Visit Wilpattu for its leopard population !
One of the oldest and largest parks of Sri Lanka, Wilpattu remained closed for many years during the civil war. Since it reopened in 2010, it has proved to be a hit with tourists.
‘Wilpattu’ means “land of lakes”. So you wouldn’t be surprised to know that this park contains about sixty natural lakes of different sizes where water birds of every hue and size flock almost all year round.
Located about 180 km north from Colombo, between Kapitiya and Arunadhapura, covering an area of over 1320 sq. km., Wilpattu is an ideal park to visit especially if you are not planning to head to the south of the island.
The water and meadow landscape is quite a sight. Visitors are astounded by leopards that are spotted here regularly. Other animals such as deer, wild pigs, and of course, elephants and sloth bears prove to be a great hit among visitors.
The main access road is on the Puttalam-Anuradhapura highway. If you would like to stay inside the park premises, there are seven bungalows that are open during the dry season i.e. between August and September. Apart from this, you have a choice of different lodgings especially some comfortable safari lodges just outside the park or tent lodges inside that can give you an adventure experience. However, if you are looking for a cheaper option, you can stay at Puttalam or Anuradhapura and hire safari jeeps easily from there for a half-day trip.
What can you expect to spot?
Easily: Elephants, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Buffalo, Marsh Crocodiles, Ceylon Junglefowl, Brown-capped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Black-capped Bulbul.
If you use your senses: Leopard and Barking Deer.
If you are lucky: Python.