Sri Lanka is abundant in lots of beautiful places that you must at least experience and witness once in your life. Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka, is such an amazing place you must visit to enjoy the country’s ultimate wildlife and natural beauty.
Located in northern Sri Lanka, Wilpattu National Park is the country’s largest national park with exceptional biodiversity. You can have an epic safari experience here seeing beautiful wild animals of Sri Lanka such as leopards, elephants, peacocks, etc. This site is also unique in its landscape with rich vegetation and natural water bodies known as “villus”.
So, let’s see what we have to share about Wilpattu and about the things you need to know before visiting this wonderful place.
Getting To Know About Wilpattu National Park…
Famed as Sri Lanka’s largest and oldest national park, Wilpattu National Park is also one of the most famous places in the country that attracts thousands of local and foreign visitors each year.
It is located on the northwest coast lowland dry zone of Sri Lanka and extends over 500 square meters of land in the provinces of North, North-eastern, and North-central. Wilpattu National Park is located about 125 miles north of the main city of Colombo while the nearest cities to the park are Mannar and Anuradhapura.
This site is very popular among travelers for family adventure holidays and wildlife photography tours. The unique landscape boasts water bodies known as “Villus”. The Villus are clusters of water bodies that are naturally formed rain-fed lakes.
The park also includes a large diversity of flora and fauna where you will spot very special Sri Lankan leopards and Sri Lankan elephants. Wilpattu National Park is often visited by educational tour groups and also works as an ideal place for research in the country.
A Little Bit From The History Of Wilpattu National Park
The history of the Wilpattu National Park runs back to the early days of 500 BC. The historical records show the Kudiramalai Point (Thambapanni) which lies on the western coast in Wilpattu National Park is associated with the arrival of Prince Vijaya who founded the Sinhala nation.
However, in 1905 this location was designated as a sanctuary, and later in the 1930s, it was improved to a National Park. The Wilpattu area was lost to terrorism for many years but by the end of the civil war, it became a free space like most other places in the country.
How To Get To Wilpattu National Park?
Like most other national parks in the country, you’ll be guided through Wilpattu on a safari tour. You can contact a safari tour organization and get their service to take you on an unforgettable visit through the wilderness. However, getting to the Wilpattu entrance depends on your current location in the country.
Some prefer traveling to the site directly from Colombo while some take the route to Anuradhapura and then take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to Wilpattu. You can use the bus or a hired vehicle to get to this point. While a bus ride can be a bit uncomfortable (depending on your preference), it can be favorable on your pocket.
If you use the train, you can book a ticket from the Fort Railway station to Anuradhapura or Puttalam. From there onwards, you may have to use private transportation to reach the entrance of the park. On the other hand, taking a private vehicle can provide you with a more comfortable and convenient ride but can be a little expensive.
The next possible option is to take the facility of a domestic flight to Anuradhapura. For this, you may have to contact the relevant service provider and book your flight ahead. This will be a new experience for you but it can also be the most expensive mode of transportation.
The Amazing Experience At The Wilpattu National Park
As mentioned earlier, Wilpattu is one of the best places in Sri Lanka to indulge in the country’s precious wildlife. This is indeed a place one should not miss. You have immense love and passion for nature and animals.
The epic safari tour inside the park is simply amazing where you and your family can have the ultimate experience of watching a large variety of wild animals roaming and behaving in their natural habitat. The scenery as you get deeper into the park also makes beautiful vistas.
The western part of the park is profoundly forested with radiant copper loamy soils, and the sounds of cicadas replenish the breeze as you drive through. Wildlife sightings are still possible in these areas with birds galore and land monitors, despite the thicker vegetation.
Get Sunk In The Beautiful Wildlife…
In addition to Wilpattu’s rustic beauty, there is a 50% possibility of leopard sightings here along with majestic Sri Lankan elephants, water buffaloes, sloth bears, and spotted deer. The park is also a paradise for bird lovers.
The villus reinforces migratory and resident waterfowl, including extensive breeding populations of the open-billed stork and painted stork. Away from the water bodies, you might spot other significant species of birds such as the Asian paradise flycatcher, Malabar pied hornbill, fish owl, crimson-breasted barbet, and many more.
If you take your kids, they can have a very educational tour exploring the wildlife and this would become a real investment in their knowledge. Wilpattu National Park is much less crowded than other national parks in the country so you can have a laid-back, exclusive experience.
The site is also a real feast for wildlife photographers where you can have an unforgettable photography session out in the wilderness, capturing all sorts of amazing creatures!
Camping In Wilpattu…
While exploring Wilpattu can be achieved in one day, many would prefer spending one or two more nights inside a tent to stay close to wildlife. Camping by the border of Wilpattu National Park is possible as several organizations could provide you with this facility.
They offer luxury tents for accommodation and some packages even include food and safari game rides into the park. So, if you have spare time in your Sri Lanka itinerary, do not miss out on your chance to arrange a camping night at this spectacular location to make the most out of your Wilpattu visit.
Nearby Experiences You Can Have In Wilpattu
Once you get done with the Wilpattu tour, you can head out to Anuradhapura, which is one of the ancient cities in the country that boasts a rich religious heritage. There are plenty of places to explore in Anuradhapura while you can also find a large number of lakes, streams, and small water bodies to dip in.
You can also travel to Polonnaruwa which is equally important as Anuradhapura. Both of these places are wonderful destinations if you’re interested in learning about Buddhism that exists in Sri Lanka.
If you plan on spending a few more days around this corner of the country, you can also travel up to Sigiriya, which is famous as the eighth wonder of the world. There are plenty of things to do and see here as well–click on this link and refer to our detailed article about Sigiriya and why you shouldn’t leave Sri Lanka without visiting this place.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Wilpattu National Park?
Code of Conducts and Things You Should Know Before Visiting Wilpattu National Park
Like many other places in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu is a family-friendly zone where you can enjoy some of the best moments in life. However, there are a few things you should remember before visiting this place. Firstly, it is important to organize your visit accordingly.
Therefore, you will have to do your homework on finding a good tour company and it would be best if you can book your safari a few days ahead. Especially, if you plan to spend a few days around Wilpattu, you must arrange a place of accommodation or camping site accordingly.
You can also book the entrance tickets online and we will mention the official website of Wilpattu National Park down below so that you can learn more information by logging into their site. In addition, here are some of the things you must keep in mind before visiting this park:
- Entering the park is only allowed by a 4×4 vehicle, maintaining a maximum speed limit of 25km/h and you can’t trek on foot.
- Flash cameras are not allowed inside the park. You will have to take zoom lenses to your camera and a pair of binoculars to see the animals more closely, without disturbing them.
- Maintaining extreme silence throughout your trip is very important.
- You are not allowed to step out of the vehicle unless you are stopped at a designated location.
- Do not attempt to break anything from the park such as rocks, plant parts, bones, etc.
- Littering in the park is strictly prohibited. You should bring back with you whatever you take inside.
- Please note that you will not find any washroom facilities inside the park. Therefore, empty your bladder and bowels before starting the journey.
- Carry water, snacks, sun protection applications, gear, and bug repellent in your bag.
- If you take your kids with you, make sure they are behaving accordingly, silent, and do not lean on the seats, windows, or roof of the vehicle.
- Any act that would disturb the animals is not encouraged- you should observe the animals from a distance and do not try to touch or feed them.
Where Can You Stay Around Wilpattu?
– Thamaravila Wilpattu- Luxury Tented Safari Villas
– Wilpattu Tree House Hotel
– Uga Ulagalla
– Governors Camp Wilpattu
– Leopard Lakes Wilpattu
Concluding Thoughts About Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka…
The amazing wildlife, distinctive landscapes, endemic trees, florals, and sighs in Wilpattu National Park will never leave you with a sigh or regret! This place is a very special spot among the many locations you will travel across the country as you will get to witness some amazing wildlife in their natural habitat while being able to take a tour of the country’s largest national park.