About Sri Lankan Safaris
Sri Lanka has become one of the most desired safari destinations in the world thanks to its abundance of national parks and wonderfully diverse wildlife. Most Sri Lankan safari outfits also champion sustainability in the conservation approach, which is so fantastic to see.
Sri Lanka boasts some of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world - meaning that 16% of its fauna and 23% of its flora are unique to the country. There are 400 species of birdlife, and the country has its own ‘big five’: elephants, leopards, sloth bears, blue whales and sperm whales. Indeed, Sri Lanka is one of the few places on earth where people can combine a land safari with whale watching in a single day.
In all, there are 26 state-owned national parks in Sri Lanka, covering an area of 5,734 square kilometres. The three best parks for sighting Sri Lanka's wild animals are listed below:
Yala National Park
Yala is perhaps Sri Lanka’s most well known national park, sitting along a long stretch of coastline 6 hours drive from Colombo. Yala National Park is teeming with wildlife and is considered the best place for spotting leopards in the country.
Minneriya national Park
A short drive from the Sigiriya rock fortress, Minneriya National Park is home to hundreds of Sri Lankan elephants that like to congregate around an old reservoir. This seasonal gathering takes place during the months of September and October on the bed of the Minneriya Lake, which dries up during those months and is replaced with grassland.
Udawalawe National Park
Less crowded with jeeps than Yala, Udawalawe is known as the best place in Asia to observe elephants in the wild. The park has around 400 of these majestic beasts and sightings of them are therefore virtually guaranteed.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Yala National Park is from Feb - Jun, during the dry season. July and August are the best months to visit Minneriya National Park. Oct - Jan are the best months to visit Udawalawe National Park