlife enthusiasts. This is arguably the best place, outside of Africa, for sightings of rare animals including leopards, elephants and sloth bears. Sri Lanka’s wildlife encounters are not confined to land, as blue whales and sperm whales live along the north, south and west coasts of the island.
Sri Lanka is fast earning a reputation as the best place outside of Africa to become immersed in wildlife experiences. Diverse terrains, varied climatic conditions and the hard work of authorities have resulted in well preserved wildlife parks and sanctuaries including a virgin rainforest. Most visitors are attracted to the “Big Three” – the Sri Lankan leopard, a subspecies that’s endemic to the country, the Sri Lankan elephant and the sloth bear. The country is also known for marine sightings, including the blue whale and the sperm whale, as well as endangered turtles that nest along the southern beaches of the island. Wildlife viewing in Sri Lanka suits both ardent wildlife enthusiasts, willing to spend days in the wilderness in order to spot the most intriguing creatures, and those who are interested in the highlights and in catching a glimpse of the elusive leopard or the majestic elephant.
There are two types of national park in Sri Lanka, those popular with tourists and those that are less well-known. A wildlife tour can be customised to experience both these types of parks. Yala, the best-known, is the most popular park with large numbers of visitors. Despite the crowds, this is the best place in the world to see a leopard in its natural habitat due to the high density of the leopard population. Sri Lankan leopards are the top predators and they are not shy in showing themselves to visitors here! Wilpattu National Park, the largest in the country, is quieter and equally well-known for great sightings, including the leopard and sloth bear. Udawalawe National Park never disappoints when it comes to sighting elephants on a safari.
Amongst the lesser-visited parks, Gal Oya National Park and Kumana National Park are home to a beautiful array of birds, mammals, reptiles and flora. For serious wildlife enthusiasts, these parks offer a lot more than sightings, as safaris are almost always private and without crowds. One of the highlights of our wildlife tours is accommodation, with a range to suit all preferences. Most popular are upmarket, tented safari properties that come with luxurious comforts and include expert rangers to accompany guests on safaris, guided bushwalks, dining under the stars and educational and fun activities for children. Wildlife tours can be easily fitted into a round tour that includes other sights and activities or can be tailor made to contain more wildlife experiences for wildlife enthusiasts.
Here are sample itineraries for wildlife tours in Sri Lanka. Click below to read more about wildlife safaris and accommodation in Sri Lanka or get in touch to receive a detailed itinerary for a tailor-made holiday in Sri Lanka.
Discover the best wildlife experiences Sri Lanka h...
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A private tour of Sri Lanka with a focus on nation...
20 Days/19 Nights
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22 Days/21 nights
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This 16 day private tour itinerary has been specia...
16 Days/15 Nights
Secret Lives of Elephants in Sri LankaRead More
Sri Lanka Unbound has done a very good job in putting together travels that matched our diverse requirements – i.e birding, wildlife and Bawa experience Glennis Von Bibra & John Roberts – Feb 2020