highlights and main attractions of Wilpattu National Park

The largest of Sri Lanka’s national parks at 1,085 square kilometres, Wilpattu National Park (Land of Lakes) is now enjoying a renaissance following the declaration of peace in the country;  opening its doors to visitors again after 16 years of closure, with a new visitor centre established in 2003. Before visitor numbers fully return to Wilpattu (it was at one point the most visited of all Sri Lanka’s parks), it remains a relatively uncrowded and unhurried park filled with a network of ‘Villu’ reservoirs, dense scrub jungle and grass-covered clearings. 

The unspoilt seclusion of the park makes it ideal for those looking for a peaceful safari experience away from the crowds found in other areas.

Where is Wilpattu National Park?

landscapes, wildlife and access

Starting at the northwest coast and sprawling across the north-central province, Wilpattu enjoys a diversity of landscape from coastline banked by white sands to open grassland and dense forest that creates an equally diverse mix of wildlife. Animals you stand a good chance of spotting include elephant, spotted dear, sloth bear, barking deer, mongoose, water buffalo and possibly leopard. The rivers are home to crocodile and freshwater terrapins, and the network of Villus makes it an area with huge birdlife diversity. Endemic species such as woodshrike, peacocks, brown-capped babbler, Sri Lankan jungle fowl and black-capped bulbul can be seen, but there is also a great variety of owls, storks, cuckoos and terns, amongst others.

Access to the park from Colombo is via Negombo, approximately 55 kilometres and the ancient capital of Anuradhapura is just 25 kilometres east of the park. 

The only current entrance to the park is located at Nochchiyagama via Puttlam.

Wilpattu National park ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

Kulu Safaris offer the best opportunity for exploring Wilpattu, with their mobile tented camp enabling you to feel a real affinity with the natural surroundings and animals. Tents will usually be set up next to the freshwater depressions for swimming or just cooling off, and from there you can head out on driving safaris or just relax and enjoy the area.

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